LS1 in 1996 BMW Z3

BMW Z3 with LS1 swap

Hasan Motorsports has always enjoyed the great feel and handling of a BMW Z3. But soon a condition known as torque fever started to develop. The first attempt at treating this alignment was by installing a supercharger kit. This only provided slight relief but didn’t provide any long term cure. Hasan finally realized the only acceptable treatment was to acquire a small block V8. So in November of 2005 Hasan began to swap a 5.7L LS1 into a tiny 1996 BMW Z3.

Prepping the car to handle the power was important in order to maintain drivability. The Z3 suffers from a weak trunk floor and a weak single differential mount. A Randy Forbes differential kit was installed by A.B.S Chassis Fabrication to strengthen the mount and trunk floor as well as make more room for a dual exhaust system.

A complete 1997 2.8L Z3 body kit (front and rear bumpers, both rocker panels, both fenders) was purchased off Bimmerforums for $200. To fill out the new wider body a set of 18×8.5” CCWs for the front and 18×10.5” CCWs were used.

The LS1 factory performance was upgraded with a LS6 intake manifold, LS6 PCV system, LS6 valve springs, GM Peformance Hot Cam, hardened pushrods, and ASP crank pulley. All these upgrades registered 357 horsepower and 372 torque to the wheels on a dyno. Also installed were Nash Motorsports long tube headers, and Magnaflow x-pipe and mufflers. The brakes were upgraded using a Wilwood 4 piston brake kit using E46 M3 slotted rotors. The transmission has been upgraded to a RPM Stage IV T-56 six speed.

LS1 engine inside Z3

Anyone out there that has a desire to attempt a difficult swap needs to read Fitting the Motor Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This will put in perspective the time and effort needed to create a unique swap. Hasan ran into all kinds of issues but through determination has built a very unique automobile and has rewarded us with the wealth of information through their site.

BMW Z3 with LS1 swap


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