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E30 roof rack for transporting wheels/tires?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by KentBMW, Aug 19, 2018.

    • Member

    KentBMW

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    I'm seeking recommendations for a high-quality roof rack to transport a set of wheels/tires on top of my E30 track car. I can put one in the spare tire well but the roll cage and 'gear' take up all other available space so need a rack that will carry at least 3 wheels/tires. (The car is streetable and I don't have a truck/trailer, so looking for a way to haul track tires from home to track.) Thanks!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    One of the little tire-hauling trailers is an easier solution, certainly would beat having to heave the wheels onto the roof and securing them. Plus, the trailer offloads a good bit of that extra suspension-compressing weight, which can be a bit of a concern on a lowered E30. There was a company called Da Lan that made trailer hitches for early and late e30's, I recall doing some googling awhile back they'd been bought by another company but I think I saw some website where they were available... ok, found it (Curt, now) - I had this one, '87 w/ big bumpers, you have to drill holes in the bumper and trunk, no big deal, you just have to make sure the receiver for the hitch is aligned straight and seal up the trunk holes with some dum-dum on the mounting washers (or, do it right and primer and paint the exposed trunk bolt-hole edges, then seal). I pulled a trailer w/ a 4'x8' bed to the track for ages, no problem (that big of a trailer is way overkill though, the smaller tire haulers are much lighter n' easier).

    http://www.hitchsource.com/bmw-series-trailer-hitch-84-90-class-p-27586.html

    Or this one for later small-bumper E30's -

    http://www.hitchsource.com/bmw-series-trailer-hitch-89-93-class-p-27574.html

    Of course, yes, with a trailer, you have to have someplace to stow it, most small ones you can figure out a way to set them vertical. These look pretty awesome - http://www.leroyengineering.com/leroy_tire_trailer.php; of course you can build a harbor freight cheaply enough, just don't go with the weensy 8" wheels n' tires - ensuring proper assembly and following all directions is important though, saw a story of someone who had one fail and nearly cause an accident, so there are downsides to the bolted-together route; wheels/tires should go ahead of a tool box and be towards the trunk for proper tongue weight & weight distribution. Also, trailer tires should be replaced every 6 years lest risking a blowout. Ok, so if a trailer's out of consideration for now, you can stow that info if the day comes you do want a trailer.

    Thule & Yakima are main names in racks - looks like a pretty good discussion here, I didn't read it all:

    https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=257499

    If you go the roof rack route, my thought would be get an additional crossbar and mounts, and rig it up with a platform or a few pieces of something long & flat enough for the tires to lay on, something setup to have 3 or 4 tires on the roof (4 in a 2x2 square grid, 3 in a triangle I suppose) with the tires laying flat to reduce your overall height and wind resistance. Obviously they need to be secured to the roof in as fail-proof fashion as may be had; also you'll want some way to secure them from theft.

    Not sure how much stuff you're packing in the car or your rollbar setup, but on a trip sharing a friend's E30 M3 a couple of times for track weekends, it has the back seat upper & lower removed - with a spare in the trunk well, we were able to wrangle the other three 225/50-15's underneath the crossbar space of the driver's side cross brace and stow another 3 tires in the rear seat area, along with a bunch of other stuff (soft packables, mostly) - this was possible because the driver's seat was on sliders and could be moved forward enough - a non-folding seat might be able to go far enough forward, but these were 2-piece reclining recaros you can flip forward, which made it do-able. If seats aren't on sliders, not sure I'd see anyway to do it short of pulling the seat, which of course is a bit of a hassle, and another issue would be, might not be doable if running wider than 225's or bigger dia. wheels, like 16" wheels. That's one where you'd have to try and see what fits. Also, this was a 4-pt. bolt-in rollbar (autopower with harness mount cross bars), which leaves the rear seat space open - obviously a rollbar setup with additional rear & downward angle x-bracing, no room for wheels/tires w/ that setup; you mention a cage, of course the doorbars of a full cage setup could well preclude wrangling anything through cross-bar openings. If your seat's on sliders, maybe a wheel in the passenger side, over the tunnel and behind the driver's seat into the rear seat, if the driver's seat can go forward enough?

    Also, welcome to the club & forums!
    • Member

    KentBMW

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    MGarrison, many thanks for your helpful and well-thought-out response. Transporting in the cabin isn't possible due to full welded cage, immovable race seats, a passenger and 235/40-17 tire size. Putting a hitch on a track car feels like a 'violation' but it is probably more practical if nobody makes a roof rack well-suited to hauling tires. And the Leroy Engineering trailers appear to be top-quality. Thanks again!!

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