Engine Swap Options - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
E34 M5 Discussion 1988-1995 Sedan and Touring

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post #1 of 13 Old 13th May 2017, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
linklaterdavid
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Engine Swap Options

HI Everyone,

Its been quite sometime since I last said hi. I miss getting involved and hearing what is new in the world for all of you!

For me, at least on the automotive side, things are a bit bleak. I still have my 1991 M5, but unfortunately, it is having some major problems. At the end of last season it over heated. I pulled over and turned off the car as soon as I noticed. I don't know how much time had elapsed. Prior to this, I did notice that there was a bit of milkiness in my coolant reservoir. I'm guilty of not addressing the problem sooner.

Basically, as it stands, the reservoir is now full of what looks to be almost pure black engine oil. Obviously extremely worrisome, and indicative of a pretty serious problem. I would think a blown head gasket, but am not convinced there is more to it. I am the fourth owner, and while the car only does have just over 100k KM on it, I cannot say how it was driven for the first 70 or so thousand KM's. The Tranny was bagged when I bought it and so I did the Metric Mechanic G265 Conversion. Everything seemed fine after the conversion. Seamless shifting and engine pulling hard.

I don't know if there is any pertinence to the issue, but the milkiness in the reservoir seemed to only worsen, after I did a full coolant flush last August. It had overheated twice prior to this, but would restart and drive as normal after cooling down. Again, guilty of not addressing issues sooner.

In any case, I phoned my shop and they quoted me a huge sum of money for a rebuild. Around 12K!
I described everything to the owner who had previously had similar issues with his E34 M5 and he said this was a massive undertaking and would be a substantial financial undertaking either way.

I have access to a pit and engine crane, so for the sake of seeing what I'm up against, Im tempted to get in there and look for myself. Ive read that to do even the head gasket, the engine must be pulled. Also, that because of the nature of the S38, many seals and other parts must be replaced.

Long and the short? I'm considering pulling the S38, letting it sit aside and perhaps doing a temporary engine swap. My gut feeling is that if I can DIY this, it might at least help me drive it for the summer and save some cash for the massive s38 undertaking which I certainly DO NOT have the cash for right now.

As a last note, the car did crank, but now I have let it sit so long the battery is completely dead and will not even jump. Would a home compression test and leak down test even be recommended if I can get it to crank again?

Sorry for the long wordy post.

I guess I'm just looking for any feedback at all here. I want to get it back on the road. I absolutely adore driving this car, and do recognize that many here may frown upon putting another more affordable engine in the car, even if it is not in there forever.

Any help and feedback is hugely appreciated. Hope everyone is well. Is Chris Powell still frequenting the forum? I'd love to hear from you Chris.

Cheers!
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post #2 of 13 Old 13th May 2017, 05:11 PM
Smith_Jason
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$12K seems about right based on the bills I have from when he re-did his own. I have been wondering about what ended up happening to you and to you car. I was hoping for a slightly better story. If you pull the engine and do some of the disassembly does that help at all ? Once you get it out and apart I would have to think that the head gasket itself is somewhat straight forward. The timing etc I would want a pro doing for the first time. Not sure what options you have for engines to mate to yours but even a running S38 from a donor might be an option ? They are out there and usually about 4-5K.

As ana side, when you say overheating I assume you are talking about the water temp being into the red zone ? My car has always run a little warmer, never over the 3/4 mark so as noted in my thread I am doing some investigating and parts replacement to make sure I am not into a huge repair. I have no idea of anyone around here (maybe Winnipeg) that could even do that kind of work.

Good luck man, engine and transmission issues suck. Maybe spread it out over this year and next cost wise ? The only other option would be to part this one out slowly to get your money back and use the funds to buy another one.
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post #3 of 13 Old 14th May 2017, 03:17 PM
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I'm sorry to hear. If the car has been overheated this many times and you now have oil in the water bottle..... You likely need more than just a head gasket. It's shame your miles are so low, but with a trans replacement needed at such low miles, someone really enjoyed your car!

I went through virtually the same thing but my motor lifted the head around 86k miles. Oil in the water.

Overheating is deadly for these engines. It's a shame, a simple problem has turned into an engine disassembly.

If plan on keeping the car and you're taking the engine apart I would make sure you address whatever it needs. The cost is substantial and if you're paying labor you might as well make everything right.




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post #4 of 13 Old 14th May 2017, 09:22 PM
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Yes that's a tough break...never nice when that happens. Just putting this out there as food for thought....I have a 93 that I was using as a daily driver up until I tapped a dear last spring. Long story short, bought the car back from Insurance company as it runs fantastic even though high milage (320km or 202k miles) and bad 2nd gear synchros...Plan was to repair it and put it back on the road as It has salvage title. Also have a 99km or 62k miles spare S38b36 that I picked up a few years back. In heated dry storage. Engine originally came out of BC from a rear end hit car.

All that said am starting to realize that I have too many projects on the go and I'm not going to get to my M5's anytime soon. If you are interested in a spare engine while you figure out what to do with yours maybe we can work something out.

I am in Winnipeg, but have relatives in Stoney Plain so a road trip is not out of the question. Give me a call (or text) at 204-224-4081 or email me at jgguliov@gmail.com if you want to pursue this and I can give you more details on the above. Unfortunately work does not allow me to access the forums so direct email might be best

regards - John
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post #5 of 13 Old 15th May 2017, 05:30 AM
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You definitely have some good options for a motor swap on an e34. I would start by looking at the Euro S50B32. The M50TU engine was put in the e34 so all the mounting parts are readily available for that block. I'm not sure how common the proper S50/52 was in Canada, but that would obviously be a proper Motorsport engine. The US S52 would also be an option. I bough a 1994 525i with this intention but it never materialized. The Euro S50B32 would make similar numbers and be a more "advanced" engine.

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post #6 of 13 Old 17th May 2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for you response! I'm sorry for the late reply. Work has me pretty busy laty.

I'm definitely going to get the engine out for proper evaluation in the next while. However, because I know that it's more than likely a financial stretch to rebuild right now, I'm definitely looking at more affordable options.

John, thank you for putting out the option of being able to stay true to the car's intended perfection through the possibility of a replacement S38. I will shoot you an email!

As far as other BMW swaps go, is the S52 a fairly straight forward swap? Or would there be a lot involved as far as electronics and mounts?
Thanks again!
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post #7 of 13 Old 18th May 2017, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linklaterdavid View Post
Thank you everyone for you response! I'm sorry for the late reply. Work has me pretty busy laty.

I'm definitely going to get the engine out for proper evaluation in the next while. However, because I know that it's more than likely a financial stretch to rebuild right now, I'm definitely looking at more affordable options.

John, thank you for putting out the option of being able to stay true to the car's intended perfection through the possibility of a replacement S38. I will shoot you an email!

As far as other BMW swaps go, is the S52 a fairly straight forward swap? Or would there be a lot involved as far as electronics and mounts?
Thanks again!


By the time you pay someone to swap in a different drivetrain, you could be 50% into a proper rebuild or even closer depending on what failed on your car.

I don't mean to come across as an ***... But don't hack up a low mileage clean car because you didn't do your due diligence the first time. Not addressing overheats on BMWs is sensitive. On the s38 it is fatal.


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post #8 of 13 Old 18th May 2017, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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I for sure get it. I should have just parked it until I could have properly addressed it. The thing was, it seemed to just "solve" itself (obviously impossible), but I don't have a lifetime of experience with cars. It's only after the last five years I've gained any real knowledge (I'm a late bloomer).

The problem was strange to me though, because both times the car overheated, it was on a cooler summer evening and I had the heat on. I wondered if there was somehow a correlation. But I certainly don't think that would he the cause of oil in the water. Definitely blown head gasket, just don't know the degree of damage.

I definitely want to keep the engine stock if I can find a reasonably priced donor S38! Like you're saying Niko, it would be a shame to molest a low mileage immaculate condition E34 M5 like this one. I feel pretty lucky to have come across it in the first place. It was a local Edmonton car and I had been eyeing it up for a few years prior to buying it.
They aren't all that easy to come by afterall. I'm super antsy to get it back on the road, but will wait whatever time is necessary in order to make sure the car doesn't turn into a piece of junk.

Last edited by linklaterdavid; 18th May 2017 at 03:34 AM. Reason: Didn't mean to hit send
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post #9 of 13 Old 18th May 2017, 08:17 PM
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David! What terrible news!!! I was wondering where you'd been the last few months, but I was not expecting a bad S38

I think Nick is spot-on, but then again I approved the choice to rebuild the S38 in mine at 219,000 miles, and it wasn't original at all, LOL.

I don't know how much money you're willing or able to devote to this rebuild, but there are definitely competent DIYers or independents that should be able to get your sorted for much less than $12k. My car blew the head gasket, and with a fully rebuilt head, minor OEM upgrades, new head gasket, re-seal, but untouched bottom end, now runs pretty damn strong thanks to the P.O. He was into the motor for under $5k, including professional head work/inspection/etc, but doing all of his own dis- and re-assembly. That estimate is highly dependent on the head and block (and rotating assembly) all being good still.

I'm not suggesting you tackle this, David, just pointing out you don't need to fear a $12k estimate. Any competent, independent or non-professional S14/S38 experts in Edmonton?

Maybe Paul (Shock(/\)ave) in Ontario knows of someone?

Also, DAMN, this would have been a great place for my friend's 82k mile S38 he sold a few months back (the guy who owned my M5 the past year, from whom I bought it back).

-Brent
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'95 540iT Euro (JDM)
'10 Mini Justa (hers)

Last edited by Bleedsblue; 18th May 2017 at 08:20 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 19th May 2017, 08:38 PM
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Not sure if you saw - Eero just posted that an M5 with the S38B38 is being/has been parted out - maybe send him a message about the engine...
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