Bronze Bimmer - E28 with S52 power

By stevegolf
( 6 )

11 minute(s) of a 23 minute read


Picked up this beautiful E28. It is a 1988 528e, has over 220k miles.  Euro bumpers headlights and grille, Alpina wheels, Alpina front air dam, bilstein suspension. Painted in BMW Sepange Bronze Metallic which was offered in the 2000s.

After picking it up. The front lip is being fixed and repainted.

It needed a thorough cleaning since it had been sitting in a shop for a while. I picked it up the day before the Woodward Dream Cruise, just in time.

 Overall the interior is in good shape. It cleaned up well with some elbow grease .

The car car runs and drives nicely. Being the "e" or "efficient" model it is very slow, but still fun. It has that great, heavy E28 feel to the controls.  

The only thing it needs cosmetically is refinishing the trim. The previous previous owner didn't properly prepare the surface so the black paint is flaking off everywhere.  I will have to scrape off all the old paint and probably have the trim vinyl wrapped.

As part of the deal the previous owner is throwing in an S52 swap. He has an engine and is gathering the parts together. I'm excited to help out with this part. The car will have about the same power as my old E28 M5.

After the swap we will upgrade the brakes and make sure the suspension is up to snuff.  Some small tears in the seats can be repaired.  The sunroof, stereo, and speedometer aren't working and need to be fixed.  A couple little odds and ends and it will be a great car. It already gets a lot of complaints, the color really sets things off.


Decided to lose the Alpina vinyl decals. It was annoying having to constantly tell people that it isn't a real Alpina, and it just looks better and is easier to clean without it. 

Peeling it off was actually kindof fun. You can see all the wax buildup where the stickers were. 

Hit it with that goo gone to get rid of the excess adhesive.


Planning on doing the engine swap later this month. In addition to the swap we will be upgrading the brakes and refreshing the suspension. Want to make sure the chassis can handle the extra power. 

We swapped out the tie rods to firm up the steering. 

The old ones came out pretty easy. 

We wrote up a DIY on how to do the procedure below.

Steering felt a lot more connected. Just have to get an alignment.


The swap has begun! The car started running rough and it was a long drive so we rented a trailer just to be safe. We met at Charbel’s shop and got to work.

Lots of dirt roads so the car go super dirty on the way.

Started by removing the hood and disconnecting the washer motor and fluid hose.

It’s time to disconnect all hoses, wires and accessories that would get in the way during engine removal.

Steve got underneath to start draining the coolant and oil.

A few nuts and bolts and the radiator is loose, time to drain.

Charbel is disconnecting the throttle cable and accessories.

More progress.

Radiator coming out.

Steve is getting ready to drain the oil.

Finishing up the accessories before moving underneath the car.

Steve is disconnecting the ECU through the glove box.

Almost there!

Charbel finishing off with engine mounts.

Remove oil catch pan and start underneath!

Jack up the vehicle so you have access to most of the underside. Disconnect engine, trans mounts, driveshaft and exhaust to free the assembly.

After finishing up and grabbing some grub, it was time to move onto the donor car. 

Same process, remove radiator and start undoing bolts. We want the engine mostly intact so we are keeping all the accessories on.

Steve removing crossmemeber and radiator.

We dropped the whole assembly, suspension and all to make it a quicker process.

Got the car raised up so we can drop the assembly.

Engines are 95% of the way removed. It was below freezing in that garage and we had enough for the day.


Time to pull the engines out! The only thing holding the engines in were the exhausts. Charbel got to work cutting them out. 

We used the engine hoist on the E28. It came out nice and smooth. 

So much room for activities!

The engine bay is going to be resprayed to match the exterior color. I figure we will be showing off the engine quite a bit so might as well go the extra mile and make it look nice. 

We dropped the front subframe and suspension on the E36 M3 and the legs of the crane wouldn't fit around the steering rack. The shifter mechanism needed some fanaggling to get free, but we were able to drag that thing out of there. 

I bought a new clutch so I pulled the trans off.  Good thing too since the pilot bearing was toast. That and the rear seal will be replaced before putting it in the E28.

I also got a new aluminum radiator. The swap needs a 535 radiator since the 528e inlets and outlets are on the wrong sides. I picked up an exhaust from Billy Boat. I had the same exhaust on my M5 and it sounded nuts. The S52 already has headers so it should sound wicked. Excited to post the first startup video. 



Posted by tmprod on 9/9/20 @ 5:19:16 PM

Nice update! Cant wait to see her drive soon!

Posted by diyauto on 7/27/20 @ 11:09:41 AM

Can’t wait for the new ride! She’s a good one????

Posted by Diggymart on 3/9/18 @ 1:41:09 AM