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Thread: Not Another First Turbo Build Thread

  1. #1
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    1994 325is

    Not Another First Turbo Build Thread

    Hey Everyone,

    I have been lurking for about a year and purchased a 325is as a project car about 8 months ago. I had not worked on cars a bunch, but wanted to learn and figured an e36 would be a good starting point. So far I have done a suspension and rear end refresh with a 323 LSD, as well as S50 cams, chip and exhaust. I have been following a bunch of the build threads (Thompson501 , 328iFun , Raj ,etc) and it is time that I start a turbo build of my own. I will not be buying everything at once, but have about $2500 set aside to start collecting parts when the right deals present themselves. I don't have an ultimate budget, but will try and be relatively effective with my money ( expect to spend ~5-6k with doing most of the work myself). My HP goals is a "reliable" ~350-450 on 93 with cutring and SPA manifold. I am trying to get as much info from other build threads, but have some more opinion type questions on how best to start this. I have three different scenarios in mind given my desire to not buy everything in one chunk.

    1. Just do the build on the m50 as is. This means finding zf and driveshaft and doing spacer/cutring and turbo install with engine in car. I would start accumulating parts then doing install all at once once i have critical mass.

    2. Find a part car 328 or m3 on copart or a pick and pull and do the spacer/cutring and manifold/turbo install with this engine on a stand in the garage. I would also get the zf and driveshaft, etc and possible some other useful parts. This would allow me to drive the car while I work and give me more space, helpful as I am kind of new. It would also give me a little more displacement and generally pair better with a larger 6x mm turbo

    3. Buy just S52 or M52 and ZF separately and do the same thing as in option 2.

    Which of these routes do you think would be 1) easiest and 2) most cost effective?

    I also have questions about turbo choice and what would be good welder to pick up for a beginner, but those can wait a little.

    I know there are a few of these threads popping up lately, so I appreciate any input.

  2. #2
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    96 332IS 6466 turbo
    Turbo the m50 you got while its in the car. Do a cutring and spacer with head studs. M50 on 93 with a proper sized street turbo won't really put down enough TQ to bend rods so you should be good for some time.

    Once you got the car all sorted out, running well at your goals of 400hp you can think about picking up a M52 or S52 to build on the side. Then you can move on to 500, 600 or even 700hp.

    As for turbo, this will all depend on where/how you want the power delivered. M50 2.5L is lower displacement, so your not going to be spooling a big 64-68mm turbo at 4k rpm. I would be looking at a cheaper 58-62mm turbo as your first turbo. Either choose a 58mm with a medium sized back housing or even a 62mm with a smaller back housing.

    As a first build, and amateur with cars, it will be best not to get fancy first round. There will be gremlins to sort out. So, having a mishap due to error won't be as costly.

    As for welder, this would be all on budget. You could make it happen with a flux core $300-400 welder. This could get you learning. You could buy a mig w/ gas for about the same, but then you need gas. Buying bottles, gas can change the price a bunch.
    I'm not sure buying a tig out the gate would be best with no experience. It could be a big learning curve. I have a spare flux core welder I was thinking about getting rid of if someone wants. But, if your budget permits for a gas mig, go that route.

    There is a lot of info and lots of guys willing to help the new guys. Us old bastards are now lazy and just want to type how to do things. So we are here for you. Don't be afraid to ask. Even if you don't understand things and feel stupid asking. Cause its the stupid question that you didn't want to look like a fool that will be the one that kicks your ass and costs you an engine. Then you will really feel stupid.

    All of us here have different opinions on setups, take the advise , research and Make your own decisions.

    We will argue about what you should be doing and where you should be spending your money. We will say nasty things to each other in the process. Brush it off, tell us to shut up and bring it back on topic about YOUR build.

    Lastly, don't rush. Take your time. Have a nice clean first build. As you will want more power later.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
    1996 332IS
    Built 3.2
    CES/Steed TS Precision 6466, spraying a "$π!℅" load of meth.
    Technique Tuning 80# tune.
    1/4 mile 10.84 @ 136.72
    Your 1 and only stop for all your BMW performance needs
    WWW.CESMOTORSPORT.COM

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters Stoch View Post
    Turbo the m50 you got while its in the car. Do a cutring and spacer with head studs. M50 on 93 with a proper sized street turbo won't really put down enough TQ to bend rods so you should be good for some time.

    Once you got the car all sorted out, running well at your goals of 400hp you can think about picking up a M52 or S52 to build on the side. Then you can move on to 500, 600 or even 700hp.

    As for turbo, this will all depend on where/how you want the power delivered. M50 2.5L is lower displacement, so your not going to be spooling a big 64-68mm turbo at 4k rpm. I would be looking at a cheaper 58-62mm turbo as your first turbo. Either choose a 58mm with a medium sized back housing or even a 62mm with a smaller back housing.

    As a first build, and amateur with cars, it will be best not to get fancy first round. There will be gremlins to sort out. So, having a mishap due to error won't be as costly.

    As for welder, this would be all on budget. You could make it happen with a flux core $300-400 welder. This could get you learning. You could buy a mig w/ gas for about the same, but then you need gas. Buying bottles, gas can change the price a bunch.
    I'm not sure buying a tig out the gate would be best with no experience. It could be a big learning curve. I have a spare flux core welder I was thinking about getting rid of if someone wants. But, if your budget permits for a gas mig, go that route.

    There is a lot of info and lots of guys willing to help the new guys. Us old bastards are now lazy and just want to type how to do things. So we are here for you. Don't be afraid to ask. Even if you don't understand things and feel stupid asking. Cause its the stupid question that you didn't want to look like a fool that will be the one that kicks your ass and costs you an engine. Then you will really feel stupid.

    All of us here have different opinions on setups, take the advise , research and Make your own decisions.

    We will argue about what you should be doing and where you should be spending your money. We will say nasty things to each other in the process. Brush it off, tell us to shut up and bring it back on topic about YOUR build.

    Lastly, don't rush. Take your time. Have a nice clean first build. As you will want more power later.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
    I really appreciate the advice and that's definitely the route I am leaning towards. Keeping it simple should give me more than enough drama for a first time build.

    I will start accumulating parts now and hope to slowly get the ball rolling. Patience is not that hard when my garage is unheated and it's cold as a witches tit.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Manchester, N.H.
    Posts
    16,698
    My Cars
    96 332IS 6466 turbo
    For $45-$90 you can buy a torpedo heater, hook it up to a propane tank. Get one in the 50,000-75,000 btu range. It will heat your garage up in no time.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
    1996 332IS
    Built 3.2
    CES/Steed TS Precision 6466, spraying a "$π!℅" load of meth.
    Technique Tuning 80# tune.
    1/4 mile 10.84 @ 136.72
    Your 1 and only stop for all your BMW performance needs
    WWW.CESMOTORSPORT.COM

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Florida
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    E36
    Good for you!
    take Butters advice and you will be good.
    it is well worth your time and effort

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thompson501 View Post
    Good for you!
    take Butters advice and you will be good.
    it is well worth your time and effort
    Appreciate the encouragement and glad your build is working out well! Car looks nice!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Thanks
    happy new year!

  8. #8
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    Is the following a decent plan of attack, order wise?

    1. Head gasket and stud
    2. Manifold and turbo install
    3. Intercooler piping fab and install
    4. Clutch
    5. Tune and attachment installs
    6. Exhaust fab

    Enjoy boots

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    E36
    The 6 points make it look quick and simple, lol, but it makes sense.
    i waited on the clutch, focused on finishing all boots applications first.
    injectors and fuel pump/relay?
    pulling off intake to make proper fittings and secure.
    talking like a big dog over here, lol. Can’t help to give advice

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Central Indiana
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    1998 BMW 328is
    I'd check out the thread that I started a little bit ago, which tackles the same issues I'm trying to get sorted out before I boost. Maybe some of the questions I asked and answers I got can help you at. I've also got a spreadsheet I'm working out with some parts you might want to check out.Good luck!
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...rbo-Setup-Help

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    97' m52 turbo
    I'm thinking that this subsection should have a sticky "first turbo build check list".

    1. Establish a tune or a tuner. Availability of fuel is basically what your build is going to be based upon. if you have e85 available you don't need a Cutring/spacer/studs you can run it straight due to its cooling characteristics. If all you have is 91 or 93 or plan to travel long distances you may want to consider the HG combo. Tune is usually the most expensive part if you have to outsource it.
    - If you establish a tuner first they should be available to answer any questions you have throughout your build - and if you're reading this thread you probably need one. By the time your build is done and money is spent you may be able to tune or build a vehicle yourself.
    - The tuner will know what turbo would be best efficient at your power goals and recommend hardware as well (and most tuners own shops and have used stuff for sale as well)
    - If your not going to go with a tuner and plan to do everything yourself then do as much research as possible as far 'turbo bits'.

    2. You can grab a manifold from pretty much everywhere. Do you want to go bottom or top mount? The price you pay is quality your gonna get. You can give a $150 ebay cast manifold a shot (and its worked great for some) or you can spring the $500 and get the SPA which is proven. What manifold you wanna run is determined by your budget and whether you wanna go top or bottom.

    3. There are intercoolers and piping everywhere online. Some guys use ebay coolers others use treadstone or name brands. A cheap cooler should do you fine for awhile given your budget. You can find a piping kit on amazon or eBay.

    4. You will need at least a stage 3 clutch. Your flywheel choice is user preference. A lot of guys get the grip force stage 3 or equivalent. There online everywhere; type in google: E36 Stage 3 Clutch (or E36 Stage 3 Clutch Kit)

    5. See 1.

    6. I had never welded before until my build. And I can tell you firsthand its enjoyable (yes, even flux) and its saved me a lot of money. With your budget you might want to look into finding a used flux/mig welder somewhere, Butters is a reputable seller here and I read that has one that he's willing to part withengines numbers are with
    .
    I guess a good start would be checking your compression to ensure its within spec.
    Last edited by 328iFun; 01-01-2018 at 10:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by 328iFun View Post
    I'm thinking that this subsection should have a sticky "first turbo build check list".

    1. Establish a tune or a tuner. Availability of fuel is basically what your build is going to be based upon. if you have e85 available you don't need a Cutring/spacer/studs you can run it straight due to its cooling characteristics. If all you have is 91 or 93 or plan to travel long distances you may want to consider the HG combo. Tune is usually the most expensive part if you have to outsource it.
    - If you establish a tuner first they should be available to answer any questions you have throughout your build - and if you're reading this thread you probably need one. By the time your build is done and money is spent you may be able to tune or build a vehicle yourself.
    - The tuner will know what turbo would be best efficient at your power goals and recommend hardware as well (and most tuners own shops and have used stuff for sale as well)
    - If your not going to go with a tuner and plan to do everything yourself then do as much research as possible as far 'turbo bits'.

    2. You can grab a manifold from pretty much everywhere. Do you want to go bottom or top mount? The price you pay is quality your gonna get. You can give a $150 ebay cast manifold a shot (and its worked great for some) or you can spring the $500 and get the SPA which is proven. What manifold you wanna run is determined by your budget and whether you wanna go top or bottom.

    3. There are intercoolers and piping everywhere online. Some guys use ebay coolers others use treadstone or name brands. A cheap cooler should do you fine for awhile given your budget. You can find a piping kit on amazon or eBay.

    4. You will need at least a stage 3 clutch. Your flywheel choice is user preference. A lot of guys get the grip force stage 3 or equivalent. There online everywhere; type in google: E36 Stage 3 Clutch (or E36 Stage 3 Clutch Kit)

    5. See 1.

    6. I had never welded before until my build. And I can tell you firsthand its enjoyable (yes, even flux) and its saved me a lot of money. With your budget you might want to look into finding a used flux/mig welder somewhere, Butters is a reputable seller here and I read that has one that he's willing to part withengines numbers are with
    .
    I guess a good start would be checking your compression to ensure its within spec.
    I really appreciate the input and your build thread has been very helpful. I only have 93 available so I will be going the cut ring and spacer route, along with a spa manifold, and most likely a GTW5857 .63 A/R or similar.

    I will definitely put more thought into a tuner and using them as a potential parts source. Also, regarding compresion, i had it done when i had the car inspected 8 months/500 miles ago and it was good on all cylinders. Again, thanks for the input!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    1. I assume I should take the time to safety wire or red loctite my oil pump nut during this process? Is red loctite usually sufficient?

    2. The GTW turbos come in both journal and ball bearing versions. What are people's thoughts on this. Is ball bearing usually worth the ~300$ premium?

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    I think that depends. If you drop the sub frame and pull the pan to have an oil drain bung welded in for the turbo then it makes sense to go ahead and do the nut. But I think that precaution is meant for builds seeking 550+ (or beyond stock block power limits) or built motors.

    If you can afford the BB do it they spool quicker and require less oil to cool them

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 328iFun View Post
    I think that depends. If you drop the sub frame and pull the pan to have an oil drain bung welded in for the turbo then it makes sense to go ahead and do the nut. But I think that precaution is meant for builds seeking 550+ (or beyond stock block power limits) or built motors.

    If you can afford the BB do it they spool quicker and require less oil to cool them
    Appreciate it. You had luck drilling your pan without removing it, right?

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    Yes I have the tap and bit if you need them

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    I drilled and tapped mine without dropping pan with no problem .
    someone local to me said that was the way he did many for many years.

  18. #18
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    You'll have aluminum shavings in the pan but if you remove the dip stick tube and use a long funnel you can flush all of it or most of it out.

    Change the oil filter and oil awhile after. Mine collected some smaller shavings.

    Rajicase pointed out to me during the process that I would have much more to worry about than a few oil shavings in my pan once the car was boosted and running - he was right.

  19. #19
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    The oil pump nut is a concern on even a stock power car. It’s a pain but a few hours work could save you a motor.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
    The oil pump nut is a concern on even a stock power car. Itís a pain but a few hours work could save you a motor.
    well shit

    no one told me that


  21. #21
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    You can gamble if you want. They don’t loosen on most cars so the odds are with you. But when putting all the work in to turbo the car, why leave a known risk that could result in a failed motor and you aging to take everything off and put it on a new motor in the worst case scenario. Great time to replace the pump pick-up tube with a reinforced one, drill and tapmircweld the pan, reinforce the front subframe, clean the probably very dirty steering rack, etc.

  22. #22
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    Thanks guys. I will probably end up taking the opportunity to do it. If I already have the pan out, would you still recommend just blowing out the oil pan nut or doing a fitting higher up, above the oil line?

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  23. #23
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    If I were you wouldn't worry about it. I'd tap the drain plug if you wanna be boosting sooner.

    Something else is gonna break or go wrong long before it anyway.

  24. #24
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    http://www.achillesmotorsports.com/A...1-am-uopsk.htm


    I highly suggest to just buy this and never worry about your oil pump again, bounce the limiter worry free. Im glad I installed this.

  25. #25
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    Thanks. I am taking the turtle approach to this, and will update this primarily for my own benefit and to keep me plugging along. Work has crushed me the past few weeks with travelling to jobsites and stuff, but I had a bit of time to clean the garage, remove the hood and stuff, and get the ball moving.

    Regarding the oil pump nut, I am gonna kick the can down the road and see how I feel when the head is off at the machine shop and how long that is taking.

    I am not expecting anyone to wait for posts in this thread, or care particularly much for that matter, but just hoping to get some helpful info when needed and keep myself honest.

    Cheers.

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