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newby here from So. Calf. Forced to learn some mechanicals when I blew up the john deere 4020. spend the summer working on engine rebuild listening to my dad screaming at me.

Have an original 79 BMW 528i four speed that I would like to transform to detroit drive train. The chassis, body, interior are like new. Just preparing for the day when everything starts to go. Like to refit with something. Not sure what to consider to fit.
 

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Hmmm.... 518 is a mid size BMW, right? Straight six? None of the US inline sixes would come close to the performance of that one, though a stroker Cherokee engine would come close -- lots more torque but not much more HP. So I guess you're really looking at a V-8. You'll have to change engine and trans. Easiest will be an auto tranny. A small block Chevy (SBC) or Ford (SBF) is the obvious choice, though a Chrysler 318, 340, or even 360 would work also. I'd use a four speed auto -- GM 2004r built for the power (stock won't last long, and 700R4 is probably going to be a little on the large side for the body) or Ford AOD (it might be to big, but I believe is a bit smaller than the 700R4). The A500 Chrysler is to big, not sure what their smaller version is called (based on 998, it will need toughening up for a 340 or 360, but should be found behind 318).

You'll have to fabricate engine mounts and modify the trans crossmember. Wiring shouldn't be to dificult if using a carb engine, but I'd go EFI. That would be a little more difficult, but not to tough if you just lift the engine and wiring harness from a donor vehicle. Grab the harness and everything attached. The EFI control system is pretty much integrated and stand-alone from the rest of the wiring. You'll need a wiring diagram for both the BMW and wahtever the donor vehicle is.

At least for the time being I'd keep the BMW axle. It should be good for ~300 hp, enough for a stock EFI 350 anyway. Then all you'll need to do is get a custom driveshaft made, which isn't expensive at all ($150 or so). Don't foget to upgrade the front springs. That will probably require custom units, or a conversion to air (if that's possible...).
 
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