So… You Know the Song ‘Grenade’ by Bruno Mars?…

It’s funny sometimes how life can hand you music to make a soundtrack that intertwines itself so perfectly within your situation, that you feel it can’t be anything but fate…

Grenade by Bruno Mars. It’s a song about myself and Silvia; my car to anyone who knows me or reads my Motoring Blog.

Thank you New York state for your wonderful annual auto inspections. Congratulations also go out to the federal government of the United States of America for finding a way to prevent unsafe driving by making an engine diagnostic system that makes it nigh impossible to run modified cars on the streets for more than a year.

OBD-II is amazing in it’s implementation. It’s required equipment on any car sold in the U.S. of A. No car produced after 1995 is exempt. That means Model year 1996-Present is running an Onboard Diagnostic (Gen-II) system. These systems are amazing in their control as well. They can retard cam timing to lean out A/F ratios, they can sometimes stop knock before it’s begun and can even tell you when something is potentially wrong with your engine! All it has to do to achieve this is run a network or sensors, i.e. it’s eyes and ears, to all corners of your engine, chassis and drivetrain.

On my 1996 Nissan 240SX, I have a knock sensor, a throttle position sensor, an intake air temperature sensor, a mass air flow sensor, an exhaust gas recirculation temperature sensor, a rear (exhaust) O2 sensor, a fuel pump sending sensor, a manifold absolute pressure sensor, an evaporative emissions system solenoid sensor, a camshaft position sensor and a crankshaft position sensor… And those are just the one’s I know about!?

While their programming and method of use may allow some of us to forgo stand-alone EMS and wideband controllers, due to the far reaching nature of the factory sensors and ability to rewrite almost every aspect of the management system, we still must deal with the Priority Channel these are allowed during your inspection. Any discrepancies between acceptable values and current values are reported to DMV, as well as any sensors not reading what they are supposed to.

Modern ECUs are incredible. You cannot ditch them if you want to drive on the street. And any method for fooling the computers or your ECU is against the law. Not to say ECU tuning is illegal, but if you’re rewriting firmware or allowing the motor to operate outside it’s intended efficiency, good luck to you.

I was never around for the days when you could check your timing with your watch…

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