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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Mon, May-16-2016, 04:39:27 AM   #1
prutser
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Default Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car

Here's a fun one.

I just brought my 05 M3 Convertible into my local 76 service station for my biennial smog test. The guy hooks it up to the computer, it passes and then he crawls under my car, looks around and asks me if I removed one of the cats.

My car is bog standard, I'm the second owner, have had it for years and I've got a complete service history. Nothing on the car has been modified and his question initially almost made me laugh.

Looking under the car, he couldn't see any cats and he mistook the resonator in one of the pipes of the first section for a cat. Only one pipe has a resonator and so he concluded the other "cat" must have been removed.

He failed the car right there and then, marking it with the DMV system as "tampered with".

I didn't know where the cats were located either, but knew my car has always been stock and so I objected and started googling on my phone. It took me an hour to convince the guy and to re-run the test. On his shop's computer I took him to Real OEM to show him the original exhaust parts with part numbers, including the manifolds with integrated cats (obscured in the engine bay).

The fact that his own Google search turned up images of the Euro spec M3 that does in fact have its double cats in the 1st section's pipes in place of the resonator, didn't help.

After he'd finally re-run and passed my car he still seemed unsure whether or not to believe me and he told me his former supervisor once (also erroneously) failed an E46 M3 for the very same reason. That customer apparently bought it and just left.

While all this can be found online, I'll leave you and the future visitor who finds themselves in the same situation, with material of the layout of the US spec M3 exhaust system:

Quote:
Originally Posted by E46M3S13SILVIA View Post
Section 1 pipe diagram from realoem.com (the top one is what I have; I suspect the other to be Euro spec); part number 18107832909:

diag_4fn1.png

Exhaust manifolds with integrated cats; part number 11627834673:

diag_1se5.png

And a brochure / white paper on the development of the (Euro spec, but mentions the US differences) exhaust system: http://www.unofficialbmw.com/images/...ust_System.pdf

Unconvinced, he still asked me to get some sort of official declaration from a BMW dealership, stating the car is stock, and dropping that off in the coming days.
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Old Mon, May-16-2016, 04:47:05 AM   #2
ftc3
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Default Re: Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car

There is supposed to be a sticker under your hood with a visual of the cars emissions systems. He should have known to verify there first.

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Old Mon, May-16-2016, 04:59:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car

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Originally Posted by ftc3 View Post
There is supposed to be a sticker under your hood with a visual of the cars emissions systems. He should have known to verify there first.
He did! Although to be fair, while it states that the car has 2 cats, the diagram doesn't point them out.
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Old Wed, May-18-2016, 04:02:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car

This is a PITA but it happens. When I went to the CA State Referee to certify my 325i Touring S54 swap, I ran into the same issue. The ref's own software would show the Euro setup. He almost failed me there (wouldn't take my word for it of course). Eventually he ran his own checks and called his own people and all was well.
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Old Wed, May-18-2016, 11:12:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car

i've had this happen to me twice now. i have my phone showing the location of the cats at realoem.com prior to them starting the visual. i tell them to just follow the wires to the O2 sensors to be sure.
it's just safer to make it easier for the Test Station than to trust they know.
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Discussing Smog station confused resonator for catalytic converter and failed my car in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)