Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

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Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:45 pm

Ok, I know this is not a ticket issue but I couldn't find anyplace more appropriate to post it.

I got ripped off when I bought a van from someone claiming to be a burner. I trust burners so I let my guard down. Stupid I know but there it is. I'm hoping now that my burner community can help out of this mess some how.

The short version is he lied to me about the condition of the van and claimed it had a 60 day old valid smog cert and he'd lost the print out. I took his word but it was a lie and it requires prohibitively expensive work (at least at a professional shop) to make it pass. My mechanic believes he did something to hide the problem long enough for a good test drive.

In trying to convince him to fix the deal (refund or valid smog cert) I've had a lawyer I work with do some research on the guy and we found that he looks like a very slimy character. He's involved in criminal cases, family law cases, civil cases, small claims court, financial activity that gives every indication of a pattern of fraud, it appears his home is being repossessed and he's declared bankruptcy and shuffled the ownership of it around to try to muddy the trail, so on and so forth. Whenever I try to talk to him reasonably about the van he just fast talks trying to avoid the issue and dodging even acknowledging it. Even if I sue this guy and win it's not likely I'll ever be able to collect anything. Even if I can collect it won't be in time to save my burn.

Is there anyone who can help me fix the van to get a passing smog cert? Legally of course. It has a problem that I could live with if I could get the title transferred but the freaking engine light will keep it from passing even though the emissions are fine. It's prohibitively expensive for me to fix through a normal mechanic. Unless I can get it to pass smog I'm stuck with a van I can't use and a $2,000 hole in my pocket. I only plan to use it for BM and camping a few times a year. If I could get two years use of it I'd feel like I got my moneys worth.

This was going to be my wife's first time on the playa. We were both really looking forward to it. This whole mess has got us both feeling dejected and a little depressed. Someone please help a family member out.

Ideas for a solutions or workarounds I had:

Anyone (out of state or otherwise) want to buy it outright, maybe for an art car? I'd give you a nice discount. I could make a fun road trip out of it.

Anyone know a way to get it pass smog (legally of course) without breaking the bank?

There is a program where CA will contribute $500 toward repairs to pass smog to low income individuals (that's me). Any mechanics willing to do it for that, or at least try? If after $500 in repairs it still won't pass smog it's then eligible for a waiver. That would solve the problem. Of course fixing it is my first choice but I'll settle for any legal method.


Disclaimer: I don't want anyone to break any laws or do anything dishonest. I'm just looking for solutions to a problem.
Last edited by TheFluxAnomaly on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:52 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Shpilkus » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:49 pm

I'm speechless! :shock:
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Dustdevil » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:53 pm

Perhaps it would be useful if you post the year, make and model as well as the reason it did not pass. Your location would also be useful. Also , the mearsured amounts of the three gasses (NO, CO, and HC) and what is passable. All this is on your smog printout. If you like, PM this to me. I sort of do this kind of thing for a living.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby capjbadger » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:59 pm

Hey Mod folks? Can we get this thread moved please? I think the poor guy will get more exposure/help if it's not in the Tickets area. A lot of people are avoiding here during the current madness. :)

-Badger
Last edited by capjbadger on Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:04 pm

Dustdevil: I'm in SF. The compression is a bit low on cylinder #8 which is causing a slight misfire resulting in a rough idle. Emissions are OK but I don't have the numbers available right now. However, with this misfire lighting up the the check engine light it won't pass. My mechanic cleared the error to see how fast it would come back. I got 3 blocks before it returned. I can live with a rough idle for however long the engine lasts if I can just get it past smog testing. I suspect it would still last a good while.


Badger: Good point. If I had a better idea of where to put this I would have. But if the mods want to move it to someplace better that would be great.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Dustdevil » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:21 pm

If you have low compression in one or more cylinders enough to cause a mis fire, your HC (hydrocarbons, measured in ppm) will be too high to pass. In other words, it will fail the exhaust sniffer test. The only cure is to repair what is causing the low compression. If it is only a little low (very little) the short term and long term fuel trim will compensate, but that is not the case as it is turning on your check engine light.

I would suggest a dynamic compression test to confirm the low cylinder(s) and then you will be in a position to make an educated decision. This is NOT going to pass the state smog test until it is repaired. After the check engine light is turned off, you will need at least 20-30 miles of driving and several drive cycles to reset the systems. By the the MIL will have come back on again.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:46 pm

Dustdevil: My mechanic says I'm looking at a top end rebuild or engine swap to fix this at his shop. I can't afford or justify that. I've have double the money invested over what the van is worth. I'm hoping for short term band aid.

I'm only going to be driving this thing about 4-6 times a year. I don't see how with that usage it could pollute more than a perfectly running car that's driven every day, over the course of a year. The system is taking that into account however. :(

Any thoughts? Or know anyone who'd be interested in buying this as-is so I can at least limit my losses? It would still make a GREAT art car.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:26 pm

Oh by the way, I know I'm grasping at straws here, but I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation and recover something from it. I appreciate any advice and suggestions anyone has to give.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Elderberry » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:00 pm

There are smog stations that will pass you anyway. I know this for a fact. :oops:
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Jonny Utah » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:09 pm

i don't know if this applies to california, but where i am you can get a temp registration that lasts for two weeks enabling you to drive your car legally until you get your problem "fixed". this would give you more than enough time to get to and from bm.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby capjbadger » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:18 pm

Jonny Utah wrote:i don't know if this applies to california, but where i am you can get a temp registration that lasts for two weeks enabling you to drive your car legally until you get your problem "fixed". this would give you more than enough time to get to and from bm.

Ah! Good point. I had to do that myself one year.

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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:20 pm

Jonny, I didn't know that. That might help, thanks. Any chance you could point me to an official source of information about it?
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby capjbadger » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:22 pm

Last edited by capjbadger on Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby CapSmashy » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:25 pm

TheFluxAnomaly wrote:Jonny, I didn't know that. That might help, thanks. Any chance you could point me to an official source of information about it?

http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr36.htm
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby Savannah » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:27 pm

Make sure to get the timing right with that one. If you get permission to drive that van for two weeks, but get it too early . . . :shock:

On the other hand, getting permits can be slow. Maybe if you make the appointment now . . . for August 23rd. Like a drive test? . . . What a challenge!

Good luck, Flux!
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby The Bee » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:35 pm

Get a 2nd opinion from another mechanic. The engine light can come on for a number of reasons some of which are easy and less expensive to fix than others. Maybe the rough idle is the result of a simple problem, not a missing cylinder.

If it is missing on one cylinder, I would hesitate to drive it over the Sierras. Can you rent a van for this burn, and save up for a proper repair at some later time?
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:47 pm

Bee, thanks for the suggestions. I had a mechanic I trust check it, he did a compression check on it. I'm pretty sure it's either a leaky valve or a ring. Either way it's gonna be expensive. Which is a shame because it still runs really strong otherwise.

The real shame is I could do this work myself, cheaply, if I had time and a place to work. I have neither. :-(
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby CapSmashy » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:34 pm

Did you check the link I posted?
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Re: Call for help. Got ripped off & it's keeping me from BM.

Postby TheFluxAnomaly » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:43 pm

Smashy, I did check it, thanks. I'm weighing my options and still looking for others so I'm not sure if I'll be using it, but thanks very much for sharing it. :D
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