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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb My potential first bimmerboost build idea: E30 N54 swap...testing the waters

    I have been a long time BMW enthusiast, despite really having much ownership experience with the brand. I owned a Z3 for a few months, but I recently had to get rid of it for financial reasons (couldn't insure two cars, needed rent money). I currently own a 2004 bone stock v6 mustang (slow as $#@! Click here to enlarge) This week I am starting a job as a car salesman for a very high volume dealership and have the potential to earn more money than I ever have. My living expenses are low and I plan to keep it that way. I have always been one to jump into the deep end when it comes to projects, however this will be on a whole different level.

    The proposition: E30 3 series engine swap with something new. I was originally thinking an N54 but that may be out of my price range considering I would pretty much need a doner car to make it work, since there (to my knowledge) isn't a standalone ecu alternative. I would prefer to do something that is either very rare or has not been done at all (hence the N54 idea). The e30 has always been one of my favorite BMW body styles to date so I plan to stick with that platform.

    List of potential engines, in order of preference:
    N54 (likely wont happen unless I turn out to be a car selling machine)
    S62 (probably also too expensive)
    S38
    S54 (most likely route)
    M52/4 turbo IF I end up not making the money I plan to

    I am willing to be extremely patient with this build. I want to take my time (years if need be) and make sure every single part of the build is done with as much precision as possible. As much as I hate driving around in my stock mustang with its 160 or so rwhp, it only has 55k miles and is very cheap maintenance wise and isn't horrid on gas. Willing to keep it as my DD until this project is completed.

    Back to the build idea. The more I am thinking about it, the more I am realizing that to do the N54 would likely cost north of 35k for the whole project. Are there any complete standalone options for this engine? Or am I correct in saying that the stock DME is (as of now) required to run this engine. I feel like the E30 is too old to even consider swapping over all the electronics from a 335/135. Perhaps a 135 interior could be put into an E30 but I feel like that is way beyond my expertise. Im already pushing it with the mere thought of an N54 swap.

    I know the smart idea is to do the turbo s54/m54/m52 but that has been done with the E30 platform plenty of times. The powerband of the N54 in the lightweight E30 body would make for quite the performer, if pulled off well that is. Initial thoughts with my idea? way to ambitious for my first build?
    Last edited by DFM; 05-06-2013 at 05:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have a buddy with an E46 w/ SR20 swap (i think, i cant remember exactly). Maybe you want to look to the Asians for an engine? Would be pretty sweet haha
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  3. #3
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Put a 2jz in it.

  4. #4
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    Your better off just buying a used 135... But I understand why it would be fun to do a swap in a e30. I'd stick with the s54
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    ESS 6XX kit

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    The more I start to fully grasp the complexity of an N54 swap into an old ass bmw, the more I realize that its completely out of the picture for where im at in life lol. I'll plan to do the S54. May even keep it naturally aspirated. With some other parts (cam, p&p heads, exhaust, tune, intake) it would be quite a beast.

  6. #6
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    I mean it would be cool because it hasn't been done but every other motor you mentioned I would do before the N54. The N54 just doesn't fit the E30 character IMO.

    I would do an S38 above all else if I had the choice.
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  7. #7
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DFM Click here to enlarge
    The more I start to fully grasp the complexity of an N54 swap into an old ass bmw, the more I realize that its completely out of the picture for where im at in life lol. I'll plan to do the S54. May even keep it naturally aspirated. With some other parts (cam, p&p heads, exhaust, tune, intake) it would be quite a beast.
    It would be way more fun to drive an S54 anyway. It's not a starightline pull car, it's a drivers car.
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  8. #8
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    if you want gobs of power s50/s52 with a turbo kit. Or a s54 for a track car

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    Damn I miss my Z3. I may end up getting another one of those instead. Still very undecided

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    im sorry but i found this Click here to enlarge it was posted May 4, 2013
    2008 E92 335i- HP: 423 TRQ: 453 - Sold
    Vishnu- Pocede
    Active Autowerke - Intercooler
    Active Autowerke - Charge pipe/BOV
    Active Autowerke - 3" Downpipes
    Active Autowerke - Signature Exhaust
    BMS -DCI

    2014 F30 335i M Sport
    BMS- JB4 (EWG/E85/OBDII Canbus)
    BMS- Intake

  11. #11
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    Click here to enlarge Like salt in a wound. jk haha. Awesome someone actually made it happen though!!! gives me hope for a potential later in life build

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    Not the N54.

    If you are going to go through the trouble use a special more rare engine.


  13. #13
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M3_WC Click here to enlarge
    Not the N54.

    If you are going to go through the trouble use a special more rare engine.
    s65 perhaps...

  14. #14
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    S65 makes a lot of sense considering it is lighter than the S54.
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