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M3 Track: Racing and DE Best mod for speed is learning to get the most out of what you currently have. Tracks and DE's is the place to start!


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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 01:47:41 AM   #1
Drewster
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Default e30 Race Car.. where to start?

So, new year.. new race car, it seems. In the next few weeks, I'm going to be figuring out how to get an e30 race car next to the e46.

This is great, because I always planned for something cheap and pre-built down the road for w2w.. I just didn't expect it to be immediate, free, or an e30.

I know lots about the e46 after years of wrenching on it.. but I'm clueless when it comes to the e30 platform and the M20 engine.

Where the best place to start in terms of common failure points, easy/ cheap ways to squeeze power out, etc?
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 04:06:51 AM   #2
SQ13
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

S54 swap
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 04:58:16 AM   #3
Drewster
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

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Originally Posted by SQ13 View Post
S54 swap
Sadly no - one of the nice things about this car is everything costs a fraction of e46m3 prices (kinda want to keep it that way for the most part)

Besides..

Last edited by Drewster; Mon, Jan-06-2020 at 05:01:23 AM.
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 01:27:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

Fine then. S52 swap?

Sorry, no help on an e30 platform except for the potential to 5 lug swap for better wheel selection and upgraded brakes.
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 01:53:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

M54B30 swap set it up like a SPECE46, 225whp.
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 02:45:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

Not much for common failure points.

Make sure the timing belt is good to go and that should be it for the most part.

Making power out of the M20 isn't very cost effective. Pretty easy to swap the cam out and add a bit of a tune. Otherwise, you won't get much out of it. But that is never going to be the point with an E30.

We run an E30 with M20 for endurance racing. It's fun
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 02:57:56 PM   #7
Drewster
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

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Originally Posted by TheRealStig View Post
Not much for common failure points.

Make sure the timing belt is good to go and that should be it for the most part.

Making power out of the M20 isn't very cost effective. Pretty easy to swap the cam out and add a bit of a tune. Otherwise, you won't get much out of it. But that is never going to be the point with an E30.
Thanks, I figure in the short term I'll go over the engine, refresh bearings, belts, gaskets, etc. and spend some time learning to drive a car without power. After I get the hang of that (or if the engine goes) I'll probably look into swaps. Frankly I've learned that I've gotten too used to using the S54's grunt to rotate the car, so I'm hoping this little thing will make me a better all-around driver.

While I have everything torn apart, I was just curious if I should slap on eBay headers or something - assuming that's the biggest bang for the buck that it is on the S54.

Long term, I was definitely thinking about M54/ S52 swapping it. Looking through guides online, it seems like I can just use the e30's transmission? Local junkyards have some M54's, but they're all fitted to automatics.
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 04:23:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

E30 is super easy to work on and really fun to drive. Working on finishing my S54 swap recently and just drove it for the first time recently and realized how much I missed it.

Don't waste time/money with 5 lug swaps, they all require janky adapters or mess with the geometry. There are plenty of 15" 4 lug wheel options that are more than adequate.

Never owned an m20 but it seems pretty reliable with no major failures. Never heard of anyone needing to do bearings in one. Timing belt is a good idea if it hasn't been done recently.

325i has a getrag 260 stock. It sits on a different angle than the newer BMW engines and transmissions so if you want to use it with a swap you have to do some customization of the shift linkage. Otherwise it's a solid bet. Ideal trans is a zf 320z, which bolts right up with an E36 328 or m3 driveshaft. That's what I'm using in mine.
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Old Mon, Jan-06-2020, 04:31:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

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Originally Posted by ctres View Post
E30 is super easy to work on and really fun to drive. Working on finishing my S54 swap recently and just drove it for the first time recently and realized how much I missed it.

Don't waste time/money with 5 lug swaps, they all require janky adapters or mess with the geometry. There are plenty of 15" 4 lug wheel options that are more than adequate.

Never owned an m20 but it seems pretty reliable with no major failures. Never heard of anyone needing to do bearings in one. Timing belt is a good idea if it hasn't been done recently.

325i has a getrag 260 stock. It sits on a different angle than the newer BMW engines and transmissions so if you want to use it with a swap you have to do some customization of the shift linkage. Otherwise it's a solid bet. Ideal trans is a zf 320z, which bolts right up with an E36 328 or m3 driveshaft. That's what I'm using in mine.
Yeah, I mainly want to go through it because the previous team popped an M20 at a race and then found this engine, rammed it in and finished the race.. and then it sat. I'd like to make it go from an "unknown" to a "known" quantity

Thanks for the advice!
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Old Tue, Jan-07-2020, 01:26:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: e30 Race Car.. where to start?

Any e30 chassis, m50 swap it, just so happens I have every single piece you could need to do it, motor, harness, pan. If you’d be interested in such a thing pm me and we can talk.

Otherwise go with a 325is. M20b25. Definitely don’t want an m42 or a b27. Though you can throw a b25 head onto a b27 and build a mini stroker from the eta motor. Better off starting m20b25 though, and those motors can do like 400hp with boost stock bottom end.
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Discussing e30 Race Car.. where to start? in the M3 Track: Racing and DE Forum - Best mod for speed is learning to get the most out of what you currently have. Tracks and DE's is the place to start! at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)