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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 10-01-2008, 10:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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S50 in E36... i searched, so please give me a break.

Given the responses I've read to this type of question, I'm almost afraid to ask. Here goes...

I love my 325is. I'm not going to go buy an M3, so let's get that out of the way first. I do have money, and I have installed many engines in the past.

Old girl has 160k on her, still runs great, but I'd like more giddy-up. Now, as the clutch has started to slip, I'm thinking about replacing the engine and clutch in the very near future. Might as well...

From what I've read, I can drop in an OBD1 S50, everything hooks up as stock. Instant HP, right? I've read that I may need an M3 chip. Can I order a Dinan performance chip for an M3 to cover that problem? Will my M50 mods work on the S50? Intake, exhaust, coil packs, etc. What about my stock valve cover? Oil pan? I also saw something about my MAF somewhere...

Are there any other details I need to know about? I want to have everything in order before I tear into the car. It's my only car, and I need it up and running ASAP. What kinds of things are going to cause problems mid-swap?

ps- I know some will say "search this topic- its been covered". I challenge you to do the same. All I find is pages worth of people telling other newbies that there are pages worth of info on this subject. I find very little useful info, just big meanies. Maybe someone could compile the good info into one spot, easy to find for half wits like myself. Thanks.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What are the mods that you have to her now? Then we can better say what will and will not work. Coil packs I am not sure about. Exhaust and Intake should be fine.

I am not sure that it is actually cheaper to do it this way... M3's have came down a bit in price... However if you are really ready to do this, then lets do it.

What I would concentrate on finding is a complete M3 engine with the maf and all sensors ect. If you do not, I would be very hesitant to do it to my only car. I assume you work during the week so you would have to do it on the weekend and have only the weekend to get it done. I would not want to take any chances on anything. A complete engine, with all hoses, lines, sensors, ecu, you get the point. That should also cover you perfectly for the swap.

In the mean time. there's a lot of information floating around places. I'll need to look around and try to remember where it all is... hopefully a few other people will join in.

Until then read these 5 threads below for an idea of what you are getting into and a members experience with a similar projects. Hats off again to trigg for doing this and documenting this. I know it is not exactly what you are doing, but it will give you an idea of some problems that could be in your way. Read all 5 parts of the Frankenmotor threads, at least the parts of the threads where trigg is giving directions etc. You may want to do some similar things before you put the engine in.

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Old 10-02-2008, 12:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you could find an S52 motor (96-66 m3's) you could take off some of the obd 1 parts on your m50 motor, and use them to convert the s52 to obd 1. That would be a nice setup.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Actually, the things I listed pretty much cover it. K&N intake, exhaust is stock in front of the cat, but I'd planned on adding a header kit and high-flow cats soon- possibly before the swap. I just wanted to know if they bolt up the same. Hi-po coils. That's it.

As far as buying a complete engine... do I have to? I really didn't want to buy a 150k mile engine for $5000, when I can get a rebuilt long block for $5-6k. See, I had envisioned this swap as being much like a small block chevy swap. Same blocks and mounting points, just different internals. Pull the anemic 305, swap in a 350, everything bolts up, and away you go. Have I oversimplified this way too much?

Honestly, the idea of having a sneaky sleeper turns me on. I'm not looking for a race car, but I do drive my girl like I stole her. The car is just a blast to drive. Another 50+ horsepower would put one hell of a grin on my face.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I apologize for not being clear. When I said intake, I meant air filter, box, and intake hose. Not the actual intake manifold. That would be the stock item there.

I would love to drop an S54 or LS1 under my girl's bonnet, but I subscribe to the KISS principle. Besides, I'd end up wrecking the poor thing- I've got a big ol' lead foot, for sure.

btw- Thank you very much for replying. I greatly appreciate any info anyone can give me. I like to have all my ducks in a neat little row before I start a project. Thanks again.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Would the S52 swap be easier somehow? Or do you mean it would be easier to find one, being as the S50 was a one year only type of beast?
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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the S50 is the same engine as the M50, just bored, stroked, and upgraded cams/valvetrain. So if you think about it that way, yeah, its a perfect swap. Remember to also get the S50 ECU when you get the engine. And a word of warning: with that upgraded power you need upgraded brakes! trust me!
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That was exactly what I wanted to hear. Thank you iamcreepingdeath. Now, is there anyone who would like to agree or disagree? A second opinion never hurt anybody.

So, I need to order a rebuilt long block S50, and just eat the core cost. I also need to source an 95 M3 ecm. I'm going to pull my M50, swap the intake, exhaust, valve cover and other sheet metal, and any sensors or fittings onto the S50, before dropping it in. After that, it's just hook everything up, install the ecm, and go. Is that right? Could it be that easy?

Somebody tell me it's not that easy... Nothing is that simple for me.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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And yes, brakes are next... I'm sure I'll have questions when I start that, too.
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 94BMW325i View Post
If you could find an S52 motor (96-66 m3's) you could take off some of the obd 1 parts on your m50 motor, and use them to convert the s52 to obd 1. That would be a nice setup.
Actually this is the way to go. You end up with MORE horse power and you have MORE engines to choose from (96-99 instead of just 95). You'd do an OBD I swap to it and basically you already have the parts for it...
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I can work with that. More horsepower is always a good thing. What all is involved in the OBD1 swap? Again, can I do this with a rebuilt long block, using my external parts and accessories?
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Actually this is the way to go. You end up with MORE horse power and you have MORE engines to choose from (96-99 instead of just 95). You'd do an OBD I swap to it and basically you already have the parts for it...
thank you.. You would have better exhaust manifolds, more power up top, etc..
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i found several used m3 engines here at this site i didnt read most of the posts so sorry if its already been posted.
it says they are between 45-75 k miles never over. there like 3200-4200 good luck
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I can work with that. More horsepower is always a good thing. What all is involved in the OBD1 swap? Again, can I do this with a rebuilt long block, using my external parts and accessories?
OBD1 conversion threads for the S52... I am looking for more for you. I think I will book mark them now that Firefox can tag them... will make this a lot easier in the future.
http://www.bimmerwerkz.com/forum/3-s...wap-50447.html

This has some info on s50 to a 325i and a s52 converted to obd1 into a 325i.
http://www.bimmerwerkz.com/forum/3-s...wap-46245.html

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Old 10-03-2008, 04:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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and you might also want to renew the suspension to keep the horses on the road. Take good parts, such as a k&w kit or such. And +1 on the brakes. I don't know how much you want to spend on them, f.e. a complete brembo kit would be at least $1400, but that would be what I'd do on your place. Never try to save money on brakes and suspension.
And good luck with the build
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