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Old 09-30-2010, 09:13 PM   #1
starscream
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Questions about E36 Engine

Heya!

So first time posting here. I actually have a 2007 Mazdaspeed 3, however I been looking to get a dedicated track car. Right now the 2 key cars I been looking at are 1) BMW E36 series (325 or 328) and 2) Acura Integra 2nd Gen.

Both have their pro's and con's however being a Bimmer forum I'll ask the Bimmer questions here.

My main question is about the E36 engine: the M50TUB25 and M50B25. I find alot of them on autotrader/craigstlist/kijiji with 280xxxKms and above.

How reliable are the engines?

Estimated life?

Any major things that should be worked on when it gets that high in kms? (headgaskets? etc?)

Any help would be appreciated. I looked/searched the forum but didnt get anything as general that I wanted and more with people that had specific problems. Looking for more of a general idea.

THANKS!
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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Get the BMW for the Rear wheel drive

I've had a 328 for 2 years now. It has the M52B28.

The motor has been 100% bulletproof. Even when I first got the car, learning stick, I made a moneyshift. But it kept going, no issues. I got lucky.

My motor is at about 300k, and still running perfect. 255hp with a few mods as well.

Only thing that has gone bad on the motor itself was a power steering pump ($50)

You just need to be ontop of the cooling system. If you buy an e36, change the waterpump, thermostat, rad, and thermostat housing to aluminum if it hasn't already been done.

Keep in mind, I track my car often, so it gets beat on. Doesn't burn any oil.

In my opinion, if you keep up on oil changes, it should last a looooooong time.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:36 PM   #3
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my 325i has 340k on it. 1000k a week on it with no issues so far. its been pretty damn solid so far
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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I have a 93 325 with an M50 in it, and the thing runs amazing! 355K on the engine and body, and the engine runs mint, while the body is complete shite.

Obviously your going to want to check all the hoses. Depending on the year, and how the car was cared for, check the headers, and make sure they aren't rusted to complete crap.

If your going to go with a BMW, I would go with a 325 rather than a 328. A common mod for a 328 is to swap intake and headers with M50 intake and headers, and the 325 already has those.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigIS View Post
If your going to go with a BMW, I would go with a 325 rather than a 328. A common mod for a 328 is to swap intake and headers with M50 intake and headers, and the 325 already has those.
This information is wrong.

While a good mod for a 328 is the M50 intake manifold, it adds around 20hp. That already bumps it way past the power of an M50 which already has it.

And I've never heard of a 328 owner putting M50 headers on...why would we do that when we already have the same as an M3?

Overall, there is WAY more potential for power with an M52 over an M50. It also has more torque.

All the exhaust parts from a 328 are an upgrade on a 325!
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:30 PM   #6
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I've owned 2 e36 328's and I have to agree with doogee 100%. They are far better, stock for stock and with a few minor mods hp gets bumped a lot better not to mention if you're tracking it ultimate hp isn't what you want as much as torque which the 2.8 has in spades in comparison to the 2.5. If the car has been taken care of it is not unheard of these cars running to 500k. But if something catastrophic should happen replacement engines are a dime a dozen and not very expensive.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:31 AM   #7
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First I it's a track car the rwd BMW will out do the fwd/awd platform

Second I would focus more on finding an E36 with a solid shell then worrying about the motor. The motors are easier to find and change then dealing with rust.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doogee View Post
This information is wrong.

why would we do that when we already have the same as an M3?
You are right, but to be fair M50 also has the same headers as M3. Same as the S50B30US M3.

The only downside to the 328 I see is the open 2.91 diff. I know there are LSD's but are very rare and it's still pretty tall. 3.15 LSD's are pretty cheap though. I would also recommend 328 over the 325. More torque, newer, stronger gearbox.
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SickFinga View Post
You are right, but to be fair M50 also has the same headers as M3. Same as the S50B30US M3.

The only downside to the 328 I see is the open 2.91 diff. I know there are LSD's but are very rare and it's still pretty tall. 3.15 LSD's are pretty cheap though. I would also recommend 328 over the 325. More torque, newer, stronger gearbox.
I have never heard anyone ever say the 328 had a stronger gearbox, or ever
heard of anyone blowing up a tranny in an e36.

LSD diffs are easy to find, lost of E36's being parted out
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richie_s999 View Post
I have never heard anyone ever say the 328 had a stronger gearbox, or ever
heard of anyone blowing up a tranny in an e36.

LSD diffs are easy to find, lost of E36's being parted out
Yeah dude, its true. 328 uses the same gearbox as the M3.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:39 AM   #11
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there's no replacement for displacement, right?

love my 328is.. and i am sure all owners above do as well.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:07 PM   #12
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Welcome to maxbimmer! 328is is my suggestion. First its a bigger displacement, and mods are everywhere for it, and its the easiest swap if u ever want to put an s52 in it, compared to the other e36s

Honestly i got a integra boosted to 8 psi and all jdmed out... i spent everything i had on it for the last 2 years... n let me tell you my stock 328is is WAY more fun for me than the integra will ever be, after all the suspension mods i did on the integra, the bimmer still feels nicer when hitting turns fast. the bimmer did cost more to mod but its more rewarding. also if u are getting a e36. get the 328i... closest to the m3 and its the same engine as the m3 just a bigger displacement and alot of options for it!

e36 FTW
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:54 PM   #13
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Thanks for the welcome and the information guys. I would multi-quote all of you and reply to each one, however the board doesnt have that feature. In anycase i'll kinda generalize it!

I totally get that RWD > FWD for a track platform. What was getting me about the integra was the pretty good handling and cost (cost of car AND cost of parts) is real low. For my first track car thats pretty appealing.

HOWEVER,

I am more leaning towards the E36 chassis, not only because of the RWD factor but seems like theres more room for me to grow and seems better suited to what I want out of the track car. The added fact that iverson has a boosted integra and gave me a honest account of what he thinks helps alot coming from someone who has both a teggy AND a e36.

I DONT think I can get a 328. 1) they are hard to find used in my price range 2) most of them I have seen on craigslist,kijiji,autotrader have been auto. Although I have seen a few 325's that are VERY appealing (price range and condition). I know its not the 328 that I would prefer, however I am thinking that for me to get to know the car, get used to tracking and that I would be gutting it and putting all that together it seems like a pretty decent way to go.

My main concern, which seems to be addressed, is getting the car with over 280K kms on it and knowing that it can still take a beating and that I wouldnt have to replace the engine already (knowing that I try to maintain it, and not just let it go to shit).

Thanks for all the words guys, keep them coming. I know there was a post above going over some basic things to watch out for. Anyone else have more to comment on that? What else I should look out for? What to look out for when buying a E36? Major rust spots? Things to keep an eye out for?
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craz azn View Post
Yeah dude, its true. 328 uses the same gearbox as the M3.
REally? I thought there were 3 different sizes for diffs, and gear boxes on E36's.

318 has a small casing, 325, and 328 have medium, and M3 has large. At least that is what I was told when I was looking for an LSD for my 318. Perhaps is just the connections that are 3 different sizes, and the casings are the same?

On the note of headers, I was also told that the headers differ from 325 - 328 - M3. Was I misinformed on that too?

I am only just getting to know my 325 btw.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigIS View Post
REally? I thought there were 3 different sizes for diffs, and gear boxes on E36's.

318 has a small casing, 325, and 328 have medium, and M3 has large. At least that is what I was told when I was looking for an LSD for my 318. Perhaps is just the connections that are 3 different sizes, and the casings are the same?

On the note of headers, I was also told that the headers differ from 325 - 328 - M3. Was I misinformed on that too?

I am only just getting to know my 325 btw.


Okay time to clear this up.

Headers:

325 and 95 M3: Same
328 and 96-99 M3: Same

The main difference in the headers is the port for the secondary air pump on the 96-99 models. But from the headers back the 325 exhaust is more restrictive than a 328 or M3 exhaust.


Diffs:
All the same minus the 318ti and Euro.
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