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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 11-04-2009, 12:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Engine swap?

Ok, so I have a 95 318i conv. and have payments on it for the next 18months. I'm just a poor college student so couldnt buy her out right but I am not use to having a car that doesnt require constant attention (always drove 70s vw's before this) I really want to buy a beatin crappy engine and rebuild it from the ground up and do the swap just before or right after my final payment. My problem is this is my first bmw and I don't know what engine/engines I should be concidering. I have all the time in the world so finding the engine in my price range is not the issue, just which one should I be looking for? Should I stick with bmw engines of the same year? same size? or is there some mystic engine of the far east I should be hunting? Any ideas or rants are more than welcome.

P.S. i'm missing my drivers side fog glass. Willing to trade the 6 disc and all brackets in the trunk for it or a new set of fogs. (doesnt have the cassete though.)
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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to me it would depend on how much money you want to throw into the project...

if you don't mind taking a long time and putting a lot of money into the car...i would say the S50 from the M3.

if you don't want to spend too much, you may consider taking an engine from a 320 or a 325...

...just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Your 2 cents goes further than no cents. Yeah time isn't really an issue and with the time comes money. The idea is to buy an engine no one expects to ever see suck, bang, squeeze, bang, or blow ever again and put it on an engine stand for the next how ever long it takes. Forcing me to upgrade the more expensive parts.

How does the mounting work from year to year, model to model? If I do find a M3 engine will it swap fairly easy? same goes for the 2.5 engine? I assume it's just a matter of engine mounts but I know how germans love to weasel a 3 inch square in a two inch circle from my previous volkswagen projects.

Also, currently I have an automatic tranny. I am going to swap to 5 speed, does the M tranny, 2.5, 1.8, 2.0 all interchange? Long time till I have to worry about that but it would be nice to know what I should keep my eye out for. Junk yard has a few bmws with good trannys in town.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I found a running engine out of a 325 that is in my immediate price range. So looks like that is what i'm going with unless by some freak occurance I track down a S50 in the next 2 weeks. It comes with the manual tranny. So I guess my next question is are there any little parts or goodies I should keep an eye out for when pulling the engine that will just make my life easier? Brackets? Harness? etc. etc.

Any thoughts are more than welcome.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The engine choices you have mentioned should all bolt up nicely, however you may have to upgrade your suspension in order to accomodate the more powerful engine. Good luck, keep us posted and post plenty of picks. I would think you should go for the m3 engine if you are going to do all that work. Just keep the original badging and have yourself a sleeper car.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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if you through teh S50 in i would upgrade brakes and your diff. in the rear end...i would put the m3 in the rear end, but maybe use a brembo big brake upgrade kit....

brembos are expensive though, but worth every penny imo...

plus they look oh so sexay behind some nice bimmer rims...
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for the ideas.

Yeah the suspension, rear end (honestly forgot about the rear end), brakes, and a lil extra support are all for sure going to happen before or during the swap. I have done a lil poking around for the M engine but I don't think I will be able to find one in my area. Going to hold off as long as I can before I buy an engine but I won't make it far into december i'm sure. It's looking like 2.5 is what i'll end up with and the plan is to reach 325 hp. I got my engine stand pulled out last night and dusted off. I have 1 year 7 months till the car is payed for and the actual swap happens. Till then i'm just going to dump money into the new engine and collect parts for suspension etc etc. Can't bring myself to do a single thing to a car that isn't paid off. Got three days off so i'm going to search the junk yards in a 75 mile radias of here and see what I come up with. No worries i'll take plenty of pictures through the entire process.

thinking I will go with the sleeper vibe but pretty up all the lights and reflectors. However if anyone does know of a body kit that is not super flashy or riced out with good lines I would love to see it. Like a if you don't really know bmws you might not be sure that it is a body kit type deal. I have yet to see a body kit (besides the M) that I really like for my car. All the body style before and after I have seen a few, just not anything for a 1995.


Once again thanks for the information
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Honestly, if you plan on doing a engine swap, rear end, suspension and brake work, you might as well sell the 318 and buy a M3.

You'll avoid the work, it's probably going to cost less and you'll have a actual M3 in the end (which is going to be worth more no matter how nice the swapped 318 is).

I know you want to do work and to make the car into something personal and unique, but really, a M3 is a better starting point whichever way you look at it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Torque View Post
Honestly, if you plan on doing a engine swap, rear end, suspension and brake work, you might as well sell the 318 and buy a M3.

You'll avoid the work, it's probably going to cost less and you'll have a actual M3 in the end (which is going to be worth more no matter how nice the swapped 318 is).

I know you want to do work and to make the car into something personal and unique, but really, a M3 is a better starting point whichever way you look at it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well while that is the ideal way to start, and I would love nothing more than to do so. I had to go with what money I had, and what my credit would allow. Not many options out there for someone that has no credit, having bad credit seems better than none. So I got what I wanted (atleast the company) and could get. You are clearly right though. It's just not in the cards for me. The only reason I am going to be able to do this is because it will be stretched out over the next year and a half. Gives me plenty of time to search the junk yards, watch classifieds, save for those must be new items etc for good deals.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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yeah i understand...my project car is something that probably shouldn't be revived.

it's completely trashed...well not completely any more. i've already put in a lot of work to it. probably more work than i should have for a $500.00 car.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hey dude we are making lemon aid.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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lol...
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Wait... so money is an issue, so you want to go with a more expensive route that will put you out of a car for days while the swap is going through?

You are going to have to cut out your rear subframe and put in the subframe from a 6cly car. You are going to need the diff, the drive shaft, the ecu, the wiring... literally everything but the interior and you can't do it in stages since nothing is compatible between the 4 and 6 cly engines.

I started out with a 318i and looked at everything I could possibly do with it. The BEST thing you can do is put in a downing Atlanta super charger and you will be about as fast as if you swapped to a 6 cly. Then (assuming you have a 5 spd) swap in an auto 318i rear diff (4.10) and your top speed will be about 90mph but you'll get there in a HUGE hurry. Or just save your money, buy a M3, I found one with less than 100k miles babied and perfect for under 10k a couple years ago. There are some out there for reasonable prices.

If you really want to go crazy there is a kit to put in a LS1, the kit is a little pricey as I recall but you can find LS1s every where and there's tons you could do to it after that point as well.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If your making payments on the car you should focus on maybe getting it paid off first.... you'd basically be modding something that isnt yours..... Pay the car of and maybe sell it and get a 6 cylinder model in the end you will have WAY more money in the car then it will ever be worth and will cost way more then just selling it and buying the model with the bigger engine.... I have swapped engine and am currently swaping an e30 it cost way more then Just getting an engine cause EVERYTHING else has to be upgraded to match.....
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