Panic Time “That EROD engine package won’t work” Build Week #1

I read a blog post about the Flyin’ Miata team and how they offer an EROD-powered LS swap Miata. I noticed that they only sold the kit for 1995 and older Miatas. This made me look at the CARB engine swap guidelines, and I started to sweat. The CARB EO for the EROD motor says explicitly for use with vehicles that are 1995 and older.

California BAR Referee

When I spoke with my local Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Referee, he said that an EROD was the way to go because the package includes everything. At that time, I was deciding between a 95 and 96 e36 M3. The 96 was just a better overall car, and I defaulted to buy the best car. I got on the phone with BAR and asked to speak to a referee. A referee called me back that same day and confirmed my worst fears. I told him about the conversation with the other referee, and he said, well, the EROD would not work for your 1996. I asked why and one of the reasons is my car is the first year, as 1996 was for all US cars to use OBD II.

OBD II and Swaps

The OBD II cars can be swapped, but the only way is to carry all of the emissions equipment. The CARB documents say this “All emissions systems (including the evaporative system monitoring) from the donor vehicle must be installed and fully functional. For example, the evaporative system components, i.e., plumbing, canister, tanks, valves, etc., must be present and functioning. If a non-OBD II certified vehicle is receiving an OBD II certified replacement engine, the transmission and fuel storage/evaporative system from the recipient vehicle may still be used. However, these components and systems must be integrated with the engine’s OBD II system such that the OBD system’s transmission and evaporative system monitoring strategies remain operational.”

The EROD comes with an evap canister, MAF, catalytic converters, and air intake, but that’s the beauty of it; you don’t need any of the other evap emission items that came with the 2010 Chevy Camaro. A great way to go if you own a 1995 or older car. The first thought in my head, Oh my god, the car is at my builder, I have my EROD engine on order, and I have a buyer for my S52 and transmission. I called my builder and told him the news and said full stop until we can figure our path forward.

My Builder’s Conversation with the BAR Referee

Luckily the car had just got there and was still in one piece. My builder, Jake, was going to take the ball and call the CARB referee to understand what could be swapped or how to make it work. He spoke to the same referee as I did, and they discussed how it might work with a dropout from a donor car 2010-2015 Chevy Camaro SS. Jake was concerned about the gas tank. There is no way you can put a 2010 Camaro gas tank in an e36; of course, I am sure someone would dispute that, but we were not going to do that.

We asked if we could get an exception for using the e36 M3 gas tank, and it was granted. The referee was extremely helpful and answered a bunch of questions. When I spoke with my local referee, I am sure that I said I would use a 1995 M3, and that’s why he gave the advice to use an EROD Connect and Cruise package.

We are still not out of the woods yet. We need to understand if we can transfer the EVAP, fuel pumps, purge valves, and other assorted items to the e36 M3 gas tank or car. If we manage that, can we get it to communicate to the electronic BMW modules as well? Definitely, more research is needed.

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