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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Fri, Apr-26-2019, 10:08:46 PM   #1
Macalent
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Default New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

What is up guys! Iím Frank Macaluso and I recently took on a lofty endeavor, but Iím no stranger to engine swaps.

I started this swap literally on March 1st - Looking to complete it in 3 months exactly. I have a 1997 M3 (auto), looking to swap a 2010 N54 Twin Turbo Drivetrain with a 6 speed. So there is a pedal swap being done too!

Iím here to tell you all how I did it! I do have a youtube series, but I wanted to help on the forum too. There are many ways to skin a cat, but this is the way Iíve chosen. I am getting yaíll while in the middle of the swap, but I value your help, so any advice youíre willing to dispense, questions you may have, or general comments about the technology and common failures would be most welcomed!

I plan to bring this puppy to Gutenfest 2019 in June, along with my E30 S62. So I hope you enjoy where Iím going with this build and have some constructive comments!

This is a 1997 Alpine M3, bought by a customer of mine earlier this year. He bought it because he was in a front end accident and wanted to swap the drivetrain. This was an AWD E92, so we had to purchase a few parts to make it more user friendly to a RWD swap!





And the E36 M3 Automatic


So I purchased
RWD oil pan from a E90 335i
RWD 6sped from an E90 335i
Other than that, most everything else can remain.

Engine positioning is always first on the list, and the most important because it dictates everything else on the car and as a result, all other ancilliary devices must work around the engine position.

I have a video on how I determined engine position here:

From there, I was able to build my transmission bracket, then shorten my shifter linkage. I did some live IG videos, but i shot myelf in the foot because I couldn't save it and take screenshots to show pictures at a minimum on how I did it.

As of today, the driveline is perfectly positioned where I need it but because of some part shortages, I am having to get creative with schedules and do some other things before I can complete the engine positioning.

I wanted to share my progress with the group here because I have done a lot of lurking up until this point to better understand E36 and E9X. So here I am offering an amalgamation of the 2! I hope you guys enjoy where I go with this swap. I should be done by May, so this will be a pretty quickly moving swap.

Again, any comments, updates, help, or advice you have I always welcome! Many thanks and stay tuned for more updates!!
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Old Fri, Apr-26-2019, 10:17:24 PM   #2
Macalent
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Some more pics of latest progress. Engine positioned - Done. Shifter Done, Trans Bracket Done,

Overall engine position while the E36 is in the air. Not too bad!



You can see that the 6 speed transmissions are in fact quite different, and as such are different part numbers: AWD on the left, RWD on the right.



Shifter parts, shortened. Need final welding.





Trans Bracket looks pretty good and is pretty strong. Might want to add more bracing just because. Going 80A poly mounts here, so that means that the bracket itself will need to absorb more impact, so maybe I might brace it up a bit more.



When replacing oil pans, found the engine to be quite clean!



Extracted the entire CAS3 system so the installation is plug and play - Now I need to figure out where to install the start button and key holder. Center Console perhaps?


EKPS Fuel Computer Ready for installation. It's all part of the PT-CAN bus, so I'll need to wire this up with the DME, along with the relay. Shouldn't be too hard.



While we're on the subject of wiring, I need to figure out which one of these harnesses are necessary and which ones aren't. I know for certain that the X6011 connector is for the Starter and Instrument cluster functions. That one is the white one on the very right.



This engine position dictates that the stock E30 M3 driveshaft can be used with good spline engagement. This is good news for anyone looking to save $600-$700 on a custom sized driveshaft.



That's all for now. Next is Engine Mounting. I just got my 80A poly mounts from Garagistic, so I can now position the engine with custom subframe mounting. Hoping to take dimensions so that engine position can be replicated for yall.
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Old Fri, Apr-26-2019, 11:17:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Damn, very interesting and I look forward to following!
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Old Sat, Apr-27-2019, 03:52:54 AM   #4
Macalent
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

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Originally Posted by Nate047 View Post
Damn, very interesting and I look forward to following!
Thanks!
Now I know I'm new here, but I'm not new to forums, nor looking a lot of information about swaps like this on the forums, so I'm pretty familiar.

I know I'm the new guy, but this is just the beginning. I have a lot of great knowledge to share.

I hope you like how I present the info guys, more comments the better! Thanks again!

I installed the Passenger Side Engine Mount. I did this one first mainly because I am still waiting on my E85 Z4 Driver mount. Need that mount in order to clear the steering column. Learned that trick from Hackentt on the forums here. Thanks again!!

So here are some pics of the in process build.


Now on to the pictures. The bracket is plenty strong to handle the weight of the engine and then some.

First was to get the trans mounts updated from the rubber to the poly as well. Need to make sure that any driveline settling due to the rubber was addressed early on before welding the motor brackets:



Here is the bracket, sans mount, but marked and getting ready for the bracket weld


Here is the bracket without the mount.


Bracket with mount


Now, I have the Trans mount and Pass Mount ONLY. I did not do the driver side. But the oil pan is sitting on a couple of wood spacers on the subframe, so it's braced pretty good. Having said that I was able to remove any jacks I had under the car, so I can lower the car and start working on radiator design if I want while I wait for the driver engine bracket.
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Last edited by Macalent; Sat, Apr-27-2019 at 02:54:39 PM.
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Old Sat, Apr-27-2019, 04:40:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

That is pretty damn cool man 👍🏼 And itís going into a 4 door which makes it even cooler 😎
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Old Sat, Apr-27-2019, 02:49:33 PM   #6
Macalent
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollzyie View Post
That is pretty damn cool man 👍🏼 And itís going into a 4 door which makes it even cooler 😎
Thanks Bud,

more details to come!

My mantra here is to do this as cheaply as possible. I've received scrutiny on YT and IG for easier ways to do it. While this may be true, it is more expensive. The tradeoff of cost vs. time is the question we all answer when we undergo a project. I hope I strike a healthy balance with slightly more fabrication.

But i learn a ton. Hope to transfer that knowledge over to you guys!
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Old Sat, Apr-27-2019, 02:53:24 PM   #7
Macalent
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

I definitely need to beef up the transmission mount up a little. I agree it was a bit weak but I’d like to add a few more parts to give it some more structural strength. More pics of that to come later.

For now, some exhaust work on the rise.





I got the exhaust header downpipes complete. I got a video I issued here if you want to see how I did it. I also have some stills. This was not very difficult, but I had the lift so it made things easier. Overall, I used 2.5" 304SS Tube (16Ga) and used about 5-6 bends to get the cats in a vertical up/down configuration as opposed to side-by-side. This allowed me now to clear the control arm lollipop, thereby ensuring that the engine can be installed with the header downpipes installed. Makes things just a tad bit easier.
I had to bang back the passenger firewall to make the upper (cylinder 4,5,6) cat fit in place, but now that's just fine tuning.





Thanks guys for tuning in!!
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Last edited by Macalent; Sat, Apr-27-2019 at 02:56:43 PM.
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Old Sun, Apr-28-2019, 01:02:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macalent View Post
...Now I need to figure out where to install the start button and key holder. Center Console perhaps?
Will it fit neatly where the cigarette lighter normally goes?

Cool project, will be watching your progress.
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Old Tue, Apr-30-2019, 05:34:30 AM   #9
Macalent
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3AN View Post
Will it fit neatly where the cigarette lighter normally goes?

Cool project, will be watching your progress.
That's what I'm thinking actually! I am have given it little thought so far, still concentrating on the mechanical integration. But that's where this gets fun. And i'm getting closer and closer by the day!
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Old Tue, Apr-30-2019, 05:37:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?!

Updates! So I got the radiator fit...for now. I think so might want to push it further forward just another inch, because it will make plumbing and electric fan integration much easier. So this will involve cutting the edges of the frame rails yet again, but at this point I’m basically planning to weld completely new frame rails anyway with all the gusseting I am planning to do.

As of now I have the radiator in a spot that is secure, with some good mounts welded up.

Intercooler will be upgraded so we’ll definitely have room for that in the m3 bumper. All radiators are planned to be plumbed including air conditioning.
So enough of me blabbering on.

Some pictures below!









I ended up moving The radiator forward another inch so a little bit more fabrication work was necessary. This allows the use of the existing electric fan, which you can see at the end of the video below. Most of everything is lined up but very loosely installed. Now that everything is set in its position I need to connect the dots and design some Brackets to connect them all and braced up the entire front end structure.
Moving the radiator forward even further allows me the opportunity to use a lot of the existing plumbing for all four of those radiators in that sub assembly. A little bit more work up front to save me more fabrication work later.

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Discussing New Build - E36 N54 Swap - How did I do it?! in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)