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Thread: m54 obd1 swap

  1. #1
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    m54 obd1 swap

    Okay guys so I bought an m54 from a 2001 325i. I'm swapping it into my e36 ob1 93 325i. Questions and concerns are I need to know what sensors I'd need to change out and what will plug right up I've been looking everywhere and there doesn't seem to be much info. I also need to know how to get around the flyby wire on the m54 I'm thinking of swapping the m50 intake mani to the M54 but the inlets seem to be a little different. Or I've found an adapter plate to run the m50 throttle body on the m54 intake manifold. I just don't know pros and cons of doing such and how the motor would react. Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Im just curious, but why did you go for an m54?

    You could have an s50/s52 in there that will outperform the m54, and is pretty much plug and play. Your doing similar work as an s54 swap, with less gains than a plug and play swap with a s50/s52.

  3. #3
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    My m50 is about to blow at 250k MI on the motor. And the m54 basically landed in my lap I'm working on a 1k$ budget and so that's basically how it played out. I'd love an m3 motor but not practical with my price range

  4. #4
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    That sounds like way more work then its worth. What are you going to do about the crank position sensor? Does an m50 timing cover even fit the m54?

    Sell the m54 and use the profit plus $1k for an s50?

  5. #5
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    Ya.. Idk why ppl think s5x engines just fall out of the sky... Cheapest s5x engine is close to 2 grand by itself. It does bolt up. But then ecu and whatnot.. It comes to more.. The m54 conversion parts are starting to get plentiful in junk yards and for under $200 in most cases just like m54 full engines like $250. So even $200 and a rebuild comes to under a used (no idea what's worn or broke) s5x engine.

  6. #6
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    I agree they aren't always readily available and who knows what condition they are really in. Thats why I'm going with the stroker idea. I think that I have already surpassed 3k in parts and haven't started assembly yet. I am also not really trying to do a budget build. I would like to see how this project progresses!

  7. #7
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    But as to the question.. Here ya go. Search forum e34 m50b30 obd1 conversion

    - - - Updated - - -

    But.. To be weary.. The s5x engines are indeed better in any category compared to a m54 WITH vanos. The s50 will outperform the m54 with any and maybe all bolt on add on to the m54. Not to mention an obd1 m54 will undoubtedly lose power and torgue. The aluminum although lighter is realisticly less durable than a cast block of the m50 conversion. You will spend just as much fitting the m54 as you would making the m50b30 while staying obd 1 without crazy harness changes, switching sensors and intakes, buying the conversion brackets. I've looked into this deeply. And even found most of this from the experienced the pros are not there. You will not net the gains from a obd 1 m54 than a m50b30. Idk why. But its just how it works.

    - - - Updated - - -

    And I think I did my first m50b30 in around $1100. However, my second build for eventual turbo (doing things the right way) has got me $500 in actual parts. I think I'll spend another $500 just on bearings and rings. Then around another $800 on good gaskets and seals that can handle turbo (not that much more than a OE set). So all in all at least $1,800. And that's not yet getting my block fitted, head fitted and polished, vanos seales, and miscellaneous bolts and everything to fit it on my trans. I'm thinking $2800 at ends. All for another 40hp. Then another $2500 for the turbo.. It really gets to be rediculoues... Smh

  8. #8
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    Well right now all I'm doing is trying to make the m54 work with my car
    Last edited by channing93; 03-09-2015 at 07:18 PM.

  9. #9
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    http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...BD1-Conversion

    - - - Updated - - -

    Although.. I would double check with the oil pa . This guy used the e34 for the e34 car.. Idk if that will fit in e36.. I haven't worked on a 34. However I think with some modding the m50 pan can be made to fit the m54 although with oil baffle modification.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hey wait a sec.... If you got a m54 out of a 325 it's a m54b25... Not a b30. The m54b30 only came in 330 530 and x5. Maybe a few seven series I think. I'd check on wiki though for good measure. So the only thing you'd be doing by putting a m54b25 obd 1 in would literally be wasting time to lose like 20 HP...

    - - - Updated - - -

    If I where you guy, I would sell the m54 for the $1500 maybe you can get (take your time on eBay) and just get your m50 or m50tu for $1300 shipped to your door rebuilt. And not deal with the mess.

  10. #10
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    To get full advantage out of M54 you should use MS42 engine management system. It is easy install and you don't have to worry about electronic gas pedal. I sell swap programs for this so it is easy set up.


  11. #11
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    good write up on this over on bimmerfest, btw, just couldn't remember your name/handle to locate it.


    op, i'd go check it out.





    df

  12. #12
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    I know it's a m54b25 I never said it was a 3.0, and as far as that thread the e34 he used didn't have vanos so I figure it'd be a little different ? And the other guy on bimmer fest used a 318i NV, I'm just wondering what I'd need to do for fuel delivery, my harness, if all the pulled clear stuff like that and if I'll be able to use the stock dme

  13. #13
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    I was getting at. If you want a m54 in your e36, you have to do as this guy did. Use a e34 DME. Many a threads on converting e36 to e34. You can either convert to e34 for the m54 or convert to obd 2 and go e46. But.. Obd 1 e36 DME. No.

  14. #14
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    Wil it work with the e36 harness?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by channing93 View Post
    I know it's a m54b25 I never said it was a 3.0, and as far as that thread the e34 he used didn't have vanos so I figure it'd be a little different ? And the other guy on bimmer fest used a 318i NV, I'm just wondering what I'd need to do for fuel delivery, my harness, if all the pulled clear stuff like that and if I'll be able to use the stock dme
    1st, the m42/44 were never vanos....

    2nd, early e34's used m20's, then m50b25, then m50b25tu (vanos)


    Quote Originally Posted by spyderg0d View Post
    I was getting at. If you want a m54 in your e36, you have to do as this guy did. Use a e34 DME. Many a threads on converting e36 to e34. You can either convert to e34 for the m54 or convert to obd 2 and go e46. But.. Obd 1 e36 DME. No.
    wut?? both the e36 and e34 used m50 based engines. btw, did you read hakkentt's thread?? great write up but not the only one who put an m54 in the e36....

    Quote Originally Posted by channing93 View Post
    Wil it work with the e36 harness?
    dunno, off the top of my head. however since you already have the m5x you have the necessary stuff to swap over to the m54 if it will bolt up. the "d" ports can be circumvented by a plate about 1/4" that is cut to fit the m50 ports and use the corresponding gaskets on each side. use the proper length bolts as you will be needing the additional length of the plate to compensate.

    again, as i gathered from your posts you are looking for a simple plug-n-play application without a lot of transfer of stuff like harnesses and whatnot. i have done more engine swaps than i care to recall (used car dealership) and have had more than my share of naysayers telling me that "it couldn't be done", but i did it anyway. all it takes is an understanding of what you are doing, what you are working with, patience, time, the right tools, and patience.

    post lots of pics, too, please....



    df

  16. #16
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    I'm not looking for an ass to fart with.. I'll sit here and gladly watch your vid when you make a m54 fit in the e36, with a stock e36 DME, no flash or tune... The m54 uses different positionings and sensor types. And saying there all m50 based is true. But they are all also internal combustion based. *duh. So is my lawn mower. Doesn't mean you can put a Briggs in a e36. (Although I'm sure some moron will see this and ask a bajillion questions and then refuse to just buy frickin rings and gaskets... *like this ^ guy.

  17. #17
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    here's another thread on bimmerfest about an m54 swap....

    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...hlight=m54+e36


    df

  18. #18
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    I will be sure to do that motor will be ready for pick up Tuesday I should be replacing all the gaskets and cooling accesories and starting the obd swap on the motor same day so I'll start posting them then getting excited learning a lot I really appreciate the help DF and everyone any idea where to get the plate to adapt the manifold to the M54 ? Would just putting my throttle body be easier with the plate from turner?

  19. #19
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    well, depending upon your skill set and wallet you could use the m54 intake manifold as a template to cut a gasket to fit the 'D' ports for the head side of the plate, and cut the ports to the oval shape to accommodate the m50 manifold on the steel or aluminum stock.

    a local machine shop may be able to make this rather easily, or, there may be one available. i do not believe the m52/m50 mani plate will work as both these heads were oval ports.

    should be a simple stock @ the correct width, then get the longer studs for the correct thickness. a 5mm plate should be sufficient, 8mm would be stronger but i do not think this is an area where 'stronger' = 'better'.


    df

  20. #20
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    Okay I will do that when I get the m54 and I'll see how much they charge me to do that. Say worst case it waaaaay too expensive. Can I just use the stock intake on the m54 and use the kit to put my m50 tb onto the m54 intake?

  21. #21
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    Anyone know if anything weird has to be done after installing the mechanical throttle body to the M54 intake manifold?

  22. #22
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    not a clue,...hakkentt did a complete swap with wiring and iirc a reflash to the dme. gusta's build (in my link) was a complete swap out from a 4 banger to a 6, so he had to upgrade the wiring harness to accommodate. he also ran an aftermarket aluminum intake which was frikkin awesome looking. he also ran a reflashed 413 red label dme.

    you'll probably do best with a tune, but not sure exactly what or who (might be in gusta's thread??) however, since the car already has an inline 6 I would venture to say that the swap will be much easier.

    your options are not limited, but if I were to do this I would see about swapping the m50 sensors to the m54 block and use the e36 dme, or a red label dme if you do can get one.

    if you decide to use the m54 intake, you will need to make certain that the emissions equipment that is not used on the e36 is not going to interfere with the performance or cause a limp in mode to occur.





    df

  23. #23
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    I have a tuner friend here in fl that will tune it what's the benefit of a red label dme opposed to the factory dme? That aluminum one gust used was pretty awesome. I'm going to see if I can make that adapter to use my m50 mani if I can't I'm gonna try and figure out what to do about the emissions on the motor

  24. #24
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    ForumRunner_20150320_142424.png

    Well got the motor home, starting all the replacements of seals and things tomorrow more pics to come. I will get this motor running haha

  25. #25
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    I assume this is the 413 red label dme that I need to use ?

    ForumRunner_20150402_174102.png

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