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Jake The Muss 08-22-2012 08:43 PM

1989 318i Engine Transplant
Hey guys,

I've recently signed up here hoping to pick the brains of people far more knowledgeable than myself!

I own 2x BMW's, a 1985 318i sedan (grey) & a 1989 318i sedan (black)

Recently, I had a bad overheat while driving my 1989 black guy - and my mechanics believe the master cylinder & head are cracked. Bummer.

So my question is, am I able to transplant the engine from my 1985 into my 1989 BMW?
All I know about computability is that the 1985 is all cast iron, while the 1989 has an alloy head. They are both manual.

I should add I'm not looking at doing this myself as while I have a decent understanding I am no mechanic, I'm just trying to help my guys out by researching this for them.

Please let me know what info I would need to provide in order to get a well rounded answer & i'll get it ASAP! Also if there is anyone in close proximity to Brisbane, Australia that would like to take this project on, please get in touch!


BMWFatherFigure 08-24-2012 07:36 AM

Are you sure about the iron head on a M10 or M42 motor? Mine are all alloy headed. If both are engines are M10or both are M42 then swap away. If one is M10 and the other M42 you need a good patient mechanic. How do you crack a master cylinder by the way?

Jake The Muss 08-26-2012 07:01 PM

Thanks @BMWFatherFigure,

I must have misunderstood what my mechanics told me about the master cylinder, sorry about that!
Do you have any links or advice on how to figure out exactly what engine is in both vehicles?

BMWFatherFigure 08-27-2012 09:28 PM

Google images on the net and compare with what you have. M10 and M40/42 have very different inlet manifolds and air filters. Should be easy to spot. A straight swap with similar engines is easy but ONLY swap the bits you need. Do not try and make different harnesses etc match up. To do that you have to be very good or very rich'

Jake The Muss 09-07-2012 01:46 AM

Thanks again for the advice! I've had another M40 put in by some German wreckers and I'm pretty happy with my bang for buck.

I just wanted to come back and ask for another quick bit of advice: what's important to look for or focus on after an engine transplant that could save time and money down the track?

BMWFatherFigure 09-07-2012 08:24 AM

Oil and coolant leaks. Oil in the coolant - coolant in the oil. Keep the engine and engine bay clean - much easier to spot faults that way. Keep an eye on the hoses unless they were all changed. Change the timing belt unless you KNOW the history - in which case, change it as soon as it becomes due.

Jake The Muss 09-07-2012 03:44 PM

Great advice @BMWFatherFigure - thanks for your time!

BMWFatherFigure 09-08-2012 07:01 AM

Jake, Did you keep the old engine, if so could I buy the two sump parts? My new to me E30 got kerbed by the PO and the sump is byond repair.

Jake The Muss 09-08-2012 05:31 PM

No I didn't sorry, I have no room to store it. So the German Wreckers in Rocklea, Brisbane have it. Give them a call, they seem like pretty reasonable guys, they will hopefully give you a good price on it.

BMWFatherFigure 09-15-2012 05:53 AM

Thanks fopr that!! :)))

BMWFatherFigure 10-07-2012 12:01 AM

Found a sump for $300 locally - no leaks Woo Hoo.

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