Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Discuss general and Technical 1991 - 1999 BMW e36 Turbocharging & Supercharging information & questions here. pppppssssssssssssstttttt! Whether its building up that nasty Euro S52 for mild boost or prepping that that non-vanos m50 for 30lbs of boost, share your experiences, tips, and build threads here.

Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Postby CTC BM » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:44 am

Hey guys, im looking into a turbo build and i know nothing about turbos yet. Barely know the basics. I was focused more on suspension before, aiming for a corner carver and still am. Just one with more power.

Im debating whether im going to make an m50 race engine or swap in an s50 and go from there. Im figureing an s50 swap will cost me around 5k, even though i can pick up the engine, ecu, and complete drivetrain for 3K. Still that 5K spent on the swap could buy me a turbo and net me more HP that a straight s50 swap. Yes the s50 swap will get me a higher starting point but honestly what are you going to do with anything over 400 to the wheels. I plan on racing my car and putting down 500 rwhp isn't going to be easy to control.

Anyway some basic turbo questions.

For you that have been through this do you find piecing together a kit is cheaper than buying one?

Also ive noticed quite a few different turbo setups on various e36 I6's. Why is this? Im talking about seeing some turbos mounted right by the headers, this is the 'normal' set up im used to. Then again ive also seen some turbines up exactly where a supercharger would be, and then what i thought was an undersatnding of how turbos work went right out the window. Where is the ideal place to put it on a bimmer.

Also what kind of power is the m50 good for? im aiming for 300-400 whp. Anything in there meets the goal. How is this going to take a toll on the drivetrain and engine? Its a 160k engine, seems to be purring nicely though.

Another thought is the m3 drivetrain puts down more power right? Maybe a drivetrain swap is necessary but id hate to swap the whole drivetrain and not have the engine ot go with it. Im only 17 and i dont know if im capable of an engine swap.
CTC BM
 
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1994 Pao

Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Postby MikeE36 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:19 pm

CTC BM wrote:Hey guys, im looking into a turbo build and i know nothing about turbos yet. Barely know the basics. I was focused more on suspension before, aiming for a corner carver and still am. Just one with more power.
Im debating whether im going to make an m50 race engine or swap in an s50 and go from there. Im figureing an s50 swap will cost me around 5k, even though i can pick up the engine, ecu, and complete drivetrain for 3K. Still that 5K spent on the swap could buy me a turbo and net me more HP that a straight s50 swap. Yes the s50 swap will get me a higher starting point but honestly what are you going to do with anything over 400 to the wheels. I plan on racing my car and putting down 500 rwhp isn't going to be easy to control.

What's an "M50 race engine" and why do you want to do it? Is it the typical, I want to build an 8000 RPM M50 type plan?

If you have the right tire compound, 400rwhp is not hard to control. You can achieve full traction in 2nd gear with sticky tires and 400rwhp. 500rwhp full traction by 3rd.

Anyway some basic turbo questions.

For you that have been through this do you find piecing together a kit is cheaper than buying one?
9 times out of 10, buying a kit with proven tuning is always a better choice. Most people end up paying far more than a kit would've cost them by trying to "save money" and piece together their own setup, then they run into the problem of no factory DME tuners wanting to touch their car or tune it for them. Tuning is by far the most important aspect of turbocharging a BMW, so make sure whatever you do, that you have great tuning. I cannot stress this enough.


Also ive noticed quite a few different turbo setups on various e36 I6's. Why is this? Im talking about seeing some turbos mounted right by the headers, this is the 'normal' set up im used to. Then again ive also seen some turbines up exactly where a supercharger would be, and then what i thought was an undersatnding of how turbos work went right out the window. Where is the ideal place to put it on a bimmer.
You're most likely thinking of the different between "top mount" and "bottom mount" setups. Bottom mounts place the turbo on the underside of the exhaust manifold, next to the passenger side of the block, and they're pretty hidden. This is the preferred setup by many, including myself. Some people build custom manifolds and place the turbo up near the passenger side headlight to either A) fit a really large turbo that won't fit down low, or B) look cooler when you open the hood, or some combination of the two. Go bottom-mount and keep it simple.


Also what kind of power is the m50 good for? im aiming for 300-400 whp. Anything in there meets the goal. How is this going to take a toll on the drivetrain and engine? Its a 160k engine, seems to be purring nicely though.
Perform a compression and leakdown test on the engine before turbocharging it to check if the engine is up to the task. 300 whp with a completely stock M50 vanos is not difficult with a good turbo setup and exhaust. My M50 vanos wagon makes ~320 whp with a completely stock 2.5 on a TRM stage 1 kit @ 12psi. 400 whp and you would need to lower the compression using a spacer head gasket or pistons. You will need to upgrade your clutch and make sure you have a limited slip differential, other than that the drivetrain should be fine. Do not powershift or speed-shift, or whatever you want to call it though. The Getrag transmission in the 325i is not nearly as strong as the ZF in the M3, and it will break sooner or later.


Another thought is the m3 drivetrain puts down more power right? Maybe a drivetrain swap is necessary but id hate to swap the whole drivetrain and not have the engine ot go with it. Im only 17 and i dont know if im capable of an engine swap.

What do you mean by, drivetrain makes more power? Yes, an M3 engine makes more power, but the transmission and other "drivetrain" bits don't. If you're not capable of an engine swap, or don't have quite a bit of money saved up, I'd wait awhile before attempting to turbocharge your BMW. Save up your money and build something really nice when you have a career. Don't rush into it. If you're limited on cash, just build an Autocross car. It's a cheap and easy way to go have fun and get into some competition. Realistically a kit will cost you $6,000-$8,000 once all is said and done if you do it right.

Mike
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Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Postby CTC BM » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:30 am

By race engine I just ment building up a nice m50. Not just throwing on some bolt ons and calling it quits. Yes I will probably do things like intake and exhaust. I take that back I will deffinatly do these things but purely for sound and show purposes. These aren't considered engine upgrades to me considering you only get 2-3 WHP per mod if even that. I think a turbo is the main thing im going to do to my M50, and it seems like a pretty solid starting point.

How much boost would you say you could squeeze out of your kit safely? And on a track day? Is there a way to run like 20-22 psi safely? Even if it requires upgraded internals. Because if thats possible I figure I could target any HP number between 3 and 500! How fast does you kit spool up too? I would imagine its a more conservative kit and retains very quick times to full boost.

As far as tuning goes, I understand its one of if not the most critical part of the car. I really want to get into it though, the whole thing fasinates me and i would love to learn the ropes. Although im nervous this is just because I succesfully installed the coilovers and pulled half the drivetrain its got my confidance up. The other half of me is saying its just a process and anyone can learn it theoretically just with enough patience and dedication. My plans where to use a W.A.R. Chip to do the tuning. Maybe buy some more powerful programs aswell. Still hesitant on this though, im going to shoot George K from ICS an email about doing a tune for me. Hes worked with Nick G before and has done numerous turbo tunes. Very familiar with FI, so ill get a full all electronic/tuning/wiring work quote for the just incase im not capable of doing this.

For mounting im going to stick with the, what i know as 'normal' mounting configuration where the turbines sit right next to the exhaust manifold. I feel this way it keeps piping to a minimum. I just thought this up in my head but wouldn't more piping be generally worse for performance. Cause wouldn't more overall piping mean it takes longer to get the PSI up, so would lag and stuff be effected? Maybe not i just dont see any benefit from more piping expect people can see your silver pipes running around everywhere. I was looking at my friends 180sx (a 240sx with a 1.8L swap and a turbo) and his set up was pretty sick but it looked like there was way more pipping than necessary. I mean the performance loss if even any probably isn't significant enough to matter, but i just like the idea of everything having a more focused purpose and I like clean engine bays even more.

Yeah I dont powershift or any of that non sense, just straight up drive, hit my lines and try to put the power down right on the limit for now. Until I master brushing up against my cars limits and really pushing it to the max at all times im not going to try to incorporate the fancy stuff. I do intent to learn Heel-toeing and stuff one day but thats down the road.

Unfortunately clutches and flywheels are expensive. I forgot that those are necessary for higher HP cars. I dont think my FI dreams are going to happen for a couple months atleast now. I need to spend like 4k setting everything else up for the FI and im not half assing any of it. So I guess im gunna have to do all that shit first.

Oh and when I said the M3 drivetrain makes more power, when you compare the driveshaft to that of an e36 non M its thicker in diameter. So idk if this actually helps get more the the back wheel but my thoughts where it would be able to handle more. I see alot of just went turbo, reprocutions of week 2... followed by picture of broken non M driveshaft. So that was the drivetrain comment. I think I might do an M3 drivetrain swap for the added strength and power handling capabilitys, also the fact that it has an LSD for me. And you can get a whole drive train alot cheaper if you buy them as a package rather than buying an LSD and driveshaft separately. But then this puts me on to wanting to do an s50 swap because thats a better base for a track car. N/A engines are more my thing and it just sounds good but well im not sure right now. I think im going to look into other areas, someone getting an LSD in the back and then being able to put the power down and around corners. Oh and I need to work on my stopping power aswell.

As for tires I plan on running Dunlop Direzza's. I was so happy with there performance at $100 a tire I don't care if i run through them in like 8k miles Dunlop has earned my business by making a nasty performer. These tires are dirty, aggressive and they have no regrets about it. My kind of tire!
CTC BM
 
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1994 Pao

Re: Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Postby sikdogg » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:14 pm

If you're aiming for 300-400whp, i think it would be cheaper and easier to find a used Vortech SC kit.
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Planning my turbo build w/ M50 or maybe s50

Postby brandoome34 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:02 am

its been a while, just found this thread cause im about to turbo my 525i m50 motor. if your still here check this out. its a great start I would say and you can always upgrade your turbo/wastegate/afc after.
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