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Old 02-24-2013, 11:36 AM   #1
Sharino
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Thinking of cancelling my S38 swap

Help R3V knock some sense into my either way!

I have a E30 S38 project going on for a few years now on the back burner. Having too many cars and projects, this never go the attention it needs. This last year I have built a high HP VRT Corrado, swapped engines in my E39 M5 (stock), done tons of resto/suspension work on my E34 M5, few engine swaps for friends, etc. This leaves my E30 never getting completed due to time.

I got the S38 in the car currently, the electrical done, can start it up but still need to finish a complete cooling system, build a driveshaft, deal with hood closing issues (have a 20mm subframe spacer) and deal with brakes.

To be honest, at this point I just want to pull the engine out, drop a S52 in there and be done with it, whatever gets me driving the car quickly, I have done a S52 swap in a E30 in a weekend before. I bought ground controls almost 2 years ago already, they are installed but the car has never moved! All new parts for a 5 lug E36 swap, E36 M3 brakes, etc, sitting there wasted.

I have a friend that wants my S38 for his E24, so I am sure selling it and buying an S52 would not cost me anything.

Am I nuts for wanted to get rid of the S38 and go to a S52? Only other option is S54 which is another layer of complexity I do not have the time/ambition to deal with. I am currently looking for a euro S50 which I think would be my ultimate answer at this point.

Thoughts?
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Last edited by Sharino; 02-24-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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Lots of s50/s52 e30s out there. Not too many S38s so i vote keeping it. Fantastic engine!


The s50/52 does make more sense, however. Particularly euro version.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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Lots of s50/s52 e30s out there. Not too many S38s so i vote keeping it. Fantastic engine!
Agreed. S38 E30 is an amazing thing!
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #4
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After having gotten to drive my car swapped , it is a ton of fun, but its also an expensive swap and an S50 swap would have had me driving the car 2 years ago. For bang for the buck, S50 would be best. For a really different and rare car , S38. Also an S38 NA would out pace an S50 swap all day, but for how cheap turbo kits are for the S50/M50 engines it wouldn't be hard to turn the S50 into 400 hp easily. It's all in what you want, I love the ballsy feel of the torque and rush of acceleration, but its also heavier , and more expensive to maintain. But you do already have the motor in and installed. If you are looking for funds to finish the car , then I would sell it , buy the S50 and get the car driving to enjoy it. If you are just hurting for time, wouldn't taking the whole motor out and swapping in another be that much more difficult than installing some subframe spacers and getting a driveshaft done ? I had my driveshaft made by a semi-mechanic near my work, fantastic work and under $500 I believe. Just need the flange to the trans and rear half shaft and they made it and balanced everything for me.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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So you have the engine in and running, and want to pull it back out? come on man, finish it up, s38 e30 is a wonderful and mythical beast.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #6
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s38 e30 is a wonderful and mythical beast.



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Old 02-25-2013, 02:19 PM   #7
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it shits rainbows out of the exhaust as you do donuts around lesser e30s!
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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As M5W mentioned.. CORRECTLY,, the S38 is rare in the E30 world..
it is also an expensive,, swap,, not a.. JUST LIKE M30,, as many thinks,
The engine,,incl airbox etc is huge in size,, but this is not MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

keep on in a positive way ,, and you will be pleased
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #9
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ok, maybe I will keep going at it, its not a funds thing, more a time thing, I really miss driving an E30 (I daily a E34 M5 and E39 M5) shows you how much I love E30s and want to get back into the drivers seat asap.

M5W, I have the subframe spacers in (20mm), but believe it or not, I am still tight for room closing my hood, I cannot cut down the delrin motor mounts I have anymore without hitting the oilpan into the subframe.

Another problem is the rad, I had this great idea to fit one inside the rad support, measure it out, figure I would get a custom one made extra thick core to make up for size difference (I think Alpina guy above did the same if I recall) but then hooking up the S38 oil cooler gets in the way of everything with the oil lines, I am sure I can move it somewhere else and get some custom lines figured out.

Last main issue is the brake booster, I have a M5 booster but I have no idea how you guys get it to fit! Mine does not even look possible with the stock plenum. I was thinking of dumping the booster all together and I believe there is a guy on here selling the wilwood pedals and custom adapter but I am curious how driving that will be like, as well we have local safety inspections and no idea if it was pass with a power brake delete!

Driveshaft doesn't concern me to much, I have a dozen various shafts for E30/E34/E32/E36 and I am sure I can make a combination work with the help from a local shop. Just leaving that till the end. Another option is DSS said they would make me a custom one if I sent them the measurements.

I am just getting frustrated and want to drive the car I guess. I apologize for the rant, just my laziness to get it done is to blame!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sharino View Post
ok, maybe I will keep going at it, its not a funds thing, more a time thing, I really miss driving an E30 (I daily a E34 M5 and E39 M5) shows you how much I love E30s and want to get back into the drivers seat asap.

M5W, I have the subframe spacers in (20mm), but believe it or not, I am still tight for room closing my hood, I cannot cut down the delrin motor mounts I have anymore without hitting the oilpan into the subframe.

Another problem is the rad, I had this great idea to fit one inside the rad support, measure it out, figure I would get a custom one made extra thick core to make up for size difference (I think Alpina guy above did the same if I recall) but then hooking up the S38 oil cooler gets in the way of everything with the oil lines, I am sure I can move it somewhere else and get some custom lines figured out.

Last main issue is the brake booster, I have a M5 booster but I have no idea how you guys get it to fit! Mine does not even look possible with the stock plenum. I was thinking of dumping the booster all together and I believe there is a guy on here selling the wilwood pedals and custom adapter but I am curious how driving that will be like, as well we have local safety inspections and no idea if it was pass with a power brake delete!

Driveshaft doesn't concern me to much, I have a dozen various shafts for E30/E34/E32/E36 and I am sure I can make a combination work with the help from a local shop. Just leaving that till the end. Another option is DSS said they would make me a custom one if I sent them the measurements.

I am just getting frustrated and want to drive the car I guess. I apologize for the rant, just my laziness to get it done is to blame!
What part of the engine is hitting the hood, the front end of the plenum? Do you have the transmission installed yet? If not, generally that will lower the angle of the engine slightly and may correct your issue. If not, you can space the hood up use a a few washers, otherwise you will need thicker subframe spacers.

For the cooling system, it is highly advised to switch to s38b35 pipes and tstat housing. My radiator is entirely inside the square where the AC fan and condenser were with the passenger inlet at the top and driver outlet at the bottom. I don't have an issue with the oil cooler lines but am using M3 oil cooler.

For the booster, again, it depends on where you engine is. If it is tight against the fire wall, it will be more difficult to fit the M5 booster but you can do it by filing down on the plenum where it hits the booster. The plenum is very thick so I think you can shave off a full 1cm on that corner. The M5 brake reservoir will not fit though and you'll need to relocate it. I recommend 2002 res because the hose size matches through into the MC, otherwise you'll be very annoyed with reducing hoses from the M5 or other reservoir.

For the driveshaft, again, it will depend on where your engine is. Mine is against the firewall so I had to remove 4.5" from it, and the same from the shift linkage.

I would also recommend fitting a engine temp gauge, not that it gets hot, but just to keep a more informed eye on it since the b36 is a step gauge and not true temp like the e30 cluster shows. So the e30 cluster is not an accurate picture of your exact temp as it is for the m20.

When it is all done, you will have a hard time wiping that smile off your face every time you nail it from 3,500rpm. However, it may still take more time and much more $ to work out all the reliability and drivability bugs such as more cooling issues (especially at idle), perfecting the intake and exhaust, losing engine bay weight for better balance, correcting your suspension geometry because of the subframe spacers, power steering pump conversion (assuming you are currently using the M5 sls pump), and getting enough grip in from the back tires.

Feel free to pm me if you have more specific questions, I would have probably given up without the tips and help of fellow unicorn tamers.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:21 AM   #11
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What part of the engine is hitting the hood, the front end of the plenum? Do you have the transmission installed yet? If not, generally that will lower the angle of the engine slightly and may correct your issue. If not, you can space the hood up use a a few washers, otherwise you will need thicker subframe spacers.

For the cooling system, it is highly advised to switch to s38b35 pipes and tstat housing. My radiator is entirely inside the square where the AC fan and condenser were with the passenger inlet at the top and driver outlet at the bottom. I don't have an issue with the oil cooler lines but am using M3 oil cooler.

For the booster, again, it depends on where you engine is. If it is tight against the fire wall, it will be more difficult to fit the M5 booster but you can do it by filing down on the plenum where it hits the booster. The plenum is very thick so I think you can shave off a full 1cm on that corner. The M5 brake reservoir will not fit though and you'll need to relocate it. I recommend 2002 res because the hose size matches through into the MC, otherwise you'll be very annoyed with reducing hoses from the M5 or other reservoir.

For the driveshaft, again, it will depend on where your engine is. Mine is against the firewall so I had to remove 4.5" from it, and the same from the shift linkage.

I would also recommend fitting a engine temp gauge, not that it gets hot, but just to keep a more informed eye on it since the b36 is a step gauge and not true temp like the e30 cluster shows. So the e30 cluster is not an accurate picture of your exact temp as it is for the m20.

When it is all done, you will have a hard time wiping that smile off your face every time you nail it from 3,500rpm. However, it may still take more time and much more $ to work out all the reliability and drivability bugs such as more cooling issues (especially at idle), perfecting the intake and exhaust, losing engine bay weight for better balance, correcting your suspension geometry because of the subframe spacers, power steering pump conversion (assuming you are currently using the M5 sls pump), and getting enough grip in from the back tires.

Feel free to pm me if you have more specific questions, I would have probably given up without the tips and help of fellow unicorn tamers.
Its the front of the engine that hits. I have a 265 installed, I saved the 280 as a backup for my E34. I thought the 265 would line up similar to how it does for the E30M3 so linkage should be good. I hope as I have not hooked up the linkage yet.

Any chance you can send me some pics of your radiator? I understand people do a B35 thermostat to increase room for a rad in the original E30 location, but the distributor is so huge, it gets in the way. I did find a used E28 M5 rad but I had no luck with that route. Plus the B35 thermostat pieces are so bloody expensive for what they are and impossible to find used, but if thats the way I need to go, so be it. It also involves me changing some other coolant routing from B36 to B35 correct, I was comparing diagrams to both systems and seems like a complete different routing?

For the booster, even without a master cylinder attached to it, looks way too tight, I might try redrilling some holes closer to the fender, did you move the MC location as well as grind away at the plenum?

BTW, I am using E30.de mounts, but I had to modify the passenger one as it was made for M30 and did not clear the header, I did not change the location though, just moved and grinder away/added a few brackets on that side.

For the SLS, I plan to rerun the one line that goes to the rear back into the reservoir, I did that many years ago on my E34 when I did a SLS delete and it works perfect.

I do plan to hookup as many guages as possible water temp/oil pressure, etc when I am done. Thanks for the offer for help via PM, I will probably take you up on that.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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Its the front of the engine that hits. I have a 265 installed, I saved the 280 as a backup for my E34. I thought the 265 would line up similar to how it does for the E30M3 so linkage should be good. I hope as I have not hooked up the linkage yet.

Unless your engine is as forward as possible, I do not think your shift linkage will line up well, or be centered anyway. I also am use the M3 transmission

Any chance you can send me some pics of your radiator? I understand people do a B35 thermostat to increase room for a rad in the original E30 location, but the distributor is so huge, it gets in the way. I did find a used E28 M5 rad but I had no luck with that route. Plus the B35 thermostat pieces are so bloody expensive for what they are and impossible to find used, but if thats the way I need to go, so be it. It also involves me changing some other coolant routing from B36 to B35 correct, I was comparing diagrams to both systems and seems like a complete different routing?

Yes, B35 cooling bits are very hard to find not cheap. I hunted for 6 months and finally got a full set on mye28.com and paid around $300. If you do switch to B35, it makes sense to use the m20 tank in the stock location, where as with the B36 setup, it is better to put the tank on the driver side. Besides being tider, the B35 systems also saves 8lb which may or may not matter depending on how hardcore you are about minimizing extra engine weight. This is the rad I am using: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/gri-2-26185-h

For the booster, even without a master cylinder attached to it, looks way too tight, I might try redrilling some holes closer to the fender, did you move the MC location as well as grind away at the plenum?

I removed the M5 booster's bracketing spacer and swapped the clevis for a 325iX one. I did not drill new holes or move the booster location. I shaved several MM off the bottom corner of the plenum so that I can remove the plenum without removing the booster.

BTW, I am using E30.de mounts, but I had to modify the passenger one as it was made for M30 and did not clear the header, I did not change the location though, just moved and grinder away/added a few brackets on that side.

For the SLS, I plan to rerun the one line that goes to the rear back into the reservoir, I did that many years ago on my E34 when I did a SLS delete and it works perfect.

Nice, I switched to 535i because it is much lighter and more compact

I do plan to hookup as many guages as possible water temp/oil pressure, etc when I am done. Thanks for the offer for help via PM, I will probably take you up on that.[/QUOTE]
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:18 PM   #13
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USE M20/325 oilcooler,,,,,, thats a must

And redrill or make the holes bigger for the brake-booster in your firewall
so the booster can be pushed/drawn as much as possible to the left,, it WILL FIT


POWERSTEERING PUMP... i took the pistons for SLS out of work,, so this works well
just have a look how it is connected



When installing the plenum,, a good solution is to have the engines mount free from the subframe,, jack it a little up,,,so it is easier to put the plenum on.. and thge slowly back,, anfd then you see if this fit or not



in my case the distance,,plenum / booster is 7-8mm
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:23 AM   #14
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Absolutely no reason to cancel now that you're this far in to it!
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:18 AM   #15
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Its the front of the engine that hits. I have a 265 installed, I saved the 280 as a backup for my E34. I thought the 265 would line up similar to how it does for the E30M3 so linkage should be good. I hope as I have not hooked up the linkage yet.

Use the M5 trans, it will fit the way it should. I'm using 300mm.de mounts as well, sitting as far back as possible. The trans linkage has to be shortened a bit but its centered and works perfect.

Any chance you can send me some pics of your radiator? I understand people do a B35 thermostat to increase room for a rad in the original E30 location, but the distributor is so huge, it gets in the way. I did find a used E28 M5 rad but I had no luck with that route. Plus the B35 thermostat pieces are so bloody expensive for what they are and impossible to find used, but if thats the way I need to go, so be it. It also involves me changing some other coolant routing from B36 to B35 correct, I was comparing diagrams to both systems and seems like a complete different routing?

I'm using the B35 thermostat , but i'm also running megasquirt with wasted spark so I don't have the issues with the distributor. i'm going to be running a Z3M rad ( S54 motor ) , I'll post up pics soon. This past summer I ran the e28 M535i rad and it wasn't always the easiest to keep cool sitting in traffic. On the road driving it was fine, cooled right down after moving. It never overheated on me, but It got hotter than I wanted it to. I made a plexiglass cover in front of the rad and mounted a pusher fan to it, made cooling it much better in traffic.

For the booster, even without a master cylinder attached to it, looks way too tight, I might try redrilling some holes closer to the fender, did you move the MC location as well as grind away at the plenum?

I'm running a Massive Brake Booster delete, works good, need to buy different pads thou. I'm running aggressive hawk pads and they don't heat up enough for gentle street driving, I really have to drive em hard to brake well, and then they squeel.

BTW, I am using E30.de mounts, but I had to modify the passenger one as it was made for M30 and did not clear the header, I did not change the location though, just moved and grinder away/added a few brackets on that side.

I modified mine as well so I could fit my stock headers without cutting them.

For the SLS, I plan to rerun the one line that goes to the rear back into the reservoir, I did that many years ago on my E34 when I did a SLS delete and it works perfect.

I'm using an electric ps pump from a toyota MR2, works good but loud , like bosch 044 pump loud. So i'm moving that to the trunk this winter.

I do plan to hookup as many guages as possible water temp/oil pressure, etc when I am done. Thanks for the offer for help via PM, I will probably take you up on that.
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