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Do you dedicated winter tires? Are they minus sized?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by stevehecht, Oct 16, 2008.

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    stevehecht

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    [This thread is for those living with sub-freezing winter temperatures.]

    I use 205/50-15 summer performance tires. I want to get a set of dedicated winter wheels/tires. I'm trying to decide between a less expensive ($580) 14" package with 185/60s (Dunlop SP Winter M3) versus a $736 15" package with 195/65 or 205/65 Dunlop SP WInter SP 3D tires. I don't intend on driving my bimmer through snow much at all (it's my second car), so it would be for use on dry but also sometimes icy roads. Is minus sizing really all that important for the E30, seeing that it compromises handling and acceleration on dry roads?

    What are you doing this winter if you use dedicated winters?
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    MGarrison

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    I've tried to mostly retire the E30 from winter driving & exposure to salt and slush - but I always used the narrowest tires I could get away with, to ensure I could get through whatever the conditions might be. I forget what I last had (would have to go look, haven't thought about them for two years at least), but they might even have been 175's, or maybe 165's. 14" dia., on steel wheels.

    If you have to deal w/ snow, the narrower, the better. If you're just doing dry or icy after the snow's been cleared, maybe you could get away with wider. Wider just means the tire has more to push out of the way, and the contact patch is wider, when narrower & longer is better for traction, particularly in the snow. If you don't have a limited-slip diff, you might have a difficult time traversing bad roads even w/ narrower tires - wider tires would just be worse.

    If you have stock brakes, I'd say go w/ the less expensive package. If you're going to deal w/ a lot of ice, particularly only occasionally, as far as I know, Blizzaks are the best, at least until they're worn halfway down. Otherwise, I've used Michelin's snow tires and found them to work well. Even w/ a limited-slip diff and 4 dedicated snows, keep in mind it's still a rear wheel drive car, and can easily slide around in low-traction conditions.
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    stevehecht

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    I do have a LSD (4.10), so that helps. I've had no luck finding any 15" steel wheels for my car, used or new. Bavarian Auto only had 14" (at $70 each) and TR has neither 14" or 15" and I haven't seen any for sale on ebay, local CL, or the bimmer forums. At $70 each for steelies I might as well go with alloys on TR at $76 each. I don't know where else to look for 4x100 steelies.

    Yeah, the question of how often to take the car out and expose it to winter salt is a tough one. I don't want to let the car sit around all winter without driving it, and I don't want to just run it in place every week or so--that's not supposed to be too good for it either.
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    MGarrison

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    no more steel wheels from tire rack for non-ix, non-M E30's... man... that's crazy-whack!

    You might consider used bottlecaps, if you can find a set unbent from.... anyplace that might have them.

    I wish I could remember where I read it - said that it was best if an engine didn't go longer than 3 days w/out being run (would be nice to hear if anyone else has heard anything like that).

    Massachusetts..... is the weather bad enough that you can't mostly pick & choose clear days to run it, or do you get sub-freezing weeks at a time where you never have a window for relatively snow-free or slush-free driving?

    I recall someone commenting early Acura integra wheels were 4x100 and would fit E30's. I think lots of Hondas were 4x100, but you'd have to doublecheck offset. It's been so long, but I kinda recall hearing that the E30 steels Tire Rack used to sell were a cross-fitment w/ some Volkswagens. Considering that TR is selling new wheels that do fit, I'm not sure if they'd be willing to tell you which other makes would cross-fit. Might be something that could be dug up w/ some diligent googling.

    If you're trying to preserve your E30's body condition for the long haul, it might be better to do some winterization or even prepped & stored than driving it in salt & snow - you have to decide for yourself if you should adopt a conservation mindset about the car.

    Unfortunately for E30 enthusiasts at this point, they're getting rarer, particularly clean ones, except for convertibles (so it seems if you hunt autotrader.com, cars.com, Ebay, and even Roundel). I think the NASA spec E30 series has sucked out many of the 325is cars that would otherwise have been on the market in recent years, and many other E30's have suffered typical age-related attrition.

    Grassroots Motosports magazine I think has a number of advertisers that would have wheels that fit E30's in the increasingly-difficult-to-find 15x7 size - however, those would be expensive enough that you probably wouldn't want those for snows. I think it would be hard to find any 15x7 steel rims. I'd try the big BMW dismantlers that advertise in the Roundel for bottlecaps, maaaaybe even some steel rims. If you can find what cross-fits, other dismantlers/junkyards/enthusiast websites as well.

    So... installing your own roller dyno in your garage is out? Gee, you could run it, never expose it to salt, and you wouldn't need snow tires! :p Oh.. fwiw... probably better to avoid the homemade dyno setup using your wife's bicycle-spinner & kid's skateboard... unless you want to re-create a BMW version of the Ferris Bueller slingshot-the-Ferrari-out-of-the-garage scene! ;)
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    granthr

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    Check with the advertisers in the back of roundel. You should be able to get a set of bottle caps for $100 that are round! Might not look nice, but round.

    I just scored 4 brand new steels on ebay for $67.00. So keep your eyes open you will find them.

    GR
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    Elkoholic

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    I've got some bottlecaps for sale! Set of 5 with tires...let me know if anyone's interested...
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    az3579

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    I've got 4 for sale... without tires.
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    stevehecht

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    Bottlecap or steel. What size? I live in Massachusetts, hopefully not too far. PM'd you.
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    stevehecht

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    Sure there are extended periods with "dry" roads but there is always the possibility of melted and refrozen snow = ice! Also, driving with summer performance tires in sub-freezing weather is not a good idea since the rubber starts to feel like you're on roller skates. I drove my bimmer last winter every 7-14 days on dry days that were 40 degrees and up.
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    az3579

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    I replied to your PM, but for the public record:

    6Jx14 4x100 bottlecaps, (4) for sale/trade/free (would like a trade for something useful/cool)

    If you pay my gas, I'll gladly drive up to MA and deliver them for you, no charge for wheels.
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    MGarrison

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    Sounds like a good plan to me; yes - summer tires are obviously engineered for warmer temps and yup, the colder it gets, the worse they'll do.
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    MGarrison

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    I checked my snow tires, 185/70-14's, on steel wheels. I think BavAuto is the only likely source for E30 steel wheels for snows (14"). I never heard of 4x100 15" steels, although there may have been 5-bolt 15" steels for E30 M3's years ago. Don't know for sure, never had a reason to look for M3 steel wheels years ago when they might have been available.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Bottlecaps usually sell for less than their scrap value. They are cheaper than steels. They only have to be mostly round and not cracked.

    190604 guest

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    This is perhaps belaboring the point, but 4X100 15" steel wheels are (or were) available for the E30 325iX. I have a set for my 325iX that I think the PO purchased as a package deal from Tire Rack.

    With the differences in offsets, I don't know whether or not these would work on a non-iX E30.

    Digby
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    MGarrison

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    afaik, the 'ix offset won't fit non-ix, non-M3, E30's - I wonder if it would, using a spacer? At least we know there were 15" steels that fit 'ix's - thx for that update, Digby.
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    stevehecht

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    Just to let folks know how things turned out for my winter setup: Botond Pal ("az3579") was kind enough to deliver a free set of nice looking bottle caps to my door. We had a good afternoon hanging out a bit and driving each other's car. Then I came up with a set of 185/70-14 Vredestein Snowtracs in almost new condition for $150 from a bimmer enthusiast nearby, courtesy of a thread in The Car Loungs (VwVortex). So my total setup cost me $150 plus $20 for four centercaps. Vredesteins are made in Holland and are not well-known here, but they always get excellent ratings in winter tire testing.
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    MGarrison

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    Vredesteins! Geez haven't thought about that in ages - I think I had a set of those on my 320i years ago! :)
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    stevehecht

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    They're not easy to find. I wanted to get a set of the Snowtrac 2s, but they don't make them in the size I needed. And the Snowtrac 3s have been top-rated in Europe (beating Michelin) but they won't be here until next year. All the Vredesteins are lookers too.

    190604 guest

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    Fwiw, I use hand-made 145 psi high-speed Vredesteins on my racing bicycle and they appear to be of excellent quality.

    Now that I know they make automobile tires as well, I'll look to see what they might also have available in winter tires for my E30 325 iX.

    Digby

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