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Newbie looking for tire guidance

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by BruceBeauchamp, Jul 12, 2010.

    BruceBeauchamp guest

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    Hello all,

    I'm a newbie here. We had an E36 many years ago, loved it. Recently acquired a mint and sweet E46 330 Ci convertible with the ZSP sport package, and guess what, WE LOVE IT! But it's going to need tires soon and I'm lost. Presently it has Bridgestone Pontenza RE40 ZR18 225/40 front and 255/35 back. They seem OK, about the only complaint is that I don't like the way it handles on the snow tire damaged roads here in the northwest. The tires seem to tug me all over the place when dealing with the ruts.

    Here is the help I'm looking for:

    (1) I don't want to lose the BMW on-center feel. If anything I want more of it.
    (2) I enjoy driving briskly but we're in our early 60's so brisk to us is probably tame for you whippersnappers.
    (3) Feel and handling is more important than noise and longevity but I'd like it all, if possible.
    (4) I'd like to spend less than $400 per wheel.

    Thanks so much in advance for guidance on this!

    Bruce
    • Member

    floydarogers

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    You're kind of asking for two different things. The tramlining (rut following) and crashing on potholes is due to the low-profile sport package setup. You won't be really able to address those complaints without changing the wheels to something in the 17" diameter (and even then it won't be totally gone, only reduced in severity). Changing tires to a lower performance type likely won't be possible because the sizes you need are only available as high performance ones similar to what you already have.

    That being said, you can go to tirerack.com, plug in your car and see what's available. Takes only a couple of minutes - after going for the lowest performance available in those sizes, you've got a Continental set at $151/$214 and a Pirelli set for $132/$167. Either might be at least a little better than your current ones.

    If you decide to get a little softer handling and ride with less tramlining, use tirerack to find a 17" wheel and tire setup (the wheels and tires should be the same all around, and should be either 17"x7.5" or 17"x8" with 225/45R17 tires.) The price should be under the $400 per corner budget you propose. You can choose the non-sport package 330CiC to find wheels/tires for that size, I think.

    I suppose you could go to a 205/50R17 on 17"x7" or17"x 7.5" wide rims for an even softer ride - if you decide to get snow tires that's the size you should get, by the way. That's what came on non-sport package 330i's.
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    CRKrieger

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    I can hardly add anything to that. Good advice. ;)

    BruceBeauchamp guest

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    OK, thanks very much for the well thought comments and clarification. I love the feel of the car now, so if the ZSP and 18 inch wheels significantly contribute to that feel, I'm not inclined to change the wheels or suspension. For further clarification then; I guess I am looking for experience on selecting tires for the 330 Cic with the ZSP package and the 18 inch wheels. If studded tire rut damaged northwest roads means putting up with tramlining, so be it but if that annoyance can possibly be reduced somewhat with the right tires, I figure there's no harm in asking the question.
    • Member

    floydarogers

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    Yes. I plugged in "330 convertible sport package" into tirerack, then de-selected everything but H-rated tires (down at the bottom left) to come up with the Conti & Pirelli tires (you don't want the Hoosiers that were also listed.) If you click the "OEM" tab at the top it will give you some other options (mostly higher-speed V-rated tires) that you might well consider, too. Lower-speed-rated tires often are less susceptible to the foibles of high-performance/high-speed tires, but definitely YMMV (as the inclusion of the Hoosiers in H-rated tires shows).

    I would expect new tires - at least for the first 5-10K - to not tramline as much as worn tires, in any case.

    Anything tirerack sells is good stuff; look at their tire reviews and recommendations that are listed for each tire. One last thing - you can reduce the tires listed by de-selecting Run-Flats - E46 all had spares and jacks.
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    eam3

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    No experience on snow-rutted roads since I'm in south Florida but I'm currently running Nitto NT555s on my ZHP 330Ci and they have been wonderful in dry and wet conditions.

    BruceBeauchamp guest

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    OK. Thanks. Seems like slim pickings with that source. I checked Discount Tire and they have a lot more to choose from for my car. The reviews on the Yokohama S.Drive sound very strong. Anyone have any experience with that one?
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    CRKrieger

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    Huh? :eek: Tire Rack sells Yokohamas. Maybe you filtered your search too much, but I remember seeing the S Drive tire there last week.

    feedftr guest

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    I have a 330Ci with the sport package and 17" wheels. It did the same thing with the original tires (Dunlops). I put Michelin Pilot Sport 2's on it and it is a different car, tracks much straighter with a tighter feel at the wheel.

    One other thing you might check it the front control arm bushings. Mine were completely shot at 60000 miles.

    rscsi guest

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    Tire Choices

    I just bought a 1973 CSi and have purchased new wheels: 5 X 120 E16.2 16x7. Now what tire to buy? I will likely drive the car in spring, summer, fall and will drive in a fairly spirited manner. I've looked at Tire Rack reviews but each tire seems to have so many differing viewpoints that I'm left more confused than ever. Any advice? Thanks.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    Do a sort by size and price, then look at the overall rating numbers. That's why I'm even more confident in recommending Yokohamas. You'll find critics of every brand and model, but the rating is a number generated by all those who rated the tires. Either Yokohamas have a very loyal customer base - or they're very good. I'm going with 'good'.
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    Brian A

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    Sorry to say, but Tire Rack is as good as you can get. On a forum, all you'll get are individual opinions which comes down to selecting the most adamant or persuasive.

    To complicate things, for convertibles its worthwhile comparing tire noise ratings too since you can hear a lot more road noise in a convertible. Some tires get awful noise ratings and others great.

    EDIT:
    Krieger: We concurrently posted: I did not aim my comment directly at you.

    (... dang! Missed him.)
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    14th BMW

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    Vintage Forum

    You should really pose this question to the people who own and know that car at e9coupe.com. That much older of a model is going to have peculiarities in the suspension, etc., that might work great with certain types of tires, but not with others. Those folks can give you real world advice.

    Freude am Fahren...
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    As someone who owns an E3, I can say ... not really. The E9 is very like the E3 and both are very like the E12, which in turn is very like the E28, etc. Once BMW went to the offset steering pivot McPherson strut design and semi-trailing rear axle in the late '60s, suspensions for the larger cars were all pretty much the same through the middle '90s.

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