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Hypothetically, if I had a JDM engine such as a 3rd gen 3SGTE or a Beams in my car, and I got pulled over, how would an officer be able to identify that my engine was indeed illegal?

Is it knowledge of engines, for example the officer just happens to know MR2s? Do they run the vin numbers? Do they stop you for 2 hours and poke around through every nook and cranny? Is it just a visual feeling thing, "oh this guys engine cover is blue, must be an illegal engine?" How can an officer in California tell that what you're running is indeed 100% illegal?
 

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Could it be if you have big, loud and shine exhaust? And “ I ❤ JDM” stickers all over your windows? Would that arouse the police officer suspicion?
 

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Could it be if you have big, loud and shine exhaust? And “ I ❤ JDM” stickers all over your windows? Would that arouse the police officer suspicion?
My question was a serious question. Assume you have nothing obnoxious on your car, not all of us are straight out of fast and the furious.
 

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I’m being serious. If you keep it on the down low, you don’t get pull over. If your exhaust is screaming, police most likely pull you over and have a look at the engine bay. I’m positive street cops are trained on how to spot modded engine. If they see the engine bay is wire tucked, chances are smog equipments removed and mostly like send you to your near BAR for inspections. I don’t Think the officer can tell right on the spot it’s a swap job. Unless, he’s an MR2 enthusiast like us. This is my gut instinct.
So, try to keep it on the down low. If you don’t get pull over, police have less of a chance to inspect your engine bay.
 

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Its a bit different here in Canada, but here they are not specifically trained on it, but if they see, as said above, modified exhaust, its loud, lowered, wheels that don't fit, etc. They will likely dig deeper. I think it just comes down to if you're not a dick, they will leave you alone.
 

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Realistically the only way they could tell is by checking the engine block number. no-one could tell for sure from the configuration of the engine, maybe you had that done in-country.
Think back to all the zero other times a police officer took down your engine block number in other stops.

I'm pretty sure the only way you could get pinged is if they sent you to an inspection facility.
 

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Yes, the po-po can’t tell by eye ball test but is he send you for inspection then you are screwed. I drove behind my buddy’s gen 4 swap with no CAT and I can smell the fume real bad. I’m sure the po-po can’t sniff it out real quick, pun intended.
 
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