The Complete E36 V8 Build Log

Project Fünf Null Part I: Introduction - Allow me to describe for you the perfect car: Lightweight. V8. Manual transmission. Rear-wheel-drive. Practical. Simple. Comfortable. Nimble. Cheap. The […]
Fünf Null Part II: Picking the Donor –or- “People on the internet are universally the worst” - I established in my previous post the guiding parameters in choosing my next project: Lightweight. V8. Manual transmission. Rear-wheel-drive. Practical. Simple. Comfortable. Nimble. […]
Fünf Null Part III: Buying the Donor –or- “How I followed every rule about buying a used car and still got a piece of junk.” - I recently took a trip to St. Anthony, Iowa (town motto “Iowa’s Butthole”) to buy my dream car. For those […]
Fünf Null Part IV: Donor Inspection –or- “The Good, The Bad, and The ‘Oh ****’” - I bought an M3. It cost me $2450. What kind of M3 can you get for $2450? Not a good […]
Fünf Null Part V: Donor Teardown –or- “Warning: Mechanical Gore Inside” - Blah blah blah I’m swapping a Ford 5.0 into a beat-up M3, read my last post here, etc. etc. ANYWAYS. […]
Size Comparison: BMW S52 I6 vs. Ford 302 V8 -or- “I can’t believe you crammed a V8 in there!” - We’re taking a short break from your regularly-scheduled build thread to address the concerns brought up by people that can’t […]
Fünf Null Part VI: Replacement Engine Acquisition –or- “More Bad Decisions” - Many build logs have been written detailing impeccable craftsmanship, exquisite attention to detail, and unmatched performance. This is not one […]
Fünf Null Part VII: Replacement Engine Prep –or- “Port and Polishing a Turd” - BMW M3. Ford 5.0 engine. T5 transmission. All of the major players were ready, now it was time to get […]
Fünf Null Part VIII: Mounting the Engine –or- “Wednesday Night” - The internet is simultaneously home to an unfathomable wealth of information without limits and few good men that can appreciate that fact. […]
Fünf Null Part IX: The Final (ECU) Solution –or- “Das Megaspritzen” - The E36 M3: A masterpiece of engineering that could only have been created by the kind of mind able to […]
Fünf Null Part X: Everything Needed to Install a 5.0 V8 in your E36 M3 –or- “Total Assimilation Part 1” - Welcome back to another episode of This Old, Dilapidated, Beat-on, POS Car. Last time we assembled and wired up the ECU with a […]
Fünf Null Part XI: Everything Needed to Install a 5.0 V8 in your E36 M3 –or- “Total Assimilation Part 2” - Last time we visited I began the arduous task of cataloging everything necessary to combine a Ford 5.0 engine with […]
Yes, But Why Male Models…er…a Blog? - I suppose it may be worthwhile to take a quick step back and clarify why I keep obnoxiously writing posts […]
Fünf Null Part XII: Post-Swap Engine Mount and Exhaust Upgrades –or- “It Never Ends” - If you’ve been following along with my build, you’ll know that this is where I talk a bunch and hock […]
Fünf Null Part XIII: Stereo Upgrades –or- “I Knew You Were Trouble” - “You belong with me,” I said to my V8-swapped M3 as I ripped down a backroad in rural Iowa. I thought […]
Installing a LATCH car seat in an E36 BMW - As many of us were taught at a young age by a health teacher, sibling, parent, or creepy uncle, when two people love each other very much a stork plants a cabbage seed that grows into a bun which is placed in an oven until it's fully baked at which point the mommy eats it and it grows in her tummy into a baby that, after a few heavy breaths, comes out clean and happy. Then you have to carry that baby around in your car.
Fünf Null Part XIV: Everything that has broken on my V8-swapped M3 so far -or- “Watch for backfires” - Owning, driving, and working on the same car for a long time is like being in a long term relationship. […]
The 2016 Iowa Challenge Autocross – I broke - The video explains it all. Took it out for the annual Iowa Challenge: During the second run of day two, something […]
DMVR Event #5 – Eighth place overall! - Another Sunday, another autocross event. After replacing my differential bushings and the broken bolt from last month’s event, then also […]
Bad Idea or Worst Idea: RallyCrossing a Lowered M3 - What’s RallyCross? Well, it’s like AutoCross – the sport where you spend six hours standing around in a parking lot […]
DMVR 2016 Autocross #6: More Events Center Fun - Another Sunday, another Autocross. Like last week, this event was held in the parking lot of the Iowa Events Center […]
Okay Maybe RallyCrossing a Lowered Car Was a Bad Idea - I mean, I was just saying how RallyCross is a blast and the M3 was fine after a full day of thrashing […]
Brace Yourself, I’m Bracing…Myself? - Picture this: It’s one week until the final race weekend of the year, with events on both Saturday and Sunday. […]
A Weekend of Racing - We actually had two photographers show up on Sunday, so here are those action shots and a few pics I snapped! […]
🎵 Oh the weather outside is delightful 🎵 …for thrashing. - What better way to spend a snowy Saturday morning than by putting the Blizzaks to good use.  
Video: Installing wheel studs in an E36 BMW M3 - Do you swap between race wheels and street wheels often? Do you run different wheels and tires for winter and […]
2017: Autocross domination begins - It was a busy week getting ready for a busy weekend, but a (nearly) flawless showing from the M3 made […]
SCCA Starting Line School + Getting Those Tires Good and Hot - This past weekend I attended an SCCA Starting Line school held in Lincoln. It’s designed for people new to autocross […]
Two more autocross events in the bag! - I just realized I didn’t post last month’s event – it was the two-day Iowa Challenge between Iowa’s SCCA chapters. […]

7 thoughts on “The Complete E36 V8 Build Log

  1. It’s too bad you couldn’t score a wagon like at the top of the post. That would have made the project that much better. Enjoying the whole story, well written.

  2. I just met you at Cars ‘n Coffee today. I came home and read all your posts, and I can identify with EVERY comment! If you are interested, I can send pictures of my Ford into a Triumph TR6 project for your perusal. You offered a copy o your tune, and I will get back to you for that. I need to get the exhaust installed with the O2 sensor bung first.
    Dennis

  3. I just caught up with all the fun you have shared so far. I’m inspired. Thank you. The humor is great and the custom built parts always define character on your build.

    -Still solid on your 302 choice? I’d like to hear some pros and cons if possible.
    I’m stuck with my e46 because I love it too much and so many parts and time involved. I do want to put an engine that delivers just enough power to have fun without compromising my upcoming baby’s safety.
    -I just want a V8 to be honest. It will happen. If you have pointers from your own joy and suffering let us know!

    Thank you for sharing dude. Are you planning to rebuild your engine soon?

    1. Thanks for the reply!

      I’m still happy with the 302. As this car kind of went from daily driver to more autocross-focused, the 302’s light weight and compact setup are great advantages. The car is competitive and I’m running about even with a couple of 435hp 2015 Mustangs on the stock 215hp Explorer engine. Regarding 5.0 vs. LS, here’s something I posted on BimmerForums:

      If you’ll be happy with under 300hp, do the 5.0 and save a few thousand dollars. If you plan to push 350+ hp, you may as well go with an LS from the start. They do that much hp stock, but getting a 5.0 to 350 crank hp costs about the same as a stock LS. The LM4 is an aluminum truck 5.3 that makes 310hp stock and can be found all day for $500. If you plan to push 500+hp, you’re better off going LS from the start because the 302 blocks start to break in half around 450-500hp. The downside/upside to the LS blocks is that you basically have to use a T56. The strongest T5 is rated at 310ft-lb and will be fine behind a healthy 5.0. But once you introduce abuse or power too far above 400-450hp a T5 will be in trouble. The T56 is a six speed (six speeds = extra street cred), and in stock form it’s more than comfortable handling 500-600hp. But they’re expensive – hard to find under $2000, and they’re 50lb heavier than the T5.

      My original plan was to build up the 5.0 this winter in the off-season, but I accidentally picked up another project I’m about to reveal that has been sucking my time and cash (see my Instagram feed!)

      I do still hope to do aluminum heads, ported intakes, cam, and headers some day for an easy 350+hp. That should be more than enough to cause trouble on the Autocross course, but not so much that I’ll be munching transmissions left and right.

  4. Hey Mikael it’s Trenton the guy who pulled you to his house after you shredded a radiator hose at a rally I was wondering if you wanted to still possibly buy that roller 351 in my shed if so add me on Facebook.
    Sincerely
    Trenton kopf

    1. The stock BMW ECU? Or the stock Ford ECU? The Explorer ECU is set up for an automatic transmission so that would have to be tuned out. I could use a Mustang ECU, but that would require swapping in a distributor, which I don’t want to do because then I lose a whole lot of controlability. And really, the price to get a Ford ECU tuned by someone else is about the same as the Megasquirt kit. Check out the section on Megasquirt for more info!

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