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Zephyr's 318is M52 Swap

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    Zephyr's 318is M52 Swap

    Last fall I finally saved up enough and bought an E30! I found her up in Vancouver and the drive back was fantastic, plus I got the sweet currency conversion.

    The car has a lot of problems, mainly some rust from whistler roads. I love the M42 and it is great once you get it up in revs, and has especially perfect weight distribution, but low end torque is lacking… Now that I’ve replaced a few panels, the windshield, water pump, oil and oil filter, rebuilt repainted bled and replaced brake pads, I’ve been dreaming about an engine swap. But as a poor student, everything was pretty much off the table, Until Now!

    Just last night I saw an advertisement on craigslist for an M52 and some other random parts, listed for free! This clearly means some higher power means for me to achieve higher power, so I immediately picked up the engine. It’s missing some stuff, but the man who gave it to me had to move soon and was super nice, he even let me have a ZF tranny and some random e30 parts he had lying around.

    I know this swap won’t be very unique, but I’d still like to share, and I know I can use some advice as I progress!

    Here are some photos before the work gets started:

    yay for free parts! best of luck with the swap
    RHD OBD2 M50b25 turbo build thread:


      Very cool! Subscribed. Perhaps one day I'll do a similar swap.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


        Thanks guys!

        Lots of work has been done on the car in the last few months! Most of it's relatively mundane, including replacement of the chain tensioner and water pump, and installed a pair of rogue engineering RSMs. Recently took off and cleaned the head, getting ready for a new head gasket.

        For the drive train I'm currently thinking M20 starter, flywheel and clutch in a zf with stock shift linkage and 325e driveshaft to a medium case lsd, hopefully 3.73 in a 4 lug rear.. ?

        Tracked down a couple parts at the local junkyard and from fellow enthusiasts :D

        Time for a new windshield...

        That's better:

        DIY'd a pulled to switch a wheel bearing and ended up snapping bolts, sockets, and bending 8th inch steel plate, but now the noise it gone

        Hit a huge bump so I lost some oil...

        Put on a skid plate so hopefully this won't happen again.

        Finally tried my hand at some body work, the clear coat could have been better but all things considered I think it came out pretty well!


          Cool build, I like the hela's on the front bumper!
          Instagram : makeitsnap

          1985 e28 520i


            Originally posted by bostonvert View Post
            Cool build, I like the hela's on the front bumper!
            Thanks man, but I'm sorry to say they'll soon be gone, in the middle of sanding, filling, and repainting the bumpers now... Just not going for the rally look. If anyone's looking for a good set of Hellas let me know...


              Done with the rattle can'd hood and dented fender, repainted the bumper too while I was at it, very happy with the results, although I think the clear coat on the hood is a bit blurred.

              Smoothed it out a bit..


              Paint from, very nice product:

              And the fender.

              Nice and shiny after clearcoat:

              Still working on fitment, but overall pretty decent.

              I recently tracked down a 24V exhaust setup but am struggling with the vanos and engine timing.