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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 10-20-2008, 02:08 AM   #1
Snik
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Let's talk M52TU upgrades

Yep, you read right.
1st off, supercharging - yeah, I know, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.
2nd turbocharging - yeah, even if someone makes a kit I can't afford that either.
NOS - no, way, I don't do drugs.

So now that that's out of the way, let's talk about bolt on mods.
I have the basics, shark, intake, pulleys, I'm still thinking about the ebay headers.
So what else is there?
I was thinking about M54 cams, and was advised that its not worth it. I know the M54 head won't bolt on. But what about the S52 head.
What about a intake manifold swap, I dunno, a S52 manifold maybe?
Has anyone heard of or tried this?
Besides serious internal work are there any other way to make N/A gains on a M52TU.

I've been told S54 cams are a stright swap, but are the gains worth the time and money, will I need custom software, or will the VANOS take care of that?

Basically, I can't afford to boost it yet, nor am I sure if I want to, but I'd like maybe a tad more power, maybe a 25-40hp gain.
Any ideas.
What about those E36 M3 guys using a 540 HFM, can we do anything like that?
Is a Dinan throttle body our only option there, are do any of the 3.0+ engine throttle bodies fit unto the M52TU?

Oh, and if all you're gonna say is, boost it or go home, or why not just buy a M3, do an engine swap, or all this other smart ass crap, just keep it to yourself. Ok, I've heard it and read it all before, so save it.

This is more of a what are ALL my options thread.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:05 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
Yep, you read right.
1st off, supercharging - yeah, I know, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.
2nd turbocharging - yeah, even if someone makes a kit I can't afford that either.
NOS - no, way, I don't do drugs.

So now that that's out of the way, let's talk about bolt on mods.
I have the basics, shark, intake, pulleys, I'm still thinking about the ebay headers.
So what else is there?
I was thinking about M54 cams, and was advised that its not worth it. I know the M54 head won't bolt on. But what about the S52 head.
What about a intake manifold swap, I dunno, a S52 manifold maybe?
Has anyone heard of or tried this?
Besides serious internal work are there any other way to make N/A gains on a M52TU.

I've been told S54 cams are a stright swap, but are the gains worth the time and money, will I need custom software, or will the VANOS take care of that?

Basically, I can't afford to boost it yet, nor am I sure if I want to, but I'd like maybe a tad more power, maybe a 25-40hp gain.
Any ideas.
What about those E36 M3 guys using a 540 HFM, can we do anything like that?
Is a Dinan throttle body our only option there, are do any of the 3.0+ engine throttle bodies fit unto the M52TU?

Oh, and if all you're gonna say is, boost it or go home, or why not just buy a M3, do an engine swap, or all this other smart ass crap, just keep it to yourself. Ok, I've heard it and read it all before, so save it.

This is more of a what are ALL my options thread.
There's nothing wrong with using nitrous, it's just not practical for a street car.

Of all the things you've listed, I recommend M54 cams the highest. (Schrick 264/248s) S54 cams will not fit for 2 reasons; the bore spacing on the blocks are different, and it uses a different type of lifter. (Solid versus hydraulic)

Your source of info so far has been very poor, I would stop listening to this person.

A real 25-40 hp gain will cost you the same N/A, as doing a VF supercharger.

Here's a really important question: Why do you want more power?
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:25 AM   #3
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You'll want to make the engine breathe more in one go. So you'll need to know where the restrictions are.

An Intake alone will not help at all if the engine can't push out the extra air.
Software just optimizes what you are dealing with already.
Exhausts are limited to what comes out of the headers, so you have an airflow restriction there.

If you wanna stay NA, go with headers (optionally with highflow cats), cams and an M54B30 intake manifold (more airflow), next to what you already have.
Those are decent mods to do for a street car.

More options are a stroker swap, engine swap, port polishing etc. But you might as well just FI for that cash.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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Words words M54B30 intake manifold words words
You need to convert to drive by wire to do this if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #5
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Low end pull - Diff (3.38/3.46 manual - 3.91 auto)
High end pull (70+mph) - headers + sport muffler (2 most restrictive parts of the exhaust system). Of course this is done at the sake of having a quiet car.

With a good intake, pulleys to pick up electrical slack, and a software tune after all is done...you could see 20whp on a good day...and as always a diff is not really measurable on a dyno...but it brings you into your power band quicker. Cams are great if you have the cash, but not worth it at retail price + install.

My take.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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You need to convert to drive by wire to do this if I'm not mistaken.
I think I have read that this would not be needed, but I am not 100% sure
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:37 AM   #7
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Grab some headers and Schrick 264/248.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:29 AM   #8
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The drive by wire manifold swap is out of the question.
How much do schrick cams run.
Realistically what gains could be expected from M54 cam swap?
Any word on S52 parts swapped unto it?
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:34 AM   #9
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I'm almost positive the m50 or s52 manifold swap wont work. It does wonders on 1996 and newer E36's to swap the M50 manifold but no one in the e46 community with m52 motors seems to have done it, so I assume thats because it won't work or it doesn't do much.
There have been threads about the theoretical 2.5l to 3.0l stroker. Probably the only procedure worth looking into. Still going to be rather expensive because the parts are $$$$$.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:46 PM   #10
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You cannot swap any e36 manifold (from an S50, S52, M52, M50, or M50tu) on to the dual vanos head, the port shapes are different. BTW, I have confirmed that you CAN interchange M54 and M52tu heads (I remember you telling me you thought it wasn't possible because of the cooling jackets not lining up).

I've been told that the manifold from the M52tu powered z3 outflows the e46 M52tu manifold, but I'm not 100% certain on this.

Like Ashley said, I'd just do headers and 264/248 schrick cams, and a 3.46 if you haven't already.
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:28 PM   #11
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You cannot swap any e36 manifold (from an S50, S52, M52, M50, or M50tu) on to the dual vanos head, the port shapes are different. BTW, I have confirmed that you CAN interchange M54 and M52tu heads (I remember you telling me you thought it wasn't possible because of the cooling jackets not lining up).

I've been told that the manifold from the M52tu powered z3 outflows the e46 M52tu manifold, but I'm not 100% certain on this.

Like Ashley said, I'd just do headers and 264/248 schrick cams, and a 3.46 if you haven't already.
well maybe that head is different, but my boy a BMW tech, was told by 2 master techs that it wouldnt work, then he still thought, maybe they dont dont know and got a head off a 330 and tried it on his 528iA and it DID NOT work.

so i dunno...
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:59 PM   #12
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what year was the 528?
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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Can't comment on the 528i, but I have a m54 head on my m52TU (e46 328i). It works fine. My understanding is that the only difference between the two is stronger valve springs and associated hardware on the 330 head. Otherwise they are interchangable. In fact, the part numbers for the e46 head are the same between the 328 and 330.

I'm curious why your friend's head didn't work?

Incidentally, if you do want to swap in hotter cams with more lift, such as the Schrick cams, you will need to upgrade your 328 valve springs (according to the shop that did my head).

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well maybe that head is different, but my boy a BMW tech, was told by 2 master techs that it wouldnt work, then he still thought, maybe they dont dont know and got a head off a 330 and tried it on his 528iA and it DID NOT work.

so i dunno...
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:01 PM   #14
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Very interesting. I wondered about springs. Good tip.
I wonder why my boy's didn't work. Unless one of you have the worn head or the 528 has variations that we don't.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:12 PM   #15
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Interesting stuff. So in reference to the M54 cams, are these 325i or 330i cams? Or is there no difference? Will 330i ZHP cams work, or will this require even more swapping of internal parts?

I'd love to do an N/A build, and this seems like a good place to start.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:50 AM   #16
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Interesting stuff. So in reference to the M54 cams, are these 325i or 330i cams? Or is there no difference? Will 330i ZHP cams work, or will this require even more swapping of internal parts?

I'd love to do an N/A build, and this seems like a good place to start.
There are two factors (generally) to look at when considering cams: Duration and lift.

While BMW does not publish specs on their cams, my understanding is that ZHP cams have slightly slightly more aggressive duration (~248/248) than the stock 330/325 cams(~240/240) and slightly more lift, but I have never seen hard numbers. Bottom line is that I would think that you need upgraded springs to use the ZHP cams, but don't know for sure. On a related topic, I expect that there is no difference between the 328 and 330 cams.

In my opinion, If you are going to pull the head and swap cams, you might as well use the Schrick cams which are much more aggressive (264/248).
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:33 PM   #17
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There are two factors (generally) to look at when considering cams: Duration and lift.

While BMW does not publish specs on their cams, my understanding is that ZHP cams have slightly slightly more aggressive duration (~248/248) than the stock 330/325 cams(~240/240) and slightly more lift, but I have never seen hard numbers. Bottom line is that I would think that you need upgraded springs to use the ZHP cams, but don't know for sure. On a related topic, I expect that there is no difference between the 328 and 330 cams.

In my opinion, If you are going to pull the head and swap cams, you might as well use the Schrick cams which are much more aggressive (264/248).
Cool, thanks.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:14 PM   #18
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Could it have something to do with his being not only a 5 but an auto?
I mean his radiator is massive compared to ours.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:46 PM   #19
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As far as I know, from reviewing part numbers and the like, the cylinder heads on the M52TU and M54 are the same.

The exhaust cams are the same, but the intake cams are different (assuming we are not talking ZHP version).
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #20
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M52TU Head Swap for an M54?

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As far as I know, from reviewing part numbers and the like, the cylinder heads on the M52TU and M54 are the same.

Facing the need to get a new head from my cracked m52tu. Any more confirm / deny on ability to use a m54 head as a direct bolt-in?

Thanks all!
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