Extreme Engine Tech: Building a BMW S52 – Part 1: The Short Block


We’ve never had a problem with Rust-Oleum so after a few coats of black High Heat Ultra our new block was looking great. 
After painting the block it was time to install our King Race Bearings. 
There’s not much to it when it comes to bearing install. Just make sure the block surface and the back of the bearings are clean and pop them on in. We also used Redline Assembly Lube to keep the bearing surface protected and ready to fire up. 
Once the bearings were in we moved on to installing the ARP main studs. You’ll want to put them all in by hand, and then use a torque wrench to finalize the installation. 
Now it’s time to set in the crank. Make sure you take your time as dropping the crank on a bearing or scoring it can really ruin everything you’ve been working on. 
Now that you have the crank in, it’s time to cap her off. Again, we used Redline Assembly Lube on the journals as we installed the main caps. 


  1. Not sure when this was posted but thanks! I’ve had a lot of BMWs in the past but nothing later than an e30 and am now looking into a ’96 e36 328is. I’ve been searching for REAL information about a sensible but effective build to reach the M series performance levels and this is the first REAL build I’ve found that speaks my language (brought up on hot rods and muscle cars) My main question is how can you increase the stroke without shortening either the rods or piston pin height?? Or do the M3 pistons have a different pin placement than the m50/52? (I was trying to avoid using all the m50 etc, frankly you need a damn score card to keep track of it all.

    One of the first questions I had after reviewing engine specs was if the M car crank will fit the IS block and cool – yes it will! Another was how much the cast iron blocks can be overbored another point! So now I can toss out all that fan boy (never actually built a motor but know it all) “info” and get back to a proper build, bore, stroke, pistons, cams and go. One question if you are still reading… actually I am going to add this up top. RE pistons 323 328 vs M3 seems to me you can’t increase the stroke without shortening something either the rod length or piston pin height.?

  2. Thank y’all for this write up. Restoring my M3 (minus stuff that weighs too much) and my dad rebuilt my motor for Christmas from this post. Big time.

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