GM Performance Parts is saving us from avoiding the smog-era cars with its new line of E-Rod crate engines. The E-Rod series is the result of negotiations by SEMA, which connected the right people in government with the right people at GM to offer a package of late-model engines that will be deemed emissions compliant with an E.O. number when installed in any pre-OBD-II (generally '95-and-earlier) vehicle. In many areas, there are already laws that allow for legal engine swaps provided that the engine being installed is from a vehicle of the same or lesser weight class and that the engine is of the same model year or newer as the body of the car. In those cases, every aspect of the emissions package from the engine must be transferred to the vehicle that is receiving the swap, and as those systems have become more complex, it has become more and more difficult to perform a fully compliant engine swap.
Some, us included, have argued that any late-model EFI engine installed in an older car will clearly have lower emissions than the clunk}', old, carbureted engine that was factory installed in the car and that such swaps should therefore be legal. However, the smog-governing agencies dont agree and still require underhood visual inspections to confirm that all OE components are in place, as those parts may be contributing to controlling emissions that cannot be read by test stations. The E-Rod program overcomes the obstacles by using late-model engines that are delivered with a complete emissions package—right down to the catalytic converters—and that are proven to offer virtually the same compliance as a new car. In fact, the same certification team that handles GM's new cars also worked on the E-Rod program. Even the E-Rod's E67 ECU is the same as what's used in many new GM cars, though proprietary software is used because with the E-Rod, the controller must only run the engine and not the entire car, and it must also power the standalone emissions equipment. The benefit to gearheads is that the E-Rod engines are sold with everything required for a fairly simple engine swap that will be deemed legal by local emissions referee stations.
As of press time, the LS3 E-Rod engine
"I bought one of these new-exact ly like this one, but with T-tops. At some point they stopped being cool, buttnis car is goingtooring more attention to the late Z28s."
—Mike Copeland is on the verge of getting an E.O. number from the California ARB and Bureau of Automotive Repair so that it may be installed in pre-OBD-II vehicles. If approved, the E-Rod should become legal hi most areas where emissions inspections are required. In addition to legalizing the E-Rod engines for pre-OBD-II production cars, these boards are reviewing the proposals by SEMA and GM to allow the engine to ease the registration process for specially constructed vehicles, such as homebuilt cars and those constructed from fiberglass bodies and aftermarket chassis.
The E-Rod engine being used in the HOT ROD Z28 is the 6.2L, 430hp LS3, which is a '10 Corvette engine and very similar to the one used in manual-trans '10 Camaro
SS models. When this engine gets the green light, it's expected that three more will be added to the E-Rod line: the 427ci, 505hp LS7 from the Z06 Corvette; the supercharged, 6.2L, 550hp LSA from the Cadillac CTS-V; and the 5.3L, 327hp LS3. Each of these will come with the GMPP engine wiring harness and calibrated ECM, an accelerator pedal for the engine's electronic throttle-body, system-calibrated catalytic converters, exhaust manifolds matching the supplied cats, a mass-airflow sensor and mounting hardware, oxygen sensors and mounting bosses, a vapor recovery canister, and an instruction manual.
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