e46 320i NA Performance Upgrades

JakesSA

New member
Hi there everyone, hope you're all having a great one.

I'm collecting an e46 320i this week, previous owner has looked after the car like you can't believe, really is in mint condition.
So I need a little advice and guidance on said Subject if you guys don't mind.

From what I could gather the car has had software done by BBA a few years ago (No information on tune or stage), custom exhaust and cold air intake system fitted. Nothing big really. We had the car on Dyno and results was 127.2kw - 5907rpm and 207nm - 5389rpm. Given the age of the car this might be normal even though it's only 2kw gain and 3nm drop from stock, or am I wrong here?

On date of collection I'll be spoiling her with some coilovers, front splitter and a set of 18" to welcome her into the family but I'm lost when it comes to anything motor related and I'm not even gonna lie about it, even had the car taken for inspection on the day I looked at it (to me everything looks clean and shiny, that's where my knowledge stops).

If you guys don't mind, when it comes to performance upgrades, what can be done to her? I've had a read here and there about cams etc but like I said, the knowledge is minor. Other forums claimed that one would need a 325i motor and up for turbo conversions since compression is too high, or too low? I would like to keep her NA as far as possible though.

So, if anyone can share some knowledge or even 320i NA builds and stats around here it would be highly appreciated.
 

444YYY

Honorary ///Member
Keep it stock! It’s not worth modding it, you won’t gain much and will compromise long term reliability!
 

JakesSA

New member
444YYY said:
Keep it stock! It’s not worth modding it, you won’t gain much and will compromise long term reliability!

Thanks for the speedy response hey xD

I really do want to play around as far as NA can go to be honest, and I'm open minded to drift away from NA should it be a better option.
 

individj

Active member
i must be honest...i love modding cars but i wouldnt mod that engine...if it doesn't already have a branch id do that but nothing else...if you intend to keep it drive it till it breaks and do a 330i engine swop. I wouldnt turbo it either. Sorry mate.


maybe spend the money on a diff swop
 

Tinuva

Staff & Webmaster
Staff member
Official Advertiser
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.
 

JakesSA

New member
individj said:
i must be honest...i love modding cars but i wouldnt mod that engine...if it doesn't already have a branch id do that but nothing else...if you intend to keep it drive it till it breaks and do a 330i engine swop. I wouldnt turbo it either. Sorry mate.


maybe spend the money on a diff swop



You guys are really active on here hey, that's great. I appreciate the feedback.

Could you possibly elaborate on the branches then, what to ask for etc?
My aim was to just get her to around 140-150kw, nothing big (I think)

Diff swop, what pros comes with it?


Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?
 

individj

Active member
contact Viper and see what they can do for you with regards to a performance exhaust manifold to add to your performance exhaust to extract a little more power. Perhaps a Uni Q chip or something, So with the diff you can get a different ratio diff and it'll drop your top speed but you can have better acceleration.
 

Tinuva

Staff & Webmaster
Staff member
Official Advertiser
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!
 

JakesSA

New member
individj said:
contact Viper and see what they can do for you with regards to a performance exhaust manifold to add to your performance exhaust to extract a little more power. Perhaps a Uni Q chip or something, So with the diff you can get a different ratio diff and it'll drop your top speed but you can have better acceleration.

by Viper your referring to the guys in Edenvale?

the Uni Q came to mind but since the previous owner mentioned software by BBA does that not kill the chip idea? like i said I'm new to all of this so bare with me please.

As for the Diff, where can this be done, what to ask for and price eta on this more or less?
 

KPM3_30

Moderator
Staff member
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

He is referring to the larger 30i brakes, most people opt to upgrade the calipers and discs to the larger 30i ones but I agree, it isn't a must given the approx 45kw increase.
 

JakesSA

New member
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

Oh I never knew that. I thought one might need to do brakes too in order to match the power increase. From what I can gather they sell for around 10-15k for the motor, and stock they give 170kw and 300nm, is this correct?

Just too be sure, the b30 just drops in, no mounting changes, gearbox changes or nothing?
 

Tinuva

Staff & Webmaster
Staff member
Official Advertiser
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

Oh I never knew that. I thought one might need to do brakes too in order to match the power increase. From what I can gather they sell for around 10-15k for the motor, and stock they give 170kw and 300nm, is this correct?

Just too be sure, the b30 just drops in, no mounting changes, gearbox changes or nothing?

Look you don't need to do the brakes or gearbox, however it is recommended to match them to those from a 330i.

The engine without those, will work in your car.

However you upping the power, its a good idea to up the brakes, so that you can stop faster. The brakes in the 330i is actually overkill..but so damn good when you need that braking power.

The gearbox you have now, will fit and match the new engine block, but you want the gearbox from a 330i because it can handle more torque. The gearbox in the 320/323/325/328 can also work, just they not rated for the same amount of torque. This is more for reliability.

The M54B22 and M54B30 have the same shape, and so no change needed for engine mounts, no change needed for starter, aircon, starter etc. Everything will fit. What MIGHT change, is the connections from the ECU to the plugs, but that you can fix in different ways, but all depends on the engine you get.


KPM3_30 said:
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

He is referring to the larger 30i brakes, most people opt to upgrade the calipers and discs to the larger 30i ones but I agree, it isn't a must given the approx 45kw increase.

I would probably upgrade the brakes anyways even if I werent doing the engine upgrade...but thats just me  :fencelook:
 

444YYY

Honorary ///Member
Buy a 330i, save yourself the pain of dealing with people who will take your money (trying all these mods) and not give you quality in return.
 

JakesSA

New member
individj said:
but what wheels are you running because only certain 16's clear and 17's are best as minimum size.

Currently it has Style 59, or 47 (they look the same) 17" (from the 330i if I'm not mistaken) but I'm getting 18's and coilovers done on the day of collection, not sure what to go with yet.

Really wanted style 132 x5 19's but can't source any anywhere.


Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

Oh I never knew that. I thought one might need to do brakes too in order to match the power increase. From what I can gather they sell for around 10-15k for the motor, and stock they give 170kw and 300nm, is this correct?

Just too be sure, the b30 just drops in, no mounting changes, gearbox changes or nothing?

Look you don't need to do the brakes or gearbox, however it is recommended to match them to those from a 330i.

The engine without those, will work in your car.

However you upping the power, its a good idea to up the brakes, so that you can stop faster. The brakes in the 330i is actually overkill..but so damn good when you need that braking power.

The gearbox you have now, will fit and match the new engine block, but you want the gearbox from a 330i because it can handle more torque. The gearbox in the 320/323/325/328 can also work, just they not rated for the same amount of torque. This is more for reliability.

The M54B22 and M54B30 have the same shape, and so no change needed for engine mounts, no change needed for starter, aircon, starter etc. Everything will fit. What MIGHT change, is the connections from the ECU to the plugs, but that you can fix in different ways, but all depends on the engine you get.


KPM3_30 said:
Tinuva said:
JakesSA said:
Tinuva said:
There is only 1 mod worth doing. Install the M54B30 engine from an E46 330i.

That's what I've been told a few times. With the motor swop comes breaking upgrades etc though right?

What breaking upgrades? You going from the M54B22 to M54B30. Thats an OEM upgrade. No breaking upgrades. 

Everything that works now, will still work on the new engine. 
Its literally a drop-in replacement and ECU software change for the new engine. 
The easiest and cheapest engine swap you can do.

Also the best bang for buck!!

He is referring to the larger 30i brakes, most people opt to upgrade the calipers and discs to the larger 30i ones but I agree, it isn't a must given the approx 45kw increase.

I would probably upgrade the brakes anyways even if I werent doing the engine upgrade...but thats just me  :fencelook:



I'll keep an eye out for the motor and gearbox then thanks, this seems like the easiest upgrade for me to consider now.
 

Blue Shirt

Active member
M54B30 has larger MAF and intake manifold compared to M54B22 and M54B25. I suppose you could use the smaller MAF and intake but you won't get 170kW from it.

I would not spend money on a 320i when you can just buy a good 330i. You will never get the money spent on an engine swop back on resale.

Rather enjoy the car for what it is, a well-preserved E46 with a super smooth 6-cylinder engine.

If the car is an Individual spec, at least you have the looks to admire.
 

JakesSA

New member
Blue Shirt said:
M54B30 has larger MAF and intake manifold compared to M54B22 and M54B25. I suppose you could use the smaller MAF and intake but you won't get 170kW  from it.

I would not spend money on a 320i when you can just buy a good 330i. You will never get the money spent on an engine swop back on resale.

Rather enjoy the car for what it is, a well-preserved E46 with a super smooth 6-cylinder engine.

If the car is an Individual spec, at least you have the looks to admire.

Thanks for the input hey. I'm at crossroads tbh but I'll keep all of the feedback in mind. You guys have all been a great help so far.

It is the Individual spec yeah.

Questions for everyone though: 

Where can I take her in JHB to have a look at the software? Just to verify if it has been done, or just get it tuned again.

Very important and a little off topic, where can I get a Windscreen cowl? I phoned BMW Vereeniging and they guy claimed it's R4k.... Is this correct? It seems a bit excessive...
 

Riaad

Events Organiser
JakesSA said:
Blue Shirt said:
M54B30 has larger MAF and intake manifold compared to M54B22 and M54B25. I suppose you could use the smaller MAF and intake but you won't get 170kW  from it.

I would not spend money on a 320i when you can just buy a good 330i. You will never get the money spent on an engine swop back on resale.

Rather enjoy the car for what it is, a well-preserved E46 with a super smooth 6-cylinder engine.

If the car is an Individual spec, at least you have the looks to admire.

Thanks for the input hey. I'm at crossroads tbh but I'll keep all of the feedback in mind. You guys have all been a great help so far.

It is the Individual spec yeah.

Questions for everyone though: 

Where can I take her in JHB to have a look at the software? Just to verify if it has been done, or just get it tuned again.

Very important and a little off topic, where can I get a Windscreen cowl? I phoned BMW Vereeniging and they guy claimed it's R4k.... Is this correct? It seems a bit excessive...

Can try Xcede for the SW, and The Cowl is about 1.1k from ABM (chat to Deago or JP)
 

Kish2604

Administrator
Staff member
Official Advertiser
444YYY said:
Keep it stock! It’s not worth modding it, you won’t gain much and will compromise long term reliability!

i would follow these golden pearls of wisdom, That motor is lethargic and not a fuel sipper...

If you want something faster then buy one with the additional power straight up... else you will end up spending the cost of the car or more trying to go a little faster which you could have brought upfront.
 

JakesSA

New member
Kish2604 said:
444YYY said:
Keep it stock! It’s not worth modding it, you won’t gain much and will compromise long term reliability!

i would follow these golden pearls of wisdom, That motor is lethargic and not a fuel sipper...

If you want something faster then buy one with the additional power straight up... else you will end up spending the cost of the car or more trying to go a little faster which you could have brought upfront.

I think I've come to the conclusion to not spend any more on the motor then. I'll just take it in to have the software looked at (If it was done, update maybe) and then just leave it as is. I'll spend a little on the looks though as mentioned in my first post.

Thanks for the input hey
 
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