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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 05-26-2012, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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3-series engine swap?

Is it possible, and if so how hard is it to drop an E36 3.2L straight-6 in to a
'94 318ic? I've heard its just easier to get an M3 rather than trying to transform a 3 series
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It drops in fine, as the engine mounts are the same. However the S52 is an OBDII engine and the M59 is an OBDI engine. You would need to do an OBDI conversion on the S52 in order for it to work.

Have you already found an S52 engine? They are fairly hard to did and usually quite expensive when you do. You will probably pay for for a complete S52 engine the your whole 318 is worth. You will also never get the money back in resale value as the vehicle will always be titled as a 318. If what you want is an M3 then you would be better off selling your car and buying an M3. It's cheaper in the long run.

I was browsing local classifieds a while ago and I came across an add that was titled "1996 M3". Upon reading the add it was not a genuine M3, but what the seller called an "amalgamated" M3. He had just bought an M3 engine and all the M trim pieces and was calling it an M3. Where I live this is considered fraud and is illegal.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well besides it being fraudulent and illegal, its just down right disrespectful to the M-powered community haha.

I'm not set on doing it and yes I'm aware that money would be lost in resale. However as an up and coming enthusiast...resale of this car is nowhere in the near future. I'll just end up giving it a full tune up as much as that 1.8L can handle and live with that. Thanks for the response.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It's only fraud when you try to sell it as an M3 which that guy was doing.

As an enthusiast I can see why you want to do the swap. I have the intention of trying to source an S52 but only if something happens to cause my original engine to be unrepairable. I'll fix a blown head gasket but if a piston shoots through the head I'll swap it out.

A friend of mine has an E36 M3 with the S52 and an Active Autowerks supercharger. That car is unbelievably fast. 13.1 in the quarter mile.
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