E36 BMW LS1 and T56 Swap

In Projects & Builds by webservicesurg

A good friend of ours who races with and against us in the ChampCar Endurance Series (Formerly Chump Car) brought us his E36 BMW 325i seeking to fill his empty engine bay.

His LS1 and T56 Swap kit cam from a 1999 Camaro SLP that had a front end wreck. With an hour of mending the factory front structure harness we were able to get her running in the car and hear the sweet tune from the custom SLP exhaust.

After getting it running and hearing that it sounded fine we removed it from the vehicle and it began its journey to getting squeezed between two German frame rails. We always ensure that each engine has acceptable compression and oil pressure. We also do everything we can to get the engine running before it ever leaves the donor vehicle.

This E36 was already swapped out with M3 front suspension.

The customer when starting out this roller had already swapped the factory 3 series suspension with the much better handling M3’s equipment. Since this car is going to live its life on road courses handling is the main priority.

We are doing a cam swap in his LS1. It is getting a Texas-Speed 228R, .600″/.600″, 110LSA cam.

Getting the valve covers off to access the valve springs to do the upgrade!

Along with the cam upgrade we are also doing valve spring upgrades! We bought the full kit from Texas Speed so it came with the valve springs, push rods, cam shaft, and a few of the gaskets! As you can see in the picture, there is a significant size difference between the factory valve springs and the beefier upgraded ones!

While trying to remove the factory camshaft out of the LS1 we found that our 5/16″ dowel rods were not holding the lifters up. To over come this we simply wrapped some masking tape around the rod and this gave it just enough thickness to hold the lifters up and let us easily slide the factory camshaft out and the new one back in! Once we got the cam installed we started bolting it back together to prepare for a test fire before we ship it off to the guys over at the dyno!

After a long night of working on getting the valley pan, intake manifold, and new custom headers on we called it quits to head home for the night. With the clock ticking down and only having one day left to get the wiring harness finshed and any problems resolved before the dyno we were feeling a bit pressed.

Thursday morning, the 18th, we started off with bad news from the guys over at the dyno: FRIDAY WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN FOR OUR ENGINE. They forgot they had meetings throughout the day and were not quite finished with another customers engine on the dyno. With this pushing our dyno time to either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday we really are going to be tight on time to get it back and prepped for the 24 hour swap happening that Saturday the 27th. After lunch we did a fresh oil change in the LS1. After that John began routing the wiring harness and getting all the grounds and power hooked up to the stand-alone fuse block.

Forgetting that we still had to properly torque down the new harmonic balancer, John had to remove the headers to get the starter off. With how close these custom headers wrap the engine block and T-56 there was no way the starter was simply going to drop out. After many time of putting on and taking the right-side headers off we managed to finally get the wiring in the correct place.

Getting the fusebLock and ECM semi-attached was the next order of business

We simply screwed the fuseblock to the pallet to secure it while we test fired the engine. After finding out there was no power to the constant power fuse we discovered a loose wire connection. Some re-soldering and it tested with over 12 volts. A quick once over and we turned the key to see if it would roar for us and it did!

Removing the transmission and flywheel is all that is left before we drop it off at the dyno!

Down to the last day before it will be over at the dyno hopefully getting hooked and and prepared during the weekend so it is ready for us the beginning of next week. We are shooting for 410 horsepower at least with the hot cam and headers and if our 100mm throttle body arrives in time that will help the power numbers out as well.