turboHLS30 Reader
Dec. 21, 2011 1:19 p.m.

Well, someone offered me a '92 BMW 318i for my 280z. At first I was like , then I was like , now I'm like I showed my dad the ad for the car, and he said that the M42 is a POS. But, from what I've read, people do alot with the engine. So right now I'm torn, because I like it and I think it would be a fun car to AutoX. So if you would GRM/BMW gods, fill me in on what I should know, and any other info

ransom Dork
Dec. 21, 2011 1:23 p.m.

POS?

I'm putting one in my 2002. There are a lot of people who think they're the ideal engine for an E30, as they are peppy but don't make the front end as heavy as a six cylinder would.

The M42 also has its own forum.

turboHLS30 Reader
Dec. 21, 2011 1:24 p.m.

Thanks! Here's what he has listed in the FS ad:

Interior: Needs some work I do have all the interior pieces but some need to be re-wrapped. The two front door panel were wrapped in dark blue fabric but could use some work. The A&C pillars were also wrapped, Dosnt look bad just needs work Has power windows and door locks sunroof Clarion 6.5s in rear on 50 watt amp 4" front door speakers Sony explode head unit Custom shift boot and custom old english shift knob.

Exterior: Smoked Tail lights Smoked headlights 12K Purp HID's RGR Style Eyelids 1" Front lip

Rim: 97 750il Rims 16x8 (pretty flush) Now painted royal blue Soon to be white I do have all 4 of the center caps Dumped on cut M3 springs, Perfect slam(Not the slightest bit bouncy) rolled and pulled fenders.... Done rite and bodied to look clean Energy suspension front sway bar bushings

Motor: 5 speed No grinds M42 4cyl good on gas 166k mi on the motor daily driven Changed oil 10/04/11 Has K&N Large cone filter (still have factory air box) DTM style single exhaust Axleback m3 rear subframe reinforcment plates welded in

Good: Shes good on gas and Never leaves me stranded, Body is uber straight just needs paimt. Decent start on a good project. Cant go wrong with a BMW I guess lol Still has power steering

Bad: Rear window switches are bad all motors are good though and all 4 windows will go up and down A/C works but Compressor is starting to wine so I removed belt

Cone_Junky HalfDork
Dec. 21, 2011 1:26 p.m.

As a BMW tech I rarely see any major/costly problems on the M42. It's gutless(comparitively) and sounds like ass, but it's reliable.

Maybe some forced induction can level the playing field.

HStockSolo Reader
Dec. 21, 2011 1:28 p.m.

The M42 is fine, it just a bit small for an E36. The E36 318i has been competitive in HS--though you might want the slightly larger M44-powered 1996 318i with sport package and LSD.

The ad sounds really bad. I'd pass.

turboHLS30 Reader
Dec. 21, 2011 1:31 p.m.

So if I wanted a car to daily drive and just putt around town in, this would be it?

mad_machine SuperDork
Dec. 21, 2011 1:45 p.m.

the M42 and M44 are good engines. Nothing wrong with them at all. I have read that some bmw engineer who worked on the S42 project stated that the head on the M42 flows better than the one one the S14.

It has always been my opinion that BMW hamstrung these engines not to interfere with the larger 6s. In europe you could get the 320i.. which had a 150hp 2.0 i6.. this is one of the reasons the M42 and M44 were limited to around 140hp.

And no, they do not sound like ass. I have a supersprint on my 318ti, and it sound pretty good. On a stock system, you will never hear the exhaust though, just the mechanical noise of the engine itself.

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
Dec. 21, 2011 1:47 p.m.

Miss my '91 318is dearly.

Note, on an old car, ticking from the timing chain at idle could also be the oil pressure relief valve as well as the tensioner. The valve buids up pressure at idle so the tensioner will function at low rpms.

Dec. 21, 2011 1:49 p.m.

The 42/44 works best when stuffed into a gutted 1600 or 2002.

turboHLS30 Reader
Dec. 21, 2011 1:52 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: the M42 and M44 are good engines. Nothing wrong with them at all. I have read that some bmw engineer who worked on the S42 project stated that the head on the M42 flows better than the one one the S14. It has always been my opinion that BMW hamstrung these engines not to interfere with the larger 6s. In europe you could get the 320i.. which had a 150hp 2.0 i6.. this is one of the reasons the M42 and M44 were limited to around 140hp. And no, they do not sound like ass. I have a supersprint on my 318ti, and it sound pretty good. On a stock system, you will never hear the exhaust though, just the mechanical noise of the engine itself.

I actually have an '87 320i E30 It's slow, but it's fun to drift on dirt. So what do you guys think as far as trading? If it was you, what would you do?

belteshazzar SuperDork
Dec. 21, 2011 2:53 p.m.

i traded for a '93 that had a ton of suspension upgrades, good ones. everything worked. it also had about a 3.90~ish LSD rear end installed. i cut it loose after only 6 months.

it was too boring. and the exhaust note, at least on mine, sounded terrible. oddly enough my '85 318i never felt slow, even though it was. maybe the e36 was just too composed for it's own good? idk.

BoxheadTim SuperDork
Dec. 21, 2011 2:54 p.m.

I don't like the way the ad sounds, I'd probably pass on that particular trade.

Dec. 21, 2011 3:20 p.m.

Everyone pretty much summed up the M42 (good and bad )

I love ours to death. It knocks down GOOD mpg numbers and has ran like a top.

But it's gasket time for ours, so I'm taking another M42, doing all the gaskets on it and swap it out sometime in February, if I can pull it away from Mrs. Zero long enough.

In a light car (2002, E21, etc), it would be an absolute blast!! In an E36, as long as keep it above 3500 rpm, it would be ok. Ours will get a chip and 14lbs flywheel as well, that should help it out.

mad_machine SuperDork
Dec. 21, 2011 3:31 p.m.

chip, lightened flywheel, and getting rid of the dual plane intake is on the cards for my m44.

One of the problems with the M42/44 in the E36 chassis is weight. Even the 318is weighs close to 3000 pounds.Compound that weight with a very planted chassis, and even the smaller i6s can seem pretty slow in comparison. The lightest of the E36 cars are the Z3 1.9 and the 318ti. Both are around 2700 pounds stock

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