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BRZ First-Gen (2012+) -- General Topics All discussions about the first-gen Subaru BRZ coupe


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Old 05-08-2018, 04:54 AM   #1
Trap63
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USA vehicle modification rules - (BRZ)

Hi guys, I ask you all to help me to clarify what’s legal or not (road legal I mean) in US about car modifications.
When we discuss in Italy, mostly in Europe too, we believe here that US rules help owners to modify car setup with no long and complex procedures.
I think that we are a bit influenced by “Gas Monkey Garage” where we see any kind of modifications that let us to think that US are the Paradise on earth.

Each one of us desire to be Richard Rawlings.

Some Euro examples:

- Wheel, on our car paper issued by National Motor Bureau of Transportation the constructor specifies the measures of ET, Size of rims. BMW and Mercedes-Benz usually specify several measures from 17” up to 20” on same model. Subaru not. In Europe the only road legal measure of rims are 17x7 ET.
- Tyre, the measure of the tyres are on paper, i.g 215/45 R17 for BRZ

Only in Germany if a rims is TUV certified might be installed with no need of test, in Italy you cannot. You need a certified set of rims for that vehicle, i.g. OZ Wheels for BRZ on 18” (18x8 ET45, 5x100) to install 225/40 R18 and later you drive to Motor Bureau to pass test. Since July of last year the new paper of National Bureau reports the ET measurements too.

- Aero parts (wing)
Only in Germany and Switzerland the parts can be installed (with no test) only if they get the TUV or CH Zutaten, otherwise you need an homologation test within euro road rules (edge curve not lower than 2,5 cms)
In Italy on car paper is mostly specified “vehicle with aero parts since constructor”, on this vague specification you might install a wing i.g. within the maximum wide shape of car. It’s risky…mostly.

- Engine bay
- Air intake, is forbidden (for road ) to install a Takeda i.g. or a new air intake, you need an homologation very difficult to obtain as you modify a section of emissions rules, we haven’t a Carb Legal way
- SC kit or Turbo, you need a test and homologation (impossible in Italy, costs are between Eur 5/6,000 with no guarantee of success) to modify the engine output power for tax too. An owner of Impreza WRX STI in Italy pays Euro 1.650,00 about owner tax (yearly) for 310 HP.. BRZ is Eur 486,00 yearly in Italy.

Headlight
no blue emitting lights are legal everywhere in Europe, no change between Xenon is allowed if not included from constructor.
Only for fog light might be allowed an emitting yellow light if included by constructor

Plate
you cannot remove any kind of plate both front and rear and you cannot relocate them.

Window
you can install only an overlay with homologation, only in Monaco (Principaute) the vehicles can be since constructor with dark window front and front side windows too. In Italy is forbidden , you can overlay only rear and rear side window.


So this is a little resume of some rules, usually rules are common in Europe (28 countries) but each country can issue national rules (not in versus with ECE rules).


I will thank in advance the euro mates for any add-on to my words.



The question is:

HowTo, how is made in US?

Thanks to all mate!
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:30 AM   #2
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I'll leave the Richard Rawlings comment for someone else..

- Wheel, on our car paper issued by National Motor Bureau of Transportation the constructor specifies the measures of ET, Size of rims. BMW and Mercedes-Benz usually specify several measures from 17” up to 20” on same model. Subaru not. In Europe the only road legal measure of rims are 17x7 ET.
As far as I know, there is no restriction on road legal wheel size/specs that a car can run. For the most part, many of the automotive laws differ from state to state.

- Tyre, the measure of the tyres are on paper, i.g 215/45 R17 for BRZ
Only in Germany if a rims is TUV certified might be installed with no need of test, in Italy you cannot. You need a certified set of rims for that vehicle, i.g. OZ Wheels for BRZ on 18” (18x8 ET45, 5x100) to install 225/40 R18 and later you drive to Motor Bureau to pass test. Since July of last year the new paper of National Bureau reports the ET measurements too.
The only tires illegal to run are slicks, like Hoosier tires, or off-road only Mud/rally tires. Also, some states like NY allow studded snow tires, while here in Ohio, studs are illegal.


- Aero parts (wing)
Only in Germany and Switzerland the parts can be installed (with no test) only if they get the TUV or CH Zutaten, otherwise you need an homologation test within euro road rules (edge curve not lower than 2,5 cms)
In Italy on car paper is mostly specified “vehicle with aero parts since constructor”, on this vague specification you might install a wing i.g. within the maximum wide shape of car. It’s risky…mostly.
As far as I know, aero can be run legally. Obviously, if the wing or other components physically make the car too big to drive in it's own lane. I also know that when lifting a vehicle (probably not done very much in Europe), there is a certain height off the ground that the front bumper has to be below. This is because in the event of a crash, the lifted car will not run over a smaller car.

- Engine bay
- Air intake, is forbidden (for road ) to install a Takeda i.g. or a new air intake, you need an homologation very difficult to obtain as you modify a section of emissions rules, we haven’t a Carb Legal way
- SC kit or Turbo, you need a test and homologation (impossible in Italy, costs are between Eur 5/6,000 with no guarantee of success) to modify the engine output power for tax too. An owner of Impreza WRX STI in Italy pays Euro 1.650,00 about owner tax (yearly) for 310 HP.. BRZ is Eur 486,00 yearly in Italy.

This one varys a lot based on the state and even counties (smaller divisions of states) you live in. California, for example, has very strict emissions laws. Intakes and exhausts can be changed, but they must be CARB legal. In Ohio for example, you can do anything you want to your intake/exhaust since we don't have emissions testing, however, in Cuyahoga county (Cleveland), they do have emissions testing, but still less strict that California. Deleting catalytic converters is illegal in all states though.

Headlight
no blue emitting lights are legal everywhere in Europe, no change between Xenon is allowed if not included from constructor.
Only for fog light might be allowed an emitting yellow light if included by constructor
I'm fairly certain that having bright HIDs in halogen housings is illegal since they are so much brighter than the normal halogen bulb, but annoyingly, people do it all the time. The only color I know is illegal to have on the front of your car is red.

Plate
you cannot remove any kind of plate both front and rear and you cannot relocate them.
Rear plates are required in all states, but front plates are only required in some states. I believe that relocating is legal, but that might be based on different states that require them as well. Some people even attach them to the passenger side sun visor and drive with it down so the plate can be seen through the windshield.

Window
you can install only an overlay with homologation, only in Monaco (Principaute) the vehicles can be since constructor with dark window front and front side windows too. In Italy is forbidden , you can overlay only rear and rear side window.

Again, this one is different per state. Some have no laws preventing tint, some you can't touch the windows at all. However
, police don't tend to pull you over for this unless you've done something else wrong.


Hope this helps shed some light on our laws. For anyone who knows the laws better than me and I have provided false info, please let me know. These are just based off of experience, and some casual research before doing some of the modifications to my vehicles in the past.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:27 AM   #3
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All lighting has to be DOT approved in all 50 states. Halogen to HID conversions are almost all illegal. Headlights have a minimum and maximum distance off the ground.

Tires need to be DOT approved, but almost all are.

Generally, air intake before the MAF and exhaust after the last catalytic converter are not regulated.

I believe maximum width without a special (and temporary) permit is 102 (thanks for the catch Leo) inches. Not too many wings or lips reach that.

Rear licence can be relocated, but must retain illumination.

The main issue, if you want to call it that, isn't laws...the laws are there in more cases than most would think. It's weak and lazy enforcement.

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Old 05-08-2018, 10:45 AM   #4
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Don't your countries have sound / loudness restrictions as well?
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krayzie View Post
Don't your countries have sound / loudness restrictions as well?
I believe it's 95 db in CA
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhyrraM View Post
All lighting has to be DOT approved in all 50 states. Halogen to HID conversions are almost all illegal. Headlights have a minimum and maximum distance off the ground.

Tires need to be DOT approved, but almost all are.

Generally, air intake before the MAF and exhaust after the last catalytic converter are not regulated.

I believe maximum width without a special (and temporary) permit is 80 inches. Not too many wings or lips reach that.

Rear licence can be relocated, but must retain illumination.

The main issue, if you want to call it that, isn't laws...the laws are there in more cases than most would think. It's weak and lazy enforcement.



Max width is 8' 6" , or 102 inches.


http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Safety/Do...Limits_ORS.pdf
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krayzie View Post
Don't your countries have sound / loudness restrictions as well?
yes, we get some restrictions, all muffler measurements will follow usually 77 Db max within 50 cms at 4.500 rpm , 2nd gear for sport cars and over 250KW (Tollerance of 1.9 %point), city cars cannot exceed 70 db and we need road homologation ECE90 for aftermarket exhaust too.
Therefore is usual in Europe for many constructors realize exhausts with double valve (open full sound) to retain road rules.
In 2024 Euro rules foresee a max db of 68 Db....
it depends from Country, in Italy the exhaust sound of supercars like Ferrari or Lambo is very loveful and loved, it's very difficult to pull a ticket. In Switzerland is like to make a murder...
I drive with HKS Spec L Ti...over 91 Db (max legal in idle is 81 db for BRZ), I think to be a lucky police loved man...

In some race circuit sometimes it occours a Db measurement test...too especially for bikes.
This is the sheet for BRZ/86 where you can see genuine muffler values and maximum for homologation sheet.

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Old 05-08-2018, 01:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PhyrraM View Post
It's weak and lazy enforcement.
^ this.

Some stuff that are illegal in NYC but still seen on cars:
1. Cat deletes
2. Tinted front side windows
3. Tinted tails

The only thing cops really care about in terms of your car are broken lights and tinted windows. All of the above and anything ranging from worn brakes to malfunctioning seat belts should cause a car to fail the yearly inspection, but its easy to find a shop that will look the other way and pass you for some extra $$$.
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PandaSPUR View Post
^ this.

Some stuff that are illegal in NYC but still seen on cars:
1. Cat deletes
2. Tinted front side windows
3. Tinted tails

The only thing cops really care about in terms of your car are broken lights and tinted windows. All of the above and anything ranging from worn brakes to malfunctioning seat belts should cause a car to fail the yearly inspection, but its easy to find a shop that will look the other way and pass you for some extra $$$.


Tint has weird laws. In Oregon; I can only have 35% tint on my FR-S rear window, but my truck is allowed to have 50% tint on the rear window.




Also, there is only emissions testing in urban areas. Meaning only Portland cars have to meet the standards. (Rural farm trucks are never going to comply here)
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:36 PM   #10
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@BigTuna:

Couple of clarification points

Quote:
- Engine bay

This one varys a lot based on the state and even counties (smaller divisions of states) you live in. California, for example, has very strict emissions laws. Intakes and exhausts can be changed, but they must be CARB legal. In Ohio for example, you can do anything you want to your intake/exhaust since we don't have emissions testing, however, in Cuyahoga county (Cleveland), they do have emissions testing, but still less strict that California. Deleting catalytic converters is illegal in all states though.
So most "drop in" or "bold on" engine mods are designed to meat CARB standards, since obviously they are the strictest nationwide. Had to wait for CARB certification before I could get the SC installed on my old tC, despite living in Ohio. Other modifications besides the removal of the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor are unregulated, as you stated. As long as you dont remove those two, or use mods that are not CARB compliant, you will pass emissions testing here in Cuyahoga county every single time.

Quote:
Headlight
Quote:

I'm fairly certain that having bright HIDs in halogen housings is illegal since they are so much brighter than the normal halogen bulb, but annoyingly, people do it all the time. The only color I know is illegal to have on the front of your car is red.


Dont remember the last time I heard someone pulled over for HIDs in halogen housings, so never bothered to see what was illegal from that standpoint. However, the only legal light colors on the front of a car, at least here in Ohio, are amber or white. Red, blue and strobes are called out specifically as illegal due to similarity to emergency vehicles.

@Trap63, no offense, but I would not want to live in Europe from a car modification standpoint, so I can see why you guys view the US as being a bit of a Mod Utopia.
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
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reason you may see extensive modifications on those cars from the tv shows, there are different rules for antique vehicles (anything more than 20-25 years), as well as farm trucks. In texas they no longer measure emissions with the tailpipe & just run the ecu test to confirm the sensors are functional.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:10 PM   #12
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@HunterGreene...don't worry...Me and all italians face off every day with a kind of unbelievable rules that first of all has come to destroy the History of Automobile.
20 yrs ago our tought about US way and cars was very negative about automotive....It's hard to say that today we should be pleased to live in US, in a free country with no obsessions.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:22 PM   #13
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:26 PM   #14
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