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Where do I start?

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Hey guys,


I've been into BMW's for about a decade now even being a technician at BMW for many years but am not longer working at the shop's full time. I have had a number of E30's, E36's, E39's and E46's, etc. I've sold everything except my trusty toyota beater car and am thinking about picking up either a 2002 or E21 and I am leaning more toward the 2002. I never really got to work on 2002's when I was at BMW seeing as im not old enough to deserve getting that ticket. Anyway long story short I have some basic questions before getting into this.


Maybe I am looking in the wrong place but is there any documentation on drivetrain/motor swaps/etc and what is required for what. What I am really hoping to be able to do is use an m10 and be able to run it with EFI and a more new age approach at getting spark taken care of. I'm a little confused with all I have read thus far.


On a side note do any other engines/drive train components drop into the chassis or will this require some welding? I'm looking to go 4-cyl turbo, so I was thinking m42/m44/s14. I know they have all been done but im trying to count how many favors I have to call in as I don't have welding equipment and my welding skills are WAY over PAR.


Figured there was maybe a post I missed that had a chart/list or something saying this, this and this would bolt up, this needs this fabbed, etc.


I appreciate any advice thank you.



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Everything you are wondering is very well documented here. Only problem is there's so much info to sift through to distill it down to a core list of materials. Search Marshall Lytle's M2 Madness or something like that build thread for S14s. One can put an M42 in an '02 search for Clay Weiland. Casey Motorsports in CA can do M42s without cutting the nose.


Please put your location in your profile it helps us help you.

Andrew Wilson
Vern- 1973 2002tii, https://www.bmw2002faq.com/blogs/blog/304-andrew-wilsons-vern-restoration/ 
Veronika- 1968 1600 Cabriolet, Athena- 1973 3.0 CSi,  Rodney- 1988 M5, The M3- 1997 M3,

The Unicorn- 2007 X3, Julia- 2007 Z4 Coupe, Ophelia- 2014 X3, Herman- 1914 KisselKar 4-40

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Yes swaps are possible. The most popular are the S14. Which is almost a bolt on. Not a lot of mods needed to do that but it's the most expensive by far because of the drivetrain cost. The M42 is relatively painless swap. Gives you a nice modern 16 valve, dual overhead cam, fuel injected engine in the 02. Not too pricey and not alit of modifications need to be done. Some also go M20 and that requires more work but puts you in S14 power territory at the M42 cost. I have seen Turbo M42s as well as Turbo M20s. You can even do the M10. Put in the e30 M10 FI system. It's almost a bolt on. Soooooo many things that can be done to this car. Search. Read. Search. Read more and ask any questions you want to get specifics. Some may tell you to get an 02. Get it running properly and see how you like it before you plan on dropping in new engines. An M10 putting out 130 hp can be LOTS of fun and that may be all you desire. Works for ALOT of people on the board here. Then there are the unconventional swaps. Honda F20C from an s2000 with a 6 speed and that can be turbocharged as well to put out insane amounts of HP

1976 BMW 2002 Fjord Blue Ireland Stage II • Bilstein Sports • Ireland Headers • Weber 38 • 292 Cam • 9.5:1 Pistons • 123Tune Bluetooth 15" BBS

2016 BMW 535i M Sport

1964 Volvo Amazon Wagon

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...but really, if you build a nice, tight M10, put a moderate cam in and then megasquirt it, you're still driving a 2002, but without all the weak spots....


and it's a nicely balanced package, especially with a 5- speed and a 3.91 lsd.  Enough engine, few headaches.

About as much power as an M42- and probably more usable torque.




Edited by TobyB

"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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What I would like to do is make a little 2002 turbo replica, and throw a small turbo on whatever motor I run. If I was going to do an n/a build thats going to get really pricey as im going to be doing a lot more work at the machine shop for that one. I would probably want to do a really low final drive so I could run tall gears and balance it out with adding some more pony's to the power plant. The 4 speed might be enough but im not sure what kind of torque they are rated for.

An M10 with the E30 FI would be nice. I like the wilwood disc kit for front and rear brakes.


Some questions on the car,


It seems an original one has the fenders welded to the nose panel, would it be possible to unbolt the nose and both fenders as one piece?


What the deal with the A/C retrofit? Is there still stuff out there? From what I saw it was about tracking down old stuff thats NLA, I might not be interested or bother with it but it would probably be nice as a selling point if no other but would also make the car usable as a daily/weekender while its being built. Passangers would hate no a/c on a 100 degree day.

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You'll double the complexity with a turbo...  but then, you can also double the powah....


Nope, the front fenders are bolted on, then a little tab was brazed to the nose.  It was to simplify panel alignment and clean

up the gap to the hood.  The nose itself is part of the shell- it only comes off with a spot- weld cutter and some swearing.


Search for A/C.  Most of the chatter is about finding the old parts and updating compressors, etc, but several have fitted Vintage Air and similar...




"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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