Jeeper  Adventures Under the Hood  Jeeper

Environmental Emissions Check

For those fortunate enough to live in areas where E-Checks are not required, here is a quick rundown of what it's about here in Ohio.

Every other year, depending on the model year of your vehicle, you must have an E-Check in order to get new license tags. The testing is carried out by privately contracted facilities.

- The procedure is this -

You drive to the testing facility and pull into the shortest line to wait your turn. It works just like the supermarket. Whichever line you get into is the one where someone ahead of you develops a time-consuming problem. When it's your turn, you pull into the lane, where a person wheels out a mirror and slides it under your car, looking for a catalytic converter. If you don't have one, you're out of the game. No cat, no test, no tags.

Then you are invited to leave your car and wait inside a glass-enclosed blockhouse while a person you've never seen before gets behind the wheel of your pride and joy. The drive wheels are pulled up onto a dynamometer roller, the other wheels are chocked, a large electric fan is wheeled in front of the radiator, and a hose is hooked onto the exhaust pipe.

If your car is less than two years old they give you what is called a "quick pass" and you are on your way.

According to the "State of Ohio Vehicle Inspection Report", a pre-1981 vehicle is tested for hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) levels at two speeds, idle and approximately 30 mph.

1981 and newer vehicles are tested for HC, CO, and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) while being run on a dynamometer for about five minutes at various speeds up to 55 mph, to simulate real-world driving conditions.

They then check the gas cap for pressure seal.

If nothing goes wrong they give you a paper which enables you to purchase new tags. If you fail, they give you a list of approved repair facilities to which you are expected to take your car for repairs. If you come back and fail again, it is possible to get a one-time-only waiver good for one year.

Just for the curious, here are the 1997 test results for my 1985 4.2 liter Jeep. There was no 1985 CJ-7 in their computer, so the guy entered it as a 1985 Wrangler. No kidding! The limits are not the same for different years/engines. The NOX limit for my '90 minivan was 7.000, or half that of my '85 Jeep.

Item Reading Units Limit
HC 0.3892 Grams/Mile 3.2000
CO 3.5955 Grams/Mile 80.0000
NOX 5.7938 Grams/Mile 14.0000

The procedure was changed in 1998. The vehicle is now run on the dyno at 25 MPH for 90 seconds. The test on my 1985 CJ7 yielded the following:

Item Reading Units Limit
HC (loaded) 27.3 PPM 220.0
CO (loaded) 0.09 % 1.20
CO2 (loaded) 15.7787 % -
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