Tested: S52 vs. M50 Manifold and the TMS Stage 2 & 3 Packages for the BMW E36 M3

Out comes the old S52 manifold.

A lot of vacuum lines are hidden by the intake manifold. Thankfully the Turner Motorsport manifold adapter will clean all of this up.

S52 vs. M50 intake manifold

The stock S52 Manifold runners (left) are said to be 30% smaller than the M50 intake manifold (right). This should really free up power higher in the RPM range.

I bought this manifold used for $50 off of bimmerforums.com where they typically sell for $50-100 used. Before installation, Barry grabbed the manifold and took it to the parts washer.

You can see years of oil blow-by buildup and gunk being washed out of the manifold. Thankfully Barry was adamant to go the extra length to clean the manifold before installing it despite it looking pretty good from the outside. This goes back to his racing background and ensuring everything is clean and properly evaluated which takes a little extra time but probably saved my motor from issues down the road since a piece of packing foam was lodged deep in a runner and could have been sucked into the motor. Let this be a lesson, be sure to clean your manifold!

TMS m50 adapter kit

TMS M50 adapter kit

We prepared our M50 manifold for installation with the Turner Motorsports manifold adapter. This kit includes everything that you need for the installation including new manifold gaskets, brackets, nuts, bolts, and a step by step installation directions with detailed photos. While there are less expensive kits out there, the high quality of this billet piece, requiring no additional hoses that would rip or kink, and the directions and support are well worth the price.

The M50 is now installed with everything else remaining stock. This should give us a good A-B comparison on the same day to see what difference the manifold alone makes.


  1. I’m trying to find any before/after tests of the 1995 S50 3.0L engine when installing the TMS stage 3 kit. I’m trying to decide if it is worth it. Would you expect similar results?

  2. I have upgraded my own 1999 M3 using a cold air intake, a Porsche 903 MAF, 24# injectors, removal of the ESC hardware, an RK tunes re-flash, and a Billy Boat cat-back system. I had the car dyno-ed and achieved average of 234 wheel horsepower (approx. 279 flywheel). I can feel a mild loss of mid-range torque with this setup. I AM INTERESTED in any follow up mods you guys may have done; I am thinking about a Shrick cam upgrade, and I want to do more with the exhaust side, such as shorty headers and larger exhaust piping. I am not smart enough to handle the exhaust system changes – I need someone with engineering expertise in exhaust systems to help me. If you guys have done any follow up articles on your experiences, I would appreciate a link or some contact with me as a follow up to this e-mail. Look forward to a response. Thanks, William Lee. 702-539-1421. Fort Worth, Tx

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