View Full Version : BMW emissions fiasco

Tom Donnelly
03-15-2004, 02:29 PM
I own a 1996 BMW 318i that's sat up for a number of months. Expired tag. I replaced the battery and pre-cat O2 sensor and I'm trying to get it ready to pass emissions. It has OBDii. Here's the problem. The codes were cleared by the dead battery and BMW says I have to drive it 200 miles to get the computer in a ready state. But if I drive it with an expired tag, the state has informed me that they'll impound the car. And the repairs weren't enough to meet the $600 waiver Georgia has.

Any suggestions? (besides selling or destroying the car)


03-15-2004, 05:23 PM
The laws are different here in California. But, it should only take about 25 miles to reset the OBD. Our local smog station will run the car on the rollers with the OBD hooked up to see when it resets enough to run the test. Also can't you get a temporary registration to drive the car to get it smogged?
Good luck.
John Norris

Tom Donnelly
03-15-2004, 07:31 PM
Georgia doesn't offer a temp registration.
The state's solution was to tow the car to a mall parking lot and drive it around till it resets.

Looks like I have my weekend planned.

The dealer says 200 miles. I hope 25 is more like it.


03-16-2004, 08:05 PM
Sounds like a good reason to take it for a lapping day at road atlanta

03-17-2004, 06:15 PM
Did it already fail once?

I'm confused, because this car should pass emissions regardless of whether the computer was reset. Yes, it will run in default mode for 200 miles, but emissions should still pass?!

Also, I thought emissions systems were warrantied for 10 yrs?

Another possible option would be to "sell" the car to a family member/trusted friend. With the bill of sale in hand (keep the title unsigned unless you get pulled over), go for a drive... In most states, a new owner has at least a day or two to get the car registered. By that time, you should have things running smoothly and passed smog, and the "sale" reversed.

Dan Snyder

03-18-2004, 12:21 PM
Take it up to Balanced Performance and slap it on the chassis dyno. Maybe John Williams will let you run it after hours for a good rate. Lessee, 200 miles at 100 miles an hour, that's only 2 hours.....


Tom Donnelly
03-18-2004, 07:59 PM
It failed once. Computer was reset.
Georgia won't pass a "not ready" computer.

I'd love to run this car at 100mph for 2 hours. Thats just one pass on the chassis dyno if I don't stop right? And he has a 2 pass sale going on.


03-18-2004, 11:42 PM
Maybe you can find someone that will run your ECU in their car for a weekend? Perhaps someone in the local BMW club with a similar model?

I'd be very surprised if it actually is a 200 mile trigger to go to ready state. You'd think there would be some kind of waiver for a week or month to actually work on the car, fix it and test it.

Good luck!

EDIT: Never mind. If you disconnect the ECU, you'll have to start the driving cycles again to get it in "ready" mode.

Ony Anglade
ITA Miata
Sugar Hill, GA

[This message has been edited by oanglade (edited March 20, 2004).]