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Chase Bays has a pretty extensive guide for what it takes to swap a 2 or 1JZ into a BMW.

why bother when the N54 is a direct mechanical fit? with a port injection adapter, upgraded in-tank pump, and a single turbo conversion with a fat FMIC they put down a conservative 600whp all day long…. and way more on corn juice or if you spring for a 5-axis VAC Motorsports head to spin it up damn near to 8000rpm.

BMW tuners have come a long way with cracked DMEs and custom tunes. 2JZ is an inferior option and wildly more expensive than an N54 from LKQ… they came in hundreds of thousands of BMWs over the past decade+.
 

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E46 330ci coupe
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Discussion Starter · #62 · (Edited)
I am an owner of a zhp, and someone who helped do an LS swap. I vote for supercharger, manual swap and lsd.

Just the manual swap and a zhp rear ratio will wake up the car significantly. (Though you may already have a spicy ratio due to the auto) Supercharger can be done in a weekend. Same for a manual swap.

It’s apples to oranges, but when I manual swapped my e30, it was like taking 500+ lbs out of the car. Suddenly the car felt alive.

Yep. I've been doing a lot of research and a few things have become clear. The auto trans is a lot heavier than the manual (imagine removing like 60lbs from the center of a car...awesome) and as you said makes the car feel so much more awake and alive. That's honestly been one of my biggest complaints with the car is that the automatic is VERY sloshy and keeps the car feeling a bit sleepy.

And I have pick & pull yards close to me. If I can save on the parts, that'll be awesome.

As I said, I'll keep folks posted but for now it seems like I'll get the car back, likely do the DISA valve and some other maintenance items here & there, get a lab report for the oil, and then start gathering parts for the manual swap. If I can make sure the motor is in good shape I'm going to leave it be for a while and work on the rest of the car.

I'll be back with pics this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Ok, well. This took longer than expected.

Transmission mounts - Replaced. Though I'm planning a swap (and the mounts likely aren't interchangeable) it's been a bit tough to get into Drive from Reverse. In the city I'm doing a lot of those motions, so it's good to get this done for now. Local junkyards seem to have a good amount of manual E46s coming in.

Subframe - Bushings have some life left in them so I can prioritize other things (See below)

Dashcams - Installed, but not correctly. I wanted the rear camera mounted just below the 3rd brake light, it was mounted near the parcel shelf. Annoying but not the end of the world. They're fixing it now.

Oil Pan - On back order. Once that comes in, I'll have him replace the current steering rack with this:



A proper 712 yellow tag ZHP steering rack. A few years back the PS fluid was shimmery and I can't imagine the condition has improved on its own.

So, the pump, rack, lines, reservoir, boots and tie rod ends will all be replaced along with the oil pan and gasket. It's the most economical way of doing things and I can at least assume/plan to not have the car for a few weeks over winter.

There's always something. I'm sure I'll think of (or some kind folks here) will chime in with more suggestions on what to replace while they're down there.
 

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So, the pump, rack, lines, reservoir, boots and tie rod ends will all be replaced along with the oil pan and gasket. It's the most economical way of doing things and I can at least assume/plan to not have the car for a few weeks over winter.
Steering coupling/guibo while you're in there, do it.

 
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2022 Lexus GX460, 2005 Lexus GX470, 1973 IH Scout
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While I understand your connection to this specific car, I don't understand the love affair with the E46 330ci. I owned a 6spd for a bit, refreshed the suspension and bushings, still never saw it as anything special.
 

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Control arms with ZHP arms and Z4M control arm bushings since you're going to need an alignment after all that work anyways.
Yep, you can buy the ZHP control arms from FCP and then you get that lifetime warranty as well. They come loaded with all bushings and are well worth it, and not too expensive either. I’ve got them on mine and I’m very happy with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
While I understand your connection to this specific car, I don't understand the love affair with the E46 330ci. I owned a 6spd for a bit, refreshed the suspension and bushings, still never saw it as anything special.
Tim! Idk if you remember me but I owned the white MR2 wayyyyy back in the early 2000's in Rockland. I think we met like once or twice at car club.

I actually would tend to agree with you about the car itself. When I first started driving it I was unsettled by its identity crisis. A luxury sport coupe should either be a luxury coupe or a sports coupe. Not both. I've lusted after an M3 since they came out, but so many M3 parts fit on this car, and so many non-M parts fit on the car too. IIRC the 330 is substantially lighter than the M3 but I could be wrong.

So for me it sits in this pocket of affordable enough to upgrade with M parts and notice the difference, but not a full M-car requiring a premium on nearly every single part.

Yep, you can buy the ZHP control arms from FCP and then you get that lifetime warranty as well. They come loaded with all bushings and are well worth it, and not too expensive either. I’ve got them on mine and I’m very happy with them.
Good to know, thanks.

Too bad the manual swap isn't as easy on the 330ci. It is the only good thing about the SMG in the m3.
True. It's not easy per se but it's not a huge conversions that has a lot of unknown pitfalls. Plenty of people have DIY videos and walkthroughs.
 

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My recommendation for the eventual manual swap is to either find someone with a lift and a transmission/engine removal jack, or to buy one of those MaxJack things. The ZF 6 speed came on dozens of models throughout the years, so don’t worry about finding an E46-specific one (8cyl has different bellhousing).

You’ll likely also need a manual-transmission driveshaft (the auto trans is a different length on a lot of BMW models. I may be wrong, though, about the E46). That means you should also buy a new giubo/flex disk and center support bearing.

Also find a limited slip differential.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
My recommendation for the eventual manual swap is to either find someone with a lift and a transmission/engine removal jack, or to buy one of those MaxJack things. The ZF 6 speed came on dozens of models throughout the years, so don’t worry about finding an E46-specific one (8cyl has different bellhousing).

You’ll likely also need a manual-transmission driveshaft (the auto trans is a different length on a lot of BMW models. I may be wrong, though, about the E46). That means you should also buy a new giubo/flex disk and center support bearing.

Also find a limited slip differential.
Oh for sure. I won't be doing the manual swap with any half-assed rigging. The local shop near me that currently has the car is really open to working with me, letting me bring my own parts, etc. They have a bunch of lifts, etc. If I don't end up going that route and do it at home, I'll absolutely be renting a hoist and trans jack, etc. and will have a daily driver and garage.

And actually I don't think I'll be going up to the 6 speed trans. From what I've read, an LSD with a 5 speed swap, a shark tune (which I already have sitting, just never installed yet) wakes the car up like crazy. Definitely need a new driveshaft and while all that stuff is out of the car I'd be upgrading the clutch, shifter bushings, guibo, probably install a short shifter, etc.

I'm going to modify this car deliberately and logically, meaning when I take a system off I want to essentially address as many things as possible while it's off.
 

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If you want lots of power while staying interesting, throw an OM606 with an uprated pump and turbo in it. (y) Still an I6 but also has a reliable 600 HP and makes the fanboys confused/mad.
repeating, since this seemed to fly under the radar. :D

but...

1. Sort suspension and bushings, brake lines, etc
2. Manual swap
3. LSD
realistically i dont see how this wouldnt satisfy most/all of the needs so far. no mile long burnouts, but still.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
repeating, since this seemed to fly under the radar. :D
Oh my radar picked it up, but...I like revs.


The only problem with this is tires. I'll spend money on tires that would otherwise go towards other parts.

I will say this, the LS swap has never been off the table. The idea is on the shelf for now, but there's no shortage of those motors and I'm not under any deadlines.

I just bought a wavtrac for my ZHP. Way cheaper than a diffsonline. 1200 bucks for parts.
Whoa. Does this just fit into the stock diff?? I'm reading up on it now and it seems really cool.
 

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80 Rabbit, 80 Maplebar, 81 Rabbit, 04 ZHP
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Oh my radar picked it up, but...I like revs.




The only problem with this is tires. I'll spend money on tires that would otherwise go towards other parts.

I will say this, the LS swap has never been off the table. The idea is on the shelf for now, but there's no shortage of those motors and I'm not under any deadlines.



Whoa. Does this just fit into the stock diff?? I'm reading up on it now and it seems really cool.
Yep, replaces the center section of the diff. It’s a torsen style diff, so it isn’t configurable like a clutch based diff. Also doesn’t need any special maintenance or clutch replacements.
 

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Whoa. Does this just fit into the stock diff?? I'm reading up on it now and it seems really cool.
Yep, just open up the existing and drop it in.

You don't want to swap in an M3 diff because then you're dealing with different axles, etc etc. And a proper race diff is thousands and thousands. Those wavtracs are the sh*t.

Bimmerworld will let you build a custom diff using several different options, eat your heart out. E46 Non-M Diffsonline Custom Performance Differential
 
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