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Someone want to talk to me about wheels?

Posted by Earendil 
So, spring is finally starting to show it's face in Spokane WA (though the nights are still winter), and I'm starting to think about new tires.

At the start of winter, I decided that if I could make it through winter with balding no weather tires on my car, putting off the expense of snow tires, that I could get myself a good pair of summer tires. One way or another I needed to ditch the ones I had on anyway. Well, no wrecks but many fun slides later(a whole other set of good stories), I have made it through winter, and have money for summer tires! :-)

But now we get to the matter at hand.
The tire options for 14" wheels is next to nothing.
The tire options for 15" wheels is astronomical.

Ah yes, but!
The number of 15" wheels with a compatible 4 bolt pattern for a 325i is close to Nil.

So I figure my options are either
1) Find a good tire for a 14" wheel
2) Find a 15" wheel with compatible bolt patterns, wheels comes easy than
3) Do the 5 lug conversion, wheels and tire come easy.
4) Continue having fun with my balding tires until they blow out grinning smiley

I value the input I get from this forum, because it comes from some highly intelligent and highly practical people, while also sampling a good range of expertise in the driving experience. In addition, few if any of us here seem to be into the "flashy!" aspect of our cars, but instead just want them to run and perform well. This is the kind of wheel/tire advice I want :-)

With that in mind, let me give some thoughts on my perceived options above, and then let y'all chime in with your own thoughts.

1) Pros: Cheapest option, stock bimmer wheels. Cons: I have to keep the beat up stained brown in-need-of-acid-dip basket weaves.

2) Pros: Far more tires options, more flexibility in future purchases. Cons: Limited compatible wheels? All look flashy and far from stock? I'm also concerned if 15" wheels will look bad on an E30. 99% of none stock wheels I see on an E30 I don't really like.

3) Pros: I need to take apart a lot of the front end to replace bushings and misc parts, Makes it less likely that I'll have a repeat of what I did in my Dad's E30 8 years ago, loose a lug nut, and sheer 2 more off in a corner. Cons: more work? More Money? I honestly haven't done the research on the 5 lug conversion because it's been far down the list of things that haha "needed" done. However it is an option in this area, so I thought I'd put it up.

Thoughts? Strong opinions? Idle musings?


Related note/question: I saw a set of 15" basket weaves for an E30 ix on ebay the other day. I didn't know the ix had a 15" wheel option? If so, do they have a compatible lug pattern?
iX lug is the same, though the wheel offset is different.

I'd try to find stock 4-lug 15" wheels, looks the best and requires the least work on the car.
Quote
Michiel 318iS
iX lug is the same, though the wheel offset is different.

I'd try to find stock 4-lug 15" wheels, looks the best and requires the least work on the car.

I didn't think there was a stock 15" option for the 325i? And everything after the E30 was 5 lugs, right?

I'll do some looking. Thanks for the info Michiel!
I went through this same decision with my iX. The previous owner had put on 16-inch wheel to replace the stock 15-inch basketweaves that were all bent. (As Michiel said, the iX came stock with 15-inch basketweaves, though the offset was 42mm instead of the usual 30mm (?) offset for normal E30s.) IMHO 16-inch wheels on an E30 just look wrong, and worse, are unnecessarily heavy.

I replaced them with 15-inch wheels, which is what my recommendation would be. As you have discovered, the tire choices in 14-inch sizes are distressingly skimpy. Given that tires are among the most important parts of your car, if not the most important, I don't think it's wise to settle for suboptimal tires just because that's all that's available. IMHO 15-inch wheels look proportionally correct on an E30, unlike 16s which to my eyes just look oversize and blingy. (Don't even get me started on 17s and 18s).

Personally, I can live with wheels on my E30 that are not the traditional basketweaves. I have some rather plain 7-spoke wheels for winter, and 6-spoke Kosei K1 racing wheels for summer (both 15 inches). They don't look stock, but I don't think they look bad, either.

If you're patient and search diligently, I think you can find 15-inch E30 basketweaves in the correct 30mm offset. If you want to preserve the traditional looks of your E30, that's the way I would recommend.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
There are OEM 15'' weaves for BMW. They are called "euroweaves". They are 4-lug, 15x7, ET24, BBS RZ wheels. Ove had them on his car. I have the 5-lug, 16x8 ET23 version of the BBS RZ's on my car. I didn't realize the iX weaves were such a high offset. I thought they were around ET35, so you could run them with a 10 or 15mm spacer.

Another option for 15" weaves are the Ronal LS's. They are 15x7.5, i think ET33. Cab Treadway has them on his car in case he cares to post a picture.

There are also 16" weave options from replica brands like ESM. ESM wheels are 15x7, 16x7 or 16x7.5 ET20. These are made specifically for E30s, so the centerbore is correct, no hubcentric rings needed. [www.esmwheels.com] Pretty good pricing for a new wheel, in my opinion.

What suspension do you currently have on your car? I don't think 16's look very good with a stock suspension, but 14's and 15's are ok.

PM me your IM thingy if you want to have a more indepth, real-time conversation about this. I know a lot about different wheel options.


Thanks for the great info. I need to digest this, due some looking around, and some $$$ calculations. I'll be sure to post back here or corner you on an instant messenger if I have any questions.
I'll also be sure to let you know what I decide to do :-)
cool. just one other quick thing. even though 5-lug is unnecessary, the used wheel market for 5-lug BMW wheels is waaaay better than the 4-lug market. Since every OEM wheel on a BMW is 5x120 and the only cars with the difference centerbore are the e39s, its very easy to find something you like, for cheap. for example, i bought my 4 style 5 weaves for $250 total, because they are the stock wheel from an e38 740i, which are unwanted by those upgrading the wheels on their 7ers.


So, in the end I think I've decided to wait and "do it right".
My girl here is going to become a true project car as soon as I get a job and a daily commuter, so perhaps expensive modifications that only encourage me to drive her harder are not a good idea ;-)

That said, I'm not going to put a crappy set of rubber on the only thing between her and the road. The old forum had a number of good tires threads that are sadly no longer in existence. I'm aware that there isn't such a thing as a sport 14" tire, but humor me. What have you guys found for those 14" rims that holds the road well enough? Again, once she's a project car come Autumn, I can do whatever. I don't need No Weather tires, and can be okay with a good set of summer tires.

Yokohama's come to mind from years long past, but I could be making that up.
Thoughts? I'm looking at spending about $300 for the set, but could be persuaded to go $400+ if you are enthusiastic enough :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2009 11:52AM by Earendil.
An additional question:
What do you guys have to say about different tire sizes than the stock 195/65?
Physics intuition (and not just the street look) tells me that more surface contact increases traction (to a point), and that less distance between road and wheel is also beneficial when turning is concerned.

In that case, does putting a 195/60 on the car make sense?
I'm even seeing a few "performance all weather" (whatever that means...) tires come in a 205/60/14.
Would these sizes perform better? Would they fit standard 14" basket weaves? Would they look idiotic?

Cheers, and thanks for answering my "one" extra question ;-)
a lot of people run 205/60-14's on stock wheels. you mentioned 195/60's also, which were the OE size for a few e30s- I wanna say the original 318i, maybe a couple other early cars.

I had Yokohama Avid H4S tires on my 318is and really, really liked them. They weren't too expensive, either. I got them on tirerack.

I don't think you will find strictly summer tires in the 14 inch size, unless they are autocross/race tires.


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