M30 engine into an E30 body

My team  just yanked a healthy M30 engine and transmission out of a 1987 BMW 535i, and I have a slew of able-bodied E30s in my yard.

I am soooooooooo tempted to try this M30-into-E30 engine swap but I suspect that the devil is in the details.

Getting a bad left-to-right weight distribution would be an easy mistake to make, and difficult to live with or correct.

Assuming I can get to where the basic engine weight distribution is OK and the engine-to-radiator clearance doesn’t make you wince, the model I’d propose is where someone comes to my office, leaves his / her E30 and paperwork as a deposit and for a small fee, I hand him/her the keys to a M30-engined 5, 6 or 7 series to drive for a couple of days, to take to a mechanic for compression testing, leak-down test, whatever.

We’re close to the Sierra Nevadas and Lake Tahoe, plus there are some relatively deserted desert roads close by so this might be the perfect area to enjoy a car like that.

Once satisfied that the engine and transmission are good, the customer brings back the M30-engined car and my staff swaps that into the customer’s E30 with the customer watching, sipping on a glass of wine, etc.

I’m curious how much folks would offer for an experience like that.  Figure 3 or 4 days total, maybe 5 if things go badly wrong.

We’re just east of Reno, NV.


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