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General Smog Check

1999 Dodge Ram Diesel - Worried it will fail the smog test.

Dear Sirs, I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 W/Cummins diesel and auto tran. I need to have it smogged by the end of this month and I’m wondering if the truck even has a chance of passing the test as listed on the Calif. Site. The truck has just less than 346,000 miles on it and I’ve always maintained it re; oil change, etc. The only modifications I’ve done are a K&N oil type air filter, dual fuel filter system, a DTT (Diesel Trans. Tech.) noise filter to kill the alternator noise causing the torque converter to lock and unlock continually above 50 MPH ( a very common problem in the 2nd generation Ram diesels that eventually destroys the transmission.) and a tee in the fuel line just ahead of the injection pump to monitor the fuel pressure. I did the snap idle test myself with my wife gunning the engine to about 2500 RPM’s and the quickly letting off the pedal ( 3 times about 2 minutes apart.) There was no visible smoke coming out of the tail pipe after about 3 seconds when it went back to idle. However, I read that the technician also removes the oil cap and watches for any smoke coming out for about 10 seconds. I did notice that every few seconds just a tiny little whiff of smoke was detectable. Several years ago I bought an OBDII code reader and periodically check for codes and as of this writing there are no codes stored. I keep the engine spotless and there are no oil leaks of any kind, but with that many miles on the engine I’m sure the rings may be allowing some blowby. So, here is the problem; if the truck fails what are my options? I’ve heard that the problem has to be fixed or it’s off the highway. For me to rebuild the Cummins re; rings, valve job will cost in the neighborhood of about $5 - $6000.00 which I don’t have. I have a plumbing business (and after the economy just about destroyed us) we are now seeing a little light on the horizon, but I can’t take this truck out of service or it will cause me to lose my business. Any advice is appreciated.


The small amount of smoke from the oil cap does not cause as much concern as the modified fuel system. The state will not allow any modification to an engine's emission system. The K & N filter is ok. The DTT is ok as well. The dual fuel filter however, unless it is approved by the Air Resources Board for use on your Dodge, along with the t-connection in the fuel line, will cause a visual smog check failure. If your Dodge does fail the test your only option will be to have it repaired. I'd suggest applying for state repair assistance, however the state will not pay for engine damage repair. A valve job or ring job will not be covered under California's CAP program.

posted by SmogTips Support 08-22-2011 04:44 PM

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