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Dirty Tool

E39 Restoration, M54B22 to M54B30 swap

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Hi all,

 

Ive recently re-discovered my fathers 2003 E39 520i SE languishing in a yard, parked up for 5 years. Whilst its nothing special being bottom of the pile in term of spec and engine, it has sentimental value to me and I would like to save it from the brink as it has one foot in the grave at the moment. I was told it was parked up due to excessive oil usage which was diagnosed as valve stem seals. Due to the cost of the repair and value of the car at the time it was parked as hasn't moved since, occasionally being started from time to time. It seems to be in fairly good condition with only a small rust blister on the bonnet however I cant see one side of the car as it is up against a wall.

 

I was thinking of completing an engine swap as the stem seals are shot on the B22 anyway to a B30 which funnily enough the same yard has an 03 Z4 3.0i which I could possibly purchase also. Is it relatively straight forward to go from a a B22 to a B30, I assume the gearbox would have to be changed also? Also could I use the B30 out of the Z4?

 

Thanks all.

 

A quick pic of the E39 in its current condition:

 

 

IMG_5839.jpg

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Was the valve stem seals a definitive diagnosis without anything else being tried out?

I say that as my M54B30 I noticed was using oil when it was idling, never when running, revving etc. I could do a 600 mile trip and it use no oil. Yet if it was sat idling at MOT test or in traffic, I'd get the bong of doom saying check oil level.

 

I changed the CCV and it now doesn't use a drop, unless I drive very enthusiastically near the redline quite a bit (which I think is to do with stuck oil scraper rings etc).

 

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I’d be inclined to have a really, *really* good look at the true condition of the main rust points on the car before you commit to something as major as an engine swap. Especially the jacking points and sill ends.

 

If they’re sound then go for it, if they’re rotten (and - unfortunately - I’d be inclined to think that having been parked up for 5 years they very well could be) you should consider what it will cost to put that right before you go any further. A lot of 5’s are being written off now because of this very problem.

 

For what it’s worth, the 2.2 isn't a bad engine - 170bhp I think? It’s not going to light it’s tyres up but it’s sufficient for the car. A swap to an M54B30 should be fairly straightforward, the architecture is exactly the same, but I’d imagine the gearbox and diff are probably different too. Should be able to use the existing ECU I’d expect, just mapped for the larger engine - could be wrong on that though.

 

Where abouts in the county is the car located out of interest?

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Thanks for the replies.

 

2 hours ago, starbuck88 said:

Was the valve stem seals a definitive diagnosis without anything else being tried out?

I say that as my M54B30 I noticed was using oil when it was idling, never when running, revving etc. I could do a 600 mile trip and it use no oil. Yet if it was sat idling at MOT test or in traffic, I'd get the bong of doom saying check oil level.

 

I changed the CCV and it now doesn't use a drop, unless I drive very enthusiastically near the redline quite a bit (which I think is to do with stuck oil scraper rings etc).

 

 

As far as I am aware, the valve stem seals diagnosis was the only one. Of course you maybe correct that may have been a mis-diagnosis and hopefully it is something else much easier to fix.

 

44 minutes ago, CG172 said:

I’d be inclined to have a really, *really* good look at the true condition of the main rust points on the car before you commit to something as major as an engine swap. Especially the jacking points and sill ends.

 

If they’re sound then go for it, if they’re rotten (and - unfortunately - I’d be inclined to think that having been parked up for 5 years they very well could be) you should consider what it will cost to put that right before you go any further. A lot of 5’s are being written off now because of this very problem.

 

For what it’s worth, the 2.2 isn't a bad engine - 170bhp I think? It’s not going to light it’s tyres up but it’s sufficient for the car. A swap to an M54B30 should be fairly straightforward, the architecture is exactly the same, but I’d imagine the gearbox and diff are probably different too. Should be able to use the existing ECU I’d expect, just mapped for the larger engine - could be wrong on that though.

 

Where abouts in the county is the car located out of interest?

 

Definitely will get the car out of the corner and inspected before I start throwing money at it. I can have the car for free on the condition that its used once again, therefore I have "nothing to lose" so to speak.  

 

The M54B22 is 168hp I believe, my plan is to get it on the road first before any engine swap decisions are made but thought would start asking the question now! Excitement is setting in. The car is in London.

Edited by Dirty Tool

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Are you aware of what to look for on these cars?

There’s some typical things that need doing on nearly all of them by now:

  • jacking points
  • engine cooling system
  • CCV system
  • DISA valve
  • fuel supply pipes
  • worn suspension arms
  • broken cup holders

They’re largely a pleasure to work on, and parts are plentiful and (mainly) cheap, but once they spot your wallet they tend to develop a crippling addiction... Fair play for wanting to sort your dad’s old car, it’s a fantastic thing to do,  but just be aware that it’s quickly going to cost far more than the car is realistically worth. You’ll get heaps of support here though.

 

I’d be interested to follow your adventures with the car -  maybe start a thread on it in the “Projects” section?  :)

 

Edited by CG172

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I've done a few cars that sat for a while and it's very much a case by case situation, some suffer more than others from lack of use. It looks like the interior is dry which is a big plus, it may be a little musty but it's not all fogged up from water intrusion, which is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to random problems. Still, be prepared for a few things to not work initially and magically start working again, as well as some stuff that will look fine but will break or start leaking when you start using the car again.

 

I own a B22 E46 car and it's honestly quite a pleasant engine when running well, it's a short stroke design which makes it very smooth and rev happy. Obviously it doesn't have the the grunt of the B30. If you get a 3.0 get the transmission as well as it is not the same part number. It definitely uses a different torque converter but the internal ratios might be different too. Rear drive looks to be the same part (3.46 ratio)

 

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I'd be weighing the E39 in after chopping the cats off, and resurrecting the Z4 tbh. After 5 years stood - following over ten British winters - that's going to be like the Titanic underneath. Seized calipers, seized bolts, rotten brake and fuel lines plus the inevitable welding - and it will have holes, be assured. I wouldn't waste a Z4 to re-engine that but there are plenty of used engines about. The 2.2's are notorious for worn oil control rings and many of them are/were oil drinkers. The 2.5 is the best swap as it runs well enough on the existing 2.2 ECU. A 3.0 will not. 

 

E39's can be an absolute bastard to work on, stupid design + 20 odd years of corrosion. :lol: It's easy in front of a PC but in reality when a bellhousing bolt has well and truly corroded in and will not shift until you've chiselled a chunk out of the gearbox, or an ABS sensor bolt snaps off in the hub.

 

 

Good luck with it anyway. 

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6 hours ago, Sir Anthony Regents-Park said:

 

The 2.5 is the best swap as it runs well enough on the existing 2.2 ECU. A 3.0 will not. 

 

 

Interesting - what’s different about the B30 compared to the smaller engines (besides the displacement...)?

 

6 hours ago, Sir Anthony Regents-Park said:

 

E39's can be an absolute bastard to work on, stupid design + 20 odd years of corrosion. :lol: It's easy in front of a PC but in reality when a bellhousing bolt has well and truly corroded in and will not shift until you've chiselled a chunk out of the gearbox, or an ABS sensor bolt snaps off in the hub.

 

 

I’ve really enjoyed working on mine. Much nicer than any of our VAG or French stuff has been.

It usually goes back together, which is a novelty.

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Thank you for everyone's words and advice, it was all taken on board apart from the suggestion to cut the cats and scrap the car. 

 

The reason being and very happy to report that once the car was pulled out of the corner and we got the car up, surprisingly it is very solid underneath - only very minor surface rust on some surfaces and the jacking points are clean and in good order.

 

Progress has been slow as I had to go abroad for work however have spent some time with the car now. Tried to get it started but the fuel pump was dead - we reset the immobiliser link but that yielded no results. A new Pierburg fuel pump has been ordered and fitted sometime next week. In the mean time, I will start a project thread soon. Watch this space!

Edited by Dirty Tool

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If the petrol smells sour, pump it all out and throw it away. The ethanol in it makes it go bad quicker these days and it will destroy a new pump in short order.

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