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Volvo 5 Cylinder in an E30

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    Volvo 5 Cylinder in an E30

    Ok put away the pitchforks, yes I'm swapping a Volvo 5 cylinder into my fairly clean 1988 320i touring, but the number 1 goal for this build is NO CUTTING OF THE CAR.

    A little background, I've had this car since 2016, it's a pretty rust free 320i 5 speed LHD with AC. Really all I had done to it prior to starting the swap was drive it. The little M20B20, while slow, sounds sooooo good so it was totally fine as a nice reliable daily.

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    Fast forward to a few months ago, I started getting the itch to mod this thing. I had always loved a good turbo 5 cylinder but none of the cars they come in really do anything for me. I started doing research on the two accessible options, the Volvo whiteblock and the VW 07K.

    In the end the volvo would win due to a much easier oil pickup situation, lighter weight, and factory turbo models meaning no need to source an exhaust manifold. Yes the 07K can make way more power with less effort, but I don't want more than 400hp max so the volvo fits the bill.

    Half off day came around at the local U pull so I snagged this B5234T3 out of a 2002 S60 T5 for $250.

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    This is maybe the second most desirable 5 cyl volvo behind the newer 2005ish S60T5 engine. It's got the 81mm bore for additional wall thickness and long rods but it's just a 2.3L vs the better 2.4L later engine. These are still known to take 400+ hp pretty easy once you install some china H beam rods.

    Goodbye old friend

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    So there are some minor complications with this swap. Number one is the oil pan situation. These engines are a common swap into Volvo 240's which work well with a rear sump.

    The trick there is to find an oil pan from the only factory RWD whiteblock, the volvo 960. It is acutally a 6 cyl but the modular nature of these engines means that you can cut 91mm out of the middle of that pan, weld it together and you now have a nice rear sump rwd 5 cyl pan.

    As we all know the e30 does not like rear sump. the solution is to treat it kinda like an S54 swap, custom subframe and move the sway bar to the front. Sooo I got to work on those.
    1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
    1988 320i Touring

    #2
    I Found a 960 pan and made a circular saw guide for nice straight cuts. I also bought a second main girdle to use as a fixture.

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    Welding a 25 year old used cast aluminum pan was fun... Next was the subframe.
    1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
    1988 320i Touring

    Comment


      #3
      Hey, at least it's not a turbo four banger!
      Current Collection: 1990 325is // 1987 325i Vert // 2003 525i 5spd // 1985 380SL // 1992 Ranger 5spd // 2005 Avalanche // 2024 Honda Grom SP

      Comment


        #4
        Keeping with the "dont cut the car" theme, I found a spare subframe out of a mint 318i sedan that some absolute pinecone sold to the u pull and pay. It was a sad sight but luckily it got totally stripped within days so the parts will live on.

        I made a jig using the subframe first so that I could keep the stock steering geometry.

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        Then bust out the sawzall

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        And connect the dots

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        I will reinforce the engine mounts later, easier to just buy a kit for that than make them by hand.

        The pan still needed a notch but not terrible.

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        Last edited by Steve o 77; 03-02-2023, 04:16 PM.
        1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
        1988 320i Touring

        Comment


          #5
          I guess it's time to talk about the transmission. I debated this quite a bit and finally landed on just using the absolutely beefcake GS6-53bz from a 535i. Reasoning for this was it has great ratios, its new, super beef and a stock 5 series diesel clutch can hold all the power I'll ever make while feeling stock.

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          sorry worst photo ever of the trans mount. I ended up using a stock e30 mount modified to fit with custom brackets bolted to the trans. Driveshaft is from a 328ix and is actually very slightly too short so I will probably just get a 335i shaft shortened for this application.

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          I hate looking at those poor headlights, they've looked like this since I bought the car and have a projector conversion with the worlds strongest glue holding them together so I cant open them up for cleaning. Oh well just another thing to fix later haha.
          1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
          1988 320i Touring

          Comment


            #6
            Following this is going to be awesome! I want a P2 v70r m66 for a daily badly

            Comment


              #7
              Next was engine mounts (actually I did the engine mounts prior to the trans so this is out of order.

              I was suuuuuper meticulous about drivetrain position and alignment. I got the output pointed at the CSB within like 1/16" and the drivetrain at the same angle as the M20 within 0.2* or so, should run nice and smooth. There is also about 0.5" of room above the timing cover to the hood. I was also able to jam that giant trans in the tunnel with no pounding or cutting, I did have to remove some of the factory firewall insulation which was absolutely falling apart anyway so no harm there.

              This engine being made for FWD doesn't have any great places for RWD mounts. I used these huge 0.25" plates to grab as many bolt bosses as possible and will trim the plates down later to cut some weight.

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              Also ended up keeping the e30 brake booster and trimming the intake manifold a bit.

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              I'll post up some more later. The car isn't currently running quite yet but it's coming along!
              1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
              1988 320i Touring

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MrBurgundy View Post
                Hey, at least it's not a turbo four banger!
                truth! Can't beat the noise of a good turbo 5 cyl imo.

                Originally posted by e30lover12 View Post
                Following this is going to be awesome! I want a P2 v70r m66 for a daily badly
                I love those cars, I just can't get with a FWD based AWD system. I know they're pretty good, but RWD is better haha
                1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                1988 320i Touring

                Comment


                  #9
                  What a wonderful start. My brother had a POS Volvo, but it had a turbo 5 and it would scoot... cluster didnt work, windows had a mind of their own, volume knob was possessed but the car would haul. One oft he best POS cars Ive driven because of the motor
                  Simon
                  Current Cars:
                  -1999 996.1 911 4/98 3.8L 6-Speed, 21st Century Beetle

                  Make R3V Great Again -2020

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                    What a wonderful start. My brother had a POS Volvo, but it had a turbo 5 and it would scoot... cluster didnt work, windows had a mind of their own, volume knob was possessed but the car would haul. One oft he best POS cars Ive driven because of the motor
                    Haha sounds about right. These things are everywhere in our local junkyards. Makes finding parts nice and easy.
                    1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                    1988 320i Touring

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I love the whiteblock volvo stuff. It's ridiculously fun. Really nice job on the mounts/xmember/oil pan! What intake are you using? Standalone or stock volvo ecu?
                      I swapped a ratty '84 318 a bit ago as a test bed. My girlfriend really wanted the volvo engine for her e30truck but I just haven't gotten around to moving it over yet.
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                      84 325e - 91 325i - 92 318 touring - 91 Trans Am - 01 S4 avant - 03 S-type R - 96 F350
                      Manual swap all the things!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by iansane View Post
                        I love the whiteblock volvo stuff. It's ridiculously fun. Really nice job on the mounts/xmember/oil pan! What intake are you using? Standalone or stock volvo ecu?
                        I swapped a ratty '84 318 a bit ago as a test bed. My girlfriend really wanted the volvo engine for her e30truck but I just haven't gotten around to moving it over yet.
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                        Thanks! Glad to see another one running around!

                        intake will be a custom air box of some sort, I’m running a borg Warner Efr 7163 on this thing so the intake system is all custom. Ecu is a maxxecu race.

                        Edit: just realized you probably meant intake manifold, I'm using the stock RN manifold for now, I've heard its not the best but if the car makes 350ish whp with it ill be happy enough.
                        Last edited by Steve o 77; 03-02-2023, 03:37 PM.
                        1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                        1988 320i Touring

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Turbo!

                          This is where the budget got a little out of hand but it'll be worth it. That's a Borg Warner EFR 7163 V band inlet. The stock manifold places the turbo too far back to fit this thing so I made an up pipe for it.

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                          1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                          1988 320i Touring

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Next the engine came back out for some final fab work and to be torn down for the H beam rod install.

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                            You can see the volvo 960 water pipe setup here, it still needs more mods to feed water to the turbo, but it's awesome how perfect the rad hoses line up with this swap.

                            Next oil feed and return, all hard line.

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                            the oil drain might be a little close to the up pipe? Not sure it really matters with it being metal but I may re-make that piece.
                            1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                            1988 320i Touring

                            Comment


                              #15
                              So this engine has 2 weak points, the cooked noodle con rods and the machined grooves between the cylinders. The latter is a highly debated topic but the general consensus is this 81mm bore engine is actually pretty strong (the 83mm bore found in the R models among others is known to crack cylinder walls).

                              So the engine was torn down. I will be re-using all the bearings, pistons, and rings because I'm cheap, these motors are cheap, and they look good enough to me haha.
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                              The con rod issue was solved with a trip to alibaba for some of China's finest H beam rods, proven by the swedes to hold insane power.

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                              And just because it's easy to do now, I opted to "shim" the block. There is debate as to whether or not this actually does anything, but it's easy and very cheap (the cost of 4 sets of harbor freight feeler gauge sets for the 0.035" shim material)

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                              Now just waiting on parts to re-assemble the engine!
                              1987 325es - Turbo Build - http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=379110
                              1988 320i Touring

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