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E46 Engine Swaps
Replacing your motor? From direct replacements to more exoctic engines, if it's going under the hood of an E46 3 Series this is the forum to discuss it.

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Old 06-26-2019, 06:46 PM   #1
bremerd1
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Year: 2000
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2003 325Ci 'vert getting LS3 +T56 turn key project

Hi All!

I have engaged Zero2Sixty Performance to drop a LS3 and T56 in my 2003 325Ci convertible.

https://zerotosixtyperformance.com/


Nothing too insane; a LS3 and T56 pull-out with about 40k miles (with a street cam, since it's easier to do with the engine out), and a piggy-back ECU (leaving the DME in place. Tie into the stock exhaust, leave the rear subframe/diff (I'll eventually get a M3 unit, but I'll leave it alone to start out). David has someone he works with to get the CAN bus/tach working.

It should be a 'turn key' solution: drop off the car with the 2.5 I6 and 5 speed, pick it back up with the LS and T56...

I'll post some pictures once the swap is completed.

I'm excited!

Dan B
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:49 AM   #2
Meek
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This will be awesome. Subscribed.
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:40 PM   #3
bremerd1
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Year: 2000
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Originally Posted by Meek View Post
This will be awesome. Subscribed.
It'll be a little bit - the shop is about a month out (currently two swap projects in the bays). I'm up next, but David has indicated it takes about a month to acquire all the parts from the various vendors, and then about 3 weeks to do the swap, and a week of drive-ability testing to sort the car properly.

Sometime near the end of August...

Be sure I'll post pics!


Dan B
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:59 AM   #4
SiBriers
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My Ride: 325ci 02 Sport
Year: 02
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Wow!

400+HP and no LSD?

Don't think there's any way I'd let that leave the shop without an M3 subframe etc.. They're already blowing the rest of the driveline apart anyway, including modifying the propshaft to connect to the T56. It'll need modding again to connect to an LSD..

Any idea of the state of the likely 16 year old rear bushes at least?
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:42 PM   #5
bremerd1
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Originally Posted by SiBriers View Post
Wow!

400+HP and no LSD?

Don't think there's any way I'd let that leave the shop without an M3 subframe etc.. They're already blowing the rest of the driveline apart anyway, including modifying the propshaft to connect to the T56. It'll need modding again to connect to an LSD..

Any idea of the state of the likely 16 year old rear bushes at least?
The M3 rear end is on the list as the next step in the project. I've got other cars to beat on (if I want to do that sort of thing), so the thought is get the drivetrain swapped out and all the integration/electronics working and the bugs worked out before changing out the rear. (When I do the rear, it'll be a 'acquire + perform full-rebuild' before putting it under the car, so it won't be a cheap option...)

As far as the bushings: The entire car has been gone thru. The rear subframe has been re-enforced, and all the bushings in the rear of the car swapped for powerflex (subframe, diff, trailing arm, and so on). Suspension is a 6 month old set of Bilstein B6's with the various rubber bits replaced.

I bought the car with a blown engine (and various other issues), and dropped a M54B25 in it to move it around and to teach both my sons to drive a stick shift. Now that has been accomplished and the various shortcomings corrected, it's 'play' time...

Dan B
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:50 AM   #6
SiBriers
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A man with a plan!
Sounds awesome.

Looking forward to your updates - wish we could source motors and trans like that for reasonable money here in the UK.

Would love a setup like that in my 325ci but parts alone would probably be close to M3 money..
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:28 PM   #7
bremerd1
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Originally Posted by SiBriers View Post
A man with a plan!
Sounds awesome.

Looking forward to your updates - wish we could source motors and trans like that for reasonable money here in the UK.

Would love a setup like that in my 325ci but parts alone would probably be close to M3 money..
Oh, it's not that cheap here in the 'states either... By the time I'm done, I could have gotten an M3, and most likely have most of the major 'new to me' replacement/upkeep items done. I'm already in for nearly $20K USD, but I'm pretty meticulous in how I do things: All the maintenance items on the car have been gone through: bushings and suspension, the convertible top/hydraulics/top wire harness, all the existing electronics and normal 'wear' items.

The donor drivetrain has 38K miles, and while it's out, it'll be getting a comp cam + valve springs + valve pushrods + LS7 rockers (I don't want to pull the engine back out to do any of it later). Short shifter on the T56.

I'll never get my money back out of it, but that really isn't the point (I already have a corvette https://drive.google.com/file/d/1puQ...ew?usp=sharing and highly modified F150 truck ).

I'm not a big fan of the Japanese 'tuner' scene or modern muscle cars (but something from CR Coachworks [ https://www.crcoachworks.com/ ] would be awesome if I could afford it ).

This lets me keep a e46 (I've owned one since it was the current model), and get the 'vette torque (target goal is 450 crank HP, and 450 crank TQ), all while having a car that can be the permanent 'project' to tinker with on a platform I've owned for 20 years already... (I am quite familiar with just about everything that can go wrong on one of these cars - no surprises left!)

Dan B
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:06 AM   #8
damon forrer
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While you are working on the valve train you may want to consider Straub trunnions and bushings, there is a lot of talk about them over at www.ls1tech.com

I am working on a very similar project, currently working the transmission tunnel to fit a 4L60E behind a 5.3 LS on a 2003 330ci.

I used the TDR (Tire Death Racing) engine mounts from www.v8schassis.com I am very impressed with the quality of the mounts.

Using the automatic trans is a bit out of the ordinary for a E46 LS swap, but it makes for an easier swap into an already automatic car and I already have a peppy 6 speed ND Miata in my stable.

I will have to modify some headers or exhaust manifold to work with the transmission and go around the pan. the swap headers are all made for the T56 and are very expensive compared to modifying a pair of block huggers, but that will certainly take some work.

I read you are going to use the BMW exhaust, will it be too restrictive? Are you using everything from the flanges back, including the cats? If it works I can do the same thing and save myself some time money and effort.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:44 PM   #9
bremerd1
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Year: 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damon forrer View Post
While you are working on the valve train you may want to consider Straub trunnions and bushings, there is a lot of talk about them over at www.ls1tech.com

I am working on a very similar project, currently working the transmission tunnel to fit a 4L60E behind a 5.3 LS on a 2003 330ci.

I used the TDR (Tire Death Racing) engine mounts from www.v8schassis.com I am very impressed with the quality of the mounts.

Using the automatic trans is a bit out of the ordinary for a E46 LS swap, but it makes for an easier swap into an already automatic car and I already have a peppy 6 speed ND Miata in my stable.

I will have to modify some headers or exhaust manifold to work with the transmission and go around the pan. the swap headers are all made for the T56 and are very expensive compared to modifying a pair of block huggers, but that will certainly take some work.

I read you are going to use the BMW exhaust, will it be too restrictive? Are you using everything from the flanges back, including the cats? If it works I can do the same thing and save myself some time money and effort.
I don't plan on beating on the car (at least, not initially). 3 or 4 years out, the engine will come out, be completely gone through. That'll give me time to get the M3 rear end in it, sort that out completely, get some better sway bars and other bits on it, get the interior replaced, get it painted, get wider rims/tires. The 'performance goodies' will all go in at the time of the engine refresh (FAST intake, 102MM throttle body, ported heads - the 'usual'), but I have to have the M3 rear end (or a Ford 8.8) before I try and do silly HP/TQ numbers...

Zero2Sixty Performance will likely fab mounts for the engine/transmission. Those items are not on the itemized list of parts in the estimate, but fab costs are. He's done this a couple times (twice on his own e46's), and I suspect that it will let him adjust things to his liking if he simply builds them.

I also have a '00 323Ci with a ZF auto, and will eventually swap it as well (one swap/project at a time). I'm interested to know how much 'massaging' is required for the transmission tunnel, as I'd really like to stick a 6 speed auto in that will accept input from the paddle shifters I've grafted onto the existing 5HP19 ZF. As I understand it, all the electronic 6 speeds are big, so it'll be more involved in terms of chassis modification than a T56.

Even if tying into the stock exhaust is restrictive, it'll keep the initial cost down, and give me another thing to 'tinker' with at a later date. A stock LS3 makes 430HP; Even if the engine 'only' makes that with the cam in it, that's plenty to play with, and if opening the exhaust up later yields 20 or so HP, and some additional TQ, then I won't feel like the new exhaust was for nothing.

It' a long term project for me: something I can play with (since the corvette is still under warranty, and I don't want to do things to it to impact that).

Dan B
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