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Canada E30 M3 S54 Swap

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    Canada E30 M3 S54 Swap

    Hi Guys, I'm from Vancouver, BC and I'd like to share my current E30 M3 swap project. I'm not done the build yet so feel free to comment and give me feedback if you have ideas to help me improve the swap.

    The S54 swap is something I've always wanted to do on my E30 M3 since I've owned it but I wasn't willing to get rid of a good running S14. I told myself if it ever died I'd be S54 swapping it.

    I drove the car to LA and Vegas for Bimmerfest/Mfest in May of 2012. Towards the end of that summer the car got gradually harder and harder to start. I left it in the garage for about a year and after that extended storage period it wouldn't even start at all. I had very low compression in cylinder one. So I sourced an E46 M3 parts car around the same time as the engine diagnosis and this is where it starts...

    Final run with the S14. The shop I took it to actually got it running by dumping loads of oil into cylinder one. I didn't drive it far like this. It was only a 5 min drive back home. I have kept all the original S14 parts and made this swap completely reversible if I ever want to go back in the future.

    Donor car, A 2002 Topaz Blue 6spd M3.

    The Donor M3 took a hard hit to the front passenger side. Luckily the engine was untouched.

    Out with the S14!

    New motor on the stand in front of the E30. My Dakar M3 in the background.

    I repainted the bay and added convertible strut braces.

    I used the standard E28 "Green" motor mounts and kept the stock front subframe.

    While I was in there I added the E46 330 ZHP Steering rack with the AKG Rack swap kit.

    Since the S14 uses a different style rad mount I cut lower rad mounts out of a regular 325i E30 welded them in, seam sealed and painted. It worked out really well.

    I also ended up going with a Mishimoto S54 Z3 Radiator using standard E36 6 cylinder upper and lower rad hoses.

    For the rest of my drive line I bought a 5spd ZF from an E36 M3. (The 6spd trans from my e46 m3 parts car went into my Dakar M3 since it started to develop synchro issues)

    With the E30 M3 the stock driveshaft bolts right up to the 5 spd. I don't believe this is the case if you were doing this on a regular e30. My standard S14 trans crossmember would not fit so I used a cross member from a standard E30 with rogue poly trans mounts.

    With some research I decided I wanted a 3.46 LSD with the 5 speed. I lucked out and found a clean one in Seattle out of an E24. I swapped the front cover and flanges off my old E30 Diff. It bolted right in.

    I'm also running a UUC Ltw flywheel with E34 M5 clutch.

    Time for engine prep!

    I decided to run the E34 M50 oil pan. (Single sump vs dual sump of the s54) This car won't see track time so I figured the single sump would do. For added security I welded in a Vac motorsport baffle in the pan.

    The rod bearings on this motor were done 20k ago at the dealer so I didn't bother to replace those. Here is a pic with the pan off and the E34 M50 oil pick up tube added.

    The S54 has an oil drain off the side of the head. I couldn't use the factory drain tube without modding it so I went to summit and bought SS AN fittings and hoses. I'll post pictures later on in the build since this hasn't been installed yet. I also welded a bung in the pan for the oil drain.

    S54 going in!

    I added a 16" spal pusher fan and I'm running the stock E30 Oil cooler converted to run AN10 hoses right to the motor.

    Oil fitting adaptor

    K&N Intake. I thought it will look way better in there than than the stock airbox.

    I drilled a hole in my T stat housing for the coolant temp sensor. (M14x1.5 tap) This is the same coolant sensor that was used on the s14 coolant rail.


    After a bunch of research and looking at Andrews swap I decided to go with the E23 Hydroboost system. I found an E23 at a pick n pull and got everything (Reservoir, M/C, Pressure bomb, hoses etc)

    I had to get all new hoses custom made for the locations I put the bomb and the reservoirs.

    I mounted the E23 PS reservoir up on the drivers side behind the headlight, the pressure bomb is mounted to a bracket I made off the drivers side motor mount arm. The Clutch master bolts right up in the factory location. I just ordered a 2002 External brake fluid reservoir so I don't have pics of that yet.

    To be continued.....
    Last edited by synergy141; 04-28-2016, 03:55 PM.

    Nice project. Just finished my E30 M3 S54 track car project. The S54 is a great engine in the E30. Some purists point their noses up at the S54 swap and the extra weight - I moved the engine back almost 3" so it butts up to the bulkhead and really the handling is not affected by it.

    Build thread here:


      Nice thread, I'll be following

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      1987 BMW 325is,(M3 S50 Swapped)-Current
      2010 FJ Cruiser, aka E30 Support Vehicle-(Daily)
      2008 Scion xB Lowered
      2001 BMW 325i
      1995 BMW 318ti
      1966 Ford Mustang Coupe
      1965 Ford Mustang Coupe

      My Thread


        Sooner or later those FW bolts will back out. BTDT, got rid of the blue FW.


          Originally posted by gobuffs View Post
          Sooner or later those FW bolts will back out. BTDT, got rid of the blue FW.
          Even with red loctite on them? I ran one of these in my e36 m3 for years without issue.


            Awesome build.
            Keep the good things coming.


              The flywheel bolts backing out was an issue with the UUC flywheels a couple years ago. Supposedly it has been fixed since. I have the same set up in my s54 swap, though I used the getrag 420g and I'm not worried


                I had the blue FW in for years. One time I haft he tranny out and said "I should check the FW bolts" but then said " they have been fine for years, let sleeping dogs lie" event they backed out where I had to drop the tranny. Sucked. I have heard the "they fixed it" but still hear of problems (but admittedly not recently). I wouldn't risk it- there are other products out there.


                  I did put red thread lock on them and torqued to spec. Hopefully they hold...


                    Awesome! If you want to wire the 2 pressure sensors on the hydroboost, they're wired in series with the brake fluid level switch, so it'll trip the warning light on the dash if there's a pressure problem (in instrument cluster section of an E23 ETM).
                    Plug and Play Wiring Harness Adapters for S54, S50, M54 and more.


                      Some more progress...

                      Since the M50 Motor mount arm did not have the bolt hole for the intake manifold support bracket I cut it off the E46 arm I had. It bolted right up to the original holes on the block.

                      Heater core hoses installed. These are the stock E46 hoses. The longer one was shortened.

                      I kept the stock S14 expansion tank. I had to mount it on an angle to clear the motor so I made a bracket for it. I reused the stock S54 expansion tank hose connector. I cut the clamps off the stock hose and attached a longer coolant hose I got from the auto parts store to reach the expansion tank.

                      I cut the stock S54 expansion tank hose in half and kept the small moulded 90 degree piece to clear the motor, Hooked that up to the reservoir and a plastic extender to attach to the main hose pictured below.

                      Headers installed with zero clearance issues.

                      Another shot of the hydro boost reservoir. I'm running the brake/clutch fluid reservoir from a 2002. I'll mount it somewhere by the shock tower.


                        Modified the dip stick. I heated it up and bent it into an S

                        I had to make a bracket to hold the dip stick to the Intake manifold. I found some bracket off the parts car, welded it on and made it work.


                          Which headers did you use?
                          1985 M635csi Black on Buffalo
                          1985 535is Zinno on Black
                          1985 M635csi White on Pacific Blue
                          1988 M3 Lachssilber on Black (sold)
                          1987 M3 Zinno on Black (totaled)


                            I used the manzo ones off eBay. I'll see how they do if they leak I'll fork out the $$ for better ones. But so far they seem to be okay.


                              Starting to gather S54 parts

                              Came out really nice!:coolphoto: