M5x Options for Autocross/Track

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M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:38 pm

90% sure I spun a rod bearing this past weekend. I have another car project going on (95 Celica), so my E30 will be down for a while. I'm looking at the potential of a low boost/fast spool M52B28 setup. I think this may be a better option than a M54B30 in terms of longevity, since there are a lot of rumors about those coming apart at high RPM. But maybe those are just rumors...? Any discussion about M52 vs M54 would be helpful. I'm not really concerned with the M50; at that point, I might as well just find a new M20 bottom end and go from there.

I'm going to check out a motor this weekend - does $500 for a 197k mile M52B28 sound like a bad deal? It sounds good to me, but the high miles are a concern. I imagine I would have to go through and replace most of the wear parts, making that $500 price go up quite a bit. Then again, I'd wind up with a well-refreshed engine.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:18 pm

I'm no 24v expert, but I've parted a couple M5x engines, and both were the aluminum block engines that overheated. Once they overheat the tapped holes for the head bolts get weakened and strip. I think any engine you buy with an unknown history and higher mileage at least needs to refresh, but at almost 200k I would crack the bottom end opened and replace the bearings at least.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:33 pm

M20_fever wrote:I'm no 24v expert, but I've parted a couple M5x engines, and both were the aluminum block engines that overheated. Once they overheat the tapped holes for the head bolts get weakened and strip. I think any engine you buy with an unknown history and higher mileage at least needs to refresh, but at almost 200k I would crack the bottom end opened and replace the bearings at least.


Yes - on a high mileage motor, I think everything would need a refresh. Bottom end bearings, valve seals, top end gaskets, head gasket - the list goes on. That said, the engine should be mostly covered, then. Whereas a newer, more expensive M54 wouldn't allow the budget for such an in-depth rebuild. It looks like rebuilding the M52 would put another $300-500 on top of the price of the motor. That's a significant sum, and definitely something to keep in mind.

I also got an offer for a low mileage (<30k) motor, but it has been sitting for years. The owner doesn't sound super confident about its condition, since it's been sitting so long. It might be a good opportunity to get a good motor for a low price, or it could be junk...

Interesting to hear that about the aluminum motors - another reason to lean towards the M52. BMW's iron block motors seem very stout.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:12 pm

Okay, so I've talked to both owners about the engines. They are both B28s from late-year 328s. From there, they start to differ.

1) Running engine, still in car, sold by a reputable shop. 197k $500
2) Unknown condition, sitting in the elements for a "few years", supposedly 27k $350

At first glance, #1 sounds like the better buy. What do you guys think? I don't really have any experience in this area. The only things #2 has going for it are reported mileage and price.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby Ryki » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:30 am

Yoshi's opinion would be valued, what with his experience with these engines and experience with leaving engines outside :P I'd say that you should consider the cost of a rebuilt/resealed one on either account and make your decision based off that. May as well do it right and not worry about it in the future, you can just consider the M20 a learning experience : )
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby ten2doyle102 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:51 am

#2 would scare me away only because it's been sitting around. Engines don't really like to sit in used and parts might start to seize up like the piston rings and what ever else. Unless you are going to go thru all the work of a complete rebuild meaning tearing it down to a bare block, I'd stay away from number #2. maybe you could offer him $200 and see if he goes for it. I don't understand why people would just leave a motor sitting outside for years... So dumb.

#1 seems like a much better option, especially if you can see it run. I don't tend to get too worked up about mileage because it doesn't really matter. Just because a motor has lower mileage doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be problem free. The po could have just beaten the piss out of it for the first 50k miles and not done routine oil changes as he should. If you can see if it run, rev it up and not see any smoke, and it doesn't knock, go for it. Pull the valve cover off and see what it looks like, is it sludged up?

M54s are nice, but more pricing and more difficult to install. They have drive by wire too I believe which could lead to some issues that I am not familiar with. I had a 2002 330i, that was a lot of fun. It burned oil naturally though, so be careful of that. Seems to be a common issue with them.

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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby Yoshi » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:35 pm

I'm not sure you guys want my opinion. I've been bumbling around with swapping my E30 for an E46 and I've owned E36s and an E46.

You're talking M52TU right? Dual vanos? I'm not really fond of the motor itself. It doesn't put out more hp than the non TU model and it's got more complications for boost later with the dual vanos. So I'd deal with a non TU M52 over the TU type. Not to mention, the aforementioned aluminum block warping issues. And some had lining issues where the alcohol content of gas eats away at the lining.

IMO M50/M52 non TU motors or go straight M54. The 323i e46 vs the 325i e46 is hilarious. Same displacement but the car hauls so much more ass with the M54.

Though, I wouldn't turbo any of those motors. I'd just adapt an AA SC kit and call it a day. No issues with tuning and what not.

Just go V8. Simpler. Only 1 cam. no variable valve timing or shifting intake pipes.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:57 pm

Yoshi wrote:I'm not sure you guys want my opinion. I've been bumbling around with swapping my E30 for an E46 and I've owned E36s and an E46.

You've been down this road - of course your opinion is valid. No matter how much you wish your E30 was a Camaro :P

Yoshi wrote:You're talking M52TU right? Dual vanos? I'm not really fond of the motor itself. It doesn't put out more hp than the non TU model and it's got more complications for boost later with the dual vanos. So I'd deal with a non TU M52 over the TU type. Not to mention, the aforementioned aluminum block warping issues. And some had lining issues where the alcohol content of gas eats away at the lining.

Talking non-TU. I think the only M52TUs were in Z3s and E39s - both of these M52B28s are from E36s.

Yoshi wrote:IMO M50/M52 non TU motors or go straight M54. The 323i e46 vs the 325i e46 is hilarious. Same displacement but the car hauls so much more ass with the M54.

That's why I was considering the M54. It looks like the swap is pretty well figured out at this point and no more difficult than the M52 swap. Buuuttt....they are more expensive. M54s seem ~$1k, whereas the M52 has gotten down to what the M50 reached a few years ago - $350-700.

Yoshi wrote:Though, I wouldn't turbo any of those motors. I'd just adapt an AA SC kit and call it a day. No issues with tuning and what not.

That is a thought. I haven't looked into it too much. At least from the pictures I've seen, the packaging looks like a pain on E30s, but who knows. The turbo chips for the M5x motors seem quite good, too. There are a couple of local guys here who have run them.

I'm not 100% set on boost, either. The M52 alone might be enough for me, but I'm just assuming it will feel like a big hit coming down from a turbo M20. I may also keep the M52 stock for reliability's sake. I am graduating soon, and the car is going to have to be solid if I'm going to justify keeping it, whether that means storing it or bringing it with me wherever I wind up.

Yoshi wrote:Just go V8. Simpler. Only 1 cam. no variable valve timing or shifting intake pipes.

I've considered it. I looked at the Ford 5.0 swap, but I haven't been super impressed with any of the completed swaps. The LSx kit is awesome, but I just can't afford that yet.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby Yoshi » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:00 pm

The ford 302 V8 doesn't put out much whp for the effort of the swap IMO. An S52 would put out a little less power but much less fuss.

M52TUs came in E46 pre facelift models.

If you're talking strict non TU models, then I'd build up an S52 or S50. The AA kits do take some adapting but they fit much better than all the fab work you have to do for a turbo.

The M54s will give you much better response and power under the curve. If you plan to stay NA and like the M50 style swap, I'd either build an S50/S52 or go M54.

The M52B28 is only 0.3 liters more and doesn't feel any faster than an M50b25 to me. Yea I'm spoiled with power but if you're spending the money, you want the extra pooowaaa!
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby M20_fever » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:03 pm

Every person I've seen do the Ford swap on the forums said it wasn't worth it.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:44 pm

Yoshi wrote:The ford 302 V8 doesn't put out much whp for the effort of the swap IMO. An S52 would put out a little less power but much less fuss.

Yeah, my buddy's El Camino has power curve similar to the 302, and the torque down low is pretty good, but it's definitely a let down on the top end.

Yoshi wrote:M52TUs came in E46 pre facelift models.

If you're talking strict non TU models, then I'd build up an S52 or S50. The AA kits do take some adapting but they fit much better than all the fab work you have to do for a turbo.

Interesting...I'll definitely check it out as an option. I'm hoping to eventually throw a centrifugal supercharger in my S2000, which has a power curve very similar to the M5x/S5x motors.

Yoshi wrote:The M54s will give you much better response and power under the curve. If you plan to stay NA and like the M50 style swap, I'd either build an S50/S52 or go M54.

The M52B28 is only 0.3 liters more and doesn't feel any faster than an M50b25 to me. Yea I'm spoiled with power but if you're spending the money, you want the extra pooowaaa!

People are still asking stupid amounts for S5x motors down here. The only one on craigslist right now is listed at $2400. M54s are a little less; they seem to show up around $1000-1500, which still seems like a lot.

M20_fever wrote:Every person I've seen do the Ford swap on the forums said it wasn't worth it.

It certainly seems like a lot of work to wind up with a strange combination. I don't really have any point of reference for a car like an E30 with a V8, so I don't have a way of knowing if I would even like it.

If this engine checks out this weekend, I'll probably arrange to pick it out after the shop pulls it. Since I have my other project going on, it's going to be a little while before I can get to swapping my E30. If I wind up making more from this project than I expect, I can look into the more expensive options.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby blasphemy101 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:38 pm

Well, the first M52B28 has been kind of a bust. It turns out the motor doesn't actually run. A customer brought it in non-running. The shop says the owner tried running it with the battery wire backwards - they replaced a bunch of fuses but think the DME is fried. The front end of the motor (water pump) has been pulled apart, and I can see the MAF has been replaced with a junkyard unit. I don't know if any of those details are related, though. Compression was not checked before battery died. It also looks like a 200k mile motor - evidence of oil seeps everywhere. Overall it's not perfect, but I would have no issues picking it up if I had proof it ran.

Still not much back from the owner of the other M52B28. Owner says he's going through a rough spot with his wife - no pictures yet.

There are two manual E34 525i's being parted locally. I can get a full swap from one for $500 and see it running beforehand. I'm seriously considering just doing that and upgrading to VANOS from there. It would be a cheaper point of entry that I could upgrade as I go, especially since the car is going to be down for a while anyways. I have a friend with a M52B28 with a cracked head, so I could do the VANOS conversion or just piece together a M52B25 and go from there.

Any thoughts on these new developments? I know I'm asking for a lot of guidance; I just want to see what you guys think of my options.

[EDIT] A complete M52B28 is <$75 at the U-Pull-It yard here. The vanos conversion idea is becoming more attractive, since I can get a running motor...
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby Yoshi » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:32 pm

If it won't turn over with a starter, you can always do a leak down test. A vanos retrofit isn't that hard.
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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby lilcolombian069 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:03 pm

Hdj


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Re: M5x Options for Autocross/Track

Postby 87e30 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:49 pm

lilcolombian069 wrote:Hdj


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