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3613Re: will an m535i powerplant go into a 528e?

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  • Bob Sutterfield
    May 19, 2005
      Your 528e has a M20B27 engine. M20 means it's the "baby six", B27 means it displaces 2.7 liters. It's built for economy and low-end torque, not high revving. Your M535i(*) has a M30B34 engine. M30 means it's the "big six" block, B34 means 3.4 liters. Both M20 and M30 have a steel block and aluminum head with 12 valves and a single overhead cam. The M20 has a rubber timing belt that should be replaced every 40-50K miles or 4 years, whichever comes first. The M30 has a timing chain that's normally good for the life of the engine.

      *If it has US bumpers it's almost certainly a US 535i or 535iS, perhaps with a "///M" badge stuck on the trunk. Some M535i cars had a 10:1 compression engine with more horsepower, and some had the same 8.5:1 engine as in the US 535i/S.

      You can transplant a M30 engine into the space formerly occupied by a M20. Besides the usual stuff like mount locations and engine management electronics, you'll also need to pay attention to the brake boosters. The 528e's brake booster runs off manifold vacuum, and the 535i's brake booster runs off the power steering hydraulic system. Since you have the M30 engine already effectively for free, the transplant cost is entirely labor. Normally when someone wants to swap engines into a 528e, the usual recommendation is to sell the 528e to someone who wants it for what it already is, and buy a 535i to replace it.

      Your 528e interchanges parts with all other E28s. That means you can upgrade its suspension and brakes and wheels however you want. The cheap bang-for-the-buck acceleration improvements are a Conforti engine chip from <http://turnermotorsport.com> and a 3.25:1 limited-slip differential from a 535i. So just take the diff out of your M30 car and it will bolt right into your M20 car.

      You can learn a lot about E28s here:
      Bob Sutterfield
      '88 E28 535iS lachssilber-met
      '91 E30 318iS alpinweiß
      '83 E21 320i opalgrün-met (RIP, parting out)
      '93 T4 EV MV Weekender Arktisches Weiß
      BMWCCA #169277 GGC/RMC
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