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Old 07-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #1
Strawman
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Default S52/ZF into '96 318ti Tintop (S52 coming!)

UPDATE: An S52 has since been swapped into my car. See details starting in Post #16 below...

**********************************************************

I've been a lurker on this forum since I bought my '96 BMW 318ti for $1600 about a year ago. It was originally a car from Italy (found about 40 Lire coins under the center console, and the owner's manual is in Italian!), so it had a 5-bolt rear drum setup that was used on many 316ti cars. The car also had a weird "thatched" headliner that looks retro-island -- but I've come to like it. It had 177k miles on it, although the previous owner gave me a huge stack of receipts over the past six years, including a swapped used Getrag transmission. He also used synthetics in all boxes/engine, and mostly used genuine BMW parts. The clear-coat was coming off and the driveshaft was vibrating (locked up rear u-joint), so he sold it to me for a pretty good price.

I do all of my own car maintenance, modifications and repairs in my typical suburban two-car garage. After replacing every oil-related o-ring and gasket on the M44 engine, doing a full tune-up and installing a rebuilt driveshaft, the car was trouble-free and it now has 203k miles.

My '97 328i was stolen/wrecked last February, so I bought it back from the insurance company for this swap. It only had 110k miles on it, and I knew the engine was strong. My father bought it from SF BMW in 2000 with 26k, so I know the history of the car, too.

About three months ago, I completely rebuilt the suspension using Koni single-adjustables, H&R Sport springs, heavy-duty Meyle LCAs, rubber LCA bushings, and poly bushings everywhere else (rear diff mount, rear trailing arm bushings, rear crossmember mounts, sway bar mounts). I went with stock front upper strut mounts and Meyle HD rear shock mounts, but used the BMW reinforcement plates front and rear. I replaced the stock rear differential with one from an E28, and it has a 3.25 ratio and a clutch-type LSD. I also replaced the trailing arms with disc-brake 318ti units (new bearings) and used the 328i vented brakes up front with all new brake pads, sensors and rubber lines; I'm not a big fan of stainless lines due to wear-through concerns. The axles came from NAPA, and they were a huge pain in the ass to get the splines to line up in the hubs -- but they seem to working out fine so far. I pulled the lower crossbrace from a 328ic at Pick-n-Pull ($14!), and installed it about a month ago -- gotta admit that I really couldn't feel a difference. Finally, I replaced the tie-rods with new Lemforder units and new boots. All told, I spent about $2k on the parts to rebuild the suspension, but the car handles very nicely without knocking out the fillings in my teeth (very similar to my M Roadster).

Now to the swap: I have been gathering parts for a few months, including J!ms swap manual. Since the 328i was an automatic, I purchased a ZF trans, flywheel, clutch, shifter and driveshaft from a wrecked '97 328ic at a nearby Pick-n-Pull. Fortunately, it was a 50% off transmissions weekend, so I got everything for $150. I paid $40 for the 2-year warranty on the trans; the wrecked 328ic was otherwise in great shape so I've got my fingers crossed. I pulled the ENTIRE wiring harness out of my 328i before recycling the carcass, so I've swapped in the DME, EWS, and the EWS ignition sender in the 318ti. I'm also swapping over all locks, since I've got three keys from the 328i (and the one key I've got for the 318ti doesn't open the driver's door!). Finally, I've installed the 328i rack-n-pinion.

I've also swapped in the battery cable from the 328i into the 318ti in order to move the battery into the cargo space. While the engine was out, I welded in Turner Motorsports reinforcements for the front crossmember. I ground off the coil pack and power steering reservoir mounts, cleaned up the engine bay, and painted all exposed metal to prevent rust. I bought a rattle can from NAPA with single-stage Calypsorot Metallic for $30, and it came out great -- much easier that having to buy a quart of paint and use & then clean my HVLP spot-gun.

The M44 engine & Getrag trans came out without incident, although I had to lower the car because my cherry-picker ran out of headroom. Fortunately, I was able to snake my small HF aluminum floorjack between the "legs" of the cherry-picker to raise the body off the jackstands and then lower the body down. The drivetrain is now on a pallet and ready for sale. The M52 & ZF went in without too much incident, although patience and a little swearing is necessary. Below are some pics. I'll update as soon as I finish installing the shifter, driveshaft, exhaust, wiring, etc. Stay tuned!
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Click image for larger version Name:	M52 install 1.JPG Views:	523 Size:	158.7 KB ID:	14179   Click image for larger version Name:	M52 going in 1.JPG Views:	552 Size:	136.6 KB ID:	14180  

Last edited by Strawman; 08-09-2016 at 05:20 PM. Reason: update
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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More pics...
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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Lookin good!
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Alpine Weiß 1995 318ti
M50tu mostly stock, chip'd 413, AFE Intake. e36 M3 front brakes, e30 M3 rear calipers. e28 3.25 LSD + e30 axles. Custom stainless Magnaflow 2 in 1 out muffler.

R.I.P schwartz 1990 325is
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:39 AM   #4
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God I love calypso... wanna trade? =]
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uber E30 View Post
God I love calypso... wanna trade? =]
Yeah, Calypso is great but the sun wreaks havoc on it! The clearcoat is hammered on a lot of the horizontal surfaces; it'll need a respray soon.

I'm now waiting on the injectors to be returned from Mr. Injector (fingers-crossed for tomorrow) then I can see if it runs. I'll update the thread with pics and -- if successful -- a link to a YouTube video of it running.
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:54 AM   #6
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Forgot to mention that the 4-cyl cooling system (including factory electric cooling fan) won't fit with the M52. So I surrendered and installed a new 6-cyl system from Pelican & some pieces from Coast BMW here in SLO. These components include a new Behr radiator, new 6-cyl fan shroud, new overflow container, hoses, mounts, etc. In total, this added $500 to the project.

I am going the "Fan Delete Mod" to avoid another mechanical plastic fan failure (which I was "blessed" with on my 328i a few years ago ). I used the 318ti temp sensor (80*C low and 88*C high) in the 6-cyl radiator, and wired the A/C auxiliary fan out of a 325i to come on at those two temps. Of course, I used BMW coolant and added two bottles of Redline Water Wetter. Fingers crossed it'll work as many other 6-cyl guys swear by (and some apparently swear at!).
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:17 AM   #7
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I paid $15 extra for US Postal Service Express Mail to return my rebuilt injectors, and had them sent to my office since there's employees there 7 days a week. I got a notice yesterday (Saturday) from the online USPS tracking page that they tried to deliver the box but there was nobody there. Guess the mailman didn't see the sign that clearly says "Ring Bell on Weekends". Arrggghhh, I don't believe FedEx would've made that mistake! Looks like I'll need to install the injectors tomorrow (Monday) night...

Today I finished swapping over the ignition and door lock cylinders from the 328i into my 318ti. Only broke one door handle mounting clip on the passenger door, and I'm hopeful Coast BMW has this less-than-a-buck clip in stock.

I also bought a pair of new rubber outer door handle gaskets on eBay on Friday, not realizing they'll be shipped from Malaysia. They're supposed to be here in two weeks. I shoulda just bought two new outer door handle covers from Coast BMW that come with new gaskets; $14 each isn't too bad... especially when I paid $12 for just the gaskets and shipping.

The only other AHA Moment is that the upper radiator hose rubs against the stock M52 airbox at the radiator hose's 90* bend, even after trimming 0.5" off the radiator end. Unless someone here has a simple solution, it looks like I'll need to go with a Cold Air Intake system and delete the stock airbox. Anyone else run into this?

Below is a picture of the engine awaiting the rebuilt injectors. Cheers to vroom-vroom tomorrow night!

Geoff
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:36 PM   #8
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Default It Runs!

IT RUNS!!!!

I finally gave up on trying to get the car running myself, as I couldn't get the starter to turn over. So I had it towed to Jake at German Auto here in San Luis Obispo. The EWS as I set it up was fine; however, the DME was looking for a neutral signal from the EGS (the engine and DME are from an automatic chassis). Jake ended up using the VIN out of his own 1997 328i (a 5-speed manual car) to correctly code out the automatic transmission. He's now working on coding out the ASC-T (traction control), and also figuring out a couple hard codes (O2 sensors, intake air temp sensor, etc.) but will have it ready for me by day's end. Total cost is still forthcoming, but it looks like he'll keep it under six hours (~$620). I'll then take it to American Custom Muffler here in SLO for a dual-in, dual-out cat-back muffler system.

It also turns out I didn't clip one of the injectors in correctly, so it sprayed fuel when he first fired it up. The car sounds great with open pipes, and he said his brief test-drive showed the trans/clutch/driveshaft (Pick-n-Pull specials!!!) seem to work well. I did install a new Guibo, but the driveshaft out of a 1997 328ic convertible fits like a glove between the ZF trans and E28 LSD differential.

I gotta give J!m props for his manual -- it helped me immensely, even though I've been frankensteining cars for a couple decades (WRX engine/trans in a Porsche 914, Subaru Legacy engine into VW Vanagon, Geo Tracker engine into Suzuki Samurai rockcrawler, etc.). I chose a slightly more onerous route by using the DME from an auto car, but it looks like I've made it over the big hurdles. Below is a pic of car (in its dented fender/door glory!) on the tow-truck. More to come!
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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Picked the car up on Friday, and drove it home with open catalytic converter pipes. Kinda loud -- especially on decelleration. Had a dual-in/single out Magnaflow stainless steel muffler installed by Mike at American Muffler today. I cut off the 328i muffler where the pipes entered the muffler can, and Mike used the leftover cat-back pipes that fit neatly under the rear suspension cross-member, he added a short section to connect the dual-inlets of the muffler, and then welded in a short plain-jane single outlet that exits where the stock 318ti muffler exits the rear valence. Cost me $350 out the door, but it was in at 8AM and done by 3Pm today. Total sleeper look, but it pulls like a freight train! I'd say its on par with my '99 M Roadster. I drool thinking about how the S52 would feel in a Compact chassis!

The engine idles great and runs cool, although I still need to service the hybrid 328i AC compressor and 318ti condensor, etc. to see if that causes any high temp issues. Probably not a big issue here on the CA Central Coast, but I wanna make sure the car won't overheat if I head east/north into hot country. While idling for a long time this weekend, the factory front-mounted auxiliary fan kicked on like intended. I'm really hoping I can abandon the factory M52 mechanical fan system.

Still need to finish up the interior (install glove box, driver side underdash, shift boot and shifter knob). I am also still waiting for a passenger-side door handle clip from Coast BMW, so the passenger side door panel is still off for now. I also need to pull the ABS and transmission lights from the 328i dash, and mount the 328i exhaust flapper module and fuel tank pressure module. Finally, I need to re-align the steering wheel after installing the leather-wrapped wheel from the 328i. The mechanics at my work (I manage the regional bus system) gave it the thumbs-up this afternoon -- and that says a lot when the union guys endorse work by a white-collar guy!
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:55 AM   #10
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Oh yeah, I still need to finalize the battery setup in the rear cargo space. I'm thinking Miata AGM battery in a custom box, or possibly a racing AGM (Braille, Deka, Odyssey) in the corner "pocket." For now, I've jury-rigged the stock battery in the rear passenger corner (a piss-poor solution!).
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:16 AM   #11
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As shown in the picture, I had a small setback today on the car's first voyage more than a few miles from home. The car ran great the whole way to Arroyo Grande today from SLO (about 25 miles) -- engine temp perfect, no hiccups or flat spots, and the car pulled very hard through the backroad twisties.

I parked the car, set the alarm and parked it for about 15 minutes. When I came back, I hit the disarm button and was greeted with a series of dying alarm beeps. When I turned the ignition, the dash lights illuminated, quickly dimmed and then everything went dead. A good Samaritan helped me try to jumpstart it, but I got zippo. Ended up calling Roadside Assistance and had the car towed back to my house.

After a quick investigation, the problem was a failure somewhere in the battery cable between the rear cargo area and the engine bay. As noted above, I ran the factory 328i cable in my ti. I'll remove the passenger seat, pull up the carpet to see what happened, and provide a post-mortem report on the cable failure later this week.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:53 PM   #12
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Turns out the problem was a wiring mistake I made on Pin 8 of X069... ran the chassis wiring to Start/Run 12v+, which popped the 5Amp fuse. Rewired and everything is good (so far).

Had a chance to build a battery mount solution, as shown in the pictures below. The result works great, but it is sometimes amazing how $8 of metal, some old bolts, a MIG welder and various cutting/grinding tools can sap up 6 hours. As you can see from the first pic, I welded stand-off mounts to the chassis; the inner mounts (toward the center of the car) obviously had to be taller due to the recessed portion between the frame rails. I used nuts to adjust the height and therefore the level of the battery frame. I painted it using the leftover rattle-can paint I had mixed for the engine bay.

I ended up mounting a battery designed for a Miata, and the dimensions are 7.5"x5.0"x7.3". Since it is AGM (absorbed glass matt), it is fully sealed, won't need venting, and can be mounted any which way. I ended up laying it on its side tucked up against the back of the rear seat. I bought it from O-Reilly's for $130 after exchange of the old 318ti battery.

I took it for a spirited drive now that I've got a securely mounted battery, and quickly discovered the car is now "traction-limited." I need stickier tires!
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:20 PM   #13
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Great progress, love to see it up and running...

FWIW, the factory Miata battery (I use the Bosch) tucks into the rear pocket perfectly with the plastic tray removed.

pics;

http://www.318ti.org/forum/showpost....9&postcount=32

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James 95 active w/leather interior and sport interior conversion, Vaders, full M-Tech exterior conversion. Now m50 swapped* Eibach sway bars, D2 Coilovers, Depo's w/AE's, blacked-out sides and grills, LeatherZ console and door armrests, 1 series starter button mod, and custom finished Style 5's <--- in this color! Named "Roddy": *M50 6 cyl. swap with fan delete, S50 cams and chip, AFE stage 2 intake, M3 clutch and 11.5 lb Fidanza flywheel, 3.15LSD, battery relocated to rear and complete custom exhaust. Sweet! 97 318ti sport, Alaska Blue, Contours, coilovers, Dove Vaders and custom black/grey interior named "Max" 95 318ti Active in Cosmos, S50 swap in progress... named "Pit" SUPPORT 318ti.org! CLICK THE LINK ABOVE! Hosting a forum like this is not free. 318ti.org is one of the best BMW forums on the web because it is member supported, not vendor supported. The cost to become a Supporter is a nominal $10.00... A YEAR! DO IT! NOW!

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Old 03-04-2014, 06:56 AM   #14
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A quick update: finally got the BAR referee to sign-off on my swap last month. My car is finally smog-legal and fully registered in California! My swap now has over 5k miles and it runs great.

Since I used the DME from an auto 328i chassis, the referee failed my car the first time through. I then gave him a full build write-up, and he read up on a couple auto-to-manual Bimmer websites to see that this is a common swap. He finally bought in when I provided a link to check ECU part numbers on RealOEM.com. Yay!

I used EDIABAS on an old laptop with an Ebay cable to reprogram the GM code in the EWS, and that finally removed my CEL (the DME was looking for the EGS for the auto trans).

I also recently installed a lightweight flywheel. That really brought the car to life. I believe my M52-swapped 318ti accelerates as quickly as my S52 M Roadster now...

Last edited by Strawman; 03-04-2014 at 06:57 AM. Reason: mistakes
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:37 AM   #15
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Just swapped in a set of 27mm front and 15mm rear Racing Dynamics sway bars today. No more scraping the door handles on fast turns!


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Sleeper Calypsorot 1996 318ti tintop. CA-legal swapped S52 from '98 M3, and ZF transmission with lightened flywheel/clutch. Magnaflow 2-into-1 muffler. Six-cylinder Eibach springs in front and 318ti H&R Sport springs in rear. Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around. Racing Dynamics 28mm & 19mm swaybars. M3 front hubs/brakes, E34 rear calipers, braided SS brake lines, Hawk HP-S pads. DS-II wheels. Polyflex purple bushings throughout, and factory lower x-brace. Fan delete mod. Engine mount reinforcements welded-in. 3.25 LSD rear diff from E28 & E30 axles.
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