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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
PHP:
Hi everyone!

I am currently in process of importing my Alpina B5 from Russia to US. The car is now in transit and should arrive to Baltimore in about 2 weeks. I am working with Baltimore based ICI company JK Technologies, they were mentioned here on the forum on previous threads and are registered importers. There were some points in the contract I wanted to ask about. It's all about technical part of the car's conversion process and I thought that somebody here could advise me.

JK told me that for some reason catalytic converters on my car could be in bad condition and they are really costly. Can anybody tell me how bad catalytic converters may be and what are the reasons for that? I was driving this car in Russia for about 3 years fueling it mostly with good quality 95 or 98 octane fuel. I suppose it's equivalent to 93 or 95 US octane fuel. The milage is 78k miles. Also they mentioned that this car probably does not have an OBD II system. Does anybody know if BMW's 5 (e60) have this system or not? I searched in the web and couldn't find any good explanation or answer for this question.

I read a thread on this forum about successfully imported Alpina B12. What is the difference in conversion and testing process between these cars and what was done to the B12 to bring it in compliance with DOT and EPA rules? Also previous generation Alpina B7 were sold here in US so wouldn't that help with EPA testing as engine and exhaust parts are identical.

Thanks everyone who read this post!
 

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Interesting project. Please keep us updated! :thumbsup:

With regards to the catalytic convertors... what is the conclusion based on that they might be bad?
 

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Sounds like a great addition to American roads. I actually contacted a registered importer a couple of weeks ago about doing he same thing. There are a couple of B5 tourings on mobile.de I'm looking at. The fact that the engine was used in the B7 will help. Not sure about the cats. This is very doable.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Regarding to the catalytic converters there's no any conclusion. Just at some point during my conversation with JK guys prior the contract and in the contract itself regarding the approximate cost of all necessary conversions and tests they've mentioned that cat. converters could be in bad condition so they should be replaced then. Of course for additional charge.
I think I better insert here a quote from the agreement with JK so you could see the whole thing I'm talking about:

6. J.K. estimates that the cost for conversion of Importer's vehicle to be as follows for each agency requirement: ($8k-12k) PLUS THE PETITION FEE ($1500) PLUS any emissions system parts, safety system parts, labor, research and development, programming and testing required by USEPA and USDOT. EPA testing under boxes A, J, or C is estimated to cost ($3k-18k) and is necessary to bring the vehicle into conformity with USEPA if imported under an ICI box. OEM Safety and Emissions Parts are estimated to cost ($5-12k) depending on condition and equipment on vehicle and provided the catalysts are in good condition. If the catalysts are not in good condition they will need to be replaced at additional cost to the owner and we have seen the manufacturers retail cost from ($4k-12k) per catalyst and some vehicles require more than one catalyst. This vehicle most likely does not have OBD2, and a brand new ECU may be required and is estimated to cost ($3k-5k), plus programming which estimated to cost ($2k-4k). This estimate is our best guess without seeing the vehicle and may be updated upon its arrival in the United States AND/OR if the vehicle fails the USEPA federal emissions test. A deposit in an amount equal to the base price without parts of the above estimate will be required upon delivery of the vehicle to our facility and the balance plus additional charges will be billed in accordance with paragraph 4 above.
7. If the vehicle arrives at J.K. in poor condition, declared incorrectly, is not on the DOT eligibility list, or DOT Show or Display eligibility list, or does not have a functioning emissions system based on the Importer's representation, there may be extra charges. The additional charges are as follows: Petition for eligibility for VSP is $2,500-12,000, VCP is $10,000-30,000 plus any parts lists, engineering, or crash testing necessary. Show or Display applications processing is $3,500 per vehicle. Any car produced after January 1996 is required to have OBD II. This emissions system includes both hardware and software. Emissions systems that do not specifically have On Board Diagnostics II (OBD II) which are governed by the OEM can cost including programming from $12k-30k.


Please, tell me what do you think? Sorry for so much text inserted. I really appreciate any help and info regarding this project!
Thanks again!
 

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Wow, that has to be a worst case catch all clause. There won't need to be any crash testing and the engine has already been EPA certified. Have they given you an actual quote? I used an RI in California and had a signed estimate before my B10 Biturbo was on the boat. My total cost was a little less than $13k.
 

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Alpina B5 for USA! said:
Also previous generation Alpina B7 were sold here in US so wouldn't that help with EPA testing as engine and exhaust parts are identical.
Gerg said:
There won't need to be any crash testing and the engine has already been EPA certified.
Is it that easy? I don't think so.

Keep in mind, the ALPINA B7 is/was sold in the U.S. as 'BMW' with a BMW VIN. I read somewhere, ALPINA went down that road to get the B7 road legal for the U.S. without having to deal with most of the EPA/NHTSA/DOT-fuss as the base car is a 'legal' and certified 7-series BMW. Nevertheless ALPINA extensively tested the car, even on U.S. soil, and also adapted the ECU, to cope with the low-octane fuel, amongst other changes to the car. So much for 'identical'!

Importing a B5 to the U.S. might be a whole different story: the car is (most probably) legal for Germany/Europe, the car has a crossed-out BMW VIN (very suspicious), the car has a unique ALPINA VIN (ALP... who??). The engine might be EPA certified in a 7-series BMW but not in an 5-series ALPINA. Given today's market value of a '05 B5 in Germany - this sounds like a perfect way to burn a serious amount of $$$. I'd rather sold the B5 in Russia and get a U.S. B7 in FL, way easier, way cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Have they given you an actual quote?
The told me that the worst case scenario could be around $20k without replacing catalytic converters which could be an additional $6 - 8k. Also they told me that they need to see the car first to give an actual price of everything need to be done.

I used an RI in California and had a signed estimate before my B10 Biturbo was on the boat. My total cost was a little less than $13k.
Have you remember what exactly was done on your B10 to bring it to compliance with all rules? As far as I know California state has very strict rules for the CO2 emissions.


135ti said:
Keep in mind, the ALPINA B7 is/was sold in the U.S. as 'BMW' with a BMW VIN
.

I didn't know that. JK guys petitioned my car as BMW 545i but with Alpina VIN.

135ti said:
I'd rather sold the B5 in Russia and get a U.S. B7 in FL, way easier, way cheaper.
I tried to sell this car in Russia for about a year. Then government has raised so called "transportation tax" once again. And this tax is depends on the amount of horsepower the vehicle have. So now the estimated annual payment for this car is about $6 - 7k without insurance and gas. So there's now way this car could be sold for a good price. And it means a lot to me. That is why I decided to bring it over here.

I read on this forum that the hardest part of importing a vehicle is EPA testing. Costs a lot and takes a lot of time. But the DOT part is not so tough.
 

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I didn't know that. JK guys petitioned my car as BMW 545i but with Alpina VIN.
Out of curiosity: you did some research before you've embarked the B5, right? No offense meant.
NHTSA said:
Law enforcement authorities consider the presence of an altered VIN on a vehicle to be an indication that the vehicle has been stolen. Nor should a second VIN be added to any motor vehicle. Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/VIN ERRORS.pdf
Did you check the import rules: Vehicle Importation and Certification Requirements

Maybe you should get in contact with ALPINA to resolve some problems e.g. is the U.S. E65 B7 ECU suitable for the B5?

Good luck! Keep us updated with your progress.
 

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B5,

$20k sounds more like it, at the most. I started to add up all those numbers and it looked like it could cost over $50k. My biturbo was imported with the Alpina vin. You can run a carfax on it.

135ti,

Good advice with the ecu. I remember reading that Alpina had to do some extra tuning for EPA compliance.

Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Out of curiosity: you did some research before you've embarked the B5, right? No offense meant.
Yes I did. Read a lot of official documents/regulations about importation process including this one that you suggested me in a link. And I discussed the probability of importing this vehicle with 2 different RI's.
By the way I forgot to mention that NHTSA has granted my car the eligibility for importation as BMW 545i with Alpina VIN. I suppose they did it because in my customs docs the car is called BMW/Alpina B5.

OMaybe you should get in contact with ALPINA to resolve some problems e.g. is the U.S. E65 B7 ECU suitable for the B5?
I will do that. Thanks for the tip! I actually was asking them to provide me with an official letter for EPA saying that e60 Alpina B5 engine is similar to e65 Alpina B7 which was sold here in US. But they refused. So did BMW.
 

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The DOT stuff was pretty basic, side markers, DOT headlights, MPH speed-o, all door stickers in English, a dash mounted vin tag, a third brake light, and maybe some other things.

EPA, I did buy a car with good cats. They filed some forms but I know there weren't a lot of modifications needed.

Hope that helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The DOT stuff was pretty basic, side markers, DOT headlights, MPH speed-o, all door stickers in English, a dash mounted vin tag, a third brake light, and maybe some other things.
MPH speedometer - that is what I was afraid of. But I hope they can use UK-spec Alpina dashboard. Or even leave it original because my car has Head Up Display and it shows any info in Imperial units when this option is enabled.

EPA, I did buy a car with good cats. They filed some forms but I know there weren't a lot of modifications needed.
I really hope my catalysts is in a good shape. And today I've sent a letter to Alpina with a question about ECU.
 

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MPH speedometer - that is what I was afraid of. But I hope they can use UK-spec Alpina dashboard. Or even leave it original because my car has Head Up Display and it shows any info in Imperial units when this option is enabled.



I really hope my catalysts is in a good shape. And today I've sent a letter to Alpina with a question about ECU.
Another possibility would be a US spec B7 speed-o. It may be the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hurricane Sandy is in exactly same area as a container vessel which shipping my car... Hope everything is fine. It should arrive to Norfolk port tomorrow. I will keep this thread updated.
Thanks for the tips and information!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've got an answer from Axel Rimpler at Alpina. And he told me that e65/e66 US-spec Alpina B7 have a different ECU dataset which is unsuitable for my B5. I hope there should be some solution...
 

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he told me that e65/e66 US-spec Alpina B7 have a different ECU dataset which is unsuitable for my B5.
Too bad, but I already expected this as today's cars can be a PITA with all the electronics communicating to each other. Just take a look at the speedos pictured above, and this is just on visible part, not to speak of all the hidden parts and features differentiating the E60/61 from the E65/66.

Any chance ALPINA can support you on other issues like U.K. speedo or are they denying any further assistance?
 

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Too bad, but I already expected this as today's cars can be a PITA with all the electronics communicating to each other. Just take a look at the speedos pictured above, and this is just on visible part, not to speak of all the hidden parts and features differentiating the E60/61 from the E65/66.
True! What is PITA abbreviation by the way? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

Any chance ALPINA can support you on other issues like U.K. speedo or are they denying any further assistance?
I didn't ask about that yet. Thought that might be too early. EPA part will take a few months. And probably speed-o replacing will be not necessary. Anyway I will ask them if not.
 
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