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Transmission swap thread omnibus

Discussion in 'E28 (1982-1988)' started by mooseheadm5, Mar 29, 2009.

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    mooseheadm5

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    So. You hate your atomatic transmission. Either that, or you are going to jam so much power down the driveshaft, your frail little manual can't handle it. Or, you are unfortunate enough to own a 4 speed manual and want a 5 speed or have a 5 and want 6. Well, ladies and gents, here we can dump all our trans swap knowledge for all to see. Title your posts for easy reference. I'll be posting soon about E30 and E24/28 swaps.
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    mooseheadm5

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    E28 auto to manual conversion

    OK, here goes:
    If you have an E28 big or small 6 and want a manual, you will need to get a hold of a transmission. I always recommend having access to an entire parts car because there are brackets and hoses and bolts and such that you will need. You have a few transmission choices as well, so mixing and matching should only be done if you know what you are doing. To that end, if you have a big 6 and want a manual, buy a wrecked 5 or 6 series with a big 6 of the same year or as close as possible. The 85 models have the 265 gearbox, which is the most sturdy ever placed behind a BMW engine. You will want the driveshaft as well. One thing to note is that IF you have a 3HP in your car, the driveshaft for that and the driveshaft from the 85 535/635 are the same length (close enough anyhow.) This is only the beginning. Here is a (at least mostly complete) list of what you need:
    Trans
    Flywheel
    clutch
    release bearing
    slave cylinder
    shift boot
    shift support and shift linkage (MUST match the trans you use.)
    Bracket/rubber to mount the rear of the shift support
    Reverse light wiring (you may need to wire this in yourself and patch it into the auto wiring harness- if you are clever, you can make the reverse light on the dash light when you are in reverse.)
    Shift rod
    guibo (flex coupling and bolts)
    driveshaft (again, MUST match the trans)
    Diff to for proper gearing (optional and not always necessary)
    Clutch AND brake pedal
    Longer bolt and all the associated bushings for the clutch pedal
    master cylinder, master cylinder hard line, and hose to slave cylinder
    clips and brackets for these lines
    bracket for cruise control clutch switch and switch (the wiring is already there.)
    Bolts for transmission mounting- trans to engine
    Transmission mount bracket (MUST match transmission)
    Transmission mounts (rubber) some have one and some have two
    IF you have a 535i with a 4HP with electronic gear selection (the winter/sport switch) you will need the throttle position sensor from a manual and will either need clever wiring or an engine wiring harness from a manual or an earlier auto.
    Your choice of shift knob

    That is pretty much it. There are various combinations that are better for Ricky Racer, but those guys will know or know how to find out.
    The small 6 E28 is a little different. You need everything above, but you can only swap from another small 6 E28 for the flywheel/clutch/release bearing, transmission support bracket, the shift support and linkage, and the driveshaft. You cannot use a big 6 trans. This will not prepare you for a later big 6 or S38 conversion. The small 6 trans itself can be had from an E30, but there are different bell housing and therefore, driveshaft lengths. If you want to go nuts and build a racer 528e that is closer to ready for an S50, then buy a 1982 528e parts car. This setup also has the unique property that you will be able to later add on a big 6 or S38 with minimal hassle. These cars are hard to come by, though, so jump on them if you can.

    Actually doing the swap is easy, but time consuming. The price of conversion should cost you the same as a clutch replacement plus 5-8 hours of adding the bits you need -maybe less, but be prepared. If you arrive with an incomplete kit or a parts car that is still completely intact, expect to pay more. Intact parts cars are great if they are complete, but it does take time to pull those parts off the car first, so it is half again as much time as just doing the swap. You may be able to trade the shell of the parts car if there are other parts on it the shop wants, but usually parts cars are parts cars for a reason.

    From the above, you can see why access to a whole parts car is very handy. Nothing like finding out that bracket you bought from ebay won't fit at the last minute, or finding out you are missing an odd sized bolt (and there are a few here you absolutely cannot get at the hardware store.) If you wish to piece things together for yourself, might I suggest you research realoem.com to see what parts were used on the same year car as yours that had a manual instead of an auto.

    If you ask my to do a manual swap and I don't have a parts car to work with, I will tell you to take a hike. It is not worth the extra time for me to find the parts that are missing and you will certainly not want to pay me to sit on my butt in front of the computer. Anyway, it is always cheaper to get a parts car than to piece it together.
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    mooseheadm5

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    E30 auto to manual- small 6 only

    See the above post, but there are caveats. The center support bearings change a little over the years because the body changes a little bit. You can use any trans/flywheel/driveshaft combination, but you shuold try to keep them all together from the same car because there are subtle changes to the shift linkage and support, bell housing, flywheel, transmission output flange (and driveshaft flange to match), and guibo. Pedals, master, and slave can come from any E30, but the bracket for the clutch cruise control switch will only be available on some cars. This swap can use any donor car for the complete set of parts, but you may still need to change out the center support bearing on the driveshaft.

    Autohaus guest

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    Ok, my E28 is a 87 but the engine is a 85. Will that cause any problems? Also, what if I want to convert to a S38/S50 down the line time? Would I have to get another manual trans/driveshaft? If I had you do the conversion the best bet would be to find a parts car near you so it could be sent to your shop along with my E28. Great list you constructed.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Engine year makes no difference for E28/24 big or small 6 for trans swaps.
    S38 takes a big 6 bellhousing, S50 takes an E34/36 trans or a small 6 trans OR the trans and bellhousing from a 1982 528e. That car is special because the transmission is a Getrag 265 but the bell housing is removable, so it can be a trans for either a big 6, or a small 6 (or an M50 based motor.) I would suggest you find one of those (good luck.) Otherwise you will have to change the trans if you jump from small 6 to big 6 architecture, and that will most likely mean a change in driveshaft length, though you sometimes get lucky. Also note that the output flange on the small 6 transmissions are not compatible with the big 6 driveshafts, but it may be possible to change the output flange. I will try one of these days and report back.

    Autohaus guest

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    So the best bet would be to find a 82 E28 528eM somewhere between you and I.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Yes, but as I said, rare and good luck.

    Autohaus guest

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    Bavarian Recycling must be on drugs. Why do they sell part cars for like $7K :confused:. I knew of a E28M parts car about 2 hours from me for $500 but with my M20, it wouldn't bolt onto the 5-speed tranny from the donor :(
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    mooseheadm5

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    I think they are fishing. Anyhow, you can also save up some money and go straight for a big6 conversion with a big 6 parts car. Big bonus is that you keep 528e insurance. ;)

    Autohaus guest

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    Maybe get my hands on a wrecked E28 M5 :D but even then it will be at least $4K.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Funny you should mention that...
    I have an S38 drivetrain you know.

    Autohaus guest

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    I would still need a parts car though, right? Remember, you said if one has no parts car for you to work on, I would have to take a hike :). Would the drivetrain be north or south of $4K?
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    mooseheadm5

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    I do have the entire car, but the body may go to another purpose. You would not seriously consider going to a full M5 swap, would you? It would cost a bit of change. I will sell you the whole car if the other guy does not want the body. If you are serious and have the money to back it up, yes, I can make your 528e into an almost M5. I'll even throw in that 3" exhaust I hand made for my old M5.

    Autohaus guest

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    Deposit to hold said car?! In all honesty this project won't be started until like next spring. However, I would probably send money your way every month. Depending on how much I send the project coud be pushed up further. BTW I forget, why are you parting with your 88 M5? How is the interior? Pics? I ask of the interior because I am currently the high bidder on front E28 M5 seats and the bid ends Wednesday night.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Catalytic converter fire. I picked this one up that way. Center console is hacked and charred. The car actually runs, though. and could be brought back to life. I wanted to, and wifey is still on the fence about letting it go, but honestly, I will not get to this any time soon, and the 535is is way more important. This one has had the timing chain replaced and has a Fahey crank hub, and possibly an Evo cam gear. I'll check the receipts.
    Stop clogging up the transmission swap thread. Start your own "should Chris sink money into an S38 swap or M5 resto poll."

    Autohaus guest

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    :(

    Think about what I said :cool:
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    az3579

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    Seriously, do what Paul said. Go start your own thread. :rolleyes:

    Let me try to revive the thread a bit...





    How much more complicated is it to do a manual swap into a newer car like an E46? How much more electronics/electrics does it involve?
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    mooseheadm5

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    To be honest, it is just as easy mechnically speaking, but you have real electronics issues with anything after an E28. The E32/34 has minor issues due to the different wiring to the TPS, but later stuff can have different wiring harnesses and different computers. I am not certain, but it may be possible to completely reflash all the computers in newer cars to convince them it is a manual using an autologic. However, the days of the home swap end after the E36.

    Autohaus guest

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    What if I wanted to do a 2.7 covnersion and make my 528e a 527is? What 5-speed tranny year would be best? Would getting a M20 167hp head do the job or do other parts (minus tranny) need to be had?
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    mooseheadm5

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    Stop clogging my thread! :p
    Buy an 88 super eta 528eM.

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