phaze1todd Reader
Feb. 13, 2012 10:33 a.m.

and that was what I actually put into the search and did not find much.

What are the preferred years and Boneyard Brigade swaps?

Thanks!

(edit: forgot that putting periods before sentence screws with formating)

02Pilot Reader
Feb. 13, 2012 10:49 a.m.

Rust is the enemy. Post-facelift are prettier. M50-series engines swap in easily.

DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
Feb. 13, 2012 10:50 a.m.

Best years are 89-91 - short bumper years.

Pretty sure the is's came with a limited slip as stock. Speedo gear fails, so mileage isn't trustful. Lots of people like doing the M50/52 or S50/52 swap. Not much clearance, but its possible. Its parts bin-engineering at its finest. Need E34 M50 oil pan, like 7 series engine mounts, this, that, whatever else.

Feb. 13, 2012 10:59 a.m.

All are good, plastic bumpers (88+) look better than metal but cost more too.

The M20 is a great motor - change the timing belt pronto.

The M50 is an easy swap but not that great a bump in power and leaves me a little cold on LOE vs ROI.

The S50 or 52 is an easy swap AND 100hp bump in juice but places a 60lb penalty right where you want it least. Still, with the right suspension mods it will grip and induce grins a plenty.

The M52 (E46 330) is about equal a swap in power to the S motors but is aluminum block and almost perfectly matches the M20 weight. Slightly more involved swap as you have to either use the fly-by-wire or back rev the intake and throttle body, harness and ECU.

E36 M coupe rear suspensions offer bigger brakes. Kits for adjustable rear geometry are available and/or easy to fabricate. E36 M3 (all E36 actually) front suspensions bolt right on and have huge brake improvements but require a bit of futzing to get rid of unwanted geometry issues.

E36 M3 or Z3 offer better/tighter steering racks.

I have done all manner of idiocy to these cars. When you get one... post your plans and I can probably help you avoid at least one bad internet idea from draining your bank account for small returns.

irish44j SuperDork
Feb. 13, 2012 3:19 p.m.

psh....metal bumper cars look good, as long as you tuck the bumpers (i.e. drill out the pistons and compress the bumper shocks). Paint the metal black, tuck them in, they look just as good as the plastic bumpers :)

also, just go ahead and scour ebay for manual windows before you buy the car. You're gonna want to ditch the lousy power stuff (while at the same time losing 25+ lbs off the car's weight).

All diffs have a metal tag on them (if it hasn't been removed) that tell the diff ratio and with an "S" if it's LSD.

oh..

And do an M10 swap, just to piss everyone off.

HStockSolo Reader
Feb. 13, 2012 5:29 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: The S50 or 52 is an easy swap AND 100hp bump in juice but places a 60lb penalty right where you want it least. Still, with the right suspension mods it will grip and induce grins a plenty. The M52 (E46 330) is about equal a swap in power to the S motors but is aluminum block and almost perfectly matches the M20 weight. Slightly more involved swap as you have to either use the fly-by-wire or back rev the intake and throttle body, harness and ECU.

It was the M54B30 in the E46 330. The earlier E46 cars had the M52TU variations. Both of these had dual VANOS and aluminum blocks. For a few years the Z3 had an aluminum block single VANOS M52. You can combine this block with the M54 crank and pistons with M50TU parts for a 3.0L OBD1 engine.

ransom Dork
Feb. 13, 2012 5:40 p.m.

I thought the stock rack gave the thing an unpleasant resemblance to a school bus.

The Z3 steering rack swap made a huge difference. It's a lot easier to do with the engine out. Two birds, one stone!

mad_machine SuperDork
Feb. 13, 2012 6:04 p.m.

If you are going to go with the E36 front suspension. The Z3M rear trailing arms can get pricy.. you can always use the trailing arms from a 318ti or a regular z3.. but you won't get the bigger brakes or the extra reinforcement of the M stuff

stuart in mn SuperDork
Feb. 13, 2012 7:02 p.m.

I believe 1989 was the last year without an airbag, so it had the nicer three spoke Mtech steering wheel.

Feb. 13, 2012 8:02 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: I believe 1989 was the last year without an airbag, so it had the nicer three spoke Mtech steering wheel.

It does but the first order of business after "replace steering rack with tighter one from E36 Z3 or M3" is "replace bus diameter steering wheel with 320mm Momo Competition".

It is in the GPS E30 Manual, chapter 2.

irish44j SuperDork
Feb. 13, 2012 8:07 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
stuart in mn wrote: I believe 1989 was the last year without an airbag, so it had the nicer three spoke Mtech steering wheel.

It does but the first order of business after "replace steering rack with tighter one from E36 Z3 or M3" is "replace bus diameter steering wheel with 320mm Momo Competition".

It is in the GPS E30 Manual, chapter 2.

agreed....so happy to get my 350mm Sparco on there. Even with the stock rack it makes a big difference (and I have an e36 rack sitting on my workbench).

320 would definitely be too small for my liking though. I think 350 is at the bottom of my "perfect" range, up to about 360 tops. ;)

ddavidv SuperDork
Feb. 14, 2012 5:42 a.m.

I love the M20 six. I don't know why so many insist on changing it out. I'd always recommend spending money on the suspension before doing anything else. The Spec E30 suspension package is affordable, lowers the car without being silly, and turns it into a very tossable, balanced package. The next thing to do is ditch weight: there's lots of sound deadener pads, horrifically heavy seats and other bits a GRMer could easily do without.

mad_machine SuperDork
Feb. 14, 2012 8:16 a.m.
ddavidv wrote: I love the M20 six. I don't know why so many insist on changing it out. I'd always recommend spending money on the suspension before doing anything else. The Spec E30 suspension package is affordable, lowers the car without being silly, and turns it into a very tossable, balanced package. The next thing to do is ditch weight: there's lots of sound deadener pads, horrifically heavy seats and other bits a GRMer could easily do without.

I once bought a set of manual adjusting "vadars" for my ti. I was quite surprised how heavy those things are. I could not imagine how heavy the electrically adjustable seats are.

How heavy are the E30 sport seats? I Was thinking of getting a pair for my saab as I can't stand how unsupportive in the corners the stock 900 seats are

Ian F SuperDork
Feb. 14, 2012 8:27 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: How heavy are the E30 sport seats? I Was thinking of getting a pair for my saab as I can't stand how unsupportive in the corners the stock 900 seats are

I have a pair sitting in my attic I bought years ago for my Volvo. They aren't light. I'll try to weigh them tonight if nobody else chimes in.

MadScientistMatt SuperDork
Feb. 14, 2012 8:49 a.m.

The M20 six has a lot of potential - we've dynoed over 350 rear wheel horsepower on the Condors' turbo build, and seen 170+ rear wheel hp on some pretty basic NA motors. Used to have a shop that did a ton of E30 builds next door. Unfortunately, I don't have too much detail on what they did with the suspension setups, but most of them were using M20 motors.

Feb. 14, 2012 9:19 a.m.

In my opinion the M20B25 is really one of the best sounding motors out there.

I bought my 325is without a test drive. The car was immaculate and the price was so low that any major issues and it still would have been worth it. I hopped in, opened the sunroof and drove off and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was just a worn out stock muffler but that sound was just WOW.

The M50's and other popular swaps have a raspy exhaust note that just doesn't do it for me.

Feb. 14, 2012 9:24 a.m.

M20 have that delicious mechanic throaty roar . . .they sound AWESOME through a turbo muffler at 7K RPM

Feb. 14, 2012 9:33 a.m.

The only problem with the M20 is really not an M20 issue at all. It is the proportional cost of adding NA power. The work necessary to make an M20 w/ 215wHP is very high compared to the $2k to drop a clean S52 in the hole to get 240 and a massive increase in torque.

It is a sweet motor, tough, strong, long lived... but if you want to go really fast in an E30 without boost it isn't the easiest way to get there.

ransom Dork
Feb. 14, 2012 11:08 a.m.
ditchdigger wrote: The M50's and other popular swaps have a raspy exhaust note that just doesn't do it for me.

Maybe not the exhaust note, but I recall you being rather pleased with the torque my M52B28 had

The nominal peak hp wasn't all that much higher, but the increase in torque made it feel a lot stronger...

Feb. 14, 2012 12:49 p.m.

Not saying the upgrade isn't worth it

Ian F SuperDork
Feb. 14, 2012 3:41 p.m.

To be honest, I've never really noticed the exhaust noise in my E30, and it has an Ireland Engineering cat-back.

The g/f's old '97 M3, on the other hand... I rarely listened to the radio when driving that car because the engine sounded so good - and that car was bone-stock.

J308 Reader
Feb. 14, 2012 4:03 p.m.

I'm pretty sure there are some threads around the e30 forums that have people in the 2100lb range with street cars. That's what I'd rather do, over trying to add power.

The front suspension is seriously weird to me. The hub is made to the strut or some such nonsense. I'll definitely be doing the spec E30 suspension, but that was an easy choice, I lub me some Bilsteins!

As some have said, do the timing belt immediately.

Also, beware the low oil pan... I got my autotragic for hecka cheap because it had a crack in it. The oil pan is the lowest point on the car, and there have been people that have blown them to E36 M3 during street driving. You either have to jack up the engine, remove the subframe, or remove the oil pump (i think) to change it out. Terrible design.

Get the IS. Truly you want the sport seats and the LSD. I bought an I coupe, and I'm having to track down the manual conversion, seats, and LSD at the picknpull.

Might want to research the 2.7 stroker if that appeals to you. There is a certain year that has the good bumpers and the desirable block for a head swap. I think it is 88, but don't quote me.

EDIT: It's 88. So basically, you get a 325e and put an I head on it. From BF.c: 325e block. Get the 885 325i head, intake, injectors, AFM and everything else from a 325i.

Then its pretty much a long stroke 325i motor.. High low end torque and more power in the high rev's with the better flowing 885 head, bigger intake manifold, higher rev limit of 6200rpm, bigger valves etc.

HStockSolo Reader
Feb. 14, 2012 4:48 p.m.

Why stop at 2.8L? The M54B30 crank and pistons can also be made to work in an M20, but I still think an aluminum block is the only way I'd want an I6 in an E30.

Feb. 14, 2012 7:45 p.m.
HStockSolo wrote: Why stop at 2.8L? The M54B30 crank and pistons can also be made to work in an M20, but I still think an aluminum block is the only way I'd want an I6 in an E30.

For auto-x yes.

For road racing in a mod class you can reclaim all of that 60lbs and more by gutting the bumpers, hood & latch system, radiator bracketry, AC system, buckets of fasteners, cast iron manifolds for tube headers... excess wiring, aaaand removing the useless ABS. A stout cage adds some balance back to the rear as does moving the seat back about 6 inches.

I am still slightly (52%) nose heavy but it is well balanced mid-corner and at about 2350 w/ driver these days making 240+ wHP reliably with a mostly stock OBDI S52. It is pretty quick and not nearly the handful you are thinking it is.

On a street car - 99% of people won't notice the difference of 60lbs on the front axle. Those that do - can rotate on the throttle now :)

phaze1todd Reader
Feb. 19, 2012 9:44 p.m.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker, you are my compass.

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