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      06-18-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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Arrow My Project E30 - S52 Engine Swap - More!

As featured on Bimmerpost Homepage.


So I figured I would start this thread here for anyone interested in the progress of my project E30 and swapping an S52 motor('99 M3) into it.

I will post pictures of the progress of my E30 beginning today. And I would like to carry this thread and see it through all the way to the cars completion.

Just some background info on my E30:



Year: 1991
Make/Model: BMW 325i 5MT
Mods: Stock M20B25 engine 168 bhp, 15" Sport Max 501 Wheels, Cut springs (previous owner)

Project plans: S52B32 Motor with tranny, catless race headers, OBD1 convserion, ECU software upgrade, 3.73 diff. Custom catback exhaust. Retuned suspension including new control arms, bushings, ball joints and tie rods, coils. 5 lug conversion. Sway bars and possible subframe reinforcement. Possible widened fender work and bigger wheels. Keeping the motor NA for now but building for boost later. Assorted body mods like MTECH2 kit and BBS RS wheels for show. Fuzzy dice.

I would have really loved to have done this swap myself and tackle this project head on, but unfortunately I just don't have the time/tools/equipment needed to complete something like this. For the rest of the work/upgrades I will be diving in head first!

UPDATE 6/18/09 - S52 engine which was purchased from a private seller in Seattle, Washington has arrived at the shop which is doing the swap. Castro Automotive Repair in North Hollywood, CA specializing in E30's specifically, turbocharging and motor swaps. These guys are amazingly good and priced very fair.

Today begins the process of removing the vulnerable stock M20 engine and prepping the car for it's new power plant. Will update later here with pictures of the actual engine.

The engine currently has it's factory headers in place and the first order of business is to purchase a set of catless race headers to replace them. After enough research on aftermarket headers I've decided to go with a set of very inexpensive Raceland eBay Headers.

These headers are dyno proven and a lot of people have issues with eBay performance parts. However headers are not rocket science. Mostly people pay more for perfect fitment. I'm certain this will need some slight modification (based on research I've read) but will be well worth the $200 asking price as opposed to Super Sprint or Active Autowerke (over $1,000). To get these to work on my engine I will have to block out the O2 ports. Basically convert them to OBD-1 compliant like the rest of the engine. Will post pics once the headers arrive!

Stay tuned!
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      06-18-2009, 11:15 AM   #2
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i honestly can't wait to get this car finished!!! i've spoken w/ mario on numerous occasions about his plans for the car & it's going to be incredible!

looking forward to the progress mario!
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      06-18-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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      06-18-2009, 05:49 PM   #4
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subscribed !!!! congrats mario, looks like its going to be a adventurous project ! good luck with everything
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      06-18-2009, 06:09 PM   #5
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I seriously cannot wait to see this when it's complete.

Threads like these make me want to dump lots of money into my e30.

Damn you!
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      06-18-2009, 06:14 PM   #6
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Awesome project! How are you going to decide which one to take to MFest IV?
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      06-19-2009, 01:45 AM   #7
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M Power!

UPDATE 6/18/09 Alright folks! Here are a couple of pictures of the engine! Right now it's currently having the oil pan retrofitted.



You can see the transmission in the picture right next to the engine. The tranny is from another M3 with only 44,000 miles on it. Hard to tell if it was driven hard or not unless we open her up. After inspecting the clutch (OEM Sachs) it looks to be in very good condition. Which is good because this is another part I did not want to replace. BMW transmissions are typically rock solid so I'm not too worried here.



There are a few things I have to replace and buy for the engine before we can begin the install. One of them is a few sensors. The knock sensor is missing but should run about $60-80 dollars used. Also, new belts..hoses..blah blah. The engine sat around for about a year and a half since the last time it was turned over. Because of this the water pump might be bad. It's hard to tell until we actually have the motor in the car and working, thus checking for leaks. If this turns out to be bad, a new water pump should run me about $170.

To A/C or not to A/C? That is the question! Currently there is no A/C compressor on the motor. While this isn't terribly expensive, the labor involved in retrofitting an AC into the car might be more trouble than it's worth. Then there is the matter of converting it from freon to R134. I can live without AC, so I might just scratch that from the list.

Like I said before, the headers have been ordered from Raceland's eBay store and should arrive soon. The ECU and wiring harness (not pictured) are from a '95 325i M50 motor. The ECU is currently running a Conforti tune but I will be swapping that out for a more customized and aggressive tune from either Active Autowerke or a local tuner who specializes in custom maps for projects like these. There will be a custom cold air intake fitted to the engine with a cone filter at the bottom of the car. With headers, software, intake and exhaust I could be looking at roughly 230-240whp. Pair that power to a lightweight and nimble e30 and that spells some serious fun.

Stay tuned for more updates!
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      06-19-2009, 01:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJP View Post
I seriously cannot wait to see this when it's complete.

Threads like these make me want to dump lots of money into my e30.

Damn you!
Haha! Sorry, I know I'm a bad influence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 503Alex View Post
Awesome project! How are you going to decide which one to take to MFest IV?
LOL no need to decide..I'll just take both! Surely someone won't mind driving an M Powered E30 to Las Vegas!
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      06-19-2009, 03:39 AM   #9
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stunning, i wonder if i can do this in some day in the future...i can't wait to see this bad boy done!!
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      06-19-2009, 02:58 PM   #10
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subscribed to spectate my dream build. one day...

cheers
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      06-19-2009, 06:51 PM   #11
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suscribed.
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      06-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #12
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this is going to be great!!!!
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      06-19-2009, 07:38 PM   #13
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am I on the first page?

great project!
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      06-21-2009, 03:32 PM   #14
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      06-22-2009, 12:16 AM   #15
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I love E30 projects
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      06-22-2009, 01:41 AM   #16
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      06-22-2009, 05:07 AM   #17
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      06-25-2009, 07:38 PM   #18
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UPDATE 6/25/09 Hey everyone! So today after much anticipation I had a chance to pick up my new Raceland headers I ordered. I use the word anticipation for several reasons:

1. Without the headers the mechanic doesn't want to begin the install. He'd rather wait till all the components are ordered for the car before dropping the engine in. Fair enough, this helps keep the cost down!

2. Apparently FEDEX doesn't want to leave the headers at my house without a signature (require from the shipper). So I had to go on a goose chase to pick these puppies up from their main shipping center in Bell, CA.
I would of had them by Tuesday but since nobody is home to sign for them, FEDEX has a 2 day grace period before I can actually pick them up in person.

Anyhow..picked them up...and was off to the mechanic to drop them off! Hopefully all is well with them and we can bolt them on! Here they are...

Upon opening the package I gotta say these headers actually look quality! $200 are you kidding me? Nicely polished, really nice welds. Can't believe these are eBay headers. Now here's to hoping that they flow!







Here's the car on the rack. The old M20 engine is out of the car!


Engine bay is empty and awaiting it's new brain!


Hopefully the rest of the components should be aquired by the mechanic himself and all goes smoothly I should have a swapped E30 by next week sometime! Will post more pics of the swap as it happens and the all important video of the first start!
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      06-25-2009, 08:12 PM   #19
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Very nice, Can't wait to see how this turns out!

If you need any parts let me know I may be able to help!

-RJ
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      06-26-2009, 02:32 AM   #20
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nice project man !

keep us update !
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      06-26-2009, 04:14 AM   #21
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if you dont mind me asking, how much did the labor run you for the swap? i have an e30 and i too want to swap for an s50/s52.
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      06-30-2009, 03:45 PM   #22
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pure sex. good luck with the car Mote.
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