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Old 03-10-2017, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default What engine to make my 318ti faster?

I just recently acquired a 97 318ti auto trans for pretty cheap. High miles but in good shape. I need the stock engine to last me a while until I save up for a build. I want to make it faster. I don't have to be the fastest thing on the road, I just don't want to lose to new v6 mini vans. I'm wanting at least 300 horsepower, more is good but not really required. I'm no stranger to building cars. I built a 650 horsepower eagle talon and put a chevy 350 into a FC rx7 before(it was carb though) I have four options. 1. Build the stock engine and turbo it. Keep it auto. I like this idea as I'll be rebuilding the stock engine so it should last a while. I don't mind it being auto and I may build the auto trans. Turbos initially build boost slower but don't lose boost between shifts. There is places to get aftermarket parts for the m44 to handle the extra stress. However there is a lack of a bolt on of the shelf turbo kit so I'd have to have one made which is big money. 300 horsepower should be possible with the right fuel system and tuning. I'm leaning towards this route as it seems the simplest and I don't have to re-wire anything (my biggest weakness) 2. Swap in a s52, keep it auto. I haven't done much research but it seems to be a good swap. I do have a question though, do the stock mounts work, or can I get mounts to work? If I have to get custom mounts you can forget it. Can be had for around two grand which wont hurt my pocket book. If I get an auto trans and auto ECU I can keep it automatic, though I don't know how good an auto trans would be behind the high revving inline 6. Only 240hp stock, I really wouldn't want to turbo it. I was thinking something along the lines of head work, cams, and exhaust. I don't know where this would put me at, but I wouldn't want to work the engine much more than that. 3. The fabled LSx swap. Great engine and there are swap kits to make it easy. 300 horsepower right out of the box, I would keep the engine stock except for exhaust. This is the most expensive route as the engine/trans is more expensive to begin with. 4-5k for engine and trans and at least 2k for a swap kit, some even go up to 4k. Also every kit I've seen only uses t-56 trans. So I would need to swap my auto trans to manual, and all those little fiddly bits needed for the swap add up. So I'm looking at like 7-8k minimum to swap one in, I mean I might as well buy a camaro which brings me to option 4. 4. Sell it and buy another car. I could outright buy a e36 m3 or a LS1 camaro for about the price it would take me to swap my 318ti. I don't have any special attachments to my 318 or anything. The benefit to swapping my ti is I can buy each part individually and save up over time instead of having to drop one big lump sum on a car. Also insurance is cheaper. I DO love the hatchback look of my little 318ti compared to a coupe or sedan though. What would you do if you had the choice?
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