Author Topic: German to US Car Conversion  (Read 1809 times)

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Offline txradioguy

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German to US Car Conversion
« on: September 27, 2012, 02:12:31 PM »
I've really fallen in love with my little '95 320i Coupe and the wife and I have talked about bringing it back to the states when the time comes to PCS.

Problem is that my BMW is German spec.  And at less than 25 years old I'll have to do some conversions on it to make the NAZI's at the EPA happy.

But I'm not sure what they are specifically.  I know there are easy ones like the gauges and IIRC the headlights.  Those are relatively cheap and I can do them myself.

I was just wondering what else needs to be done.  Tried looking at the various BMW forums but there's more "don't waste your time" than helpful tips.

I've still got 3 years before I PCS and I figured if I did it incrementally I could have the car ready for the streets in the States by the time I PCS.

Suggestions?
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Offline Zeus

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 02:17:22 PM »
Unless they have changed all the glass needs to be replaced , that can be a tad expensive.

Do they still ship vehicles through Bremerhaven ? contact them and they should be able to give you all the details.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 02:19:46 PM by Zeus »
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 02:19:54 PM »
Unless they have changed all the glass needs to be replaced , that can be a tad expensive.

Yeah I heard about that...but I looked and all the glass has U.S. DOT numbers on them.  Not sure if it makes a difference or not.

But I wish I could find a list somewhere so I cold start checking stuff off.

Yeah Bremerhaven is still one of the shipping points back to the U.S.  Good idea...thank you sir.
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Offline zeitgeist

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 02:23:26 PM »
Yeah I heard about that...but I looked and all the glass has U.S. DOT numbers on them.  Not sure if it makes a difference or not.

But I wish I could find a list somewhere so I cold start checking stuff off.

Have you been here?

http://www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/cars.htm

I shipped a car out of the country with no problem save they wanted to tax me back to the stone age before I mentioned I was in the military.  (Puerto Rico )
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Offline Chris_

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 02:23:38 PM »
Quote
Imported motor vehicles are subject to safety standards under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, revised under the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988; to bumper standards under the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972, which became effective in 1978; and to air pollution control standards under the Clean Air Act of 1968, as amended in 1977, and 1990.

If vehicles manufactured abroad conform to U.S. safety, bumper, and emission standards, it is because these vehicles are exported for sale in the United States. Therefore, it is unlikely that a vehicle obtained abroad meets all relevant standards. Be skeptical of claims by a foreign dealer or other seller that a vehicle meets these standards or can readily be brought into compliance. Vehicles entering the United States that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

This pamphlet provides essential information for U.S. residents, military or civilian government employees, and foreign nationals who are importing a vehicle into the U.S. It includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirements and those of other agencies whose regulations we enforce. Since Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements are subject to change, we recommend that you contact these agencies before buying a vehicle abroad.
CBP
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Offline marv

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 02:30:33 PM »
My suggestion: don't bother. I agree with the BMW forums. Sell it over there, and get another '95 320i Coupe after you PCS.

I spent about $900 getting my '56 T-Bird modified to run on unleaded gas, and still remain as original as it was in January, '56, when it was assembled. The unleaded gas ate up the dual-diaphram fuel pumps almost as fast as I could replace them.

Altering a vehicles platform often causes too many additional problems.

One other thing - don't ever fall in love with a vehicle. Like'em, but don't love'em. Like wimmin - they ain't cheap!
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 02:39:25 PM »
JHC...leave it to the Feds to make things as confusing as possible.  :thatsright:
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 02:40:54 PM »
My suggestion: don't bother. I agree with the BMW forums. Sell it over there, and get another '95 320i Coupe after you PCS.

the problem with that marv...is the closest BMW got to the U.S. with the 320i was Canada.  :-)  They didn't sell it in the U.S.

Quote
I spent about $900 getting my '56 T-Bird modified to run on unleaded gas, and still remain as original as it was in January, '56, when it was assembled. The unleaded gas ate up the dual-diaphram fuel pumps almost as fast as I could replace them.

Altering a vehicles platform often causes too many additional problems.

One other thing - don't ever fall in love with a vehicle. Like'em, but don't love'em. Like wimmin - they ain't cheap!

Ain't that the truth!
The libs/dems of today are the Quislings of former years. The cowards who would vote a fraud into office in exchange for handouts from the devil.

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Offline zeitgeist

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 02:42:57 PM »
My suggestion: don't bother. I agree with the BMW forums. Sell it over there, and get another '95 320i Coupe after you PCS.

I spent about $900 getting my '56 T-Bird modified to run on unleaded gas, and still remain as original as it was in January, '56, when it was assembled. The unleaded gas ate up the dual-diaphram fuel pumps almost as fast as I could replace them.

Altering a vehicles platform often causes too many additional problems.

One other thing - don't ever fall in love with a vehicle. Like'em, but don't love'em. Like wimmin - they ain't cheap!

You got that right. Valves and seats are another casualty of no lead in older cars. And ethenol, lots of old carbs don't like it either.

I was reading Chris post about the car having to be destroyed and all I could think of was poor old TX having to pull out a .45 and give it two in the fuel distribution head.
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2012, 02:49:53 PM »
Well the NHSTA says it can be imported which is good.  Now to find a list of parts I need to swap out.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2012, 02:53:03 PM »
Quote
Importing a BMW

Here are some common - and some not-so-common - modifications and possible pitfalls:

Failure to meet emission requirements

Failure to meet safety standards

Replace kmh speedometer with mph

Tires sold in Europe must have a DOT number marked on the sidewall
Let's see... new glass, new bumpers, new speedometer gauge, and new emissions equipment.

Based on a quick search, emissions parts include:

            Air Temperature Sensor

            Intake Manifold Temperature Sensor

            Knock (Detonation) Sensor

            Mass Air Flow Sensor

            Oxygen Sensor

            Vapor Canister Purge Valve

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Offline wasp69

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2012, 03:08:05 PM »
One other thing - don't ever fall in love with a vehicle. Like'em, but don't love'em. Like wimmin - they ain't cheap!

If it has wheels or tits, it'll break your heart and take your money.   :fuelfire:
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Offline Chris_

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2012, 03:08:54 PM »
Well the NHSTA says it can be imported which is good.  Now to find a list of parts I need to swap out.
So you just need a new speedometer gauge and get it to pass a smog test.
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2012, 03:09:11 PM »
Thanks everyone.  Time to start looking around on eBay  :-)
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2012, 03:11:34 PM »
So you just need a new speedometer gauge and get it to pass a smog test.

Yeah and the gauge clusters aren't hard to find.  We've already talked about the fact my gauges run off of a sensor and not a cable...that will help with the swap.  I've got to verify the glass is good and get clarifications on whether my bumpers are good.  I checked the price of U.S. spec headlights and it's about $50 for a good used set.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2012, 03:20:01 PM »
Emissions may be something as simple as replacing the exisiting pollution controls (MAF and oxygen sensor) with US-spec parts.  Those two swaps wouldn't take more than an hour to finish.

Does your car have an OBDII connection?
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Offline Chris_

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2012, 03:23:27 PM »
BMW E36 DIY

I used this site and Pelican Parts to work on my E30.
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Offline txradioguy

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Re: German to US Car Conversion
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 02:47:17 AM »
Emissions may be something as simple as replacing the exisiting pollution controls (MAF and oxygen sensor) with US-spec parts.  Those two swaps wouldn't take more than an hour to finish.

Does your car have an OBDII connection?

Yeah it does.  Hopefully the parts from the U.S. spec engines BMW offered will fit mine.  I'm assuming that a lot of them are...even though my engine displacement wasn't offered in the states.
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