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Old 03-19-2009, 05:30 PM   #1
hipsterdufus
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Default OBD1 M50 Engine Swap

I was trying to find information on swapping an M50 into my 318ti and I haven't been able to find much in the way of real information. I would want to swap a OBD1 M50 into my OBD1 318ti. If I bought a parts car with a running engine, how difficult is this process? Is everything just plug and play? Or is there significant wiring that needs to be done? Would the parts car provide me with pretty much everything I need? Sorry if these questions have been answered before, but I just couldn't find any real hard information in these threads.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
I was trying to find information on swapping an M50 into my 318ti and I haven't been able to find much in the way of real information. I would want to swap a OBD1 M50 into my OBD1 318ti. If I bought a parts car with a running engine, how difficult is this process? Is everything just plug and play? Or is there significant wiring that needs to be done? Would the parts car provide me with pretty much everything I need? Sorry if these questions have been answered before, but I just couldn't find any real hard information in these threads.
Duck!

Just go to the 'engine swap' section and start reading. One of the members on this forum (Jim) makes a manual to do the swap. Buy it.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, but I'm not going to blow money on the manual before I even know if I want to do this.

How about this for a question? What is the average outlay of time for a swap like this for a shadetree mechanic of average ability (such as myself)? Is it 10 hours? 40? Somewhere in between?

Edit: Btw, I did do a whole bunch of reading/searching in this forum, but its convoluted, to say the least. I'm just looking for a relatively succinct answer about time and whether or not this is a project worth pursuing.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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I would plan a week to do a swap... I like to make things as perfect as I can. It could probably be done in a weekend however.

It is a pretty comon thing these days. You will find lots of support here and again... buy the manual, best 60 bucks spent when doing a swap.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
I would want to swap a OBD1 M50 into my OBD1 318ti. If I bought a parts car with a running engine, how difficult is this process?
This is subjective. Easy for some; however this is not an oil change...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
Is everything just plug and play?
Depends on the exact 'donor' car selected and the ti you are planning to use. It is not uncommon for BMW to make changes within the middle of a model year...

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Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
Or is there significant wiring that needs to be done?
See above...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
Would the parts car provide me with pretty much everything I need?
See above again. It depends on how far apart the donor and ti are in production date. There are several 'small' things that have to be attended to of course, but the OBD-I swap is the easiest one to do. That's why everyone is doing it that way, even if the ti is OBD-II. Then they cry when the emission laws change in their state and suddeenly they have a car they cannot drive because emision control devices have been disabled (in the eyes of the inspectors)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdufus View Post
Sorry if these questions have been answered before, but I just couldn't find any real hard information in these threads.
Interesting...
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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Okay, well let's get more specific. I have a 1995 BMW 318ti. The head gasket is going on it. I see that there is a donor 1992 BMW 325 near me for sale with no transmission. Should I bother to ask the owner how much they want for it, or should I just do the head gasket?

Which is the more cost-effective/time-effective solution? I'm not really thrilled with either, but I'm going to have to make a choice sometime.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
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I'd just do the head.

The 2.5 is not much more than the 1.9 puts out, particularly if you campare a tired 2.5 to a fresh head gasketed 1.9...

If you are going through the trouble of an engine swap, at least do the 2.8!

EDIT: 1995 was still the 1.8...
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:12 PM   #8
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You really think a 2.5 isnt worth it? I figure a m50(low miles with fresh spark plugs, gaskets,...) with intake, exhuast, chip, maybe pulleys/flywheel could be 190'ish, which is about what a stock DASC would be pulling. I think for half the price of the DASC, that sounds worth it. I mean I would love a 2.8 or even a s50!! But for a 95 obd1 318ti wouldnt an obd1 m50 be the eaisest? I know that your(jim) manuel describes in great detail how to do the obd2 to obd1 swap, I just think(for me and the average Diy'er) it would take more time/money..
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:26 PM   #9
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It is the same effort to do any six swap, 2.5, 2.8, or 3.0 (S50). All I'm saying is, if you're going to do all that labor, why not spend a bit more and get the engine you want in the first place? If money is that tight, it makes more sense to get your engine running properly again, so you can drive it. Once you have the means to do a big six swap, that is when you do it. Plus you could then sell a good running engine to help offset your swap costs.

Yes, you could up-grade the 2.5 to 3.0 later, but what do the hard work twice?

That's what I'm saying.

As to the power output, you may have the same ~190 HP, but it is in a heavier package, so your horsepower:weight ratio will not improve significantly. Your nose gets heavier without a signigficant gain in power to offset that. M3 front suspension will help a lot (particularly with the caster tops installed) but you will be piece-mealing that as it won't come from the donor car...

The HP:Weight ratio of a 240HP ti is quite good... Nearly that of the Euro M3...
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:52 AM   #10
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20 hours, two days, two people, engine assembly was required. Very easily a day project if you know what youre doing, otherwise, set aside some time. I have a thread on here as well as bimmerforums.com that documented everything i did as well as a small walkthrough that covers most things you need to know.
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