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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 06-15-2013, 05:28 PM   #1
e46first
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gm ls series swaps?

alright guys ive had my bmw 323i for a while now and im just curious. how many people have done ls swaps like a 5.3 or a 4.8? ive seen some ls1 and ls2 builds that were impressive to say the least but im only a college kid and cant afford all the fanciest things in life. im starting to research into possible swap ideas and i really REALLY would love to do a 4.8l v8. its the smallest v8 that GM makes and it is used in their trucks, tahoes, things of that nature. ive owned some vehicles with this motor and they are easy to work on, have high rev capabilities and not to mention they are super super cheap even low mileage engines. if anyone has seen any builds with this motor let me know. or feel free to point me towards a better idea.haha im tired of the straight six and have just recently encountered the rough idle problem after sitting at idle too long. so research for the swap has begun
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
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i really REALLY would love to do a 4.8l v8. its the smallest v8 that GM makes
Hmm, the Northstar in my deVille is 4.6 Litres.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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Here is one, read the entire thread, see if it'll change your mind!

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1259268
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E46 NO START - A list of possible causes

"Would the codes indicate if it's the carburator?"
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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gm ls series swaps?

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alright guys ive had my bmw 323i for a while now and im just curious.
Define "a while". If you're in college, it probably means six months.

If you're in college and living at home, this is probably a good time to do a major off brand engine swap. I replaced a frame in a Corvette when I was in college. Mom didn't really like the sight of a Vette body sitting on drums in the garage, but Dad was kind of proud of my ambition.

I say go for it. You'll learn a lot, and be a better mechanic at the end of the process.


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Old 06-15-2013, 10:38 PM   #5
e46first
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i actually do recall looking at the e36 forum there i have been doing quite a lot of research through ls1tech.com they are some cool people. and as for a while yea its been about 6-7 months ive had her now. replaced a water pump, some belts, rewired the electric fan on it to working order so far. im definitely not afraid to work on my own stuff and im pretty capable already. between my father and i id like to do the swap myself. its just no one seems to find a 4.8 to be popular but i think one with a 5 speed behind it would be fun
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
wildirish317
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gm ls series swaps?

I haven't seen the performance curves for a 4.8, but I imagine it's pretty torquey compared to a six cylinder. Is it the basic Chevy small block? If so, you can follow the same threads as the LSx swaps.


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Old 06-18-2013, 12:39 AM   #7
e46first
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yea its basically a newer generation small block i forget the actual cubic size for a 4.8 its under 300 the 5.3 is basically a 327. ive been looking up you tube vids of truck motors with some turbos on 4.8's
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:02 AM   #8
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I am pretty sure the 4.8 would not fit under the hood of an e46 because it has the tall truck manifold on it. The 4.8 and 5.3 are the same physical size and go for about the same used. Your biggest issue with the swap will likely be interfacing with the CAN Bus system in the e46 in order to retain abs, ignition, the instrument cluster, heater/ac etc. I also think you may need a gto or f-body oil pan and pickup.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:53 AM   #9
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i actually do recall looking at the e36 forum there i have been doing quite a lot of research through ls1tech.com they are some cool people. and as for a while yea its been about 6-7 months ive had her now. replaced a water pump, some belts, rewired the electric fan on it to working order so far. im definitely not afraid to work on my own stuff and im pretty capable already. between my father and i id like to do the swap myself. its just no one seems to find a 4.8 to be popular but i think one with a 5 speed behind it would be fun
do you have all the fabrication skills required to tackle this job? you're going to need to build and attach new mounts for EVERYTHING drivetrain related, as well as probably knock out and recreate the transmission tunnel. is that something you're capable of? this isn't a bmw to bmw swap. it's quite a challenge from what i understand. not the typical swap challenge. but more.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:46 AM   #10
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The electronics for something like this may require a team of engineers if you wanted to keep it as a street legal daily driver. It would be a massive challenge to get it all to function together. I would think it would also depend on the emissions laws in your state as well, since that would determine what is "street legal". You may have to give up on some, if not all of the electronics and safety devices in your car, if you can not make everything integrate and communicate with each other.
That is why the restomod route is a great way to go. If the car you start with has no electronics to speak of, then dropping in a modern engine and all of the necessary controllers is a lot easier, and nowhere near as frustrating.
If you really want to attempt this with an e46, I would definitely go with something that someone managed to do successfully, without breaking the bank. Sometimes, the people who do these things lose perspective, and end up spending way more than what the end result is worth. It is great to be a trailblazer and try something new, but it will be a lot easier to work from something that has been done successfully, and build on that. If you want to do something that has never been done, you really need to read up on other projects, and get a realistic view of the technical issues you will have to deal with, because they are not small.
It is a shame that it is not as simple as just finding something that will fit. The electronic issues will end up consuming much more of your time than the mechanics of it all. Because of that, it may be better to stay within the BMW family of engines, just to have a fighting chance.
Finally, be conscious of the weight of whatever you decide to install. Lighter would be great, since there is not much of a chance of getting something so light that it will throw off the dynamics of the car. Something heavier would risk ruining the handling and balance, which is what the e46 is known for, so it would be a shame to ruin that. After all, I would think you would want something more powerful and maybe more reliable (or at least cheaper to maintain), but would still have the great driving characteristics of the e46. I know that would be my idea of the perfect upgrade to my e46.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:36 AM   #11
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There is a reason why you see more LS swaps into E36, less electronics, especially in the pre 96' OBDI.
A company, Vorschlag even makes a conversion kit for the E36.

http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info...roducts_id=141
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GM No Reverse - posts 443, 456

E46 NO START - A list of possible causes

"Would the codes indicate if it's the carburator?"

Last edited by lszlszx; 06-20-2013 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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hmmmm hmmm i have noticed a LOT more e36 swaps and im beginning to understand why now.lol im glad it seems like you guys actually have educated opinions. ive been on far worse forums.....240sx..cough cough. buncha dicks
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:57 PM   #13
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hmmmm hmmm i have noticed a LOT more e36 swaps and im beginning to understand why now.lol im glad it seems like you guys actually have educated opinions. ive been on far worse forums.....240sx..cough cough. buncha dicks
I considered swapping an ls2/t56 into my 330ci when I still had it and after researching, it didn't seem to be worth it. Fitting the physical engine and trans in the car would not be too bad, but trying to integrate the existing systems would prove to be a nightmare. Also all that work and you still need to tack on another $2k for a decent LSD diff and subframe reinforcement. I would think the SRS system would probably freak out as well.
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:20 AM   #14
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Absolutely will fit under the hood. But...depends on the kit mounts and swap pan. The engine is much shorter than the BMW six
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:02 AM   #15
e46first
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hey guys ive been doing some more research and one motor i have been looking at is the 4.4L out of the 5 series! any one know if it would be easier being that is a BMW motor? it sounds amazing in the 5 series i have seen with it. wonder how to make it work with a 5 speed!
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:52 AM   #16
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Buy a motor, pull yours out, and let us know how it goes.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:59 AM   #17
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http://forum.E46Fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=970942 They did it. Said its a bit difficult in some areas but as you can see not impossible also putting a 5 or 6 speed would be a bolt in affair.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:35 AM   #18
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thanks for the link very interesting!
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