recon, reconstruction, recon law, reconstruction law

Hello! My name is Peter Rosario and I figured I'd post information onto regarding Oahu's Reconstruction Law being is revolved around modifed cars, trucks, & motorcycles. The following information found below may be helpful to people coming to Oahu for their first time with their modifed cars, trucks, & motorcycles, and to inform them that Oahu does have a Reconstruction Law. A reconstruction inspection is basically an inspection of your modifed vehicle with all the aftermarket components installed onto your vehicle and going through a checklist with the reconstruction inspector whether your vehicle passes certain requrements & guidelines stated within the reconstruction law. And YES, you will need to pass the reconstruction inspection in order to obtain a reconstruction sticker in order to be eligable for a statewide vehicle safety inspection. Say what?! Statewide vehicle safety inspection & a safety check sticker? Well, that's entirely another whole different story that I will not & don't want to cover within this article. The information found below is a compilation of information I've gathered throughout the internet, as well as personal experience with a 2003 Lexus IS300 I had brought to the reconstruction station for a reconstruction inspection on December 2013 and for a reinspection on January 2014. Only two out of five modified vehicles I have owned has gotten reconstruction stickers, but with Hawaii's current safety check inspection system being implemented for 2014 it is mandatory to have a reconstruction sticker for your modifed ride if you want to drive it daily. Gone are the days of safety check hook ups with the new statewide safety check inspection process, so you're better off keeping your modifed ride legit for all you daily drivers. Trailor queens, car show kings, race cars, or those who want to ride dirty & don't give a fuck need not apply. The information found below may not be up-to-date or precisely accurate, but it's the basics of the reconstruction law found here in Oahu and somewhat common knowledge among us Oahu automotive enthusiasts

Reconstruction rules in writing which can be found online:

What is recon? Recon refers to a reconstructed vehicle permit. Who needs recon? All modified vehicles within counties where the population of the county exceeds 50,000. This means everyone on the island of Oahu with a modified vehicle. What is the purpose of recon? It's a safety issue and public safety. Because there's about 650,000 passenger vehicles on the roads of Oahu, the legislature enforces both safety check & recon to keep dangerous cars off the road

The Reconstruction Station is located @ 1112 Kapahulu Avenue. They are open Monday through Friday, and closed on the weekends & holidays. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 12 p.m. till 3 p.m. daily. You must make an appointment for a reconstruction appointment, and they can be contacted @ 808.733.2542. Basic requirements for a reconstruction inspection includes current vehicle registration, valid drivers license, if vehicle's suspension is modified proof of current wheel alignment with manufacturer's specs dated within 30 days aka an aligment printout is required, all lamps/lenses on vehicle must be D.O.T. or S.A.E. approved and must be of correct colors. Affidavits for wheels & exhausts are no longer required. The reconstruction inspection will take roughly half an hour. The reconstruction inspection fee is $15.00, no credit cards, exact change! You will have to pay the $15.00 reconstruction inspection fee whether you pass or fail. If you do fail the inspection, the person doing your inspection will give you a checklist of what needs to be corrected to your car in order for it to pass. You will have 90 days to comply with their checklist without having to pay the $15.00 inspection fee again or redoing all the paperworks

The reconstruction inspectors will inspect your tint, and it must be legal @ 35% +/- 6%. Tint on windshield is illegal. SUVs, trucks, & vans can have dark tint rearward of the driver's & passenger's side window as long as it is not opaque. Bring a razor blade with you as you may have to strip your tint if it's not within the legal requirements in order to pass recon. Think of it this way as well, If you can't pass recon because of your tint you won't pass safety either. The tint on the vehicle I brought in for recon inspection, a 2003 Lexus IS300, has had legal tint since it's purchase so I didn't have to worry about it for a recon or safety inspection. If you have any stickers on your rear windows I'd advise to scrape them off, you'll not pass recon let alone safety

Recon required for rims/wheels sized 1-1/2" (1.5") over stock. Any wheel size diameter or width can be used as long as it does not bind as it moves when the car turns or is diving. Wheels/tires must be covered by fenders and cannot stick out pass the fender. If your wheels & tires do extend pass the fender, you will need fender flares that cover the area of the tires that's sticking out. You may need mud flaps for your rear tires as well for those of you with your wheels/tires sticking out. Front & rear tires tires must be rated to your Vehicles GVW In the door jam. My IS300 came with 17x7 wheels mounted on 215/45/17 tires from the factory. Upgraded with 19x9 rims wrapped in 215/35/19 tires up front, 19x9.5 rims wrapped in 225/35/19 tires in the rear for a minor stretch and it passed recon and is documented on my reconstruction vehicle permit form. Daily driven baby! Main thing is that your wheels are able to turn and not rub the fenders or wheel well when turned

Body kits, panels, hoods, & spoilers are not a recon item, although within my reconstruction vehicle permit form under the "body" portion it is listed as "modified" with the addition of a front aftermarket lip kit & aftermarket side skirts. Each portion aka description of components has an "original" or "modified" option, and my form was circled "modified" because of those two additional parts that were screwed onto the body/bumper of my vehicle. On a side note, if your fiberglass/carbon fiber hood does not have provisions for windshield washer nozzels and you don't put them in, you will not pass recon, let alone safety. Note: if you roll into recon and your hood doesn't have it's windshield washer nozzels installed you will fail recon & a safety check as well. Trucks/SUVs must have rear bumpers. Replacement aftermarket rollpans will fail

Battery & air intake must be secured, and yes I was ready for this! Even popped opened the hood for the visual inspection asap after I lined up the car for the recon inspection. Removed the yellow top Optima battery the car had prior to the recon inspection & bought/installed a new stock replacement battery because I couldn't get it secure enough due to it's smaller size than the stock replacement battery

No recon required for exhaust only, althought within my reconstruction vehicle permit form under the "exhaust" portion it is listed as "modified" with the addition a a catback Flowmaster exhaust system installed @ DJ's Motorsports

Timing gears must be covered. Don't quote me on this, but it is fairly obvious since you probably won't pass a statewide safety check inspection if your timing gears aren't covered either. Mines were covered covering the stock timing gears anyway so no problems here

Use of decal plates for your recon/safety decals are legal. However, decal plates for safety check & recon stickers are illegal if mounted on or attached to the license plate. Usual spot for decal plates are towards the bottom right of your vehicle's bumper. No more ugly decals on your bumpers for all you show cars. On the plus side, if you're really anal about it, it can be removed before you enter a car show & reinstalled before you hit up the streets!

Blue lights, license plate covers, and clear corner lenses are not allowed & will not pass recon. Corner lights must have an orange reflector at the front corners & corresponding red reflectors at the rear. This is a federal law. Simply replacing the clear bulbs of your clear corner lenses with an orange bulb does not make it legal. Most of the aftermarket clear corner lenses do not have D.O.T. stamped on them, and therefore will not pass anyway. If you do modify a D.O.T. stamped corner lense by taking the orange reflector out, it is no longer D.O.T. legal. Some cars have the amber/red reflector on the bumpers (or fender for the front) rather than in the headlights/taillights. Once you replace that reflector on the bumper with a clear or smoke cover, the same rule applies. Same rules apply to aftermarket/jdm/euro side markers that are installed without the D.O.T. stamp will not pass recon, and I've had first hand experience with my JDM side markers failing on a vehicle I owned in the past. Quick fix? Remove it before inspection/reinspection. It'll leave an awkward rectangular hole in your fender, but you'll pass recon none the less

Do I need to get recon for a turbo/supercharger? No. Whether it comes as a kit or you put it together yourself, you can legally put a turbo/supercharger on your car and do not have to get recon. However if you do have to get recon for your vehicle and already have a turbo/supercharger kit installed, you might as well list that mod under the "engine" portion under "modified" within your reconstruction vehicle permit form

Are engine swaps legal, and do I need to get recon for it? Engine swaps are legal, but that does not necessessarily mean you have to get recon. If the engine you are swapping in has the same number of cylinders as the one it is replacing, recon is not required. It doesn't matter if the engine you are swapping in is turbocharged. For instance, you want to swap a SR20DET into your 240sx. This does not require recon. However, if you want to swap a RB26DETT into your 240sx, you will need recon

Do I have to get recon for my headers/exhaust/intake? These are not recon items. And even if you did, any header/exhaust/intake will likely pass as long as it isn't too loud. If your car is fitted with a catalytic converter, you will still need a cat, but you can use an aftermarket high flow type and still not need recon. On a side note, these parts can be listed within your reconstruction vehicle permit since the "engine" & "exhaust system" portion pertains to it

Are coilovers/lowering springs legal? Suspension modifications that changes the ride height of the vehicle requires recon. You will need to have an alignment done within 30 days prior to your recon inspection. Make sure you bring a copy of the alignment sheet/printout with you. Your suspension must be able to be aligned within stock specifications. Aligment shops that deal with modified vehicles include Scotty's Alignment, Island Brake & Alignment, Hawaiian Tire and Auto Center, Rad Motorsports, and American Tire. Communicate with your aligment shop that you're going to try to get recon so they can set you up with the appropriate paperworks when you go in. I went to Island Brake & Alignment not once but twice because I had to do a reinspection, and Island Brake & Alignment were on point in regards to the alignment on my IS300 being within manufacturer's specs. Don't bother going to Sears, Goodyear, Midas, or Firestone, they will not work on your modified vehicle in regards to alignment. Swaybars, camber plates, control arms, bushings, and replacement shocks are all non recon items. All bumpstops must be installed. Your car will also be subjected to a "bounce test" to check for adequate suspension travel. They typically test this at a front corner or at the middle of the bumper by pushing down on it. You need to have visible (not necessarily 2 inches) of suspension travel. If your springs are too stiff, you will likely not pass. My IS300 didn't pass the bounce test with Tanabe DF210 2" lowering springs on all four corners during it's first try in December 2013 but passed it's reinspection in January 2014 after installing a different set of lowering springs (Eibach Sportline Springs 1" lowering springs), and yes I had to realign the car once again and submitted the new alignment printout to the inspector for reinspection. Prior to aligment, I had purchased some aftermarket components (Figs Mega Arms Lower Control Arms) to aid in the aligment of the rear end of my IS300 being it had a noticable squat to it once it was lowered

Can we pass recon with air suspension? Air suspension in general is not illegal but you still have to meet all the suspension related requirements like alignment, travel, etc. Air suspension components must be installed onto the original perches, no cutting, welding, or relocating. Cutting of frame is not allowed as well. I have heard of a couple of folks with air suspensions passing recon via a reputable local source in the air suspension industry pass #AirRex passes. But now this is where it can be a bit tricky, although I have heard some have passed I have also heard some haven't passed. It all depends on how your airbags are set up, and whether or not you'll pass the "bounce test." I had a friend who set up his swagger van to it's max height, and out of curiousity I tried the bounce test on it. No bueno. 5 words. Don't air it up max! Post recon/aligment tips? Air up your vehicle to the point where it'll pass the minimum 22" height and bounce test and leave it at that setting. Have it aligned at that setting. Bring it to recon at that setting and you should be good to go! Hit up the switches later!

Can I run nitrous? No, and it can't be made legal by going through recon. If you did have to get recon for suspension mods, and they happened to find a nitrous line or bottle, you will fail. Having a working N2O system on a vehicle operated on the street is illegal

Can I change my car from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive? Yes, but you will need to go through recon as this will require modification of the vehicle's suspension. If you did a hack job with the conversion and the inspector deems your car unsafe, then you won't pass

If there's a version of my car with a different drivetrain, can I use it? Yes. If the car came from the factory with the option of a manual or automatic transmission, you can swap one for the other without getting recon. You could also do a 4 wheel drive conversion on your 2 wheel drive truck if there was a 4 wheel drive version of your truck from the factory, provided the parts bolt in without requiring custom fabrication. If custom suspension mounts need to be made, or you use aftermarket suspension components, then you will need recon

Are intake manifolds/cams, pistons, etc legal? Yes, and you don't need recon. There's no smog testing in Hawaii, so you don't need an affadavit showing that the part is 50 state legal. But be aware that if it says "off road use only" on any of the parts, and the inspector sees it, you will likely not pass recon even if you were trying to get it for something else

Do I need an affadavit for all of my modifications? No. Affadavits are no longer required

Is there a headlight height requirement? Yes. Headlights must be at least 22" off the ground to the center of the headlight housings. On my IS300's headlight there was a small circle right in the middle in which the inspector used as the landmark. My car measured 21" off the ground to the center of the headlight housings which was the main reason the IS300 didn't pass recon during it's first try in December 2013. Went back for a reinspection in January 2014, and it measured 23" off the ground to the center of the headlight housings. As the reconstruction inspector said, "Good Job!" On a side note, the recon inspector may measure somewhere at a point on your rear bumper to the ground as well probably for an overall height reference for the front and rear of your vehicle. Now if your suspension sags, which all suspension springs do in time in some form or another whether it being due to a heavy load, cargo, driver, or even occupants, you're screwed because it won't be the exact height written on your recon form

Is there a bumper height requirement? Yes. For lifted trucks, the front & rear bumpers can be no higher than 33" measured from the highest part of the bottom of the bumper to the ground

Are C Notches legal? As of 2014, C Notches will not pass recon let alone safety. Modifications to your vehicles frame which includeds a C Notch will not pass recon & safety. From what I have heard, if an inspector notices your frame is notched, your vehicle will be deemed unsafe and probably slapped with a salavage title and reported to the DMV. Can you say "You're screwed?!"

Are body lifts legal? Body lifts are legal but cannot have a space higher than 3 inches between the frame and body. Out of curiousity and with an opportunity to follow a friend for his recon inspection on May 2014 I had a chance to ask the recon inspectors this very question. How high can you go with a body lift? To make the story quick, I asked inspector #1 "How high can I go with a body lift?" in which he replied without hesitation "not higher than 2 inches." Walked away and asked inspector #2 the same question. After a couple seconds, he asked whether it was a full size truck or midsize truck. I replied "Tacoma." He said "Not higher than 3 inches." Go figure, one question, 2 inspectors, 2 different answers, one answering without hesitation the other putting a little thought process into it. So the answer to this question can be a bit confusing. You'll pass with a 3" body lift with inspector #2, but you won't pass with inspector #1 because he said without hestation the highest you can go with a body lift is 2 inches. #inconsistent

For lifted trucks & suvs, mudflaps are of concern. You need to have mudflaps for the rear tires. the front tires are not necessary. The mudflaps have to cover at least half the height of the tire and cover the width. The bottom edge of the mudflap needs to cover at least half the height of the tire. The mudflaps need to be bolted as well

Are headlight/tail light swaps/conversions legal? Yes, as long as it says D.O.T on them. Simply doing a headlight/tail light swap does not require you to get recon. If you modify the donor headlight, then it is no longer D.O.T. legal. Aftermarket HIDs are not allowed on any vehicle where it was not an OEM option, and an external ballast is a tell tale sign that you've installed one

Do they still measure the license plate heights? No. They don't measure license plate height anymore

What happens if you car passes the inspection? You will recieve a reconstruction decal for your vehicle, a permit card, and also your application form which is annotated with your aftermarket modifications. Can you say rolling through waikiki without worrying about getting pulled over?!?!

What if your recon decal is stolen? The recon office will reissue you a decal for free, but you will need to make an appointment first

Do I have to get a recon inspection every year? No. It's a one time only thing unless you modify your car again. If you do modify your car again, then you need to get another recon inspection. If you return your car to stock again, you no longer need the recon sticker

If a police officer pulls me over saying I need to get recon even though I don't have any recon items on my car, what happens? If you got pulled over for a non recon item, you can contest the ticket in court & probably have a great chance of winning. Keep in mind though, if you already have recon and do another mod to your car that requires recon, then you need to get another recon inspection. If the police officer nails you on something you just installed & it's not document on your reconstruction vehicle permit then you're plainly out of luck. Your recon permit & sticker is revocable!

If anyone has questions about their modified car/truck/motorcycle, modifications, parts, ect., it is in your best interest to call the reconstruction office @ 808.733.2542 and speak to an inspector before you set up an inspection date to have any of your questions/modifications resolved. It may save you a little time, headaches, and money! Happy modding, and don't forget, friends don't let friends drive stock cars, trucks, & motorcycles!