Which engine would you swap in?

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
Post Reply
Bachehbeemveh
Posts: 115
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: 24637
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: 115
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: 4955
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: 24637
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: 201
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: 570
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: 2025
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: 458
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: 98
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: 570
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: 98
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: 570
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 :)
Post Reply