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My M52TU Swap

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    My M52TU Swap

    So I am relatively new the the whole thread and posting bits on here, and have been researching the heck out of the 24v swaps on the forums. I am an university automotive student and am doing a swap for my senior project. I finally decided to start posting my project up here and let you guys know what I am up to with regular posts and photos. I have a 1989 325i sedan that I am swapping a M52TU into. Here's the fun part to my swap: I am doing a full OBDII swap with EWS install in my e30. I bought my car for $1500 and it isn't in the greatest shape, but for a project it is good enough since most stuff will end up replaced anyway.

    The totaled one

    new motor

    For the motor I bought a totaled 1999 328i sedan automatic for $500. The tranny and most of the parts were good and still have a bunch if anyone is looking. Currently I am working on rebuilding the motor since it was a totaled car just to know what I am working with. I have an e34 oil pan, but am currently working on fabricating a sump since I want to keep the windage tray and pump from the m52 and not the one that is riveted to the e34 pan.

    So far I have fitted the car with:

    Vogland lowering springs
    Bilstein shocks
    Urethane bushings all around
    IE camber plates
    Rear camber/toe kit
    IE front/rear sway bar kit

    There are a lot of little challenges in this project.

    Hope to get your guy's feedback on this project as I work my way through the build over the next few months. I will be posting photos and more info later.
    Last edited by Lawson509; 03-19-2011, 09:14 AM.

    Hm. Should be good; I don't think anybody has done an M52TU yet. Few have done alloy blocked M52s, but I think they have all been single Vanos.

    Keep us posted, should be a fun read.
    paint sucks


      Good luck.
      1991 e30 328i M52 swapped: Gone
      1995 e34 540i/6 1 of 76 Clean
      1985 e28 euro 525i the daily


        So far I haven't heard of anyone doing an M52TU swap with OBDII. Hence I wanna share what I do so others can take a shot at it as well. Hopefully it works out. There are a few main challenges: First the M52TU had an automatic transmission, so in order to make it work with a getrag 260 I have to reprogram the DME with Progman (bmw's factory scan tool), which I luckily have access to. The DME will have to be programed so that it doesn't look for the neutral safety switch and transmission controller, which is tricky, but doable.

        Second, I need to have the EWS system in which includes the controller, key and ignition. All of which I have, since they all came from the same car. I currently working on mocking up installing the e46 steering column into a parts '84 325e that I have. Should be interesting.

        Third, this is the part might and might not work.... I have about 3 intrustment clusters for an e30 and the one out of the e46. I have begun to play around with ideas of how to use the e30 cluster housing and installing the e46 cluster guts into it. It looks like it can be done with some cutting of plastic and some experience with plastic repair and molding. We'll see how it turns out....

        Photos coming...


          Here's the M52TU before I stripped it bare to replace bearings and such.

          The donor car and motor before I pulled the motor and tranny out of it. The motor had a nice Injen intake and decent cat back Magniflow exhaust on it that I am going to make work in the e30

          The orange e30 is my parts car and the red is my project e30. This is when a buddy and mine pulled an all-nighter swapping all the suspension components in. Unfortunately I have to pull the rear end out again cuz I forgot to grease up the urethane swingarm mount bushings. When I do pull out the rear end again I am going to paint all the components and put an lsd in it.

          Here's the car with all suspension components installed.

          I will post photos of the engine mods that are going on later.
          Last edited by Lawson509; 12-23-2010, 12:06 PM.


            Wow those exhaust manifolds look heavy and restrictive. Do you have plans to swap them out with the earlier obd2 manifolds or headers?


              They are a bit heavy. I know the headers are designed to meet Emissions the best. The only ones that I have found that could fit on there are some supersprint headers, which are crazy spendy, or the e46 m3 headers. The problem with the m3 headers is that they have a different bolt up pattern and I would have to swap my current exhaust flanges onto m3 headers. I really want to keep the cats in there for emissions and tuning reasons, just so I won't have issues down the road. The motor already produces 196 hp and 206 torque, so not too much need to change it immediately

              If you guys have heard anything on exhaust choices I would love input. Thanks


                Any reason you couldn't use standard s50/s52 headers?


                  I have an M54 which is 99% identical to the M52TU. I've had standard OBD2 headers and now euro headers. They both fit. The exhaust is the worst part of the M52tu and M54. Get rid of it!


                    I probably could use the S50/S52 headers, but I think I am going to use what I have for now. I really want to keep cats for the OBDII system, and the e46 m3 headers would work out fine with a little fabrication on the flanges. I will just get the motor running for now, then swap later if need be.


                      Here is the current hurdle I am jumping over. Figuring out a fabricated sump to match my windage tray. As you can see in the photos I had to cut a small corner out of my tray to allow clearance for the e34 oil pan. The e34 sump tube won't work with my windage tray since it has a different mount style and even if I could use it, it would be in the wrong spot in the pan. I am working on cutting up the stock e46 sump and making a modified one to match the windage tray...


                        Been there... done that.


                          Has anyone seen any more detailed threads on OBDII swaps? Just wondering what's out there and what others have played with.


                            So before anyone gives me too much grief, I figured that since I am doing OBDII, I should use as much of the OBDII equipment as possible. So here is what I started working on today and will get more done on sunday. I took a spare instrument cluster from my 325e, took the guts out and cut out an outline to fit around the frame of the smaller e46 cluster. Then I took apart the e46 cluster and cut the bezels out so they would match up with the e30 frame. Mind you, these photos are all I have done so far and everything is really rough cut. It will be finished up by fusing the two clusters together using some of FUSER plastic welding products and paint. I have worked with their plastic glues before and they are great for body work and bumpers, so I figure it should work good here too.

                            Hope you guys like the idea.


                              Very interested to see how the cluster transplant works I have wondered about this myself.

                              On the subject of m52TU's how different are the oil passages in the head/block compared to the earlier engines?

                              I am assuming that since no one has gotten an earlier head to fit that they are substantially different. It's too bad since there is a nice m52TU sitting in a wrecked '99 528i at the local PnP. I would love to build a motor around that alloy block.

                              '89 Alpine S52 with goodies