Project E36 323is: Keeping The S52 Cool With CSF, Pelican Parts, SPAL and HPS

Yes, Project E36 323is is still alive, as am I. I know it’s been a LONG time for an update post engine build but life kinda got in the way. As a casual reader you’re probably unaware but I personally no longer manage the MotoIQ Advertising Sales or even live in the same state anymore as the MotoIQ HQ. The biggest delay in updates on Project E36 323is comes from a move across country (OH to CA) to become part of a family business selling and repairing espresso machines and coffee equipment ( I had to throw in a little plug for the business.

When we last left off the top end of Project E36 323is new S52 was being assembled and bolted up to the bottom end. Normally what would follow would be an install article but we’re going to be jumping around a bit as the items chosen for the cooling system are much more important than some basic install pics with no new parts as the intake system (other than an M50 manifold) was all pulled from the stock M52 and previously installed aFe intake. Don’t get me wrong I will be updating you with the install and dyno numbers here shortly but first, let’s talk cooling.

If you are a BMW fan, especially the E36 model (and the E39 and probably all the models within that time period) you know the first thing you do to a high mileage purchase or an upgraded E36 is addressing the shortcomings of the stock cooling system. Stock radiators have wonderfully known failure points in the plastic end caps. Couple that with a plastic impeller on the water pump (some models did come with the metal impeller, I believe all the M3’s did but I could be wrong) and you’re just asking for trouble.


In order to upgrade our cooling system and start to make it bullet proof, we started with a CSF aluminum radiator. Not only do we get to ditch the plastic end tanks, we also get a larger cooling section and lighter overall weight.
Here you can see the polished, all-aluminum, tig- welded construction of the CSF radiator. No need to worry about the crimped on plastic end tanks randomly springing leaks or exploding while in traffic or on track.
You can see the quality of the build that CSF puts into every product it produces.

All stock mounting points, including the strong machined hose locations, are kept, making the whole thing a drop in replacement for the factory radiator. The CSF B-Fin radiator core is much thicker than stock and the B-Fin cooling passaged have the “B” extra heat conductor extruded right into the middle of the cooling passages for extra efficiency.


Welded endtanks, a dual pass core and 2-rows of wide B-Fins means that the CSF radiator can easily handle the 100*+ temps of Southern California on or off the track.


    1. This post is relatively new. I remember reading the rest a long time ago. I’m guessing we need to wait a bit longer for the next update.

    1. Pure Performance is actually no longer in business, but an engine rebuild done properly should cost you around $4,000 for machining and assembly, plus parts.

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