Emissions Test sees new Mustang engine in an old model

Last December, Vipac was visited by Street Machine (Australia’s #1 modified car magazine) as part of their monthly Sid-chrome project. With film crew in tow, they came to test their 5 litre, V8 modified Cobra – the first of its kind, boasting the same Coyote engine as Ford’s brand new Mustang.

Cobra Pic 1

Mustang Cobra getting hooked up to the dyno and the wheels are chocked safely.

What is the IM240 Emissions Test?

As our Emissions Engineer explained, “The IM240 Emissions Test is a 240 second simulation that runs a car through a range of engine load and revolutions per minute (RPM) scenarios on a dynamometer. It involves connecting the car’s exhaust to a bank of gas analysers to measure noxious gasses in grams per kilometre.”

The measured emissions include:

  • Hydrocarbons (HC)
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2); and
  • Particulate matter (PM)- depending on the age of your car.

If any of these gasses exceed the total output limits stipulated by the standard relevant to your vehicle at the completion of the test, the result is a fail. Australian standards establish the acceptable emissions for vehicle’s manufactured within certain date ranges so generally the newer the car, the stricter the standards.

Why use an Engineer?

Any modification you make to your vehicle needs to be conducted in accordance with the National Code of Practice (NCOP) for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification also referred to as Vehicle Standards Bulletin (VSB) 14. Minor modifications do not need engineering certification, but for the fun stuff you usually do. Major modification should always be done in consultation with a VASS Engineer, as they are the one giving the final sign off indicating that your vehicle is safe and meets the NCOP. If you modify your engine, the intake and/or exhaust systems, an engineer will request you undertake an IM240 Emissions Test.

Your vehicle will need to have at least one catalytic converter installed to have any chance of passing the emissions test, so don’t show up with a straight through track pipe and expect a pass! A visual inspection may also be done, so if you have oil vapour catch cans or an atmospherically venting blow off valve, check with your engineer to see what’s required to make them legal before arranging an emissions test for your car. Similarly, any vacuum/boost leaks or exhaust will result in a fail. Remember, the configuration in which your vehicle is tested is what your engineer will sign off on; so bring your vehicle in the configuration you intend to register it in.

While noise levels are not factored in to this test, a noise test is required for certification and will be conducted by your engineer during the inspection, which means you’re unlikely to get through with a cannon installed!

Cobra Pic 2

Making sure everything for the Cobra is safe and ready to go before emissions testing begins.

Who needs it? 

Vehicle importers and manufacturers of new models must ensure their vehicles meet the standards set out in the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

Furthermore, if you’re planning on making any modifications outlined in VSB14, you must demonstrate that your vehicle still meets the same safety standard as it did prior to modifications. If you are modifying  the engine, intake and exhaust systems, an IM240 Emissions Test is a must if you intend on meeting roadworthy requirements. It also saves headaches down the track for future owners of the vehicle when they register it, if it complies properly the first time.

As for kit-builders, the IM240 test is a must. It can be said that typically the most difficult step in registering a kit-built car is passing emissions- it’s considered an entry benchmark for people who want to build low volume cars. 

Emissions- Don’t risk it!

Failing to get your vehicle emissions tested may land you with heavy defect fines, vehicle de-registration (red sticker) and a void insurance including third party.

Cobra Pic 3

Let the testing begin!