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Thread: FI or NA S54?

  1. #1
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    Post FI or NA S54?

    Hey guys,


    I have currently own an NA 325i e36 drift car that I have been drifting in for the last 2 years. Most of my friends have upgraded to 350zs, turbo 240s and what not so I am down on power. I really want 280-300ish whp to keep up with them but keep the tire and general maintenance cost down while staying in the same power range as everyone else.
    That being said, I have been planning to turbo the M50 but have considered the simplicity and immediate torque of a SC (if available for an M50B25) or the reliable NA S54. The S54 would be great but make part cost high. Turbo parts and M50 parts are a dime a dozen.
    Does anyone have advice? Anyone have a similar build?
    Last edited by shogun; 08-07-2020 at 06:40 PM. Reason: ad deleted

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    The only supercharger that would give immediate torque is a positive displacement and the only kit is Hyde Motorwork. The kit has developed a lot and is looking good but there are very few tuned and sorted examples so far.

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    I think a 3.0 or 3.2 liter M50 with one of Hyde's bigger positive displacement kits would make a good mid powered drift car. Otherwise turbo. I would also consider an LS swap.


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, ProEFI 128 ecu, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.06 @ 151.8 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

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    Available Money/Skills will determine your best course.

    S54 + maintenance is a NOVEL idea, but BIG BUCKS and boring pauer.
    a DECENT TRIED + TRUE turbo set up will likely having you SMOKING your counter parts for YEARS.
    LS Swap is another RELIABLE torque mess that will leave you purposely, utterly TRACTIONLESS.

    Turbo + Drift = Ideal Sight + Sound X Fun

  5. #5
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    S54 and LS swap are probably similar in cost once all said and done. Maintenance will be cheaper on the LS, but they are very cranky with oiling issues which you will have to sort before drifting with one (assuming you're doing more than skidding around at 20 mph and 0.1 lateral G for a few sec).

    IMO, turbo M50 has quite a bit of potential, and should be quite a bit cheaper than either of the swaps. That said, your engine is 25+ years old... do you really think it'll be reliable at 300 rwhp for extended periods of time? Might be worth finding a cheap M52 and refreshing it then building a turbo setup around that. It's a bit more cost and work, but at the end of the day, the cheap refreshed engine with all seals etc. replaced will give you a good starting point to toss more power at it. The extra 300 cc of displacement will also help get a turbo up to boost quicker.

    A 300 rwhp setup could be pretty responsive if you build it right. Turbo drift cars just require a bit of a different driving style than NA, but they're obviously very capable. A 2.8L 300 rwhp setup should offer very quick boost if you spec stuff out well.

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    Stock for stock, the 2.0L 4 cylinder turbos smoke the shit out of any of the 2.5 - 3.2L inline six engines. Turbo the inline 6... different story, but a 2.0L and tune... no contest

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    Yes, 20 years later that is true in at least some cases. A stock 2020 Subaru WRX, however, is no faster than a stock 1999 M3 in the quarter. The stock 2020 STI is a little faster but not much. Yes, there are some other brands and models doing 105+ to the E36 M3’s 98 mph but not that many.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
    Yes, 20 years later that is true in at least some cases. A stock 2020 Subaru WRX, however, is no faster than a stock 1999 M3 in the quarter. The stock 2020 STI is a little faster but not much. Yes, there are some other brands and models doing 105+ to the E36 M3’s 98 mph but not that many.
    But an F30 328 (2.0L) supposedly runs a 14.1 quarter at ~98 mph and 99 M3 runs a 14.9 around 94 mph all while the F30 weighs about 300 lb more. Throw a tune and downpipe on a N20/N26 and it is a low 13 or high 12 second car. Love the M50 platform but the new stuff is so good, oh, and lighter. Great track cars.

  9. #9
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    Stock M3 trapped as high as 99mph in magazine road tests. I have not seen a magazine road test as low as 94. 96 sticks in my mind as the low end. And the original statement was stock. If you want to mod, put a turbo on the E36M3.....

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    Remember,
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    He has 5's in his username.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
    Stock M3 trapped as high as 99mph in magazine road tests. I have not seen a magazine road test as low as 94. 96 sticks in my mind as the low end. And the original statement was stock. If you want to mod, put a turbo on the E36M3.....
    I drag raced my '98 M3 back when it was fairly new and bone stock. At ~2500 ft altitude, it was around a 14.6 @ 96.x mph. Sea level I think that corrects to a low-mid 14 sec pass at the 98-99 mph magazine tests were usually around. This was also street tires so it was about a 2.2-2.3 60' time (I couldn't get things to cleanly hook, either a bit of wheel hop or it'd bog, the above time was with a tad of wheel hop out of the hole).

    A modern N20 will have tons more midrange grunt than an S52, but a modern N20 powered car won't be appreciably faster stock for stock than the old E36 M3. N20 just doesn't make much high end power when stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Def View Post
    I drag raced my '98 M3 back when it was fairly new and bone stock. At ~2500 ft altitude, it was around a 14.6 @ 96.x mph. Sea level I think that corrects to a low-mid 14 sec pass at the 98-99 mph magazine tests were usually around. This was also street tires so it was about a 2.2-2.3 60' time (I couldn't get things to cleanly hook, either a bit of wheel hop or it'd bog, the above time was with a tad of wheel hop out of the hole).

    A modern N20 will have tons more midrange grunt than an S52, but a modern N20 powered car won't be appreciably faster stock for stock than the old E36 M3. N20 just doesn't make much high end power when stock.
    Totally true, but for $600 you can run in the mid 13's (RWD anyway) on an N20/N26 car, but on an S52 car you need a lot more work for the same kind of yield. Full bolt ons (intercooler, charge pipes, inlet pipe, catless DP, exhaust) can get these big cars into the high 12's under the right conditions. Getting an E36 S5x into the high 12's is a much mor expensive ordeal. Usually more rewarding, but also a lot more work.

    I think an N20/N26 swapped 2 dr E30 would be amazing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by milKt View Post
    Remember,
    Jon may never support E36 vehicles.

    He has 5's in his username.
    I almost bought an E36!

    But I bought a new computer instead.

    :P
    Last edited by 5mall5nail5; 09-16-2020 at 10:31 PM.

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    So what is the price difference between the N20//26 car and the E36? $10k? Put it into turbocharging the E36 and spank the later 4 cylinder cars. My goal was to point out that the old 3.2L 6 is still competitive against most new 4 cylinder turbo cars. Sure, there are are some exceptions. Sure, factory turbo cars are cheap to modify. But even 25 years later, most 4 cylinder turbo cars are not outperforming an E36 M3 — they are about equaling it. Only a minority exceed that level of performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
    So what is the price difference between the N20//26 car and the E36? $10k? Put it into turbocharging the E36 and spank the later 4 cylinder cars. My goal was to point out that the old 3.2L 6 is still competitive against most new 4 cylinder turbo cars. Sure, there are are some exceptions. Sure, factory turbo cars are cheap to modify. But even 25 years later, most 4 cylinder turbo cars are not outperforming an E36 M3 — they are about equaling it. Only a minority exceed that level of performance.

    Eh, you can get them in the 2013 range for like $9k - 11k, so not much more vs a sorted E36 M3. $10k car and a $595 tune or $7k car and a $7k turbo setup that will likely need all sorts of tweaking from time to time. Comfort doesn't even compare.

    Not saying they're lame - just that its a super crazy good value for what it is. Remember, I have a ridiculously stupid expensive money sink M5x/S5x E34 still.
    Last edited by 5mall5nail5; 09-16-2020 at 11:27 PM.

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    N20 is an ok motor but I dont see the point when there a 6 cylinder options, dont the n20s having timing chain issues also? An s52 is a stronger motor, better transmission, lsd rear end, tons of cheap parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by budgetbmw3 View Post
    N20 is an ok motor but I don’t see the point when there a 6 cylinder options, don’t the n20s having timing chain issues also? An s52 is a stronger motor, better transmission, lsd rear end, tons of cheap parts.
    S5x only came with a ZF 310/320

    ZF 8HP is better in every way... so freaking fast.

    I got a garage full of dinosaurs, but the new stuff man... its just so good. Yes, < 1 - 3% of <2015 year model N20/N26 had timing chain issues. Its akin to the S5x oil pump nut issue. Listen, I am not saying an N20/N26 > S5x turbo. I am saying that an N20/N26 ZF 8HP vs. E36 M3 with S5x is better. And, if you're not convinced, you can throw $595 at the N20/N26 and be convinced. Can the N20/N26 hit 600 RWHP? No. But that's not the conversation.
    Last edited by 5mall5nail5; 09-17-2020 at 12:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5mall5nail5 View Post
    S5x only came with a ZF 310/320

    ZF 8HP is better in every way... so freaking fast.

    I got a garage full of dinosaurs, but the new stuff man... its just so good. Yes, < 1 - 3% of <2015 year model N20/N26 had timing chain issues. Its akin to the S5x oil pump nut issue. Listen, I am not saying an N20/N26 > S5x turbo. I am saying that an N20/N26 ZF 8HP vs. E36 M3 with S5x is better. And, if you're not convinced, you can throw $595 at the N20/N26 and be convinced. Can the N20/N26 hit 600 RWHP? No. But that's not the conversation.
    You are right on the 8hp part, I was only thinking about the gs17 manual models which I view as inferior. I am a fan of the new stuff, I think the starting with a 335i or doing n54/n55 swaps make more sense now then ever since prices have come down a lot. So easy to get a reliable 500whp out of a 335i

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    Quote Originally Posted by budgetbmw3 View Post
    You are right on the 8hp part, I was only thinking about the gs17 manual models which I view as inferior. I am a fan of the new stuff, I think the starting with a 335i or doing n54/n55 swaps make more sense now then ever since prices have come down a lot. So easy to get a reliable 500whp out of a 335i
    Yeah the box before the ZF 8HP is lame, but man oh man the 8 speed is gnarly especially with Sport Plus mode (transmission tune, really). N55 is going to be popular I am sure. Once there are enough pioneers doing the tuning swaps/etc. into the older chassis it will be game on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by budgetbmw3 View Post
    You are right on the 8hp part, I was only thinking about the gs17 manual models which I view as inferior. I am a fan of the new stuff, I think the starting with a 335i or doing n54/n55 swaps make more sense now then ever since prices have come down a lot. So easy to get a reliable 500whp out of a 335i
    Yeah the box before the ZF 8HP is lame, but man oh man the 8 speed is gnarly especially with Sport Plus mode (transmission tune, really). N55 is going to be popular I am sure. Once there are enough pioneers doing the tuning swaps/etc. into the older chassis it will be game on.

  20. #20
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    E36 is such a great chassis. My vote is to swap in an N55. So much upside, and 100% BMW.

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