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From: (Tom Childers)
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 16:09:05 -0800
Subject: Re: first "real" post... Problems w/ 530i

Josh Karnes asks:
>Well, the new-to-me 530i is not a perfect car... I have some questions.

>#3: The odometer does not run. Do I have to replace the entire speedo or
>can this be fixed?
>#4: The previous owner said he had a head from an '86 installed in the car.
>Can this be??? What '86 model head would fit on this car? What would be
>the effects of such a swap?

>#7: I'm dreaming, I suppose, but is it possible/easy to convert this car to
>a 5-speed? My wife likes the auto, but I don't know how long I can take it.

I can help with some of your questions. You have to replace the speedometer assembly to fix a broken odometer, and you can find used speedos for about $60-70. Replacement is easy for the backyard mechanic, and it takes about an hour. Get the old speedo out (or talk to a knowledgeable shop) to make sure you get a replacement unit for your rear end ratio.

The 1979 and earlier big-6 cylinder heads had a tendency to crack, especially in the 530i with thermal reactors (lots of heat under the hood!) That is probably why you have a later head. This should not give you any problems, as long as the head matches your cylinder bore.

I converted by '79 528i from a 4-speed to a 5-speed. Basically, you need to find a used Getrag 265 tranny. Here is a quote from a 2-year-old post by

>The Getrag 265 is the older design 5-speed with the 4 piece casing.
>Bellhousing, main case, extension piece, rear cover. This trans looks
>like a 4-speed with an extension spliced in.
>For some reason or other, the 265 was used on the E12 528i, then BMW
>switched to the 260 for the 533i. For '85 only, BMW used the 265 trans
>on the 535i, then switched to the 260 for '86 and later cars.

You will also need a driveshaft, flywheel, clutch assembly, clutch master cylinder and pedal, hydraulic line, slave cylinder, throwout bearing, etc. And last but not least, you need to replace the rear mounting bracket for the transmission. 5-speed trannys have a different bracket than the 4-speed or automatic. I found my trans for $950, with bracket and driveshaft, and with 100K miles on the parts. I got lucky. You will need to hunt around a bit to find a 5-speed.

One alternative is to look for a decent 528i with a 5-speed. Someone just listed one for less than $1000 (with a noisy transmission); typical asking prices are $3000-3500. This will give you a car that has a catalytic converter instead of thermal reactors, improved cooling system, and electronic ignition. 530i's tend to have cooling problems, although your new cylinder head eliminates one potential trouble spot.

  • -tdc

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