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How can I identify an engine?

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I have an engine 2.8 I think. It is not in the car so cannot id with a vin. It has a faded stick label on the back that I can only get some numbers from but not clearly. they start off with what looks like 9859 then could be M52 then faded but maybe R0103. on the head at the back there is  also a number BZA 21710 and on the block at the side is 1738400. I have looked everywhere for other forms of ID but cannot find anything. nothing around the oil filter housing. Its come from a wreckers and on one of the engine covers is E36 coupe. 

Can anyone help with this engines id. I would like to get a ECU for it and try to fire it up.

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Have a really good look under the intake at the sump level.  You'll find 2 sets of numbers.  One is the the engine number and the other is the engine type number.  Use the attached file to identify your engine.

If it's out of an E36, then you should have a M52B28 engine.  Something like 28 6 S 4

BMW Engine ID sheet.pdf

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Thank you so much. I found it further along about under the no 5 cylinder covered in oil disguising it. 

It has  28 6 S 1. do you know a little about these engines. I have an e 30 race car that has an M50 B20 fitted.  I would like to bolt this one up and try it or would I need the gearbox that fits that engine. And could you put me onto someone who could supply me with an ECU with loom and gearbox for it.

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Yes that is the engine code for the M52B28 single VANOS engine.

I'll let others answer your other questions.

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Yes the gearbox will bolt up just fine 

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Great thanks for the help guys. Could I ask further. The engine was clearly taken out of a car by a wrecker. And as you guys would know they just cut everything to get them out. The obvious missing bits are. Alternator, ECU, and AFM. I want to get it running to check it out before it goes in the racecar.

It is on and engine stand. Questions 1 maybe first. can it be run on the engine stand without flywheel and clutch assy?                                     2 what would I need to fire it up minimum?                                         And would it be cheaper to get just a 2nd hand standard ECU with a loom but just connect the wires to make the engine run rather than something like a link of some sort.                                                                  Need some help here if someone has got the time to tell me. Thank you

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You will need a flywheel on it to start it, i personally wouldn't run an engine on a stand not designed for that (like most cheap engine stands) it is likely to tip over and do some serious damage!

You will need a starter motor, ECU and AFM and loom to connect coils etc, it should start and run without an alternator.

It will be cheaper to use a standard ECU but is that what you want long term? If you are going to upgrade to a standalone ECU anyway, save the money and use it towards that.

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Yes you can run an engine on a stand, but it’s not for the faint hearted.

Probably need a flywheel and starter to crank it over though!

And how much it would tell you about the condition of the engine is debatable. Probably find out just as much with a leak down test and a camera into the cylinders / pull the rocker cover off.

Yes, easy enough to get another ECU and harness with the EWS disabled to run it rather than the expense of a Link or similar.

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