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Thread: Which is easier to maintenance M5 3.6 or 3.8 ???

  1. #1
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    Default Which is easier to maintenance M5 3.6 or 3.8 ???

    Hi Everybody !!! I'm new to this forum :-) and I would like to say you all have great cars !!! Jon K you are the MAN .
    Currently I have 2006 M3 Conv and I decided to change it to e34 M5
    I used to have 1992 525i and I have to say it was way more classy then e46 M3. Some might look at me like I'm .., but e34s to me have souls and anyway after warranty on e46 expires I don't think it's going to cost less then to take care e34 M5.
    That to be said, I live in Los Angeles and I'm trying to decide which one is better to go, US 3.6 or Euro 3.8 I would prefer Euro because it has more HP but what about maintenance ??? Is it going to be more difficult to get parts for 3.8 here in US ??? Is 3.6 much more economical ? I'm planning to use the car as a daily driver, knowing I'll have take care of it carefully.
    What do you think ? I appreciate all the help. I wan
    [I][B]1995 525i 66000miles

  2. #2
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    keep the m3. why would you want to go from a e46 m3 to an e34 m5 is beyond me. even though i love the e34, the e46 is superior in nearly every way. anyway the 3.8L never came to the usa.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigKriss
    keep the m3. why would you want to go from a e46 m3 to an e34 m5 is beyond me. even though i love the e34, the e46 is superior in nearly every way. anyway the 3.8L never came to the usa.
    Welcome Iwo.

    Kriss - the E46 M3 is a very plain car to drive on the streets, IMHO. That S54 is very reminiscent of the S14 but with 2 more cylinders. There's not that much peak power in that car, and the power band is VERY high in RPM for a street car. Did you know 2002 E46 M3 curb weight is 3415 lbs and the E34 platform has weights that range from 3484 to like 3520 lbs or so based on all the findings I could come up with. What you get is the impression of a faster car, but really that S54 only dyno ~240 - 250 rwhp, which is less than what the S38 3.6L tend to make while the 3.6L offers a much more usable powerband and torque line.

    Just my thoughts!

    S38B36 and S38B38 maintenance should be the same - with larger bore you might have the risk of the HG failing easier, but I am not sure you can quantify that. When it comes to turbo charging an S38 I plan using a 3.6L stock bore because of the wall spacing between cylinders. 3.8L is nice for an NA car, but 3.6L is more likely to hold boost.

  4. #4
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    Location
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    S38B36 (3.6l) is more reliable if you keep the stock rev limiter, higher and you run into problems with the crank nose. Simple Motronic ECU with single coil.

    S38B38 (3.8l) is prone to detonation problems and toasted rod bearings but has a beefed up crank hub design and can take higher RPMs. Complex ECU with 6 coils in an early design prone to failure.

    I'd go with the 3.6...
    Anthony
    03/64 production

    '91M5 - 11/90, was mine, it's Jim's now.

  5. #5
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    well if you owned a e46 m3, would you sell it to buy a e34 m5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon K
    Welcome Iwo.

    Kriss - the E46 M3 is a very plain car to drive on the streets, IMHO. That S54 is very reminiscent of the S14 but with 2 more cylinders. There's not that much peak power in that car, and the power band is VERY high in RPM for a street car. Did you know 2002 E46 M3 curb weight is 3415 lbs and the E34 platform has weights that range from 3484 to like 3520 lbs or so based on all the findings I could come up with. What you get is the impression of a faster car, but really that S54 only dyno ~240 - 250 rwhp, which is less than what the S38 3.6L tend to make while the 3.6L offers a much more usable powerband and torque line.

    Just my thoughts!

    S38B36 and S38B38 maintenance should be the same - with larger bore you might have the risk of the HG failing easier, but I am not sure you can quantify that. When it comes to turbo charging an S38 I plan using a 3.6L stock bore because of the wall spacing between cylinders. 3.8L is nice for an NA car, but 3.6L is more likely to hold boost.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigKriss
    well if you owned a e46 m3, would you sell it to buy a e34 m5?
    If I bought an E46 M3 in the first place, I would sell it to buy a clean E34 M5. I have different motives than others, but the S38 engine is by far more desirable than an S54. Between the mechanical failure in S54 and the rasp, the S36 is light years ahead on my list of desirables than the M3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default I agree

    Thank you Jon K
    That's my point also. My M3 is a very nice car.., but first it's a convertible (which I'll never buy again ..), second the car's engine get all the power above 4000rpm and considering that you don't feel the speed I get in trouble all the time... (drifting on every on-ramp is not a way to daily drive..)
    I already found 3.6 1991 with 61K miles and Euro 3.8 1993 with 89K miles.
    Now I'm trying to decide which one should I take it...
    Decisions.. decisions... I'm concerned that since 3.8 never came to US it is going to be harder to find parts... and more expensive.... (actually 3.8 is 6K$ more to buy..)
    I don't know..........
    [I][B]1995 525i 66000miles

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigKriss
    keep the m3. why would you want to go from a e46 m3 to an e34 m5 is beyond me. even though i love the e34, the e46 is superior in nearly every way. anyway the 3.8L never came to the usa.

    It came to Canada....And I don't agree with you that the e46 is superior, it's a heavy car, 2 door only (some people want 4 doors) and the engines have their fair share of finicky problems. A lot of those motors were replaced under warranty.

    I also find the e34 M5 to be more attractive looking than the e46.

  9. #9
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    for the 3.6 L - are there easy bolt ons to bring its power up to the 3.8's level?

  10. #10
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    I owned an e46 before I switched to my e34, and its the best move i ever made. The e34 blows the e46 away in so many areas - particularly in the looks department! I also found the handling left a lot to be desired in the e46. Although the M3 is quicker to 60mph on paper (Just), the M5 is torquier so it'd feel amazing to drive. I'm sure M5 drivers will back me up on this one.

    I sure wish i was in your position, I know what i'd do!
    1995 XJR: 4.0L S/charged straight 6 Auto

    What... It's not broken??? I can still fix it

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