Project E36

Gemma

RMS Regular
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10,077
So I picked this car up the day after valentines day, I joke that's it my present to myself haha
Anyway back to topic
The night I purchased this I made a random comment to my partner that sorta went like
"If I had of known I was gona buy an e36 so quick after selling the r34, I wouldn't of scrapped big red (for those who dont know big red was my e39 528i manual that i owned and dailied for 8 and half years) cause how funny would it be to put big reds engine into the e36"
He looked at me and said "hahaha, do it 😐"
So off i went and started the research on what I needed to swap a 5 series engine into a 3 series.
A loom
An ecu
An e46 radiator
A ZF gearbox
A 328i prop
The journey began of swapping the engine.
Took the engine out of the e36, went to where big red was, took the engine out of her, back to the e36 and began installing big reds engine into the e36.
Tbf everything went pretty smoothly and a pure Learning curve for all involved.
4 full days of working at her with my best mate who knows his way round bmws like the back of his hand and my partner who was coming home from working 12 hour shifts and getting stuck in.

There was plenty of coffee drank, buns and pizza ate, debating, shouting, swearing, engineering, fabricating, hoses cut and heads scratched but it was all good fun.
The e36 is now running the 528i engine and I'm happy as a pig in Sh*t

The next thing I've lined up for her is to change the terrible headliner. Bagged myself a freshly retrimmed black headliner with rear and front quarter black panel trims with black sun visors etc
Have a new windscreen with the green anti glare sunstrip sitting ready to go into her direct from bmw.

Am i wise doing all this work for a 528i engine? Probably not but sure what else would you be at on Easter week haha
how I justified it to myself was that I know the 528i engine inside and out. I had her meticulously maintained for eight and have years. She ran flawlessly so why not? Lol

pictures in order of before engine swap to her driving back to the shed on the 5 series engine

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NickR

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11,150
Drives
A6/E39 530i
Do like a nice E36. Fair play for getting stuck in. I wouldn't even know where to start :joy:
 

Lyons

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77,245
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Texarkana
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X5 / 435D
Love that. Didn’t know Big Red had been retired though!

What engine did the E36 start out as?
 

Gemma

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OP
Gemma
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10,077
@Lyons she's actually a 318i but with a 323 transplant already done so she had the 6 cylinder anti roll bar already. The wee engine in her was healthy and ran really really well!! Half way through The swap I was like, what am I doing here lol


I tried my hardest to save her big red but it was costing far more than what I would ever get back for her. The rust was worst then originally thought once we starting hoking and poking.
Talking 4k minimum to weld and paint so I made the tough decision to scrap her.
I drove her to the scrap yard and actually balled my eyes walking away. Worse than any break up.
It hurt more I couldn't save her but alas I felt like i sorta have by giving her engine a new place to live.
I also learnt very quickly not to believe every thing you read on the Internet regarding advise and there's always that guy on reddit who had the exact same problem 10 years ago with a resolution
 
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FM155

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8,848
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Alfa 155
Nice, an E36 is a good place for that motor. Mate in England had an E36 328 that he swapped a 325 inlet manifold onto which made a lot of difference to because the 328 was a bit too close to the M3 for BMW apparently, so they deliberately made the 328 inlet manifold a bit more restrictive. Dunno if the E39 328 had the same manifold or a better one..
 

Gemma

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Gemma
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10,077
@FM155 So we used the e36 manifold and full exhaust. Straight bolt on to the e39.
So apparently, the m3 3litre was too close to the 328 track time wise so they made the 3.2 litre m3 evo with 6 gears. How true that is I don't know.
The American m3 is basically a juiced up euro 328
 

FM155

RMS Regular
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8,848
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Alfa 155
Yep, I think until the 3.2 became available, they also detuned the 328 with the restrictive inlet. Not sure if that remained afterwards but the 325 inlet was the go to mod for 328s at a time.
 

Gemma

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Gemma
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10,077
@Coog Gona run the diff that's on her atm just to make sure all is well and no wee niggles appear but a lsd now is over 1k 😬
 

quattro Rick

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5,225
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quattro / M796
@FM155 So we used the e36 manifold and full exhaust. Straight bolt on to the e39.
So apparently, the m3 3litre was too close to the 328 track time wise so they made the 3.2 litre m3 evo with 6 gears. How true that is I don't know.
The American m3 is basically a juiced up euro 328

Judging by how close my times around kirky were vs Arnold? In the yellow m3 3.0 I'd imagine this to be quite true.

Love everything about this project. Giving me a bit of motivation to get stuck into my own again.
 

zafturbo

RMS Regular
Messages
7,463
Judging by how close my times around kirky were vs Arnold? In the yellow m3 3.0 I'd imagine this to be quite true.

Love everything about this project. Giving me a bit of motivation to get stuck into my own again.
You would need to hurry up well as you have offered a lap to a certain young man 😂
 

Gemma

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Gemma
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10,077
@quattro_rick I've yet still to see your e36. Be good to get a photo together.
 

quattro Rick

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5,225
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quattro / M796
@quattro_rick I've yet still to see your e36. Be good to get a photo together.

Bs lad you were behind it on the milk run in the e92 lmao

Plus I had it at the outlet Wednesday thing that one time. I'll get her MOTd or you can bring yours to kirky next time I'm there
 
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