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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
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  #1  
Old 01-03-2017, 11:43 AM
forestcasey forestcasey is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 Z3
Engine Swap Time -- 318i into Z3 1.9

Hi, Folks –

Longtime forum appreciator, first time poster. I wish it was under better circumstances.

So a couple of months ago, while fixing a standard oil leak around my Z3's oil filter housing, some sort of foreign object –*might have been a piece of the gasket or a piece of sludge or…*something –*worked its way inside the engine. When I turned on the car after re-assembly, it sounded horrible. The dreaded "rod knock."

My m44 engine is toast and I (probably) killed it. Tough news to absorb. But, with some luck, I found a pretty well taken care of m44 engine from a same year (1997) BMW 318i. Got to drive the 318i with the engine before the nice original owner removed it (he's upgrading to a 6-cyl), and it pulls hard. He's even willing to give me the original transmission + DME for free.

I've seen some engine swap posts about going from a Z3 into a 318i, and also a few about adapting the m44 engine into an older (E30) BMW, but never from a 318i into a Z3, so I was wondering if there was anything special or especially tricky I have to watch out for.

Thanks very much in advance –*if all goes well, I hope to post about the process. I mean, same model year, pretty much same engine –*how hard can it be, right…?
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2017, 01:04 PM
vintage42's Avatar
vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by forestcasey View Post
... while fixing a standard oil leak around my Z3's oil filter housing, some sort of foreign object... worked its way inside the engine. When I turned on the car after re-assembly, it sounded horrible. The dreaded "rod knock." My m44 engine is toast and I (probably) killed it. Tough news to absorb. But, with some luck, I found a pretty well taken care of m44 engine from a same year (1997) BMW 318i... so I was wondering if there was anything special or especially tricky I have to watch out for...
I don't see how replacing the oil filter housing gasket could lead to rod knock. If you have not bought the 318 engine yet, step back and talk some more.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2017, 01:37 PM
forestcasey forestcasey is offline
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I asked the chief mechanic at the car museum where I used to work, and he said that anything –*any bit of junk that gets "past" the oil filter is going directly into the engine, and could potentially gum up one of the passageways in the engine and lead to metal-on-metal contact. Either way, I drained the oil and there were tiny little reflective bits of gold all in the oil –*remains of my shredded bearings.

I found someone else who had a similar situation with an m44 and he drove his car for about 3 years. For me, the (awful) noise it makes and the chance of having a dead engine on the freeway make me just want to do the swap. Also, the "new" engine I'm getting was $800, so the total cost so far isn't going to be too bad.

Very much appreciate the words of wisdom, though, @vintage42 –*it is always a good thing to take an extra second and think about it.
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  #4  
Old 01-03-2017, 02:05 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by forestcasey View Post
... while fixing a standard oil leak around my Z3's oil filter housing, some sort of foreign object –*might have been a piece of the gasket or a piece of sludge or…..*something –*worked its way inside the engine. When I turned on the car after re-assembly, it sounded horrible. The dreaded "rod knock."...
Quote:
Originally Posted by forestcasey View Post
... I drained the oil and there were tiny little reflective bits of gold all in the oil –*remains of my shredded bearings...
OK, I believe the engine is damaged.
But does anyone know how anything that could be dropped into the engine from changing the oil filter housing gasket, could stop the oil supply to the rod bearings? Are not they splash lubed? What about the main bearings from the oil pump?
What is going on here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by forestcasey View Post
... I found someone else who had a similar situation with an m44 and he drove his car for about 3 years...
What was similar? That he changed his oil filter housing gasket? Or just that he drove with rod knock?

Last edited by vintage42; 01-03-2017 at 02:08 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2017, 02:44 PM
forestcasey forestcasey is offline
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If it makes you feel any better, when I was back home in South Carolina for the holidays, I talked to my friend Barry who has worked at the BMW plant in Greer since they opened. He said there was no way that something like sludge or a piece of dirt could have done that -- he said it was either a manufacturing defect or I accidentally dropped a screw or something in it. Didn't make me feel much better either way.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2017, 04:11 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-04-2017 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Off topic
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2017, 06:15 AM
Rrudytoo Rrudytoo is offline
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The bottom line is the engine is, sadly, toast. Why it became so is not the topic of the post but, rather, the swapping in of a replacement.

I, for one, am very interested in how this all works out and I presume that it should be fairly straight forward given the similarities.

Good luck, my friend!

Rrudytoo
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2017, 10:05 AM
forestcasey forestcasey is offline
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Thanks for keeping us on target, @Rrudytoo!

I think the trickiest part of the whole thing (other than finding the garage space to do it and making sure I unplug everything before yanking on the engine), will be to try to convince the dealership to link the 318i DME to my car's system. I know the car will work functionally even if the DME info is different (same motor, same year), but the guy who owned the engine before me paid for a bit of a tune, so I'd like to take advantage of that.

I'll post some pics soon, so you can see what I'm talking about! Thanks so much for your interest in the swap!
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2017, 11:07 AM
Rrudytoo Rrudytoo is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 Z3 2.5
DME / ECU Differences

forestcasey,

I did a quick check on the net and pulled up "Specialized ECU Repair". I know nothing about this company but I put in searches for both your '97 Z3 and the '97 318 and they both come up with the same DME/ECU part number.

Z3......on the left: http://www.ecudoctors.com/bmw-z3-1996-1998.html

318.......far right: http://www.ecudoctors.com/bmw-318-1996-1999.html#

If your Z3's DME won't link to the donor engine or the donor's DME won't work with your Z, this company may be able to help out. Granted, I don't know how their prices and quality of work would compare to the dealership but it may be an option.

This shall prove interesting, indeed!

Rrudytoo
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2017, 11:21 AM
forestcasey forestcasey is offline
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https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9p...ew?usp=sharing

Donor car on the left, my Z3 on the right. I'll try to post a video of the "new" m44 engine as well, it sounds pretty good.
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2017, 01:58 PM
sangatster sangatster is offline
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Location: Plano Texas
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 BMW Z3 Roadster
How did it go?

Interested in a follow-up. It's been a couple months since the last post.

Thanks!
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318i, engine swap, m44, rod knock, silly mistakes, z3


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