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Which of these 3 engines would you choose for a swap? M54, M42/M44 stroker, or S14

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    Which of these 3 engines would you choose for a swap? M54, M42/M44 stroker, or S14

    If you were going to swap one of these engines into an E30 which would you choose? Would your decision be different if cost was not a factor? Which would make you smile the most behind the wheel? All 3 produce similar peak power (200+ HP), but each has a little different characteristics and they have their own pros and cons.

    1. M54b30 (stock)

    2. M42/M44 2.1 stroker (e.g. Metric Mechanic 2100 Rally)

    3. S14 (stock)
    73
    M54b30
    69.86%
    51
    M42/M44 2.1 stroker
    17.81%
    13
    S14
    12.33%
    9
    Plug and Play Wiring Harness Adapters for S54, S50, M54 and more.

    #2
    If the S14 was a B25 variant, the choice would be simple.

    M54.
    Autobahn Motorsport - Portland, Oregon
    @autobahnmotorsport
    '88 M5 | '88 535i | '88 325i | '88 325is | '88 330is | '91 325is | '91 M-Technic 325ic | '93 740il | '03 530i

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      #3
      M54, hands down.

      TORQUEEEEEE BRO
      Originally posted by wholepailofwater
      Q
      :devil:


      WTB: Dove Grey e36 Front Door Panels (2 door)

      Comment


        #4
        S14 if cost no object.
        M4x stroker for budget handling.
        M54 for daily driver grunt - no other engine on this list will happily cruise on the highway with tall gearing and an overdrive.
        2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD LBZ/Allison
        2002 BMW M3 Alpinweiß/Black
        1999 323i GTS2 Alpinweiß
        1995 M3 Dakargelb/Black
        - S50B32/S6S420G/3.91
        1990 325is Brilliantrot/Tan
        1989 M3 Alpinweiß/Black

        Hers: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo Black/Black
        Hers: 1988 325iX Coupe Diamantschwartz/Black 5spd

        sigpic

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          #5
          Why is this a question

          I paid 250$ for a junkyard m54. So that's 50-100x's less than a s14. The E34 oil pan is going to cost me as much :(. I have a m42 and spent a year reading on what it would take to make 200hp and it costs tons, and weighs marginally less than a M54.
          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


            #6
            Depending on the purpose of the car and assuming this will primarily be a street car...I would go with the latest, most modern engine M54B30 as it checks all of the boxes and makes 230HP right out of the box.
            "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

            85 323i M TECH 1 S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZE
            88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/SCHWARZE
            89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/M TECH CLOTH-ALCANTARA
            91 M TECHNIC CABRIO TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH CLOTH-LEATHER

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by nrubenstein View Post
              S14 if cost no object.
              M4x stroker for budget handling.
              M54 for daily driver grunt - no other engine on this list will happily cruise on the highway with tall gearing and an overdrive.


              ? I keep on hearing about this..my 2.7I does wonderfully with the 2.93 LSD and has less power than all those.. (maybe combined due to age hahah)


              80mph at 2300-2400 rpms with plenty to go

              Comment


                #8
                Have S14 in E30 MTech Cabrio. Choice made.
                Jimmy P.
                87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Garage Queen
                88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - SCCA SPU #98
                92 M Technic Cabrio - S14 Powered!
                98 318Ti Morea Green
                04 325i Touring Alpine
                04 Ford F350 Dually Tow Machine

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Motheye99 View Post
                  Why is this a question

                  I paid 250$ for a junkyard m54. So that's 50-100x's less than a s14. The E34 oil pan is going to cost me as much :(. I have a m42 and spent a year reading on what it would take to make 200hp and it costs tons, and weighs marginally less than a M54.
                  That's a good deal. Most junkyard engines that cheap are high mileage though. I paid about $1500 with shipping for one with 30k miles for the Land Rover last year.
                  Plug and Play Wiring Harness Adapters for S54, S50, M54 and more.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JimmyP View Post
                    Have S14 in E30 MTech Cabrio. Choice made.
                    That's sweet. I'd like one of those if I could find a fairly good deal. It looks like the going rate for a worn out engine is about $11k on S14.net, which is just silly. Here's one with 74k miles that was advertised for £2,990 in the UK last fall, so I guess it's still possible to find a deal.

                    https://www.gumtree.com/p/car-replac...ete/1316051275
                    Plug and Play Wiring Harness Adapters for S54, S50, M54 and more.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Who is paying?

                      Me paying - the cheapest choice, someone else paying: the most expensive choice.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It depends on what car you have. If you already have a 318is or 318i with the m42 then I think the obvious choice is to simply build the stroker out of it. Personally I would never swap any 6 cylinder into a 318is or 318i. Swapping in a s14 is stupid expensive.

                        I'm no longer keen on m54 swaps because of the drive by wire conversion you have do.

                        If starting with an eta I'd just leave it alone except for a chip and 325i exhaust.

                        But if money was no object and I had a 325i, I'd build the m20 with roller rockers, modified head, forged 81mm crank, custom rods and pistons, itbs, and some fancy ignition and ecu.
                        My Feedback

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by e30strokr View Post
                          ? I keep on hearing about this..my 2.7I does wonderfully with the 2.93 LSD and has less power than all those.. (maybe combined due to age hahah)


                          80mph at 2300-2400 rpms with plenty to go
                          Your 2.7 makes great torque down low - basically cruising on the highway is what an eta is for. An M54+6spd will get you that and a lot more.
                          2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD LBZ/Allison
                          2002 BMW M3 Alpinweiß/Black
                          1999 323i GTS2 Alpinweiß
                          1995 M3 Dakargelb/Black
                          - S50B32/S6S420G/3.91
                          1990 325is Brilliantrot/Tan
                          1989 M3 Alpinweiß/Black

                          Hers: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo Black/Black
                          Hers: 1988 325iX Coupe Diamantschwartz/Black 5spd

                          sigpic

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Can an M54 be persuaded to make 250whp without forced induction or monumental cost? If so I vote M54. M42s suck (had one), S14s are too expensive for what you get. Personally I don't see any point in doing an engine swap for less than 250 naturally aspirated whp, since any stock E30 engine can easily make 250whp with a turbo. An aluminum I6 is the best possible BMW engine to put in an E30, you keep the smoothness of an I6 without the weight of the iron block DOHC motors. If you're only wanting 200hp, M54 is the easy choice and probably the cheapest. You can avoid the drive by wire and OBD junk with a cable actuated throttle body and aftermarket EMS.
                            @turbovarg
                            '91 318is, M20B25, T3/T04E 60 trim (15psi), megasquirt, coilovers, Z3 rack, cold AC
                            [b u i l d]
                            [Car of the month: April 2018]

                            0c8b7c9527af628a346878feb14bf757

                            Comment


                              #15
                              D: n52


                              and wtf you forgot
                              E: Rob
                              Build Threads:
                              Pamela/Bella/Betty/325ix/5-Lug Seta/S60R/Miata ITB/Miata Turbo/Miata VVT/951/325xi-6

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