it is illegal yes....but they may give you some other bogus reason as the reason not to hire you even though it may be gender based...watch out for that one. And..I'm sure there are plenty of places to be a mechanic that will hire you no matter what your gender so..If your good at what you do...most employers will see it that way...they're not all sleeze bags...most are pretty respectable.
usually 3/4 and 1 ton vehicles are smog exempt. the vehicles emissions systems still have to be present and unmodified. in reality i know ca has a law on the books and probably quite a few states also that allows the state to confiscate emissions modified vehicles that are not an approved/certified modification.
also i know you hear you cant do the swap, but if you dig around, there are laws for legal engine swaps. they also have special inspections to certify the new systems so smog inspections in the future are routine. there are gray areas where the law contradicts. so research first.. its pretty much the same process to certify a kit car or one of a kind custom, etc.
are you SURE its water ? or do you just see liquid coming from under the car ? if you have water in the system , like the guy before me said, you need to put coolant in that will boil at 230. but your car could be overheating from many different problems. It could be:
-blown/damaged head gasket
-torn/broken hose (radiator, etc.)
-extreme lack of air flow
-if its a caddilac, its normal. they run HOT & it always comes out of the overflow.
try to see where the leak is coming from exactly, that will help narrow down the cause.
type in your car year make & model & problems
example .. "1998 ford contour overheating"
Lexus, without a doubt. However my personal opinion is to stick with 96 and newer. Personally I believe the diagnostic system (OBD 2) lowers repair costs since problems can be more accurately pin pointed by the technician. Also the ES series shares its powertrain, platform and the majority of its parts with the more pedestrian Camry making repairs more affordable than on the LS400 which has little shared components with the Toyota line.
Why does everyone automatically assume the Caprice has a 350? more than likely it has a 305 (5.0) that is a performance pig. If I were going to opt for a full size domestic I think I would stick with the Panther chassis (Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car) If you go for a pre 91 you can find a 351 Windsor, if you go 91+ LTC you get air suspension plus the 4.6 gets more powerful every year. Gas Mileage is also better on Crown Vics. If you get a clean P71 (police interceptor) you get the C8 Auto, (Trans, PS, Oil coolers) heavy duty suspension, posi rear, better gearing, upgraded cooling &electrical etc, etc the P71 is a better package than the 9c1 caprice ever was, why do you think GM threw in the towel on the large car market?
A 4L60 / 4L80E trans going 200K, I'll believe it when I see it. The Caprice is prime time for a transmission overhaul. The 4L60 &80 are basically updated versions of the Turbo 700R4 This series of GM transmission are not as reliable as the older TH350 & 400's
As an aside the 305 (5.0) GM has a nasty habit of blowing head gaskets.
How many miles does it have? All cars come to a time in their life.. and I think maybe yours has reached it.
A car is classed as a write off when the total cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car. I think your car may be a write off.
However, I'm not an expert mechanic (I know my fair share) and I can't determine from the info you've given what is wrong with your car, so it may be an inexpensive job to repair her.