E36 M54 Intake, Exhaust & Fuel

The intake, exhaust and fuel modifications are minimal and simple to do. We will start with the intake which is not pictured. Im using a Z3 3.0i intake box, MAF and intake elbow(s). That's pretty much it for intake stuff...


For the exhaust you can just use the stock S52 headers on the M54 and it will bolt to your stock midpipe and be plug and play. The M54 catalytic converters are built into the headers, the E36 has them in the midpipe - running stock S52 headers on the M54 therefore makes it a neat plug and play solution which does not compromise the functionality of the catalytic converters


Fuel can be done very easily by running a long hose between the two open nipples pictured below, but I chose to spend an extra 10 minutes and do it "properly" ...the below pictures show the M54 fuel filter sitting in place among the stock E36 fuel lines



Above the fuel filter you can see a fuel hardline which does not have a corresponding feed line. On the stock S52 fuel filter setup the fuel filter receives one fuel input, the fuel pressure regulating valve and return line is on the output side of the filter and returns fuel to that now-empty hardline


The M54 fuel filter has the fuel pressure regulating valve built into it (the vacuum line nipple is the thing sticking out 90 degrees at the output) and the return line comes out the "input" side of the filter. A very easy, elegant solution for this is to source an extra E36 fuel supply line, which is designed to terminate at the input side of the filter. The M54 fuel filter inlet is the one offset to the side, whereas the S52 filter has the inlet in the center. So I disconnected all lines from the filter, loosened the clips that hold them on to the chassis and moved the fuel supply line over to where the return line used to sit, which makes it align perfectly with the M54's inlet. I then removed the E36's fuel return hardline and put another E36 fuel supply line in it's place, which let it align perfectly with the fuel filter return/outlet. This is very easy to do as well, since the fuel hardlines only run from the filter to right in front of the rear wheel (where they terminate into soft lines). You can also leave the fuel supply hardline in place, relace the return line with a supply line and re-arrange the soft rubber lines at the back to switch their orientation. I chose to pop it out of the clips, as the rubber lines tend to be pretty stuck on



In front of the filter - simply remove the extraneous fuel supply hardline. Later, I ended up clipping the M54 plastic vacuum supply line (for the fuel pressure regulator valve) into the open clips where the fuel return line used to sit. The rubber fuel supply line to the engine itself should be replaced with one for an M54, just remove the clamp at the base of the S52 fuel supply line in the engine bay and replace with the M54 style quick-connect hose. I used the one from the E39, the Z3 one could work too but would need to be cut to length because the Z3 firewall sits farther from the engine than the E39 and E36



I chose to add long tube headers which was a little bit of work. I didn't take as much out of this engine mount as it looks like but the first step to fitment was getting it to fit around the engine mounts... its a tight fit. Not sure if I should clearance it more and reinforce it but this is about as much as I was comfortable taking off without reinforcing it



They sure look good!



Once the headers were installed, the engine was installed in the car and bolted up



I had marked the exhaust roughly where I knew it was going to sit and got cutting... I hate cutting these double walled exhausts. Got it done though and once everything was in it was time to get the car back up on the lift and see what I was dealing with



I started putting some stuff together and slip fitting it into place. The outer pipe was in a fine place to start with, but the inner pipe sat way too low. So I ended up doing some measurements (thanks, Pythagorean Theorem) and cut a section out of the straight, angled section and added it to the edge of the inner pipe. Worked very well... had it tack welded in place



Then dropped the exhaust and had it welded all the way around on the headers and the exhaust. These are not my welds... I need to learn to weld but in the meantime had a friend zap these for me



That wraps it up for the exhaust. I would like to add an aftermarket exhaust down the road, I have a Stromung sitting on the shelf, but want to get it running first at this point

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