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    N20B20 in an E30?

    Hello everyone
    New to the forum here

    So here is the situation, I have an 85 316 sedan, burgundrot metallic mind you <3. It's in OK condition, runs daily, no major issues, the occasional maintenance here and there. And it's pretty much all stock, my father gave it to me, he's been the previous owner, he kept it in pretty great condition and all is well and she runs to this day. Oh and I am still running the original Pierburg 2BE carburator, we've had some issues over the years but so far, still works.

    But a 316 never had much power to begin with you know. And it's probably lost a few horses over the years too. On top of that fuel economy for a 1.8 is not that great either. And cold starts are a b**** really.

    So let's just say, if I am legally obligated to have a 4cyl 2liter car (I don't live in the US) what would you suggest?

    My two important factors that would be great for me are power, and reliability. Which I understand you can't have too much of one, without sacrificing the other. Also fuel economy is a welcome plus.

    So I've been looking around, and found that one of the more recent engines BMW have made that makes exciting power is the N20, the one that goes in 28i cars and makes around 255hp stock, if I remember correctly. But it also seems reliability isn't really great (timing chain guide, oil pump etc.), at least compared to the M10 I already have. Plus with a few mods, it seems pretty okay to get over 300whp out of it, which seems a lot of fun.
    But this is just an option I thought looked interesting, if any of you thinks there are other engines that might be better candidates, by all means, tell me.

    Remember folks this is just a discussion, I really like the idea, so I thought it will be very nice to get the conversation started with the people in the biz. I would really like to hear your thoughts on how do you think it would turn out, will it be worth it or not, do you think it's doable? etc.

    Also side note:
    I have seen people do all kinds of swaps in the E30 as you all know, but couldn't find any N20 swaps though. Any ideas on how to make it work with wiring? And the analog cluster? Do I have to do a stand alone DME? Can we keep vavlvetronic and vanos? Would love to hear some insights on this as well.

    Yours truly,
    Hormoz

    #2
    Honda K20

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Danny View Post
      Honda K20
      Looked it up, seems they used it on either fwd or awd cars, and I don't know how we can make it work on the E30 cluster too?
      Also, are you suggesting a Honda engine in the E30 forum?
      What blasphemy is this?
      Jk, I know they're very reliable ;)
      But seriously I would like to keep it BMW, thanks tho <3

      Comment


        #4
        Can you build a 2 liter M10 stroker? It would be way cheaper, the M10 is bullet proof and you could always run in on something like Megasquirt. If I'm not mistaken, the early 316i is carbureted?

        The N20, ehhh. It sounds like a tractor and has poor reliably. I guess 255hp would be fun, but a swap would probably not be so simple.
        Build thread

        Bimmerlabs

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          #5
          Bummer, i was going to suggest Honda F20C with its transmission.

          There has been some chatter on other BMW forums (2002faq, a while ago)
          about the latest 4 cylinder engines. There are several serious challenges that boil
          down to pretty much:

          Packaging- getting all that PLUMBING to fit is not trivial.

          Control- convincing all the electronics to work has not, as far as I've seen, been done
          yet on a scale that would be posting on a bulletin board. Convincing the
          ECU to let the engine start takes a LOT of conditions now, and meeting those conditions
          in a different chassis will be a lot of work.

          I'd say it's about a 9 banana job, on a scale of one to 5...

          ...and I'd guess it'll be a few more years before the control systems are hacked far enough
          for us mere mortals to stand a chance of getting one going 'with some help from the internet'.

          <edit>
          I agree with Nando- build a relatively high- compression 2 liter M10 and inject it. I don't expect you have
          to meet stringent smog, but even if you do, you can hide a LOT of modern electronics inside the
          M10B18 injection system. 150 hp and 140 ft/lbs isn't hard. Then there's always a turrrbooooooo...

          just my take,
          t
          now, sometimes I just mess with people. It's more entertaining that way. george graves

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by nando View Post
            Can you build a 2 liter M10 stroker? It would be way cheaper, the M10 is bullet proof and you could always run in on something like Megasquirt. If I'm not mistaken, the early 316i is carbureted?

            The N20, ehhh. It sounds like a tractor and has poor reliably. I guess 255hp would be fun, but a swap would probably not be so simple.
            Well, I would have to find some internals to make it, but sure, not that complicated.
            And yes it is carburated as I said in the original post. I'd have to source a kit to find the correct wiring and sensors to make it doable for Megasquirt.
            I like your idea very much.

            That N20, hmm, shame, sounded very promising.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by TobyB View Post
              Bummer, i was going to suggest Honda F20C with its transmission.

              There has been some chatter on other BMW forums (2002faq, a while ago)
              about the latest 4 cylinder engines. There are several serious challenges that boil
              down to pretty much:

              Packaging- getting all that PLUMBING to fit is not trivial.

              Control- convincing all the electronics to work has not, as far as I've seen, been done
              yet on a scale that would be posting on a bulletin board. Convincing the
              ECU to let the engine start takes a LOT of conditions now, and meeting those conditions
              in a different chassis will be a lot of work.

              I'd say it's about a 9 banana job, on a scale of one to 5...

              ...and I'd guess it'll be a few more years before the control systems are hacked far enough
              for us mere mortals to stand a chance of getting one going 'with some help from the internet'.

              <edit>
              I agree with Nando- build a relatively high- compression 2 liter M10 and inject it. I don't expect you have
              to meet stringent smog, but even if you do, you can hide a LOT of modern electronics inside the
              M10B18 injection system. 150 hp and 140 ft/lbs isn't hard. Then there's always a turrrbooooooo...

              just my take,
              t
              I find your thoughts and Nando's very... arousing.
              But getting back to serious thoughts and the ecu part, I totally agree that it is pretty much impossible at the moment to get these new engines to start and THEN work properly.
              Liked your banana scale too xd.
              You know M10's are cheap too, maybe I could find an already injected 2 liter, then start modding it out of the car, while I daily drive what I have, test that turbo idea...:devil:
              Sounds like a dope party!
              Or we could just keep what we have and use the very well maintained M10B18 right here, huh
              I remember I saw kit about making the M10 injected, it had manyyyyy parts tho, but then again that was probably to make it with factory ecu? I think
              So Megasquirt might need different stuff to make it happen, hmm
              Seriously my pulse is rising right now

              Comment


                #8
                There's also the dual weber setup, 1200$ I think pretty good and offers roughly 10hp over mototronic. My friend has a e21 with a 2.1L and it sounds nice and it's quick.

                Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
                91' 318is 90' 325is

                Originally posted by Sonny
                Buy the E30s, they ain't gonna last long
                E30 can make you, E30 can break you
                "He who controls the Nova's, controls the Boomers"

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Motheye99 View Post
                  There's also the dual weber setup, 1200$ I think pretty good and offers roughly 10hp over mototronic. My friend has a e21 with a 2.1L and it sounds nice and it's quick.

                  Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
                  Honestly I think fuel injection has wayy more upsides and more control than this setup.
                  Maybe I'm a little pessimistic because I cannot touch anything on the Pierburg I have right now.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    What about M42? Seems about as easy as possible for a more modern 4.

                    My first Bimmer was a 92 318i vert. The M42 + 5-sp was FUN!
                    1992 325i 'vert
                    1988 320i Touring
                    1977 530i
                    2015 328i - Euro Delivery/Performance Center Delivery
                    2001 325i - R.I.P.
                    BMWCCA
                    E30CCA

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by cory58 View Post
                      What about M42? Seems about as easy as possible for a more modern 4.

                      My first Bimmer was a 92 318i vert. The M42 + 5-sp was FUN!
                      It's DOHC too, huh. I don't know really, I'll look into it, TBH I'm looking for something north of 200hp, and I understand that means some mods are to be done. I'll have to see what kind of projects have been done with the M42 see what kind of power it's capable of, you never know.
                      Thanks! I'll look into it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        An M42 isn't that much better than an M10, and it costs way more to rebuild - not only are the parts more expensive, but you have twice as many of them. While the M10 is indestructible, the M42 has a number of issues that are expensive to repair. You could probably build a whole M10 for what the M42 timing chain & rails cost alone..
                        Build thread

                        Bimmerlabs

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by nando View Post
                          An M42 isn't that much better than an M10, and it costs way more to rebuild - not only are the parts more expensive, but you have twice as many of them. While the M10 is indestructible, the M42 has a number of issues that are expensive to repair. You could probably build a whole M10 for what the M42 timing chain & rails cost alone..
                          Did some mild searching, looks like with turbo you can get pretty much the same results with M10 probably, depending if you wish to push the boost high enough.
                          Here's the M42 thread, interesting builds:
                          https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=224803
                          I do believe I agree with Nando that M10 will be cheaper and can take more abuse. Plus it's simpler and which makes it easier to troubleshoot.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by hozzziii View Post
                            It's DOHC too, huh. I don't know really, I'll look into it, TBH I'm looking for something north of 200hp, and I understand that means some mods are to be done. I'll have to see what kind of projects have been done with the M42 see what kind of power it's capable of, you never know.
                            Thanks! I'll look into it.



                            Sorry - thought you wanted fuel injection, but I missed the 200 hp.
                            1992 325i 'vert
                            1988 320i Touring
                            1977 530i
                            2015 328i - Euro Delivery/Performance Center Delivery
                            2001 325i - R.I.P.
                            BMWCCA
                            E30CCA

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I know it's not a bmw engine but I always thought a Lil ecoboost 4 cyl would do great in these cars.

                              I know they came in rwd on mustangs too and you can buy kits from Ford to make it run in pretty much anything.

                              Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk

                              Comment

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