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S/ULEV Engine Questions

I bought an '07 Kia Spectra5 recently with only 11,000 miles on it. It was a great deal, I needed a car, etc. Anyway, it has the S/ULEV engine in it which is odd because I thought that was only available in 5 states and mine isn’t anywhere near them (I live in MD and the car was originally from PA). Anyway, aside from having a few less horsepower are there any problems I’ll have with it? The car seems to upshift too early (it’s an auto obviously) which might be programmed differently for the S/ULEV version to get better emissions? Are there any actual differences, or is it really just a different ECM with different fuel curves and stuff?

Bottom line, I can live without the extra 6 horsepower. Is being a S/ULEV engine going to shorten its life? i.e. is it running leaner and potentially hotter? Or is the transmission shifting differently going to cause premature wear? Can I change it to a ULEV engine with just a chip?

I would not suggest making any modifications to your engine as it will void your 100,000 mile warranty as well as possibly making it impossible to pass emissions inspection. Your vehicle likely will be checked for emissions at the computer, not the tail pipe, and any mods you make will probably upset the readings.

If you want the transmission to shift more aggressively try unhooking the battery for a few minutes and then reconnecting. This will clear the memory of the transmission computer. It will have to “re-learn” your driving habits and, if you spend a few days driving like a coked out Kyle Busch, it should shift a little more aggressively.

Hey, BLOODY KNUCKLES, maybe I missed your handle, before; but, welcome aboard. By the way, are you brother to BUSTED KNUCKLES (another fine contributor)?

Maybe Busted Knuckles wears gloves when the breaker bar or ratchet slips and Bloody Knuckles doesn’t? ?? (Tongue-in-cheek, of course!).

Are you sure about it having 6 fewer horsepower? I haven’t different HP ratings for California emissions cars in years.

The reduced emissions will in no way reduce the life of the engine. I doubt there is any different programming for the transmission.

Don’t do anything to the car to modify it! Kia sales are not high enough yet that they can run two different models, so they probably just make a ULEV for all states.

The dealers will have all the parts and skills to work on your car, and it has an excellent warranty to boot. Kia service costs are not excessive either.

This is what had to say:

“The Kia Spectra features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with 138 hp and 135 lb-ft of torque (132 hp and 133 lb-ft with SULEV emissions equipment).”

So, clearly something is different about my SULEV engine compared to the ULEV available in most states. I read, however, that SULEV is supposed to only be for CA, VT, MA, and two others that I forget right now. I wonder what the “SULEV emissions equipment” is…