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Legality of JDM engine replacement

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Old 06-01-2016, 12:31 PM   #1
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Default Legality of JDM engine replacement

Hi my dad has a blown engine and wants to replace it with the same engine. We would like to keep everything 100% street legal, don't want any hassles with smog, state ref, nothing like that

He's working with a shop to source an engine. One of the options is to swap in an equivalent JDM engine. One major benefit is that JDM engines tend to be low mileage, generally ~60k miles.. although, exact mileage will probably be impossible to know. Another benefit is that they are a bit cheaper.

Since I'm posting in the Civic forum, hypothetically if we had a 1999 Civic Si EM1 with B16A2 and sourced a JDM or EDM B16A engine, what things must we consider?

We would definitely need to swap over all smog equipment. In the above scenario, is the USDM B16A2 and JDM B16A ecu the same... or would it need to be swapped?

I think that would take care of everything visually (except the engine block # and VIN on the engine right?). Would we have to take it to the California BAR to get it checked out and all that? Do I need paperwork to prove the engine was purchased legally? Am I missing anything else?

I know that if we did the swap and put in the smog equipment, it should pass smog and it's unlikely we would run into any other issues since the car is stock and doesn't draw any attention. However, we want to be 100% street legal so we don't run into any issues down the road.
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Legality of JDM engine replacement

Forgot to mention that this car is being totalled out by insurance.. my dad ran over a rock during a rock slide and put a hole in the oil pan and the engine seized.

So that means we would have to go through the salvage title process through the California DMV. Not exactly sure what they check but I'm think they look at the engine #s and stuff like that.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Legality of JDM engine replacement

This is seriously a topic that has been beat to death over and over and over... Bottom line is speak to your LOCAL referee, preferably the one who will be handling the process if you intend to go that route. Last I recall JDM replacements for equivalent engines was still legal in CA so you should be in good shape. One for one swap of the engine/head only, reuse your existing manifolds and that should be it. There might be a slight difference in sensors depending on which JDM B16A you end up with so that's something you'll have to consider.


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If there's anyway to skip the claim on the car I'd do that just to keep the clean title, especially if the body is clean.
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