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Old 12-02-2020, 10:58 AM   #1
20 year member!
1990 34.5' Airstream 345
Marina Del Rey , California
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 28
Looking for advice smogging a Texas registered 1990 345LE in CA

Heya team Motorhome - anyone got some real world advice/experience in how to navigate getting my TX registered 1990 345LE registered back in Cali? All the smog vacuum/hose equipment is completely seized and was bypassed by the previous owner (makes sense as I presume this is not required in TX), the motor runs super well right now (well, duh, it's breathing perfectly) but I'm seeing conflicting stories from others about this. It's got Banks Power headers, and an MSD ignition system.

Love to get your feedback guys...
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:41 PM   #2
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Sunnyvale , California
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 97
I just went through this. I bought a Kentucky-registered 1984 Model 345 and drove it back to California. Registration involves 3 steps:

1/ Pay California tax (my least favorite part). DMV will take your money, no question asked, so that's easy. They will issue a temporary registration tag.

2/ Get your vehicle smog tested. Mine failed at the first attempt. My mechanic tweaked the carburetor and the vehicle passed with flying colors on the second attempt. You need a good mechanic who knows what he's doing. So, this was not hard either.

3/ A DMV employee needs to visually inspect the vehicle, check the VIN number as well as the "Federal Safety Label". Unfortunately, my Federal Safety Label was missing. In that case, you need to make an appointment with a Highway Patrol Officer who can verify your vehicle without Federal Safety Label. They will issue a form, you take it to DMV, and DMV will give you CA license plates.

So overall, it was easier than I thought.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:25 PM   #3
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,176
Mine is a bit older then yours. I have a '82 280 with 454 and carburetor. I'm assuming yours has throttle body fuel injection.

Don't know if 1990 did this, but mine is a "Federal" model. There was a Federal model and a California model. The Federal model has air injection system but not EGR valve. Your vin# will tell you what you have.

I brought mine down from Oregon which meant when my dad owned the MH and the air injection system failed, he just simply removed the belt and pulley and did not fix it. In California, all original smog equipment must exist and be working. Pulley on pump was missing, but surprisingly they are still available to this day. I replaced the pump, diverter valve and check valves and hookup up the correct vacuum line to the diverter valve. I made sure all vacuum lines where connected and the PVC valve was working.

Mine has the Banks system which back then only consisted of headers with ports for air injection manifolds and a larger air filter. The original air filter base with its sensors and vacuum hoses are required. The Banks system is allowed in Calif.

I bet you have more sensors, vacuum hoses then mine. I bet you have an EGR valve and evap canister and catalytic converters. All must be working. I live in the Bay Area but my MH lives in "north" northern Calif. I didn't think they would be as picky up there, but they are. These folks can lose their licenses and so can the shop for even very stupid mistakes on their part. I recently had a couple of customers (shops) lose their smog licenses due to very innocent but stupid mistakes.

The last time I had the MH smogged, the tech spent 20 minutes looking through his paper manuals to find the correct vacuum hose routing. He actually looked at and checked each hose. The MHs are too large to put on the dyno so they only do a static low RPM and high RPM check with the sniffer up the tail pipe.

During one smog check, it failed and I rebuilt the carb, retested and all was good. But, due to the failure which gets recorded on the computer, my MH was flagged as a gross polluter. Which only meant that from now on, I have to take it to a "Star" smog station for smog checks. Make sure you have fresh gas in the tank. Oil is new. Put a can of fuel enhancer in the tank. I don't remember exactly what it is called, but techs suggested to do this to help it pass. Make sure the engine is well warmed up before the test. Don't take it in in the morning and leave it for an afternoon test.

Registration was no issue. DMV only validated the VIN# and I don't have a safety label. Make sure you know where the VIN# tag is located on the MH. On mine is a bit hidden under wires. The other very visible tag is some other serial# or something I'm guessing from GM for the chassis.
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:45 AM   #4
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Foothill Ranch , California
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Where did you find the diverter valve for the smog pump?
My name is Steve.... and I am an Alumaholic!
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Old 12-11-2020, 10:19 AM   #5
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2017 30' International
Paradise , California
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 100
Willhenshall, that sounds like a nightmare! Have you looked at the Montana thing? It sounds kinda scam like, but appears to be ligit. Your RV is registered to a Montana LLC. One time registration fee, not yearly like in CA. At least for TTs, not sure about MHs.

When we bought our AS TT this spring form a broker, we waited 3+ weeks for him to get the title squared away and have it registered in CA. It had never been registered in CA, even though it had never left CA as far as anyone knew.

It was bought at the dealership in Fairfield and taken to Sonoma Raceway and registered to a second home in Nevada. Owner never used it so, it was then sold to another Raceway guy who registered it to a Montana LLC. They slept in it once before selling to the broker 50 miles away in Winters. It never left CA.

If you look around, there's lots and lots of RVs with Montana plates. Might be worth a Google for Montana RV LLC.

Good luck.
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Old 12-11-2020, 11:52 AM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 274
One problem with that is that it will probably invalidate your
insurance policy. You should check the fine print. Somewhere
in there it will say something like "the insured vehicle is properly
registered in the state of your residence".

If you ever need to file a claim the insurance company will
review all of the particulars in the fine print and may deny your
claim for violating the terms of the policy.
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Old 12-11-2020, 02:57 PM   #7
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
Where did you find the diverter valve for the smog pump?

Its been some years back, but I got the diverter valve at RockAuto. They haven't been available now for a very long time.
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