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David Simmons
08-28-2001, 04:06 PM
It looks like I may aquire a free '78 530i. It has been in<br>enclosed storage in a dry Calif climate for the last 5 years. Will require some work to get it running. My question<br>is, does anybody have experience with this model relative to<br>Calif smog? Doesn't this car have the dreaded thermal reactor system? Thank you in advance<br>dws

08-28-2001, 06:46 PM
'78 was the last year for the thermal boomers. You need the reactor to pass CA smog visual. If it does not have the thermal reactor, you may want to consider dropping in a 3.3 or 3.5 engine as the cost of a reactor even used I believe is fairly expensive (I recall seeing a new one at one of the parts stores for $700). And make sure your cooling system is in tip-top shape.

Mike W.
08-29-2001, 12:39 AM
Yes, 78 would have the dreaded thermal reactor, and dreaded with good reason. If it was me, I would try and get it up and running and smogged and then convert it to 528i fuel injection which uses an oxygen sensor and cat. I did a transplant on a 320i one time and the referee passed it with flying colors, he made a slight mistake on ignition timing but it was 200 rpm off if I recall correctly. My 528i was a great car and the 530 is similar except for the aforementioned smog issues.<br>Mike W.

08-29-2001, 12:07 PM
When you did this conversion to your 320i, what did you tell the referee you did? Supposedly, you cannot tamper with the emissions equipment, even if you are upgrading to a newer style feedback system. I would think the only way (legally) a referee would let you do that is to do an engine transplant (for example, to put in an '82 L-jet 3.3 from a 733i with feedback and cat into a 530i).

Mike W.
08-30-2001, 12:26 AM
That one was a complete transplant, however, I have made several inquerys of BAR at the state level when I was thinking of getting radical and trying to put a M30 engine into a 320i and I was told that upgrading to newer was OK and they didn't go off serial numbers, the quote was "if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it must be a duck" I got that when I asked if it made a difference what year block I used with what year smog equipment. And with the 530, by 78 I think they were using the 3.0/3.3 block so you could always say it was in fact a 3.3 engine which in 80-81 used the same smog equipment as the 528i. And short of dropping the pan and measuring the crank they will never know. BUT, this was a couple of years ago so by all means do your own checking, make sure you confirm with the powers that be and don't make big decisions off what I write in here, I strive for accuracy but no gaurantees, especially with the state of California.<br>Mike W.

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