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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 02-07-2014, 01:54 PM   #1
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New here-3 series engine swap!

Hi guys, sorry if this has already been asked or done before, which I'm sure it has, I just wanted too get all the info together into one place. I'm currently looking at 4 bmws, and I'm trying to decide which would be best too buy. On the list is an 01 325xi, a 2000 328i, and a 99 and 2000 323i. Out of these options, I'm wondering which has the best engine platform to build on (preferably too handle a turbo) and which has an engine that will best handle the power, and has a good aftermarket support. Im not looking for anything 1000hp, just something I can turbocharge and get some good power out of, and hopefully without busting the bank. I have no "goal" amount of money too spend, im just interested too hear my options. Also, if engine swapping is an option, and what car it would best work with. I like the AWD platform of the 325, but the things I outlined above are my highest priorities.
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Old 02-07-2014, 02:17 PM   #2
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328i is the best platform out of your list. I would go with 330i though if you can get your hands on one. the 325xi will require more work than a 328i or 330i because it does not have the forged crankshaft that the bigger engines have.

edit: if you want an all wheel drive, look into the 330xi

hope this helps
Past: 2006 330i, 2006 325i 6MT, 2003 325xi
Current: 2008 335i E90 N54, 2005 325i 5MT

Last edited by autoAER; 02-07-2014 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:22 PM   #3
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Do some research on turbocharging these cars - check out the FI section. You will not find a ton of options.

If you're set on the turbo, you should look at Nick G/Technique Tuning. They sell a solid kit. It isnt cheap, but it is complete and well reviewed. Otherwise you will wind up wasting a ton of time and money on a crappy eBay turbo kit, fabricating custom parts, figuring out tuning (probably the hardest part), etc. If you value your time at all, buying a researched and reliable $6-7k turbo kit and tuning is a better option than trying to build one yourself.

That's all assuming the car you buy is in great shape. More realistically, you will need to do a bunch of overdue maintanence to bring your 15 year old car up to par. Overhaul the cooling system. Then you'll need to reinforce the subframe for the turbo. Get better brakes, suspension, wheels and tires. The list goes on...

In the end, do you want to spend more on a turbo kit than your car is worth? Are you willing to spend just as much refreshing and upgrading the supporting systems in your car? Probably not.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:27 PM   #4
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^^ this..

buy an M3 instead
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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You can't do what you want to do with a BMW on a budget. These cars are old, especially the ones you're looking at so you are going to need to do suspension, transmission, cooling system, and other engine maintenance just to get it ready to even think about putting a turbo on it, which would eat up at least a few thousand before you get started on the turbo, which would be at least another $6000 on top of that. So $10,000 on top of what the car costs, then the yearly maintenance stuff that always pops up on old BMWs with or without a turbo. Then when its all done you have a car with only 300hp or so. You can do what you want to do, but its not going to be on a BMW. Sure you can buy an M3, but if you are worried about money and budgets then that's the wrong car to get into also.

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Old 02-07-2014, 06:36 PM   #6
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You're looking at the wrong car if you want a "platform".
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323i, 325xi, 328i, swap, turbo

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