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Help with buying a car that isn't BAR'd
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:51 AM   #1
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Default Help with buying a car that isn't BAR'd

Hey guys, I have basically no experience with modding cars yet, but I've been interested in buying an RS and seeing what I can do with it. I found an '01 2.5rs with a 2005 STI swap for sale that looks promising, but the car is registered non-op, doesn't have smog done, and was never BAR'd.

I did some research and from what I found, to transfer the title I'd need to have it smogged. To complete the smog I'd need to get it BAR'd due to swap. To get it BAR'd I'd need to have up to date registration in my name, and to get registration I'd need the title transferred and the smog -_-

Am I missing something here? Is there some (legal) way to avoid this loop of dependencies? As a side note, is purchasing a non BAR'd swapped car as a total noob be an awful idea?

The seller isn't around the area himself right now I guess and says he won't be able to get it BAR'd himself.


Last edited by Judico; 04-19-2017 at 01:01 AM..
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:30 AM   #2
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I might be mistaken, but I think a vehicle that is currently registered as non-op can be sold and retitled if still registered as non-op. Then you can go thru the hoops of getting the swap made legal.

Buying an "incomplete" swapped car can be a chore even if you're not a noob.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:42 AM   #3
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Oh to clarify, it's registered non-op because he hasn't been using it for quite a while. The car is totally operational, I just have no idea if it's likely to pass inspection or smog. Guessing if he ever did have it smogged in the past he may have had the report fudged to avoid having to BAR it too.

I'll see what I can find on transferring title still as non-op, thanks
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:24 AM   #4
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If it's running a stock 05 ECU, OBD-II works and it has the proper catalytic converters I can't imagine it wouldn't pass.
2001 SRP Coupe 8300RPM SOHC 257, 71 HTA, DCCD RA Drivetrain and ms3-Pro
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:06 PM   #5
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Everything needs to be original and stock as it would of came from factory as an 05 Sti such as wiring and all emission equipments. Without will have nothing but headaches.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fujigc8 View Post
Everything needs to be original and stock as it would of came from factory as an 05 Sti such as wiring and all emission equipments. Without will have nothing but headaches.

I've done it with a "03 WRX" swap which was really an EJ207 V6, but the reason I passed is it looked 100% identical to a 2002/2003 WRX EJ205, down to the ECU, TGVs, and 0.8mm restrictor pill.

Anything that's aftermarket will need to be replaced with stock OEM, especially intake, exhaust, and ideally, tune. Even your vac and coolant hoses should be rubber - I've heard of silicone failing.

Per your side note, I would suggest staying away from a swapped car that isn't BAR'd if you plan on trying to fix it yourself with little knowledge and tools. There's lots that is required for it to pass. If you find one that already is bar'd, that would be a better place to start, though financially speaking it'd be cheaper just to buy a WRX or STI.


Last edited by Razor7; 04-20-2017 at 12:04 PM..
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:40 PM   #7
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Thanks all.

Turns out the engine has a bunch of mods done on top of the swap so I'm gonna stay away from this one. Think I'd prefer to start on a stock RS anyways... the search continues!

In case anyone is interested, I did find out that for my original question, the referee program will BAR without registration when needed. They just prefer that you have it.

Last edited by Judico; 04-20-2017 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:50 PM   #8
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I know this is an old thread, but I'll put my experience here for others to reference.

I bought my RS swapped with an EJ205 in SoCal. It was registered as operational with the previous owner and hadn't been smogged.

The car was blowing white smoke and needed repairs to run.

I went to the DMV to transfer the title without smog and registered it as Non-Op.

The car sat in my garage for a while until I could get it fixed.

Finally, 2 years later I had the time and money to get the car fixed. So, I bought a used JDM EJ05 and swapped the long block. Now it was running but didn't have current tags. I also had a check engine light for the sensor in the tank (I forget the code). Apparently '03 ECU's check the tank sensor to see that it's working. After talking to Brian at iWire he said '02 ECU's don't care about that tank sensor and won't throw a CEL. So, I had to swap out my '03 ECU for an '02 one. That took care of the CEL.

I had to go to the DMV (or AAA in my case since they can do this there too and no long wait) to get a one day operational pass to take it to the smog station (You need this to drive the car with expired tags). There they hooked it up to their equipment, but the ECU needed to go through all the system checks first so it read as "Not Ready". I had to pay for a smog test ($50) to get the paperwork to take back to the DMV (or AAA). They needed the paperwork there to give me a Temporary Operating Permit (TOP) so the ECU could go through it's cycle and therefore get smogged. This permit usually cost $50, but since I was still in the transfer process it was free.

I drove the car for a week and went back to the smog station. This time the ECU was ready and they were able to do a complete test. My engine is completely stock and has stock '02-'03 WRX exhaust and cats. It passed the visual with no problems along with the emissions test and I paid the $20 for the certificate.

At the time I'm writing this I'm going back to AAA tomorrow to complete the transfer and registration process. I think I'll have to pay last years reg Non-Op fee... maybe? And of course pay for the current year as I convert the registration to Operational status.

Now that it's running and smogged the next step I'm going to take is to get it BAR'd. I've been told by many people to leave everything stock. Once you start the BAR process it needs to be completed before the next smog testing. Also, when you go get the car BAR'd, to make sure the car is presentable. No zip-ties, or wonky stuff that could give a red flag to the ref. A tip I was given was to just hand the keys over and don't hover. Let the ref do his job and just go find a place away from the inspection and keep yourself occupied. If they have questions, they'll come ask. Don't act like you have something to hide.
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:24 PM   #9
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Here's how you enjoy a swapped RSTi or WRX swapped RS (or any car for that matter).

You move out of CA.

No I'm not kidding.

edit: I realize this isn't too helpful for those of you stuck in CA. I wish you luck. I just have had enough of that stupid (and largely uncontrolled) "bureau" that fails you for having an aluminum fuel T or a silicone hose in place of a rubber one. Fucking morons.

Last edited by Kaos22B; 09-26-2018 at 01:34 PM..
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