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Old 05-09-2012, 01:07 PM   #151
karmatose
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Honest opinion from a guy who was looking at doing the SR20DET motor swap last year, stay with the M20 and boost it or go M50 (and later boost that).

The cost of a red top from an S13 + turbo upgrades to make it competent, the time and cash it'll take to fab up motor mounts, transmission mounts and the cost of a custom driveshaft and exhaust will put you probably many times over the purchase price of your car. To do the job right, I had about $4K budgeted and that was leaving the motor largely untouched internally.

If you go with the S14/S15 SR20, you have less to upgrade but then you're into OBD2 territory and will be picking up an aftermarket ECU + paying for a tune. Also, if you go with the S15, the 6-speed is FRAGILE and has a dual mass clutch/flywheel so you'll need to sort that out.

What got me to stop thinking about doing this swap? I could build a pretty reliable M20 that would handle boost very well (new valve springs, piston rings, HD rockers, good head gasket, ARP everything) for the money that I'd dump into an SR20 swap. Also if I were to sell the car, I'm not unloading a frankenstein project on someone which means potentially higher resale value.

I hear your frustration with the M20 and the rest of the mechanicals and stuck bolts, etc... But trust me, it gets better. Eventually you'll have loosened everything off at least once and you'll never have to worry about breaking stuff again (because you've put anti-seize on it!).

...These are the joys of owning a 20+ year old car. And hey, at least it's not an Alfa.

Edit: I'm not trying to discourage you at all because in the back of my mind I think it's a rad project to undertake, I'm just giving you the thoughts that made me stray away from the project.

Last edited by karmatose; 05-09-2012 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:12 PM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmatose View Post
Honest opinion from a guy who was looking at doing the SR20DET motor swap last year, stay with the M20 and boost it or go M50 (and later boost that).

The cost of a red top from an S13 + turbo upgrades to make it competent, the time and cash it'll take to fab up motor mounts, transmission mounts and the cost of a custom driveshaft and exhaust will put you probably many times over the purchase price of your car. To do the job right, I had about $4K budgeted and that was leaving the motor largely untouched internally.

If you go with the S14/S15 SR20, you have less to upgrade but then you're into OBD2 territory and will be picking up an aftermarket ECU + paying for a tune. Also, if you go with the S15, the 6-speed is FRAGILE and has a dual mass clutch/flywheel so you'll need to sort that out.

What got me to stop thinking about doing this swap? I could build a pretty reliable M20 that would handle boost very well (new valve springs, piston rings, HD rockers, good head gasket, ARP everything) for the money that I'd dump into an SR20 swap. Also if I were to sell the car, I'm not unloading a frankenstein project on someone which means potentially higher resale value.

I hear your frustration with the M20 and the rest of the mechanicals and stuck bolts, etc... But trust me, it gets better. Eventually you'll have loosened everything off at least once and you'll never have to worry about breaking stuff again (because you've put anti-seize on it!).

...These are the joys of owning a 20+ year old car. And hey, at least it's not an Alfa.
agreed with everything said here.

stick with M20, and or do a swap that's doable in a weekend M50/52.
is the Sr20/S13 swaps where easy, and manageable they'd be all over the place on E30Tech/R3V etc....they're not.

it's not as easy as a honda swap.
if you're M20 is still workable, with a little internal investment (headgasket, headbolts) boost away and be happy!
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:21 PM   #153
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Yeh, there's a guy in Ontario who did the SR20 and I remember him claiming it cost like 10k at the end of the day. My M50 cost maybe $1500 after I sold the parts I didn't need.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:51 PM   #154
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Anson, score an engine from Kenny-U-Pull, plus all parts...you could get a M50 in there for close to Max's budget.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:46 PM   #155
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I'm going to listen to all your advice everyone. I'm set on going boost for sure, now whether that's an m20 or m50 I'm not sure yet. I'm trying to get my civic on the road so I can daily that while the bimmer sits in the garage. It will probably be a few weeks before I can start the swap since I need to find a job and make some money.

For now though I'm gonna pull the m20 out. What are your opinions? I could rebuild the m20 and go boost... Or swap to m50 then boost later on. Im leaning towards the m20 route, even the option of finding an m20 for sale cheap with lower miles and working on that.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #156
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M20's are more solid than you think.

assure your bottom end is good, and at the very least replace your HG and freshen up the top end+headbolts.

conservative boost at 8psi and you can still run on your stock ecu, beside BMWConnect is the local go to guy for boost tuning.

I have a build thread over on MR for my turbo e30, lots of knowledge here too Everlast has a very clean setup.

start parts hoarding/collecting

read this--> http://www.e30tech.com/forum/showthread.php?t=74816

also Ryan George over in the F/I section of max has a good turbo M20 write too

Last edited by The Twin; 05-10-2012 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:02 PM   #157
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Well, I'm building the M20 for boost because there's a whole lot less going on in the motor (Less cams, less valves, less valve springs, etc...) which means there's less to go wrong and won't cost near as much. And should it go wrong, getting another M20 is going to be a whole lot cheaper with lots of folk going to the M50 and E30's being parted out all over the place.

IMHO, keep it simple and have fun. Build up the motor now and get a few good months of motoring in. While you're having fun driving your car instead of working on it, obsessively plan your turbo setup and then do that build over the winter.

Or hell, if the motor runs good now (or ran good before your thermostat dealio), fix those issues and enjoy the car. Save your money, and do your upgrades over the winter.

Either way, take your time with it so it doesn't feel like work. That was the biggest mistake I made with my car. I was so focused on getting it done that I didn't take the time to enjoy what I was doing.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by karmatose View Post
Well, I'm building the M20 for boost because there's a whole lot less going on in the motor (Less cams, less valves, less valve springs, etc...) which means there's less to go wrong and won't cost near as much. And should it go wrong, getting another M20 is going to be a whole lot cheaper with lots of folk going to the M50 and E30's being parted out all over the place.

IMHO, keep it simple and have fun. Build up the motor now and get a few good months of motoring in. While you're having fun driving your car instead of working on it, obsessively plan your turbo setup and then do that build over the winter.

Or hell, if the motor runs good now (or ran good before your thermostat dealio), fix those issues and enjoy the car. Save your money, and do your upgrades over the winter.

Either way, take your time with it so it doesn't feel like work. That was the biggest mistake I made with my car. I was so focused on getting it done that I didn't take the time to enjoy what I was doing.
good advice

FWIW, I've had my boost kit sitting in the spare bedroom of my house since last fall.

I've been working out all the bugs and maintenance stuff before I install it.

no rush...these cars have been around for at least 20 years, there isn't any race to suddenly pump it full of F/I when it's not ready.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #159
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Very nice advice guys. My m20 did run well, the compression test we did showed all 6 were within a few psi of eachother. It has about 248k on it but it's working well. I'm going to read up on the boost info more and get as much knowledge as possible, drive the civic and work on the bimmer. I'm going to pull the engine still, replace what I can slowly and replace the stupid steering rack bolts so I can install my skid plate lol!

What are you guys doing about A/C and all? Keeping it or removing it and such?

My interior is still stripped so I'm gonna leave it that way and work on the body work as well, that way when the car is boosted I can have a freshly painted car.

Thank you guys for all your help, I appreciate it.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:47 PM   #160
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From everything I read, if your M20 was properly maintained, 250K KMs means it's just broken in. Freshen it up though and you'll be fine for another 250K.

I've removed my A/C. It worked apparently, but I wanted the space for IC piping. Also, A/C doesn't make you go faster.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:05 PM   #161
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From everything I read, if your M20 was properly maintained, 250K KMs means it's just broken in. Freshen it up though and you'll be fine for another 250K.

I've removed my A/C. It worked apparently, but I wanted the space for IC piping. Also, A/C doesn't make you go faster.
yep yep


my m20b25 is at 254k with comp. test 155-160 across the board.

head is a different story however...

ideally I would like to keep my A/C but i'm pigheaded and stubborn..I have a vert...no A/C required but I still want to keep it lol
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:18 PM   #162
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Thats the thing, I wanted to know how the intercooler would work with ac, mine works fine but having the windows down is plenty in the summer. Seems easier just to remove it.

My comp test read out from 170-180, how is that? Good or not so good?
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:41 PM   #163
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I couldn't fit my a/c with intercooler, and the compressor clutch gave out, so I pulled the A/c. I got the refrigerant pulled at a local garage for $50 or so.

Wuzie, you need to come over and have a rip in my E30. You'll realize that a turbo M20 is plenty fun. I have some parts you might be interested in as well, ie turbo manifold.

Edit: 170-180 psi is great, btw.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:08 PM   #164
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The guy who's car I bought had A/C and a turbo/intercooler somehow. I've never been able to find photos of it, but it's apparently possible.

Look into what Dinan did back in the day with their turbo setup and maybe you'll find your answer. I have a Dinan brochure somewhere around here. If I can remember and there's some neat info in there, I'll scan it at work and post it tomorrow.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #165
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sometimes i miss the m20 honestly. so simple, and sounds awesome. i miss that sewing machine

but then if i were to go 24 valve, i would skip the m50 all together and go m52. with forged internals, its perfect candidate for some turbroooooooo

good luck with your e30 endeavors.
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