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Thread: 2.9 M20 into the 323i

  1. #1
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    2.9 M20 into the 323i

    Guys,
    I just heard that my 2.9 m20 - block - weisco pistons, S50 rods, and S50 crank has been assembled.

    Since the last thread - must finish the 323i - has gotten long in the tooth,[I am actually driving the 323i now] I am starting this one to chronicle the assembled 2.9 m20, the swap, and the entire finished car.

    Stay tuned. Its getting a lot closer to - my god- actually going into the engine bay of the 323i!

    Kevin has promised a video or two of the car running with the new engine and fat BBS RMs. We are also going to have a straight up shoot out of his black 320i m50 transplant, vs my MK2 VR6. I have the 2.8 VR6 running with a 2.9 manifold, and lightened Autotech flywheel, it flys.

    And of all things, my birthday falls on the Bav Auto Show and Shine!
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 08-11-2010 at 12:12 PM.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  2. #2
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    Subscribed.

  3. #3
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    Teaser shots My Daily Driver: VR6 Conversion




    Will post pics of the M20 engine build up. I am planning on going up to NH this weekend.
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 08-11-2010 at 06:24 PM.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  4. #4
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    You'll need to take the chrome number from a 6 series, cut it off and turn it upside down for the last digit on your 323i tag. Gotta keep it honest. Break out the 3M tape.

    With all that rebuild, how are you feeding it? Not with the Kjet, I can't imagine.
    Last edited by midlifebmw; 08-11-2010 at 11:09 PM.
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  5. #5
    uberpanzer's Avatar
    uberpanzer is offline 4 banger's RULE!!! BMW CCA Member
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    I miss my 12v VR6.

    Grats on getting it going though. You might finally get that in before I've got m car fully sorted.

    Oh and, is that S50 crank knife edged? ....I kid, I kid...
    Metal Bumpers Are For BEEETCHES!!!!! "King of Lean" - Retired

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by midlifebmw View Post
    You'll need to take the chrome number from a 6 series, cut it off and turn it upside down for the last digit on your 323i tag. Gotta keep it honest. Break out the 3M tape.

    With all that rebuild, how are you feeding it? Not with the Kjet, I can't imagine.
    I am going full Motronic swap with, 19lb mustang II injectors, lightened flywheel, Spec Clutch, and 325i ECU with the WAR CHIP. The WAR Chip is fully adjustable going to get a small laptop computer like a Netbook for the ECU to plug into.



    Quote Originally Posted by uberpanzer View Post
    I miss my 12v VR6.

    Grats on getting it going though. You might finally get that in before I've got m car fully sorted.

    Oh and, is that S50 crank knife edged? ....I kid, I kid...
    I am putting the finishing touches on the MK2 and the 12v VR6 seems to rock! My 91 Golf should have came from the factory this way. I can see how you would miss it.

    I know you kid...the running joke was about my old crank.
    And the S50 is not knife edged, I sold my 524td knife edged crank a while ago - when I found out I had piston slapage
    in the stroker engine I purchased from Tyler at Bav Auto.
    The crank is 86 mm and the bore is 85mm. I need a lot of parts like the pulleys and harmonic balancer that I do not have...got to raid an M20...for parts

    Does anyone know if you can Run Underdrive pullies on the M20 with a lightweight flywheel?
    I read somewhere that the underdrive pullies conflict with the lightened flywheel.
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 08-12-2010 at 06:22 PM.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgbmw323 View Post
    Does anyone know if you can Run Underdrive pullies on the M20 with a lightweight flywheel?
    I read somewhere that the underdrive pullies conflict with the lightened flywheel.
    Short of the pulley being part of the harmonic balancer and throwing off the balance of the bottom end, I'm not sure how it could conflict with a lightened flywheel, they're on opposite ends of the motor.


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  8. #8
    uberpanzer's Avatar
    uberpanzer is offline 4 banger's RULE!!! BMW CCA Member
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    I could possibly see it being an issue of the motor at idle not spinning enough (without the right reprogramming) to maintain the right speed for the under drive pulleys.

    And yes, the 12v VR6 should have been in a LOT of Mk II cars. I had mine in a Mk III Jetta GLX 5spd, which could hang with equally modded e36 325i/is cars. With the lack of weight in the Mk II body you are really going to NEEED those big brakes. In fact it might end up putting your e21 to shame if you aren't careful, just because there isn't much weight to a Mk II.

    In fact, with the amount of torque that the 12v VR6 makes, you could daily drive that if you sorted it nicely...just saying.
    Metal Bumpers Are For BEEETCHES!!!!! "King of Lean" - Retired

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by uberpanzer View Post
    I could possibly see it being an issue of the motor at idle not spinning enough (without the right reprogramming) to maintain the right speed for the under drive pulleys.

    And yes, the 12v VR6 should have been in a LOT of Mk II cars. I had mine in a Mk III Jetta GLX 5spd, which could hang with equally modded e36 325i/is cars. With the lack of weight in the Mk II body you are really going to NEEED those big brakes. In fact it might end up putting your e21 to shame if you aren't careful, just because there isn't much weight to a Mk II.

    In fact, with the amount of torque that the 12v VR6 makes, you could daily drive that if you sorted it nicely...just saying.
    Doug, I always liked VWs - besides BMWs, and I have no doubt that with the Autotech flywheel, unoxrthodox pullies, 2.9 manifold, and C2 chip that my MK 2 will be a nice performer. I just got off the phone with kevin and told him his m50 swap is not going be competitive. (lol -just ribbing him - is fun) Its a nice change from how poor my car was with a crappy 8 valve engine, that could not get out of its own way.

    As for my 2.9 m20 its basically the same as Jeff's beautiful and perfect car (white 323 -aka icecream maker) which was the inspiration for this build. The tuning of the 2.9 liter engine is a big thing, but Metric Mechanic claims it puts out aprox 230 or so HP for the Ralley sport build. This is primarily due to the displacement of the engine 86 mm crank X 85 mm bore.
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 08-13-2010 at 12:47 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Love the vw pix. Makes me really miss mine. Had a 91 16v gti. Red, recaros, bbs, short shifter, no cat. So much fun to drive. Car used to fly so I can only imagine how fast yours is. Very nice.

    Man I miss that car...

  11. #11
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    Got the exhaust welded in the MK2 VR6, and took it for a spin. The dumb place where i took it broke the linkeage - so reverse is not working, but its very quiet now. It pulls like a bat out of hell.


    Will post updated photos of the engine build as I am going to the machine shop soon. Crank, pistons, and rods are in the block 2.9 m20 is shaping up....and this I have to see for myself.
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 08-27-2010 at 05:13 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Going to the machine shop to see the newly assembled 2.9 m20...will post pics tommorow....

    Block is together now...

    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 10-09-2010 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  13. #13
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    Have purchased all parts, today, some new and some old. I just had the block, now I got those small parts to finish off the engine including the coil, oil dipstick, distributor cap..I have yet to order the water pump, and alternator.

    Hoping to get this baby finished and in the car someday soon!
    Current Build:
    S50 Crank,S50 Rods
    Weisco Pistons -bore 1mm over
    ARP Bolts, 524td oil pump

    Competition Race Port and Polish
    Ferrara stainless steel Plus 1mm Valves
    Stage II 274 Cam, Cryoed Steel Race Rocker Arms
    Metric Mechanic Behive valve springs.

    19lb injectors, Miller MAF and War Chip
    11 pound 325 flywheel.
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 10-15-2010 at 08:26 PM.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  14. #14
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    I got an email that the much anticipated engine, gents is assembled and waiting. I did not extrude hone the intake manifold, but I think I am going to see If i can get this done, now, before it goes into the car.

    Boston is getting almost 2 feet of snow, and it is so cold places just outside the city have temps like Sibera of negative 10 degrees or more with the wind chill. My 323i is under a cover in the gargage. I am in Seattle right now, working on a project.

    I will be sure to update you with the engine install. I have new control arms, a ZF sport steering rack and powdercoated DINAN adjustable rear subframe, plus urethane subframe bushings from Jester. I also have a full motronic ecu and 325i harness, laptop to run the miller war chip, 19 injectors and 11 pound custom flywheel. I am going to get my coil overs built as well as the bilsteins redone. And the BBS RM are complete with 20 mm spacers for the fronts.

    Stay tuned as this is gonna be fun. This thread will document the swap.
    I am waiting once again for my tax refund.

    PS: I have traded some parts, and have a Vortec Supercharger kit for my MK2 vr6. My buddy built and awesome turboed VR6 so I got his supercharger.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  15. #15
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    Its under wraps





    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  16. #16
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    Wow, took them long enough! I do like the pictures of the block in the shop; nice and clean, from what I can see, which is really important when building. I scouted out a place in PDX that had been around for a long time and it was horrible- metal shavings and grit everywhere.

    If you don't use your engine right away, you can make it into a coffee table

  17. #17
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    Who did you have build your engine? I have all of my engine work done by precision engine in Dighton. Turn around on most is less than a month unless I'm holding them up in search of parts. Dropped a Rover v8 off after Christmas and have it back all ready. As soon as I have some spare cash the backup race m10 goes in for a freshen up.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddK View Post
    Who did you have build your engine? I have all of my engine work done by precision engine in Dighton. Turn around on most is less than a month unless I'm holding them up in search of parts. Dropped a Rover v8 off after Christmas and have it back all ready. As soon as I have some spare cash the backup race m10 goes in for a freshen up.
    I had R&L Engines in Dover New Hampshire rebuild my engine to a 2.9 liter.
    There where many things I did like a COMPETITION port and polish, Custom Rocker Arms, Metric Mechanic Behive valve springs, etc....which I have already listed.

    It took a long time, cause it was an expensive build. Its all behind me now.
    I am gonna finish this off soon, just needs a southbend stage 2 clutch, and the manifold needs to be Extrude Honed. Than its going into the car!
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  19. #19
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    I think it's missing something.

    There!
    Last edited by pommeree; 02-08-2011 at 09:18 AM.
    Eric P.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddK View Post
    Who did you have build your engine? I have all of my engine work done by precision engine in Dighton. Turn around on most is less than a month unless I'm holding them up in search of parts. Dropped a Rover v8 off after Christmas and have it back all ready. As soon as I have some spare cash the backup race m10 goes in for a freshen up.
    Triumph TR8?! Wow...that must be a fantastic car to drive. FI or carbs? I've always liked the TR7/8, especially as a convertable- but I'm a freak that way LOL!

  21. #21
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    Me likes the blood red valve cover. Did you ever arrive at a budget number for your rebuild???
    I still drive daily with no commute...
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by midlifebmw View Post
    Me likes the blood red valve cover. Did you ever arrive at a budget number for your rebuild???
    I have the Hartge one as well. This cover was the 325i one, which someone painted blue. I had it done in silver and then red over it. It will stand out in the sun.



    As for how much? Yeah Metric Mechanic sells there Rally Sport for a something like 9k. I am into this motor for about 6k.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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  23. #23
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    Yes, it will stand out the sun as you say. So shall your valiant efforts at pushing the limits of physics in an E21.

    Bless you! I'm jealous and happy for you at the same time.
    I still drive daily with no commute...
    The Hazard is All, Praise the Hazard!



  24. #24
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    You still running K jet? Dyno that beast at once.
    80 B6, 81 & 82 323, 85 745i, 86 535i-all euro. 01 750iL Blk/Blk 08 335i

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIMMERBOYZ View Post
    You still running K jet? Dyno that beast at once.
    I am getting rid of K-jet for a MILLER Performance MAF and WAR chip.
    The war chip allows custom programs to run to maximize the performance.
    I have 19lb mustang injectors, and other mods....

    At some point I will dyno it...this spring.

    Right now I am still collecting parts and getting ready for the expensive of the swap. I need all the parts before I bring the car and engine to the shop.
    Once I have the engine out, the old headers where Jet Hot coated and going back to Jet Hot to get redone. Also going to rebuild the bilsteins.

    I am going to extrude hone the manifold, and purchase a new clutch for the car. I am thinking about the Southbend TZ Stage 2 Clutch.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




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