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Old 08-20-2014, 10:55 PM   #1
captain E34
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 934
S52 turbo swap into E34 520i

Hey guys, i have come across an s52 motor and transmission that i want to use in my e34, i had my m50nv b20 setup with the tcd turbo and manifold, 42 lbs injectors, 255lph fuel pump, adj fuel pressure reg. Stock ecu, with moates emulator, bigger maf, etc... but i want to swap to something with more displacement and power.

So far i know i want to swap to obd1, which means m50 manifold and crank sensors, i will also be doing m50 fuel rail and everything else needed...

The problem i cant rap my head around is the vanos. My current ecu and harness is for non vanos. Which i wouldnt believe would work with this engine, unless i deleted vanos. Which im not sure is an option. (Searched with no hard evidence on how to) or do i swap to an m50 nv head an swap the cams and lifters and trays, into that head. Or do i swap to a 413 red label (i believe this is the one i need) ecu and harness to keep the vanos going, and just stick with what i have?

Either the outcomes would be...

S52, m50 obd1 manifold and all the trimmings, with 413 read label vanos ecu and harness

S52, with locked/removed vanos cams, on obd1 m50 manifold with current m50 nv ecu and harness

S52, m50b25 nv head, s52 cams lifters and trays, obd1 m50 manifold, current m50 nv ecu and harness

Are these three options, an accurate idea of what i can do? And does anyone have any opinions or thoughts on what else, or what i should do?


1988 535i M30 (Turbo Build)
1989 535i M30 (Beater)
1990 520i Soon To Be S52 (Turbo Build)
1994 525it M50 (Beater)
2005 X5 M64 (Daily)
2009 335i (Daily)
The Rest Is History...
We shall seek who discover mo powa via the wheels (Shakespeare)
QUOTE FROM THE WISE... "Gap is something all the girls want and all the guys want gone"
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:14 PM   #2
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Location: Stoney Creek, Ontario
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Well here's what you want to do, use the M50NV head, but put the VANOS unit on it. Keep everything but the head casting, valves and valvetrain.

Thicker valve stems, double valve springs, then the benefits of VANOS and everything.

413 red label with an OBD1 harness, and a custom S52 tune and you're laughing.
Could simply VANOS delete the engine but there's no point. Just lose a lot of power for nothing, especially on stock cams.

On a side note, why OBD1? OBD2 is much better. Just put the M50 manifold on and enjoy way better diagnostics and emissions.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:00 PM   #3
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Find a vanos harness. If you're using a moates then I'm positive you can get that going in a silver or red label 413 without too much issue. But I'm not 100 percent on that. Never used a moates or any of the software that works with it. That seems like the easiest solution to me.

Quite a bit more involved with converting a car from obd1 to obd2

... as luck would have it. I believe I have a silver label 413 around =D.

95 530iT|Modifications - Work.

Last edited by ACS_DAN; 10-21-2014 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 08-05-2016, 12:38 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2016
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I have now had some seat time around the track, my suspension and breaks are not stock, and I have a surplus of tires ... so time for some power!!

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