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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2017, 12:20 AM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Which transmission to use for higher HP in a e46 330i

Hey all!
I'm getting ready to build my e46 330i to somewhere around 350 to 400 crank HP and am trying to find a transmission that will happily handle that kind of power without exploding the tranny. The car I'm building has a automatic in it currently and that obviously won't work so I'm wanting to try finding a 6 speed to drop in. I've heard that the stock 5 speed manuals that BMW has is not real strong ether so let me know if you have something in mind or know of someone that has done something similar to what I'm trying to shoot for!
Thanks!


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  #2  
Old 06-06-2017, 05:51 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is online now
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Check for an answer at E46Fanatics. Be advised that some folks end up replacing the differential wheel they do the 6-speed conversion as the 5-speed differential ratio is too high (numerically low).

As far as strength I'd go with a 6-speed tranny made by ZF. I'm sure it'll take the power. Now, what about the rear subframe mounts in the chassis? I hope you plan on having the reenforcement plates welded into the chassis. Otherwise, that power will rip the chassis metal in short order.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:19 AM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Originally Posted by marcozandrini View Post
Check for an answer at E46Fanatics. Be advised that some folks end up replacing the differential wheel they do the 6-speed conversion as the 5-speed differential ratio is too high (numerically low).

As far as strength I'd go with a 6-speed tranny made by ZF. I'm sure it'll take the power. Now, what about the rear subframe mounts in the chassis? I hope you plan on having the reenforcement plates welded into the chassis. Otherwise, that power will rip the chassis metal in short order.


I was thinking about going with the e46 m3 diff. Do you think that one would hold up to some HP? I also have been looking into the ZF 6 speed as I've seen some people using it for higher Horsepower cars but unfortunately I don't know a ton about transmissions so I'm kinda shooting in the dark. Do you know what car the ZF 6 speed was in that would work in my e46?

I hadn't thought much about the rear subframe yet so thanks for letting me know about that! I'll definitely look into reinforcing that part!

I'm super excited to get this car built! Been slowly but surly putting a parts list together and some plans for how I'm going to make this all work. Thanks for your time!



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Old 06-06-2017, 11:15 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is online now
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Originally Posted by arronjohnson View Post
I was thinking about going with the e46 m3 diff. Do you think that one would hold up to some HP? I also have been looking into the ZF 6 speed as I've seen some people using it for higher Horsepower cars but unfortunately I don't know a ton about transmissions so I'm kinda shooting in the dark. Do you know what car the ZF 6 speed was in that would work in my e46?

I hadn't thought much about the rear subframe yet so thanks for letting me know about that! I'll definitely look into reinforcing that part!

I'm super excited to get this car built! Been slowly but surly putting a parts list together and some plans for how I'm going to make this all work. Thanks for your time!



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The M3 diff may need the M3 subframe. I'm not sure but you check www.realoem.com for part numbers. The ZF 6-speed will work fine but you have to get a different driveshaft as the 6-speed is physically longer. Also, somewhere in the E46 build BMW changed the driveshaft design-different number of splines, as I remember.

Turned Motor sports sells the chassis reinforcement kit. There's a lot of welding involved so find yourself a really good welder.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:43 PM
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Use the M3 transmission?
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by arronjohnson View Post
Hey all!
I'm getting ready to build my e46 330i to somewhere around 350 to 400 crank HP and am trying to find a transmission that will happily handle that kind of power without exploding the tranny. The car I'm building has a automatic in it currently and that obviously won't work so I'm wanting to try finding a 6 speed to drop in. I've heard that the stock 5 speed manuals that BMW has is not real strong ether so let me know if you have something in mind or know of someone that has done something similar to what I'm trying to shoot for!
Thanks!


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Please explain to us exactly what you plan to do in order to reach this power level.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:49 PM
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Please explain to us exactly what you plan to do in order to reach this power level.
He's going to buy a 335i tear it apart & put it in the E46...probably cheaper than whatever else he has in mind.

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Old 06-07-2017, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Folgen Sie Mir View Post
He's going to buy a 335i tear it apart & put it in the E46...probably cheaper than whatever else he has in mind.

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Someone on E46Fanatics started that swap, got a good ways into it, then disappeared.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:35 AM
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Someone on E46Fanatics started that swap, got a good ways into it, then disappeared.
Unless its a car your dad or grandfather left you, IDK why you'd waste the time & money. Money is one thing, you can always get more. Time is fleeting.

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Old 06-07-2017, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Folgen Sie Mir View Post
Unless its a car your dad or grandfather left you, IDK why you'd waste the time & money. Money is one thing, you can always get more. Time is fleeting.

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Indeed....too many decent, fast, relatively affordable cars available to be dicking around with engine swaps & rebuilds. Just purchase a better car and be done with it.
(And YES, I`ve been there, done that, still got the T-shirts ! )
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:32 AM
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If you have the money, just let a shop do it. No headache on your end, just a much, much lighter wallet.
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  #12  
Old 06-08-2017, 07:38 AM
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If you have the money, just let a shop do it. No headache on your end, just a much, much lighter wallet.
Like you could buy another car type of money wasted.

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  #13  
Old 06-08-2017, 10:39 AM
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Like you could buy another car type of money wasted.

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Let me say it again: If you have the money...

If you're spending $75K on engine swaps, I'm pretty sure it's the least of your concerns from a financial standpoint. And it's not money wasted if it's something you really want and really enjoy.
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2017, 10:59 AM
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Like you could buy another car type of money wasted.

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Ba-ZINGGGGG !
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:26 AM
sweeney921 sweeney921 is offline
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Originally Posted by Folgen Sie Mir View Post
Unless its a car your dad or grandfather left you, IDK why you'd waste the time & money. Money is one thing, you can always get more. Time is fleeting.

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He hasn't said what his reasons are for bumping the power output. It might just be a project car that he's building for fun. I dunno about y'all, but if I had the money and time I'd love to do a project like this. As long as it isn't my daily driver!
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Old 06-15-2017, 11:10 PM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Thanks to y'all that have something bad to say! I'm glad there are people out there with bad attitudes to balance the good and bad! Haha! So what I'm planning to do is pick up another engine and build it and drop it in when I have it done! I'll probably turbo my stock engine so I can get everything figured out as far as drivetrain goes and make the whole turbo system fit! I know y'all will be like a turbo will blow up a stock engine but guess what? I don't care because I'll drop a built engine in when that happens and if it doesn't then I'll still drop the built one in when it's done!
The plans for the car is to make it a track car and maybe a little drift as well!
So in short I'm just trying to make it a more fun weekend type of a car!



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Old 06-15-2017, 11:11 PM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Someone on E46Fanatics started that swap, got a good ways into it, then disappeared.


Ill post more about the build when I get more into it but it won't happen overnight!


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Old 06-15-2017, 11:17 PM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Indeed....too many decent, fast, relatively affordable cars available to be dicking around with engine swaps & rebuilds. Just purchase a better car and be done with it.

(And YES, I`ve been there, done that, still got the T-shirts ! )


Sorry to hear about your failed build. I'll be using the m54b30 that the car came with so just building up what's in it! BTW I'll be getting a more reliable car for daily driving and make the e46 my fun project car!


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Old 06-15-2017, 11:19 PM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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If you have the money, just let a shop do it. No headache on your end, just a much, much lighter wallet.


I'm planning to do the build myself and then probably take it to a shop for all of the tuning and so on!


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Old 06-15-2017, 11:23 PM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Originally Posted by sweeney921 View Post
He hasn't said what his reasons are for bumping the power output. It might just be a project car that he's building for fun. I dunno about y'all, but if I had the money and time I'd love to do a project like this. As long as it isn't my daily driver!


Thanks for the positivity! I got the car really cheap a few years back and have puts close to 40xxx miles on it and am looking into getting another BMW and since I don't really have much into this one I figure I'll build it! I've looked into the cost of this build and I think I'll be around $4,000 on the build. I only paid $900 for the car so!


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Old 06-16-2017, 08:49 AM
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Do you have a good shop for the tuning? That is a MAJOR problem in all home built turbo kits.
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:13 AM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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Do you have a good shop for the tuning? That is a MAJOR problem in all home built turbo kits.


I've been trying to look for tuning shops near where I live. I've found a few with good reviews but can't always go off of that. I live near Spokane WA so I'm sure there's got to be a good shop there somewhere!


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Old 06-16-2017, 09:20 AM
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M54 Tuning is not as easy as it sounds like you'd like it to be. Have you read all the turbo build threads on E46Fanatics yet?

Tim
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:51 AM
arronjohnson arronjohnson is offline
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M54 Tuning is not as easy as it sounds like you'd like it to be. Have you read all the turbo build threads on E46Fanatics yet?

Tim


Yes I have read quite a few stories about people turbocharging the m54 and it looks like it can definitely be done but can be tricky. I would love to lean how to tune myself but not sure who would be willing to teach me the ropes. When I throw a turbo on my stock engine I'll probably use like 3-4 psi to be nice to the engine and I'll use that setup to lean the system before I go all out and put a built m54 in it. With the stock engine and a turbo I'll probably only gain maybe 40 hp I'm guessing but like I said I plan to test out the system before the built engine goes in!


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Old 06-16-2017, 10:40 AM
jerzboy908 jerzboy908 is offline
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LS swap it if you want power lol there's a e46 around here with it and a e30 LS turbo by me that is nasty my car is a long term build that one day I want to hand over to my daughter she's been obsessed with my e46 since I bought it but I been paying attention to things she says she would do to it so I want to slowly do then keep it clean and hand her the keys one day lol she's six and anytime I'm doing anything she's right there trying to help and or break more things like my window regulator lol again but I got another daily so hoping it's possible to pull off one day

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