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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone,
This is going to be my project thread for the ongoing restoration of my 94 Defender 90. I'm building it as a tribute to one of the lost NAS 2.8i prototypes.



I bought this truck 2 years ago and I've been fixing it up a little here and there since with the ultimate goal of returning it to it's former glory, but with some improvements. :)

I've always been a BMW guy and this is my first Land Rover. I've always wanted a Defender though. Before I was old enough to drive I remember sitting in one and dreaming at the auto show when they were new. My dad told me, "This is a real Land Rover." One of the biggest things that drew me to BMW though was their engines. I think they are great. And since I've had the Defender I've been thinking about putting a BMW engine in it. I've done an engine conversion before so I knew mostly what it would entail. I had a 88 325is that I swapped a S54 from a E46 M3. (Build thread here: http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=237727) The S54 is one of my favourite BMW engines, but as a high-revving motorsport engine I felt it wouldn't be appropriate for a 4x4 vehicle, so I decided that a 3.0L M54 should go in the Defender (I later changed my mind to the 3.2L S52 as you will see farther into the thread).

Luckily most of the major parts to do the conversion from the V8 are factory items since Land Rover built the M52 powered Defender 2.8i in South Africa and the M51 diesel powered P38 Range Rover so very little custom work will be needed. I originally sourced an M51 P38 bell housing from the UK, but I discovered it is different from the 2.8i bell housing. I was able to find one of those in South Africa.

I bought a new Valeo clutch kit and LuK dual mass flywheel from the UK.



Because my truck is left-hand drive the location of the steering box will be in the way of the power steering pump on the BMW engine, so I am installing a P38 steering box. I will also need to relocate the alternator higher up.

This week I started the work and yesterday I got the old engine out. :)





 

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I would consider swapping the steering box to a P38a or scout II steering box. They mount outside the rails. Having owned a DBW 530i, the pedal mounting will be interesting to say the least with the shape of the D90 bulkhead.
 

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Very cool and inspiring project. Pending your outcome this may be my next project into a 110 or a 130 (Relax Bill & Jeff).
Dave, no worries...we know your skills haven't quite reached his level...:rolleyes

------ Follow up post added July 10th, 2014 02:30 PM ------

How do you stay so well-coiffed during a motor pull?

I cant do a thing with my hair...

Nice Bimmer.


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I'm glad to see someone other than myself with nice hair like that! Very brave of you to do a mod of this type, wish it was on a salvage, but to each his own! will be following with interest and I like the other thread also!! :thumb::popcorn:
 

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Andrew, take the ribbing from these guys with a grain of salt and know that it would be a lot worse if they didn't respect you just a little but for doing your own wrenching.

You may as well replace the top end gaskets and PCV breather kit on that M54 while you're in there! Otherwise it's a solid lump for sure. I wanted to transplant an M54 into my '73 E9 but it would have been so costly that I might as well went with a full on S38 swap. It's nice that you were able to locate the bellhousing etc. that makes a huge difference when you don't have to have stuff fabricated.
Good luck with the rest of the build
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Andrew, take the ribbing from these guys with a grain of salt and know that it would be a lot worse if they didn't respect you just a little but for doing your own wrenching.

You may as well replace the top end gaskets and PCV breather kit on that M54 while you're in there! Otherwise it's a solid lump for sure. I wanted to transplant an M54 into my '73 E9 but it would have been so costly that I might as well went with a full on S38 swap. It's nice that you were able to locate the bellhousing etc. that makes a huge difference when you don't have to have stuff fabricated.
Good luck with the rest of the build
Okay. :)
That stuff won't be too hard to get to later on so I'll just leave it for now since the engine has low miles. We just replaced an engine in a E46 328i because it failed due to a bad CCV, so I know about the problem. I guess it kinda turned the oil into mayonnaise during a cold snap this past winter and injected it into the cylinders and exhaust. After I get the engine started I'll put a balloon over the dipstick tube and see if it inflates. :) So did you put the S38 in your E9?

------ Follow up post added July 11th, 2014 10:26 AM ------

Interesting, one of my mechanics is doing a similar build using a M54 older version, but then the M version. Probably will be the only M powered Defender.
That's very cool. Will he be using it for racing? A guy in South Africa built one with a M engine. I guess the M engine's bearings didn't take too kindly to the off-road treatment though and he tore up some R380's. See my post about it here: http://www.defendersource.com/forum/showpost.php?p=540463&postcount=34
 
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