In a BMW E30 doing the conversion to a hub of five lugs has several advantages. On one hand there is a bigger market of rims in 5x120 than in the 4x100 that comes as standard and on the other hand the brakes size is increased.

When doing the conversion with parts of an E36 in its most basic version the front brakes are increased from 260 mm to 286 mm and the rear brakes from 258 mm to 272 mm.


- Front axle.

Hubs, struts, breaks, shocks and springs of the E36. It shall be used the E30 strut mounts since the E36 studs are different and it would be necessary to do new holes. The room left to insert the cup to tight the upper nut is small so it is necessary to have a thin cup or to turn it until it fits.

The ideal suspension arms or boomerang are the ones of a M3 E36 321 cv since with a normal E36 or M3 e36 286 arm the wheel is not centered because it gives less advance.
To prevent the wheel from falling behind, it shall be used the eccentric silentbloks from the M3 e30 or a mount that gives extra advance. In any case if the M3 e36 321 arms are not used, there is a new special version of the mounts that gives even more advance in order to be able to do the conversion with the normal arms. For more information about these mounts you can contact us using the following link: Contact

With the struts of the e36 to improve the front breaks it is possible to change only the caliper holder and the break discs by the ones of an e46 of 300 mm. In order to increase the size of the break discs up to the 325 mm the calipers, caliper holders and discs have to be changed by the ones of an 330 e46 either petrol or diesel. In this last case it is important to use rims of at least 17 inches so that the break discs can fit.

In order to use front breaks of the M3 e36 (that has 315 mm discs) the best option is to use also the M3 strut so that it is not necessary to adapt anything since it is different from all other e36.


- Rear axle

Change the whole rear arms with their breaks by a compact e36 or Z3

E36 compact rear arms


The break lines of the e30 are fully compatible with the new pieces so there is no problem in this sense.


- Engine

Complete M50 engine of an e34 or e36 with accessories and wiring harness. 

M50 engine data at the following link: M50 information

Engine mounts arm of a 6 cylinder E36.

If the engine is from an e36 the oil pan and pickup tube have to be changed by the ones of an M50 E34. They have to be changed because in the e34 the oil sump is in the front part (like in the e30 engines) and in the E36 the sump is in the rear part.


Oil pan M50 e34


Oil pan M50 e36

The engine mounts have to be changed by the ones of an e28/e24 M30 or by specific ones for an E30 M50. Depending on the used brake booster it will be necessary to add washers or spacer to lift the engine so that the brake booster does not touch the intake manifold.

At this point the next steps depend on the specific e30, the engine donor, and what we exactly want to do since there are several options. 

For the throttle cable it can be used the one of an de M50 E34, M42 or M20.


- Cooling System

The radiator can be changed or not depending on the car and what we want to mount. 

The radiators with built-in expansion tank of 440 mm can be used (from an e30, e36 or e34) but not the ones of 380 mm since the coupling from the driver side would be too close to the power steering pump and its belt drive. The radiators with external expansion tanks from M20 do not give any problem.

With these radiators there is little room left for the fan clutch.With a radiator from a 28/e24 M30 of 575 mm it is obtained more space between the radiator and the engine to place the fan clutch. To obtain some more room the fan blades can be mounted inside the fan clutch and trim them up in engines with vanos so that they do not graze.

Electric fan: If a fan clutch is not used or to reinforce the cooling system, an electric thermo fan can be installed with two speeds. The e30s with air conditioning have an electric thermo fan that can be reused.


- Gearbox and driveshaft

There are quite a lot of options since many gearboxes are compatible from different generations of BMW (both, in 4 and 6 cylinders).

M20 gearbox: It can be used but it stands rotated several degrees so it is necessary to make modifications in the transmission crossmember, mounts and shifter linkage. With this gearbox it is not needed to modify the driveshaft.

M42 gearbox: It can be mounted without any problem in with an M50 engine but the gearbox will be displaced towards the back so that it is necessary to cut the driveshaft and shifter linkage.

M50/M52 gearbox: It has a different gearbox ratio that the e30 gearbox so the differential ratio would be very short. The differential has to be replaced by a longer one.

318is e30: Differential ratio 4,10

318is E36: Differential ratio 3,38 o 3,45


- Exhaust

A convenient option is to use stainless exhaust headers since they fit well in the e30 and they improve the performance/power of the engine, mainly at high engine speed. It can be used the stock catalyst of an e36 with the rear muffler of a 325i e30. It is necessary to custom the exhaust to join headers, catalyst and rear muffler and modifications are needed to clear the control arm bushing mount.


- Wiring harness

Use this layout as an orientation:


E30 C101 conetor 

M50 X20 conector

1 - Alternator - Blue 25 - Azul
2 - Oil level, Static   
3 -   
4 - Coolant temperature sensor – Brown/Violet   12 - Brown/Violet
5 - Oil pressure – Brown/Green 23 - Brown/Green 
6 -   
7 - ECU / DME – Green 21 - Green
8 - Econometer – White/Black or White 24 - White/Black
9 - Enginde speed - Black 20 - Black
10 - Oil level, Dynamic - Blue  
11 - Service interval reset - White/Blue 19 - White/Green
12 -   
13 - Fuel pump - Green/Violet  13 - Green/Violet  
14 - Road speed signal - Black/White 14 - Black/White 
15 - Starter Relay - Black/Green 15 - Black/Green
16 -    
17 -  
18 - Starter – Black/Yellow   18 - Black/Yellow 
19 -  M3 e30 oil temperature  


To make temperature appear in the e30 cluster, the temperature sensor of the coolant of the M50 engine has to be changed by the e30 one.


-E30 pre (<85) with rectangular 19 pin C101:

E30 PRE rectangular conector

M50 X20 conector 

1 -  Alternator - Blue 25 - Blue
2 - Oil level, Static   
3 -   
4 - 4 - Coolant temperature sensor – Brown/Violet     12 - Brown/Violet 
5 -   
6 -    
7 - 13 - Fuel pump - Violet/Red 13 - Green/Violet 
8 - Starter – Black/Yellow   18 - Black/Yellow  
9 -   
10 - ECU / DME – Green 21 - Green
11 -   
12 -   
13 -   
14 -   
15 - Oil level, Dynamic   
16 - Oil pressure – Brown/Green, Black/Brown 23 - Brown/Green
17 - Service interval reset - White/Blue 19 - White/Green
18 -  
19 -   


In turn, the e30 pre have the C104 connector, located in the globe box area where it is set the ECU, for witch it shall be taken into account the following cables:

C104 conector

M50 X20 conector 

1 - Enginde speed - Black 20 - Black
3 - Econometer – Yellow/White 24 - White/Black