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2002 sacriledge... My story and hidden desire

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I have owned my '74 '02 since 1985 and it's in pretty poor cosmetic shape. All the rubber is rotted around every window, siezed up heater box, two different colors of paint, cracked dash, rickety center console, curled up door panels, dangling sunroof crank, missing "wind wing" knobs, etc, etc......

However, with an epiphany that told me it's better to feel good than to look good, I put swaybars and bilstiens underneath it and it handles better than ever. So I cleared out all the smog stuff and tuned the waterchoke carb and had the transmission rebuilt due to the dreaded 2nd gear synchro melt down so common to these little beasts. It is running pretty well. Fun Fun Fun....

My '02 has always been my 2nd car as I drive a truck for work. With the price of gas over $3 a gallon, though, I parked the truck in favor of driving my wife's 2003 Audi Allroad for a while. And now I'm thinking of using my '02 for more than just tooling around the block, and carving up canyons for kicks.... After driving her new car, though, I'm yearning for some extra power (like maybe 100 more horsies?) and some creature comforts (heat, A/C, a radio, general improvements in gas mileage and reliability) in my car. And so I wonder...

Is it possible to drop a motor/transmission/electrics from a relatively modern 3 series in these little cars? I'm thinking I would much rather drop $15,000-$20,000 into "pimping" this ride than buying a new car. Anyone have any reccomendations of a shop in Southern California that might take on this type of challenge? Maybe creating an "M2002?" Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Guest Anonymous

There are tons of posts on this site about M20 and S14 conversions. For the latter, one person worth talking to is Dave Varco at Aardvarc racing: 2002parts.com. I know he has a whole S14 (early M3 motor) conversion kit that looks quite complete.

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So mad because I just wrote a long post & it was lost!!! anyway I looked into purchasing a totaled E36 318ti/is to use - the M42 motor puts out a solid 140hp stock & would be fun - and the E36 has all the goodies like climate control & all that....

Bottom line is that it was going to cost me HUGE coin - like over $25K to have it done. The rear subframe & pretty much the whole car would have to be custom.

I found that the easiest thing to do would be one of two things. Either put in An S14 (E30 M3) motor or turbo/supercharge the M10 that's in there. I'm choosing the supercharge option because it's what I want but for you I'd reccomend the M3 option. You can buy a POS beater car for short $ and then almost transplant the entire car. I've got tons more stuff like quotes, part numbers challenge areas, etc. if you're interested.....

I started asking the same question you are but was a little pig-headed & took a beating for it (remember the 2X4 Anthony??). Now that I've come to my senses... The reality is that it's all already been done & if you're looking for electronics, power locks, seats & all that jazz like power steering wheel tilt you're probably looking to do something that would require more than buying a new car.

Email me off post if you want any more info but as the others chime in I'll be looking forward to the confrontation from this thread....

Tom

[email protected]

AND

[email protected]

please copy both so I get it wherever I am.

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For that kind of money, you could also consider a mini cooper S, and keep your '02 for fundays. The MCS is a blast to drive (not as much as my 2002), gets good gas mileage, and has good HVAC.

Ian

'76 M2

'02 MCS

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Think about it.

m20 = reliable relatively cheap power(100 more then stock) Not as much high maintanence of an s14 and its cheaper...

Hard to lose.

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I agree that the M20 is cheap and reliable, but in the 10 years since I did my S14 conversion the engine has never given me a problem. The S14 is a detuned race engine, and as such is bullet-proof. Unfortunately, if the PO was abusive you could end up with an expensive rebuild. It's getting harder to find S14s in good condition, so I agree that the M20 is an attractive alternative.

Ian

'76 M2

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after adding up the costs in my head of my half complete s14 car i sometimes wonder if the m20 wouldnt have been a wiser choice. i keep reminding myself how cool the s14 looks sitting under that hood tho. and i just love the way the s14 rev's with an 8lb flywheel. not a cheap way to go but definatley a cool way to go

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You guys are great! Thanks for putting such an amount of thought into my little dream. I am a complete novice at most things '02 related compared to you all and so I have a few questions:

Is there a huge difference between the application of the different m20 engines? Am I looking for a specific year that works particularly well?

The s14 is also a great option. I'm going to start looking into this more earnestly. Thanks a bunch!

-Harry

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Hey, anybody named Harry has to be a great guy...

I like your idea of a "modernized" '02. If you search around, you'll find out that owners have done upgrades like power locks, upgraded a/c, etc. which can be useful for your project.

Regarding the M20, the one to use is from a late E30, say, 89 to 91. You could do what many have done and buy a whole car, maybe one that has been rear-ended and totalled. That way you can pull all the stuff you need and sell the rest to lower your cost. That was what I was planning to do until I postponed my M20 dreams until further notice.

Best,

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I've seen A/C conversions that have done the trick to make the car comfortable and quiet. As far as power, my vote is for an M20, lots of torque and it is a 6! Having said that, a 2002 is what it is, and that's why we love them, all the little idiot-sincracies and personality. When does a 2002 cease to be it? I went thru the same dilema, but not because of the power issue, I just wanted a car that in 20 years would be a 30 year car, not a 60 year car!

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Guest Anonymous

PLAN - B

If you "modernize" the 2002, why have a 2002 in the first place? Why not just buy a used mid 90's 328i (about $15,000) , then get the 2002 painted ($3000ish).

ta da

there ya go

canundrum avoided

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Guest Anonymous

i'LL SELL YOU MY m2 FOR 20K.

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The M20 in my 1976 02 with a 323 radiator and electric fan runs great and can stay cool all day even when hammered...the 6 pulls great, sounds great and has the smoothness common to I6 engines. However, at city speeds in traffic the temp gauge immediately begins to climb until the temp gauge is almost buried...by that time I'm home I unfortunately have to shut it off just before it boils over. My question is should the 323 radiator with an electric fan be enough cooling capacity to keep the M20 cool or do I need more radiator or more fan or both? I'm a bit uncomfortable that there may not be enough space under the hood with this engine for the air from the fan to flow through the radiator properly...since the engine stays cool at highway speeds, perhaps I just need more velocity through the radiator. I know the fan is working and is set to suck air into the rad.

What radiator are others using with M20 conversions and does this problem sound unique?

 

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