Which engine would you swap in?

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
Bachehbeemveh
Posts: 116
Joined: Dec 09, 2012 11:13 PM
Location: Maryland DC Virgnia

Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Bachehbeemveh »

I'm almost done getting my 944 together. So on to the e28 I have a 82 528e and honestly as much as the m20 is bullet proof its rather slow. I have acess to a M50 non vanos, a s50 and a m30b35. Personally I think the m50 is the best way to go it'll bring the car up to a modern set-up plus its cheaper then the s50, and it's not a dramatic loss in horsepower compared to the s50 like 10hp. I also really like the m30b35 engine i think setting up individual throttle bodies would be interesting 🤔
Mike W.
Posts: 24832
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Mike W. »

Good question. Easy, almost like spending someone elses money. :D

One correction though, a S50 is 240HP, a M50 is 189. Any engine with an S in front of it commands a premium, so if cost is a factor... To me a B35 would be easiest and nearly doubling HP, so a huge jump. But if I was considering an M50, I'd go with a M52. 2.8 displacement, nearly the same on paper HP as a m50, but due to torque much more engine. Performance numbers for E36s with M52s and S50s weren't all that far off. M50s on the other hand were significantly slower.

I've driven a M50 swapped E28 and it felt much like a B34 car, power wise. But just a little less "power", a bit less torque but much more rev happy. But a B35 is another 25HP more than a B34.

The S50 is the star of the engines you listed, but I think a B35 would be the easiest swap.
Bachehbeemveh
Posts: 116
Joined: Dec 09, 2012 11:13 PM
Location: Maryland DC Virgnia

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Bachehbeemveh »

Mike W. wrote: Oct 12, 2020 12:39 AM Good question. Easy, almost like spending someone elses money. :D

One correction though, a S50 is 240HP, a M50 is 189. Any engine with an S in front of it commands a premium, so if cost is a factor... To me a B35 would be easiest and nearly doubling HP, so a huge jump. But if I was considering an M50, I'd go with a M52. 2.8 displacement, nearly the same on paper HP as a m50, but due to torque much more engine. Performance numbers for E36s with M52s and S50s weren't all that far off. M50s on the other hand were significantly slower.

I've driven a M50 swapped E28 and it felt much like a B34 car, power wise. But just a little less "power", a bit less torque but much more rev happy. But a B35 is another 25HP more than a B34.

The S50 is the star of the engines you listed, but I think a B35 would be the easiest swap.
Great perspective on the M50. The beauty is that all 3 swaps are doable and it stays with in the BMW family of engines I have no desire to use a LS or 2JZ in the car.
Cactus
Posts: 4974
Joined: Jun 06, 2010 4:13 AM
Location: Dayton, OH

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Cactus »

M51.

But I'm weird, so feel free to ignore me.
Mike W.
Posts: 24832
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Mike W. »

Bachehbeemveh wrote: Oct 12, 2020 1:17 AM
and it stays with in the BMW family of engines I have no desire to use a LS or 2JZ in the car.
Amen, I'm glad someone gets it. :up:
Tiit
Posts: 211
Joined: Oct 06, 2017 6:27 AM
Location: Canberra

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Tiit »

I don't see any reason to swap a m50 into anything nowadays. M54b30 is a good all rounder. Cheap, good torque curve and power plus it's lighter than m50/m30.
gadget73
Posts: 621
Joined: Nov 22, 2017 11:30 PM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by gadget73 »

Bachehbeemveh wrote: Oct 12, 2020 1:17 AM it stays with in the BMW family of engines I have no desire to use a LS or 2JZ in the car.
This was always a sticking point for me. Don't really care what brand it is, but I prefer the driveline to be the same make it was originally whenever possible. Probably comes from seeing enough small block Chevy swaps to last me a lifetime. The LS swap is just the modern day equivalent.
Philo
Posts: 2047
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Philo »

In a 528e I think the M54 would look a bit odd. Even though it is by far the best performing engine, and probably the most trouble free, in it's class. I think the M30B35 is the way to go. Swap the ECU, maybe a couple wiring changes, and you're set. Something about how the old M30 looks in a 80s vintage BMW, with that long aluminum valve cover, it just looks right.
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

After seeing how the bar has been raised here (Charlie Kindel is the most visible but there are others, all deserving), to orders of magnitude beyond the expectations of (I bet) even BMW itself, I keep thinking that the right answer to the OP's question is the S54.

The correct question to ask, I believe, is not "which engine would you swap in", but "Besides the obvious choice of the S54, what other engine is more or less OK for my E28?"

Or perhaps, "What are the reasons why a S54 swap is not for everyone, and what is the next best/convenient/cost effective/sensible/etc"?
e12euro
Posts: 109
Joined: Jan 11, 2007 5:28 AM
Location: EA

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by e12euro »

LS swaps are good, but you have to re-engineer the whole car to work/match the power. Case in point, I saw a beautiful LS 400hp swap into a 1978 AMC Pacer wagon, but the owner left the brakes and suspension stock. :shock: That's not smart, jumping from 120 hp to over 400 hp.

I still think to do a LS swap properly calls on the resources of a car manufacturer, to make everything run properly and be safe. That's more than one or two guys can manage. A turbo M30 is probably still the wisest avenue on the e12, e28 chassis, that's what Alpina did, and they were pretty smart. :cool:
gadget73
Posts: 621
Joined: Nov 22, 2017 11:30 PM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by gadget73 »

Big power and garbage brakes/suspension is a very common theme. I guess it replicates the 1960s muscle cars that also had awful suspension and brakes. Not my idea of fun but I've never had the speed bug. Single best mod I did to my Towncar was brake upgrades and the police sway bar so it didn't feel like it was about to capsize going around a turn. The extra power was part necessity, the original engine lost all oil pressure and its barely more work to swap in a motor that makes another 65 hp.
e12euro
Posts: 109
Joined: Jan 11, 2007 5:28 AM
Location: EA

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by e12euro »

gadget73 wrote: Oct 20, 2020 8:25 AM Big power and garbage brakes/suspension is a very common theme. I guess it replicates the 1960s muscle cars that also had awful suspension and brakes. Not my idea of fun but I've never had the speed bug. Single best mod I did to my Towncar was brake upgrades and the police sway bar so it didn't feel like it was about to capsize going around a turn. The extra power was part necessity, the original engine lost all oil pressure and its barely more work to swap in a motor that makes another 65 hp.
I think the first gen Camaro was a good example of being out of balance. When it got the 396 ci V8, it just couldn't use the power. Plow on understeer, severe axle tramp etc. The extra power of a big block was just wasted. And yes you had muscle car buyers that went for the big motor, and stuck with 4 wheel drums. That's why they only stopped when they hit something :laugh:

You have to keep things in some kind of balance. A Towncar could easily absorb another 65 hp, going from a 302W to a 351W is sensible. The opposite is a LS swap into a DeLorean DMC12 I saw using trial by error engineering. The car overheated with the stock radiator, so a visit was made to the junkyard to get a bigger rad from a Malibu. And he couldn't use full throttle, because it would destroy the stock Renault 5 speed. :rofl:

What is the most torque you can put through a stock diff, before it blows up?! I wouldn't want to drop in a LS V8 and experiment on the highway. ;)
gadget73
Posts: 621
Joined: Nov 22, 2017 11:30 PM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by gadget73 »

Still a 302, just went from the non-HO to an HO. Difference was heads/cam/intake. Its since had a cam swap and better heads and intake so its ~100 hp over stock. Dynoed at 225 at the rear wheels. All new suspension bushings and a later steering box that isn't so over-boosted as well. Its not a corner carver, handles and stops way better than stock, but at it's core its still a 2 ton barge with a small engine and soft springs. The brake upgrade mostly gave me better pedal control. I can stop quickly without lockup, which just wasn't the case stock.

usually if the rear is going to blow up you'll find it leaving a stop, not on the highway. One good launch and its over if you have traction and torque. The trans also has to be considered, most stock gearboxes of any flavor aren't good for all that much power over stock. Best advice I was ever given for building a car is to do it backwards. Basically meaning start with the suspension and driveline, do the engine last. Its one of those things that makes a lot more sense after you do it the wrong way first :)
Mdreamer
Posts: 254
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Mdreamer »

I'd go with the b35. It's the closest in era, so your car will still have the same "feel," even though it will be much faster. That is the approach I took with my personal car when I went from b34 to b35.

Whatever you choose, have fun with it. :)
wkohler
Posts: 50673
Joined: Oct 05, 2006 11:04 PM
Location: Phönix, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by wkohler »

Build a cool M20.
cek
Posts: 8897
Joined: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM
Location: əʞɐl ʇlɐs puɐ əlʇʇɐəs
Contact:

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by cek »

wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
I love my cool m20.
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
Would love to hear what you envision to be "a cool M20"...
austin8753
Posts: 1155
Joined: May 16, 2010 1:37 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by austin8753 »

Foonfer wrote: Nov 24, 2020 12:39 AM
wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
Would love to hear what you envision to be "a cool M20"...
2900cc (effectively a 3 liter) with S50 crank and rods
11:1 comp
Schrick 284 cam
Dbilias throttles/plenum
Supersprint headers + exhaust
Hartge valve cover

but, you asked Wkohler, not me, so...
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

austin8753 wrote: Nov 24, 2020 2:00 AM
Foonfer wrote: Nov 24, 2020 12:39 AM
wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
Would love to hear what you envision to be "a cool M20"...
2900cc (effectively a 3 liter) with S50 crank and rods
11:1 comp
Schrick 284 cam
Dbilias throttles/plenum
Supersprint headers + exhaust
Hartge valve cover

but, you asked Wkohler, not me, so...
I have to say, that sounds awfully mean... and I LOVE IT.

In your (theoretical, or, real -?- setup) is the added displacement (2.7L --> 2.9L) the result of boring the block, or is it the result of your suggested crank/rods/compression ratio combination? would this compromise long-term durability of the engine? What kind of torque/HP curve would you see with this setup? Would you imagine this being managed by Motronic 1.0, 1.1 or 1.3?
austin8753
Posts: 1155
Joined: May 16, 2010 1:37 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by austin8753 »

Foonfer wrote: Nov 28, 2020 12:18 AM
austin8753 wrote: Nov 24, 2020 2:00 AM
Foonfer wrote: Nov 24, 2020 12:39 AM
wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
Would love to hear what you envision to be "a cool M20"...
2900cc (effectively a 3 liter) with S50 crank and rods
11:1 comp
Schrick 284 cam
Dbilias throttles/plenum
Supersprint headers + exhaust
Hartge valve cover

but, you asked Wkohler, not me, so...
I have to say, that sounds awfully mean... and I LOVE IT.

In your (theoretical, or, real -?- setup) is the added displacement (2.7L --> 2.9L) the result of boring the block, or is it the result of your suggested crank/rods/compression ratio combination? would this compromise long-term durability of the engine? What kind of torque/HP curve would you see with this setup? Would you imagine this being managed by Motronic 1.0, 1.1 or 1.3?
it's the engine i had been gathering parts to build for a project that never came to fruition. :/

added displacement would come from both boring the block + the proper combination of parts. my friend has built many high(er) displacement M20s and knows just the right combination of parts. the only problem that he's noticed, is that the cylinder walls get scorched in track applications. the 3000 is just too thin for anything but street driving, but the 2900 is a good balance for the track. i'm told that a 2900 with the right cam, the right compression ratio, individual throttles and on MS3 can run in the 240-250 range (per my friend, who has built many of them).

you could run it on a Motronic 1.3 controller with a custom tune, a Miller MAF/WAR chip (lack of customer support makes me hesitate to suggest it, but it's an option), or a Megasquirt 3 PNP controller.
cek
Posts: 8897
Joined: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM
Location: əʞɐl ʇlɐs puɐ əlʇʇɐəs
Contact:

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by cek »

Maytag's motor is 2900. Standard cam tho.
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

cek wrote: Nov 29, 2020 1:04 PM Maytag's motor is 2900. Standard cam tho.
I know - Hence the "529i"! Did you bore your block as well? If you did, by how much and what pistons did you use in the new setup? Did you replace the crankshaft and/or the rods?

Now, you are (or used to be) based in Seattle, and @austin8753 is based in Portland OR - wouldn't it be amazing to find out if the guy that did your 2900 is the same guy that he refers to?
cek
Posts: 8897
Joined: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM
Location: əʞɐl ʇlɐs puɐ əlʇʇɐəs
Contact:

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by cek »

Foonfer wrote: Dec 02, 2020 12:00 AM
cek wrote: Nov 29, 2020 1:04 PM Maytag's motor is 2900. Standard cam tho.
I know - Hence the "529i"! Did you bore your block as well? If you did, by how much and what pistons did you use in the new setup? Did you replace the crankshaft and/or the rods?

Now, you are (or used to be) based in Seattle, and @austin8753 is based in Portland OR - wouldn't it be amazing to find out if the guy that did your 2900 is the same guy that he refers to?
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=131610

Specs:
  • M20B27 block bored "40 over" (86mm)
  • Wisco custom pistons, based on C&D Performance's Pro3 design & tweaked for 9.5:1 compression
  • Max-speeding 130mm h-beam rods
  • 885 head with 3-sided valve grind
  • Stock camshaft
  • Cometic 0.086" Thick, 86mm bore MLS Head Gasket
  • Arp studs
  • 325i injectors
  • 380 ECU (stock for now; planning D'syliva tune)
  • Exhaust: TBD
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

austin8753 wrote: Nov 28, 2020 12:38 AM
Foonfer wrote: Nov 28, 2020 12:18 AM
austin8753 wrote: Nov 24, 2020 2:00 AM
Foonfer wrote: Nov 24, 2020 12:39 AM
wkohler wrote: Nov 23, 2020 9:51 PM Build a cool M20.
Would love to hear what you envision to be "a cool M20"...
2900cc (effectively a 3 liter) with S50 crank and rods
11:1 comp
Schrick 284 cam
Dbilias throttles/plenum
Supersprint headers + exhaust
Hartge valve cover

but, you asked Wkohler, not me, so...
I have to say, that sounds awfully mean... and I LOVE IT.

In your (theoretical, or, real -?- setup) is the added displacement (2.7L --> 2.9L) the result of boring the block, or is it the result of your suggested crank/rods/compression ratio combination? would this compromise long-term durability of the engine? What kind of torque/HP curve would you see with this setup? Would you imagine this being managed by Motronic 1.0, 1.1 or 1.3?
it's the engine i had been gathering parts to build for a project that never came to fruition. :/

added displacement would come from both boring the block + the proper combination of parts. my friend has built many high(er) displacement M20s and knows just the right combination of parts. the only problem that he's noticed, is that the cylinder walls get scorched in track applications. the 3000 is just too thin for anything but street driving, but the 2900 is a good balance for the track. i'm told that a 2900 with the right cam, the right compression ratio, individual throttles and on MS3 can run in the 240-250 range (per my friend, who has built many of them).

you could run it on a Motronic 1.3 controller with a custom tune, a Miller MAF/WAR chip (lack of customer support makes me hesitate to suggest it, but it's an option), or a Megasquirt 3 PNP controller.

wow, this sounds comprehensive, thanks. The question that follows is- if you bore the block to achieve 2900cc, what kind of pistons do you use?

I'll have to disclose out front that I don't know the first thing about boring engine blocks or increasing compression ratio, other than
1. bored block => thinner cylinder walls => shorter expected engine lifespan
2. higher compression ratio => higher octane gas required; if not available --> shorter expected engine lifespan, and annoying pinging (This is concerning only if the higher-comp motor requires octanes higher than the 93-octane "premium" usually available in the States)

did a bit of Googling and found this chart, which seems very useful (not sure if it is accurate): https://www.e30zone.net/e30wiki/index.p ... roker_Info

My takeaways from this table are

A) It is unfortunate that no compression ratios are shown,
B) Seems like a 2793cc configuration or a 2979cc configuration are feasible without boring or requiring custom pistons... what rods/crank do they use? no idea
C) What does "custom pistons" mean? Never shopped around for pistons...
Foonfer
Posts: 476
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: Which engine would you swap in?

Post by Foonfer »

cek wrote: Dec 02, 2020 10:43 AM
Foonfer wrote: Dec 02, 2020 12:00 AM
cek wrote: Nov 29, 2020 1:04 PM Maytag's motor is 2900. Standard cam tho.
I know - Hence the "529i"! Did you bore your block as well? If you did, by how much and what pistons did you use in the new setup? Did you replace the crankshaft and/or the rods?

Now, you are (or used to be) based in Seattle, and @austin8753 is based in Portland OR - wouldn't it be amazing to find out if the guy that did your 2900 is the same guy that he refers to?
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=131610

Specs:
  • M20B27 block bored "40 over" (86mm)
  • Wisco custom pistons, based on C&D Performance's Pro3 design & tweaked for 9.5:1 compression
  • Max-speeding 130mm h-beam rods
  • 885 head with 3-sided valve grind
  • Stock camshaft
  • Cometic 0.086" Thick, 86mm bore MLS Head Gasket
  • Arp studs
  • 325i injectors
  • 380 ECU (stock for now; planning D'syliva tune)
  • Exhaust: TBD
Oh, thanks Charlie! I didn't see your reply come in, I was working on my own reply to @austin8753... Lots to read up on. Oh, and I need to find "the right guy" willing & more than able to help me out with this project. Not many people enjoy working on M20s from what (little) I've asked around...
Post Reply