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noob prepping for an e30 ls swap...

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    noob prepping for an e30 ls swap...

    I've convinced myself that my next project is going to be an e30 with an ls motor, so I've come to the pros for tips :). I am starting from zero (no car, no motor) but my goal is to build a clean, correctly done e30 non-convertible coupe/sedan that still has some manners. For that reason I plan on keeping heat + power steering.I'm still not sure what my options are on brakes. Like most folks, I'd like to keep costs down where possible, but I also want to do this the right way. I'm comfortable DIYing things, but both of these platforms are brand new to me.

    I've spent awhile running around the internet trying to gather all the info I can, but I'm still questioning a few things. I see references to "Garrett's guide", which appears to have been a CD that was being sold awhile back, but it looks like that isn't the case anymore? Are there alternatives out there? This swap has been done so often, it seems like there would be a nice checklist/tutorial out there, I just haven't found it (yet).

    Opinions on the following for this kind of swap?:
    - lq motor from the junkyard with a refresh
    - ecu/wiring from motor above
    - T56 transmission (any other good manual options?)
    - f-body/"car" accessories for the lq
    - Sikky mounts
    - Sikky oil pan


    Am I going at this the right way?
    For those of you that have done this, any lessons learned you'd like to share?
    Should I just pony up the money and go all in on a Sikky kit?
    Do I really need an e36 steering rack?
    Is going with a manual brake setup really the best option?
    Am I just a jackass and am making this more complex than it is?

    Thanks all, now back to more reading...

    #2
    I think the Sikky kit is worth going in for but im also a nub that hasnt done it and cant fab anything at all....
    85% of the time i have no idea what I'm doing

    Comment


      #3
      I've not seen it in an E30 yet, so it might not even work, but a lot of people have been using Nissan CD009 transmissions with a bellhousing adapter instead of T56's.

      Not sure why anyone would keep the E30 steering rack, it's junk.

      Best option on brakes is whatever you can afford. I'm running the E34 V8 remote mount brake booster in my swap, but that can get pretty pricey, and isn't a direct bolt on.

      I'm doing a Ford 302, so can't really pitch in much on LS specific questions. The Sikky stuff looks really nice though, and they have a video series on the swap that might help you.

      Comment


        #4
        Start with an aluminum block engine, a true LS. The E30 doesn't need the weight of the iron block truck engines. Yes it is a significant difference. Yes a 302 is far lighter in comparison.
        @turbovarg
        '91 318is, M20B25, T3/T04E 60 trim (18psi), megasquirt, coilovers, Z3 rack, cold AC
        [b u i l d]
        [Car of the month: April 2018]

        0c8b7c9527af628a346878feb14bf757

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          #5
          You can find an aluminum 5.3 for a fraction of an LS engine. If you have the time and space I'd recommend buying a complete donor vehicle and parting out what you don't need.
          If you plan on using DBC then make sure you find an ecu that can support it. Otherwise you'll have to find a throttle body and ECU. If DBW make sure you get the pedal and control module.

          A swap can be done for a lot or a little... just depends on your capabilities and time frame.

          Welcome to the rabbit hole.
          1988 Super E - RIP
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            #6
            Gonna be devil's advocate here, but if you don't have an e30 already then just LS swap an e36. Will be cheaper and easier, BBK is simple by doing an e46 disc and calliper swap, buy a silky kit & throw it all in. e36s can be had for peanuts now & junk yards are full of them just like e30s a decade or so ago.
            My e30: OEM+ with M30B35

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks all, I appreciate the feedback. While the e36s are nice, I'm a sucker for the e30 styling :).

              Anything that those of you who have completed the swap would offer up to someone starting down this path?

              Comment


                #8
                I completely agree with the E36 idea but if you really want to jump in on this then more power to you (brake booster alone would convince me). Sikky everything is honestly the way to go unless you want to be the first to try the CX racing kit. I have not seen or heard of anyone on here running that kit but price point is appealing. I know everyone says an ls swap is going to cost 10k plus and you want to say you don't see how (I did the same thing) but my buddy is building one right now and keeping tabs on costs and I can tell you I am over 10k by quite a bit since I have bought every part he has bought and then some. It is definitely a journey but running the sikky kit will get the car done way faster than any other setup I feel and they have video tutorials online for the process.
                1989 325i LS Swap (Money Pit):https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=244933
                COTM Feb 2019: https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=428404

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Pootis View Post
                  I completely agree with the E36 idea but if you really want to jump in on this then more power to you (brake booster alone would convince me). Sikky everything is honestly the way to go unless you want to be the first to try the CX racing kit. I have not seen or heard of anyone on here running that kit but price point is appealing. I know everyone says an ls swap is going to cost 10k plus and you want to say you don't see how (I did the same thing) but my buddy is building one right now and keeping tabs on costs and I can tell you I am over 10k by quite a bit since I have bought every part he has bought and then some. It is definitely a journey but running the sikky kit will get the car done way faster than any other setup I feel and they have video tutorials online for the process.
                  Appreciate the honesty :). I'm an n54/55 guy, so these motors are all new to me. I see the m5x/s5x are popular swaps, are people getting the same kind of performance out of those motors compared to an ls? I've got my 2xxHP daily driver already (an e61), now I want my weekend toy haha.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I love the E30 platform, but I think Pootis is spot on. V8 swap in an E30 is a lot of work compared to an E36. You also get a better rear end setup with the E36 (unless you go 318ti, but just... don't).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by esell View Post

                      Appreciate the honesty :). I'm an n54/55 guy, so these motors are all new to me. I see the m5x/s5x are popular swaps, are people getting the same kind of performance out of those motors compared to an ls? I've got my 2xxHP daily driver already (an e61), now I want my weekend toy haha.
                      If you are just looking for 200+hp turbo the M20 or swap in a M30/M52 and turbo those. Itll be less money and work than fabbing up V8 stuff
                      85% of the time i have no idea what I'm doing

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by esell View Post

                        Appreciate the honesty :). I'm an n54/55 guy, so these motors are all new to me. I see the m5x/s5x are popular swaps, are people getting the same kind of performance out of those motors compared to an ls? I've got my 2xxHP daily driver already (an e61), now I want my weekend toy haha.
                        Same kind of performance no unless you are running a turbo or supercharger. But at the end of the day if I could go back in time I'm not sure I would do an ls swap again I would do a big turbo m50. You could have an M50 swapped in and running in a weekend. No way you could do that with an ls at least not your first one.
                        1989 325i LS Swap (Money Pit):https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=244933
                        COTM Feb 2019: https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=428404

                        Comment


                          #13
                          you guys suck haha. i spent half the day looking at m50 turbo setups and now i have no idea what i want :)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you like low end grunt, and a car that will accelerate uphill from 1000 RPM in 5th gear, giving zero fucks the whole while, build a V8. If you like to rev a gutless wonder more and live for that turbo kick in the mid-range, build a turbo car.
                            Last edited by The Dark Side of Will; 02-10-2020, 12:36 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If you're going LS,
                              Don't pay for the Sikky Mounts.
                              Buy some from this guy Alex Volkman. $275 shipped, plus I paid $50 for some poly bushings from AKG:
                              https://www.akgmotorsport.com/produc...IFvQGWeMRUHnfE

                              I'm pretty sure he's on here, but his instagram is here.
                              I just ordered a set. He said they'll be here in 7-10 days, and I've seen a lot of guys praising his work on the BMW LS Swap Group (which you should definitely join)

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                              Also, I opted for the Canton Racing 15-276 Pan, which I found for $359 new on Ebay. Basically, avoid Sikky for a lot of stuff because it's overpriced (even though it's generally nice stuff). You can piece a lot of their stuff together, or go with alternative and just as functional options for much cheaper. For instance, I have everything I need for an oil filter relocation kit with AN lines/fittings and it cost me $70 vs $174 because I pieced it together myself.

                              Save money where you can, but understand it's an expensive goddamn project. You get nickeled and dimed to death by a lot of the small stuff, and you've gotta be careful about mission creep.
                              91 318i LS Swap In Progress - Build Thread

                              Divided Being Motorsports - Youtube Channel / Build Log

                              www.dividedbeing.com

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