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Old 11-19-2015, 06:24 AM   #1
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Default 318ti DASC vs NA 318ti vs 323ti - Opinions Welcomed.

Decisions, decisions…

A cooling system malfunction and subsequent over heating has rendered the M44 in our 1998 318ti DASC “no longer serviceable” which brings us to a cross road. It is a bit ironic that the M44’s demise had nothing to do with the DASC.
There are two main options but which one is best?

The car has been my Wife’s reliable DD for several years, the last 70,000 with the DASC but she longs for an SUV (really?) so a change is forthcoming (although not imminent).

Recognizing the DASC is worth almost as much as the car (without it), my plan after this overheating event is to remove the DASC and store for a future pet project (E30 318is DASC?). (Sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for it)

Considering that the car will be sold within 18 months, the options are:

#1 Return the car to a NA M44 with a “standby” M44 from a crashed 318 that I already have.
Pros: Easiest option, least expense, I have the motor.
Cons: I have to dig out all of the old NA M44 parts. I have no history or know the true condition of the “standby” motor for sure but the car was crashed and I can do a leak down test. Going back to 138HP will be disappointing, even for my Wife.

#2 Install 2.5L M52 from my Son’s wrecked 323is.
Pros: I have almost all of the parts, harness ECU etc., I know the condition and history, it is true to a 323ti, it “might” increase the sales value of the car (how much?), smog?, it has 170HP
Cons: It will take a bit more work, the AC may need to be sorted or may be a bolt up, needs new cooling parts & 6 cyl radiator, it weighs 100lb more than the M44, it has 170HP
Edit: Cons: The battery will/may need to be relocated. This may be the worst part of the swap in my case. Anyone figure a way on an OBDII car to keep the battery location and fit the secondary air pump?

If we drive it another 12-18 months, the extra HP would make it bearable. I don’t know the smog ramifications but both cars are 1998 and all smog devices would be reconnected as “factory” like in the 323is.
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Old 11-19-2015, 06:59 PM   #2
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hmm...I like option #2, because the engine is known. (and I accept your apology for not selling me the DASC)

I don't know about California smog (thank goodness). But I know it's common to have the ECU programmed to show the SAP functioning fine whilst not present. Or it seems you could put a battery in the trunk as the cable should be in the 323.

You'd have to search a bit, but I'm somewhat sure that the A/C borrows a few lines from the 323 to get going.

One thing that you don't mention is how much free time you have on your hands and how long the car can be down. Maybe the most determining factor.

I'd expect the 2.5L engine to bump the price of a TI up by about $1K or so.

After reading this, keep in mind that I know little of which I speak. I just sound confident. I've made a career of it!

Good luck.

PS, your yard sounds vast.
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:19 PM   #3
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BRADESTAR, Thanks for the comments.

My time is short but I have an able helper that is capable (with supervision) and my Wife is driving my "spare" M3/4 since I drive a service truck daily (a bummer driver BTW).

Thinking this might be a good thanksgiving project.

I PM'd J!m to see if his manual includes all of the 323ti battery conversion information to gauge what the cost might be to fully replicate the 323ti battery detail.

his might be a bit much for a 12-18 month car but it would have the cool factor and even if the return matches the effort, having the added horsepower for the remaining ownership might make the swap worth it.
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:52 PM   #4
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I say option #2 install the I-6. Once you have had a boosted I-4 (M44) if you go back to stock you will be very disappointed. Trust me on this statement. "Once you have driven a car with good power loosing that power completely makes the car boring to drive" I'm a old timer so do what you want but I think you need to keep the power level higher then stock.


Good luck, John S
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:12 PM   #5
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While I would also opt for option 2, you would also need to get the car BARD (approved by California Air Resources Board) for it to be able to be legally smogged. If you check the for sale section you'll find a couple of sellers who have done that and could probably give you insight on how to get it accomplished.

I've had cars certified in the past, but that was so long ago I can't remember the exact steps. One thing I do remember is that I had to make sure the car not only met the smog requirements on the year model of the car, but also had to meet the requirements of the year of the engine. Basically if the 323 is a 98 and the ti is a 98, then you have to meet the 323 smog standards for 1998.

Hope this helps and good luck, I think that would be a great project.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:45 PM   #6
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I am thinking about selling my 97 DASC 318is. It would be a cool car as a engine donor. Watch the classifieds.
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Old 11-29-2015, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Stevens View Post
I am thinking about selling my 97 DASC 318is. It would be a cool car as a engine donor. Watch the classifieds.
If this car goes up for sale I'm local and can drive over to take a look at, if the owner wants me to verify that the car is in good condition I would be glad to help with the sale.

John S
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Old 11-29-2015, 04:55 PM   #8
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Yesterday I picked up a hoist and prepped the M52 to come out of the 323is doner along with the harness and other needed parts.

There seem to be a lot more electrical connections compared to the M44 I am more familiar with.

If anyone has a proven process on R&R for the manifold, please let me know. It seemed like I did it the hard way and may have disconnected more than necessary to get it off.

Do the stamped steel supports to the block need to be loosened from the block or can they stay bolted up?

Any other tricks to speed that part up would be welcomed.

Still figuring out the best way to relocate the battery. I found a couple of threads on the subject but nothing definative on a "full" 323ti type conversion or just going with a smaller glass mat battery in the passenger side storage well.
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Old 12-28-2015, 05:13 AM   #9
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Progress is a bit slow on the project but I have gathered most of the parts together including a new radiator, cooling hoses, gaskets, seals etc.

We got the M44/250G out today, cleaned up the engine compartment and started prepping the M52. I cut all of the M44 mounts and brackets off the shock towers and frame horn that are no longer needed.

The M44/DASC had a 13lb Fidanza flywheel and M3 clutch so I am swapping that onto the M52 along with a new clutch disk.

I already ran the 323is battery cable to the rear and am looking at an interesting new battery option. A lithium ferrophosphate (LiFePo4) that will fit in the passenger side cubby and has amazing specs for it's size. It is 3.40"x6.50"x5.12", 500 CCA ,24-35Ah (Ah are rated differently) and only weighs 4.3 lbs. Current cost is $225 at https://www.mightymaxbattery.com/c58...html?Volts=12V
From what I have read, the LiFePo4 batteries last 5 times as long as lead/acid too. LiFePo4 looks to be the technology that will replace lead/acid batteries due to the weight and size advantages.

I already have a small AGM battery that I used to autocross with. A DEKA ETx14 3.44"x6.13"x5.86" 220 CCA 12AH and weighs "only" 12lbs but I am not too confident this will be enough "juice" for my Wife's DD. She has already said going back to the ti after getting used to driving my 97 M3/4 will be a step down so heading off any other problems is high on my list.

I will attach some photos as it progresses.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:45 PM   #10
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Why not just leave the battery where it is and run a lightweight battery? That positive cable is heavy and there really is no good place for the battery in the rear.

You may not want to sell this when you're done!
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:01 AM   #11
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BimmerBum,

Thanks for the suggestion.

Since the car is an OBDII, I needed the existing ti battery location to mount the M52 air blower assembly. I can probably count on the CARB Referee closely inspecting for any missing smog control devices when it goes in for inspection.

The smog situation here is quite the police state of affairs. The muffler shop specifically told me that I must have the center cat section installed before I bring it in as they are not legally allowed to install used catalytic converters...

It would have been great to have been able to fit both in the existing battery location but I was sizing it up and it just did not look like I could fit the blower and a small battery under the hood.

You are right about the cable weight too. I did not weigh it but there is some heft to it.
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Old 12-29-2015, 02:30 AM   #12
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Use the SAP simulator to pass emissions every time install old blower system but it doesn't need to work if the simulator is installed. SAP simulator is in the knowledge base. PM concerns or questions to me and I will help you. John S

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Old 12-29-2015, 05:10 AM   #13
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Thanks for the tip on the SAP simulator.

I saw the DISA simulator at one point but did not know about a SAP will look it up.

That SAP is a waste of space considering it only runs for a few minutes every once and a while. Here in San Diego it barely ever gets cold enough for it to run at all.

At one point when my son had the 323, the exhaust side valve failed and let exhaust & moisture fill the SAP and completely ruined it.

Thanks Again
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:29 AM   #14
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So...

In addition to the known issues from the broken coolant line I am running into a good many maintenance issues as I proceed. Most would have needed to be done even if the car had stayed with an M44 but it is adding work to the project and time line.

When I ran the battery cable I noticed that the passenger door panels lost all of their mounts so an evening was spent with a grinder and urethane adhesive to glue all the mounts back on. The driver's side work will be deferred for now.

The shock towers both had cracks under the strut tower brace brackets so the cracks were welded up and I added M3 reinforcement plates under the towers.
While the welder was on site we welded the cracks on the rear hatch around the latch and added the ASC bracket to the driver side strut tower.

The entire front underpan needed "rehabilitation". I am not sure how the AC condenser got bent back 1/2" on the driver's side and all of the plastic parts disappeared but maybe a "road hazard" or attempting to traverse monster speed bumps took their toll.

Fortunately a 40% off sale at pick your part cut the $300 parts list down to $100 including a fan/clutch, shroud and auxiliary fan assembly. Since the 323is donor car was in a front end collision I was missing all of these parts.

The 13 pound Fidanza flywheel and solid disc had worn down the input shaft splines on the Getrag 250 so I had to "fix" the 5th & reverse shift lever springs on the 323is transmission to make it usable.

The clutch disc was done. Add $350 for rebuilding the pressure plate, surfacing the flywheel and building a custom disc with spring loaded center.

Engine is in the chassis but now I need to figure out the difference in the front sway bars. The S52 oil pan is resting on the 318 sway bar up front?

Has anyone seen a complete list of the donor car parts needed? A 323/325/328 sway bar was not on my radar.
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Old 02-05-2016, 05:21 PM   #15
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Yeah the 6 cyl front sway is "deeper" to allow more clearance with the oil pan.

However, are your front wheels off the ground? If you jack the wheels up the sway bar will rotate down and should give clearance.
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