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Old 09-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
Redline
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Talking S52 engine swap

Ive always been kicking around the idea of putting an us spec s52 into my 99 e46. As of now my car has 177k on it and engine replacement is almost certain if i want to keep tracking it. Getting rid of the car for an m3 is not an option (I already own an e36 M3) also im not putting the m54 3.0L in here also so dont suggest it. Honestly id like to have a fun project/sleeper besides the amount of money already in my e46 is already absurd so I might as well keep going )

Why do I chose the s52 instead of the s54? Honestly I prefer the s52 in a tuning sense, Its a much better/cheaper platform to modify and i dont have to worry about beating on it too much since its cheaper to maintain/repair. I also prefer the 5 speed that the e36 m3 came with to the e46's gearbox. Then you get into the whole drive by wire crap and id like to keep the cable throttle that i currently have in my e46. Also i recently had 1/4 inch steel plates welded into my subframe and mounting points to strengthen the chasis so a swap like this is no big deal for the car. even if i were to boost it.

After parking the cars side by side, ive noticed mounting the s52 into my e46's engine bay shouldnt be a problem. my concern is will the transmission/drivetrain be compatible? also what route would you go with electronics to get it to run? standalone ecu? or just rip the wiring out of a donor car and use the e36's gauge cluster, ecu, etc.

Ive seen it done by VAC motorsports

so i know it can be done, but my question is how? I have access to all tools needed to do the swap and people that can help but if anyone has any insight on how to get it to run/function or any experience with engine transplants like this, any help/suggestions would be appreciated. Theres no set time as to when this swap will happen but im trying to gather as much info needed before i go and buy anything.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:57 PM   #2
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this project. Something I've always kicked around the idea of. S52 is my favorite BMW engine. I think I've read before that the hardest part is the wiring. OBD1 or OBD2 s5x? Seems like you've done more research and have the tools to do it, where most dreamers will just got fork over 10k to a shop to do it. Best of luck!
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:03 PM   #3
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I was about to say the big drawback is that it's illegal... but since you have a '99 then you should be able to get away with it. If you go through with this you should definitely post a build thread, and turbo it later on! Turbo S52 = WIN!
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:07 PM   #4
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I have never heard of a swap like this but from your viewpoint its understandable. But then again why don't you replace the e46 with an e36 m3 or just an e36 and do the swap in to that? I'm not telling you ur plans are stupid but I'm just wondering.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:04 AM   #5
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I'm fairly certain it's illegal to do so. You can only put a newer motor in a car when doing a swap. And you cannot downgrade said motor to obd1 when the car already had obd2

Also why would you want to when you say you already have an e36 m3
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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It shouldnt be hard. As for the tach, You will have to switch from pulse to digital signals which will allow the rpm etc to work as it should of the crank sensor. The speedo, temp and fuel all run off the car loom anyhow.

You can use the same motor mounts.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:46 AM   #7
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S52 are widely used on the other side of the pond instead of s54 becouse of cheaper parts to replace. They are also well known for boosting.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
I'm fairly certain it's illegal to do so. You can only put a newer motor in a car when doing a swap. And you cannot downgrade said motor to obd1 when the car already had obd2

Also why would you want to when you say you already have an e36 m3
S52 is OBD2... and it was used in '99 (same year as OP's car) in the '99 M3.

So as I said in my post, pretty sure it'd be legal.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:53 AM   #9
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If your state has smog test and you can pass them with whatever exhoust setup you tend to have, then you are fine. But thats if you go obd1, a s52 is already obd2.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #10
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Where i live there is absolutely no regulations on emissions. You can run straight headers if you want so no issues there for the swap, and the s52 3.2L that i want to use is OBD-II...
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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^Well then...

DO IT!!!
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ///M=Power View Post
Ive always been kicking around the idea of putting an us spec s52 into my 99 e46. As of now my car has 177k on it and engine replacement is almost certain if i want to keep tracking it. Getting rid of the car for an m3 is not an option (I already own an e36 M3) also im not putting the m54 3.0L in here also so dont suggest it. Honestly id like to have a fun project/sleeper besides the amount of money already in my e46 is already absurd so I might as well keep going )

Why do I chose the s52 instead of the s54? Honestly I prefer the s52 in a tuning sense, Its a much better/cheaper platform to modify and i dont have to worry about beating on it too much since its cheaper to maintain/repair. I also prefer the 5 speed that the e36 m3 came with to the e46's gearbox. Then you get into the whole drive by wire crap and id like to keep the cable throttle that i currently have in my e46. Also i recently had 1/4 inch steel plates welded into my subframe and mounting points to strengthen the chasis so a swap like this is no big deal for the car. even if i were to boost it.

After parking the cars side by side, ive noticed mounting the s52 into my e46's engine bay shouldnt be a problem. my concern is will the transmission/drivetrain be compatible? also what route would you go with electronics to get it to run? standalone ecu? or just rip the wiring out of a donor car and use the e36's gauge cluster, ecu, etc.

Ive seen it done by VAC motorsports

so i know it can be done, but my question is how? I have access to all tools needed to do the swap and people that can help but if anyone has any insight on how to get it to run/function or any experience with engine transplants like this, any help/suggestions would be appreciated. Theres no set time as to when this swap will happen but im trying to gather as much info needed before i go and buy anything.
Regarding the transmission -- S52 transmission is the same as the E46 328 5-speeds. As in the same part number. Also, pretty much every BMW 6-cyl bellhousing from the Getrag 260s in E30s to the GS6-53BZ in 335s are of the same pattern. So your preference for the E36 transmission isn't much of a reason to skip out on the S54 - it'd bolt up just fine. Now I don't know if you have a 323 or 328. If it's a 323, the transmission should still be fine, but you should keep in mind that it's not meant for S52 torque (though IMO it wouldn't be a big issue since there are boosted 323s on stock transmissions)

I suspect it wouldn't be terribly difficult to run an S52 off the MS42 ECU with some minor tuning. I also recall seeing an S52 head modified to accept a double vanos unit - in which case it definitely would be feasible to run off the stock ECU. If you run off the stock ECU, you shouldn't have to change any of the other electronics (cluster, DSC, etc..)

Engine itself will physically fit fine. Engine mounts are the same between the two. Would probably be minimal work to get the intake air box to fit. And you can probably get away with using the E46 cooling system
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:57 AM   #13
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s52 engine note...
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
Regarding the transmission -- S52 transmission is the same as the E46 328 5-speeds. As in the same part number. Also, pretty much every BMW 6-cyl bellhousing from the Getrag 260s in E30s to the GS6-53BZ in 335s are of the same pattern. So your preference for the E36 transmission isn't much of a reason to skip out on the S54 - it'd bolt up just fine. Now I don't know if you have a 323 or 328. If it's a 323, the transmission should still be fine, but you should keep in mind that it's not meant for S52 torque (though IMO it wouldn't be a big issue since there are boosted 323s on stock transmissions)

I suspect it wouldn't be terribly difficult to run an S52 off the MS42 ECU with some minor tuning. I also recall seeing an S52 head modified to accept a double vanos unit - in which case it definitely would be feasible to run off the stock ECU. If you run off the stock ECU, you shouldn't have to change any of the other electronics (cluster, DSC, etc..)

Engine itself will physically fit fine. Engine mounts are the same between the two. Would probably be minimal work to get the intake air box to fit. And you can probably get away with using the E46 cooling system
I think ill go the route of machining the head...ill need more info on how to do it or how it was done, i found an s52/transmission/harness etc. for $2500, may pick it up.
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