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M50/S50/S52 E30 Conversion

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by MGarrison, Jan 14, 2009.

    z31maniac guest

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    If you were going to go to the effort of tearing it down and building, I'd throw a cam and rockers in as well.

    For stockish compression ~9.0:1, I'd probably look at a Schrick 272. Should give you a few more HP up top without sacrificing your low end.

    If you got crazy and decided that you needed high comp pistons (I believe you can go as high as 10:1 and keep the valve reliefs, 11:1 is possible if you don't keep them) I'd shoot for a Schrick 282 or 288, or a Catcam (look at digger's build on E30tech, he built a 3.1L stroker M20).

    Although I will say this, if your engine is running just fine now, no problems (low compression, burning oil, etc) I would just continue to save your money until you can afford what you REALLY want.

    Me, I REALLY want a OBD-I S52, however, my M20 is sick and I don't think the motor will last long enough for me to save up the difference between an M50 and S52 + OBD-I swap. Although I'm still hoping in a 4-6 weeks when I'm ready to buy a motor, I'll find a good deal on an M52.
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    mooseheadm5

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    +1 to what Z31 said. I would build as cheap as possible to tide you over until you build a monster 3.2L OBD1 S50.
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    az3579

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    I'm looking to keep the car until it dies, or if I get a killer deal on an M3 of some sorts (any variety is good for me!). So, let me rephrase; I will keep the car until I find a killer deal on an M3, because this sucker will never die. :) / :(

    For the long haul, is a fully-rebuilt 2.7i with all the options worth it as opposed to an M50/52 or S50/52 swap? If it's worth it, then I'd still rather do the 2.7i. This would leave me for a bit more money for other important things such as maintenance.



    If I was to take Z31's advice and save up for what I really want, I'd be working my whole life for it: a race-track in my backyard. :D

    Seriously, an extremely low-mileage Euro S52 would be what I would really desire, with Euro bumpers all 'round, add heating elements to my sports seats, 13-button OBC swap, and a full Japanrot repaint of the exterior. All this is major $$$$$$$$$ (well most of it is, anyway).


    Anyway, 2.7i worth it for the long haul?

    z31maniac guest

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    Just depends on what you want.

    If you are going to build a stroked M20, buy an S52 crank, rods and pistons from Metric Mechanic, overbore +2mm and drive a high comp 3.1L M20.

    That would get you around 200 whp, and a HUGE FAT torque curve, again reference some of the builds on e30tech.com.

    I researched the crap out of stroked M20s and after getting close, now with the motor dying, I just decided to quit fighing and go 24v. Rev better, freer flowing head, more TQ uder the peak, and not strung out like crazy to make better numbers than a seriously worked over M20.

    An OBD-I M52 with S52 cams (drop right in) and a chip will put you close 210whp. A BUILT 3.1L M20 would struggle to touch that number and be much more on edge, get worse MPG, etc etc etc.

    If you have $800 saved up, triple it and go 24v. Remeber you should be able to file your taxes soon and get some back. I'm expecting to get >$1000 back this year.

    z31maniac guest

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    Woot woot!

    Just got through filing my taxes and got about $500 than expected. Now I've just got to find a good condition complete M52. I'm hoping the return should be enough to cover the engine and a good condition trans.

    I've already got the THR wiring harness adapter, E28 M5 motor mounts and just paid for the majority of an OBD-I swap/new metal impeller water pump/metal T-stat housing. I'm really hoping to have this done by the end of April.

    moose, any suggestions on a 'yard to work with? Bavarian Auto Recycling is crazy expensive. For instance they want DOUBLE for a complete M52 than Vines Automotive in Alabama.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Where are you? I'd steer clear of BAR. Vines has a pretty good rep. Have you considered getting a whole wrecked car? It is cheaper in the long run, especially if you can part the rest of it out.

    z31maniac guest

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    I'm in Oklahoma, Tulsa area.

    Why do you say to steer clear of BAR?

    I've heard good things about Vines as well, and I like that he seems to have the most reasonable prices. $1250 + shipping for a complete M52 with accessories and a 6 month warranty. Are there any other yards you would suggest talking too?

    I have considered buying a wrecked E36, but I don't know if I really want to mess with parting out the rest of the car and the headache that comes with cheap asses trying to talk you down on $50 parts and such. If a smoking deal on a wrecked 96-99 M3 popped up I might do it.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Well, in addition to the high prices, my old shop went through this debacle where they promised that they had a euro big 6 for a customer that insisted on keeping his euro (vs just building a high performance US big 6 for less money.) They sent 2 regular US big 6 motors before the owner of the shop gave up on them and had the customer's motor rebuilt (at great cost to the customer due to the fried crank.) I don't know of any places out there you can deal with, but like I said, an entire car is really the way to go if you have the space to part it out. You may even end up getting your drivetrain nearly free because of it (actually, you can sell the trans and rear for nearly the cost of the wrecked car if they are known to be good.) Hell, there is a pull it yourself junkyard where I can get an M50 for cheap (when they are in stock, anyway.) Don't discount finding a wrecked 5 series, either, especially if the interior is good. That way you get the pan and pickup you need and can sell lights, modules, instrument cluster, heater controls, etc. They tend to go really cheap when wrecked, or even with a bad auto trans.
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    az3579

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    Paul, dead serious: If you can get one, let me pay you for it if you've got a place to store it 'till we buy all of the other things for it... Pleeeeeeease!
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    mooseheadm5

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    I will have my guy keep an eye out for you for sure. I pretty much have a standing request for them anyway.
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    az3579

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    Or, if I give you a certain amount, do you think you can work with that budget? Say, a grand, just to buy the engine, and then we'll work on buying the other things as funds allow? I currently set aside $200 a week for my E30 fund.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Like I said, I'll keep an eye out. This is a junkyard, and a low end one at that. You might be able to get a whole drivetrain/ECU/harness for under a grand, or you might only find a bare motor with a trashed wiring harness for a few hundred that may or may not need a rebuild. Don't get ahead of yourself, just keep saving the money for a rainy day. You never know when you will need it, or when that amazing deal will pop up for a whole car (here or up there.) If something pops up that is so cheap you or I can't pass it up, then I'll just buy it and contact you after the fact to keep it from getting snatched up. I can always flip it if you don't want it. I also have the shop on constant lookout for beat, rusted, crashed, etc. cars for purchase.
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    az3579

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    Fo' sho. I'm definitely saving up. Another couple of months will provide me with all the money for parts. From then on it's just labor I need to pay up for, and then some to make up for any days you may or may not miss. ;)
    And let's not forget my tax returns. :D
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    az3579

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    Oh I'm hating this... I just found an S52 with about 120k on it for $1900! That is ultra cheap for an S52... and I'm hating myself for not having saved up more! :mad:
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    mooseheadm5

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    I am an automotive fatalist. When the time comes, it will be yours. If you try too hard, it won't work out. Just be prepared and vigilant for the deals.
    How do you think I got a 97ti for $285 and just happened to have a 325 drivetrain lying around that I got for $400?
    Oh, and I don't think you want to bankroll my vacation days.
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    az3579

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    :D


    Just found a low-mileage M50 for about $700 (90k mi). That I could afford, but need to buy all the other crap for it. If you keep your eyes peeled I'd rather buy it down there IF you have the space. Like you said, I'm going to save up for a while until the PERFECT deal comes along, and when it does, we'll buy it and work it from there. Perhaps I'll reach 500k by then. :cool:

    How much time do shops usually charge for a compression test? I'm curious to see how well my engine's doing.




    We need to set something in stone here. I need to commit to something or else I won't ever know what the hell I want to do. Maybe I should call you (or vice versa) to work out future arrangements so that we'll know what we have to do when the time comes to purchase stuff.
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    mooseheadm5

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    1 hour for a compression test, or you can go buy a gauge and do it yourself. Pull all plugs, install gauge, unplug coil (or crank engine from under hood through your diagnostic connector,) open throttle, crank away until the gauge stops moving much.

    Sorry, I can't set anything in stone. You need to chill out and save up money or make a decision and start buying parts. As for install timing, well, that is going to have to happen when all the planets align.

    z31maniac guest

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    Just got off the phone with David Vines of Vines Automotive, just put a deposit down on an 80k mile complete m52 that was in a car maitained by their shop. Also getting the e34 oil pan and a fresher getrag 260 since mine is on the way out.

    Just need to decide what to do for a clutch, I'm not sure a stock m20 clutch is going to live long behind an OBD-I m52 with s52 cams.
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    mooseheadm5

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    It does just fine. I am running a lightweight M20 flywheel and stock clutch on the ti and there have been no problems whatsoever. They are pretty stout clutches, and the lighter flywheel really makes an acceleration difference.
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    az3579

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    Score!
    How much is the engine?

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