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Wheels for E30 - Lightweight or not?

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by az3579, Apr 12, 2008.

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    az3579

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    I'm contemplating on upgrading my current wheels on my E30 for something else as soon as I require a tire change. Currently, I run 195/65HR-14 tires on the stock bottlecap eyesores.

    Originally, I wanted to get 16" rims, but someone mentioned to me lightweight rims and was recommending them. I've seen quite a few other E30's with 15" rims, and while I don't think they look all that good on 'only' 15's, I wondered if there really is a performance difference in getting lightweight rims.

    Would the performance impact be noticeable? If not, would someone be able to recommend anything for 16's?



    For reference, my wheels are 4-lug. I've seen adapters on eBay for abour $130; anyone know if they're worth buying?
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    kkratoch

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    I think it all comes down to personal preference. I suggest you look on www.tirerack.com. You can get lightweight 16' wheels (12.8 lbs) if that is what you want. According to their site, 14" to 17" will fit. Take a look around and see what you like.

    If it were my car, I would probably go with 16's. A set of O.Z.'s caught my eye at 16.0 lbs.for $223 each asking for 205/50-16 rubber. Again, you drive it and you should choose what you like best.

    Also I don't think any adapters would be needed as these should just bolt right on.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Well 16's would probably be my best bet. Potholes are notorious around here...

    I really liked the design of the O.Z. rims (we both are eyeing the O.Z. Ultraleggera!), but I'm hesitant because at $223/ea. I just have a hard time letting go of over a grand on rims. I know I won't get much for under that price, but there's got to be something much cheaper. I also have to get rubber for it as well, and a grand is quite a bit of money to me. That's why I own an E30; overall one of the cheapest bimmers to spend on!


    Isn't there anything cheaper that looks decent? And does lightweight really make any difference?
    • Member

    kkratoch

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    Well they carry cheaper wheels but you then have the trade off of more weight, so again it comes down to what is more important to YOU. You may want to start by finding out how much you factory wheels weigh to get an idea of performance of the new wheel in comparison to the old.

    EDIT - You may also want to read up on unsprung weight to decide if worrying about weight is worth the effort for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsprung_weight

    182364 guest

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    Lightweight wheels for E30

    You might try Kosei wheels. I just purchased a set of 18 x 8.5's for $165 each (K1 Racing is the model). If you go to www.tirerack.com and search for wheels, you can search by vehicle make and model year for wheels to fit your car. When you get the search results, you can sort by price or filter on various criteria, including manufacturer name.

    They will give you thumbnail photos, and you can pull up larger photos of the ones you like. You can even see it on the car. (there will be a link that says ' view on the car' or something like that).

    You have to click into the wheel description to get the weight. Not all of them list the weight, but many do.

    In general 15's will be lighter than 16's and lighter is the way to go. The advantages of lighter wheel / tire weight are:

    1). Less unsprung weight allows your suspension and shocks to maintain better control of wheel movement, keeping the tire in closer contact with the road, and generally improving both ride and handling.

    2) Less rotational inertia allows the wheel and tire to stop and start more quickly, improving acceleration and braking and giving a more lively feel.

    The 15" wheel (with appropriately sized tires) will ride better and is less likely to take pothole or curb damage, becuase you typically have a bit more sidewall to absorb the bumps and protect from curb rash.

    Usually, the 15 inch wheels and tires will also be less expensive.

    The only downside is that you may not get quite as quick steering response, as you would with a 16 and a lower profile tire. You might get just a bit more ultimate grip with the lower profile tire as well.

    It may well come down to which tires are available in each size. Most tire manufacturers put their latest and greatest performance technolgy into the larger rim diameter sizes. If the same model performance tire is available in both 15 and 16, try the 15's. If you have to go to 16's to get the best performance tires, then that is probably the better way to go.

    Check out tirerack.com. They have a great website with lots of tech articles on wheels and tires, road tests / comparisons of tires and owner reviews. You should be able to find just what you want and they have some of the best prices around.

    I have bought tires from them many times and always got great service and prices.

    jmalter guest

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    hi az3579,

    I can identify w/ your need to graduate from 14" stock-wheels, but I'd advise you don't jump up to 16" wheels right away. I recall that moving up from the original 195/65-14 all-weather tires to 15" wheels w/ high-performance 205/50-15 tires was a quantum-jump in the handling-performance that took me more than a year to learn. S'truth, it was easier to drive my car fast on its OEM setup, than it was to drive it faster on the +1 wheels/tires.

    If you're going to invest some serious money in a wheel/tire upgrade, you should also accept that 1) your car's handling characteristics will be *totally different* & you'll have to re-learn how to drive it, 2) the pothole you just thumped over would've been just a very loud noise w/ a 65-sidewall tire but now will be a major repair-expense, 'cos you've just bent a wheel, & 3) if you've only bought a set of 4, & now one of them is damaged, you're back to mounting your old set of 14" until you've got your repairs completed.

    I don't want to dissuade you from upgrading your shoes, but would like to advise you that your budget-number should include at least 5 (if not 6) of your chosen wheel/tire combination, as well as the track-time or skid-pad time needed to re-learn how to drive your car w/ its new rubber. Where again, a set of 4 just ain't enough, if you've flat-spotted your left-front tire on-track & don't have a spare ready to mount, you're just as screwed as you'd be on the street if you'd just ripped your right-rear against a curb & din't have a same-size spare in your trunk's wheel-well.

    Also, FWIW, I've found tirerack.com to be *entirely reliable*. I used to just order sets of tires from them, & they'd be delivered to my mechanic's shop. Now they've got user-feedback on all the tires they sell, I just bought a set of Goodyear Eagle F1/GS-D3s based on their charting of dry-traction & hydroplane-resistance, those folks were bang on, these tires are great!
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    az3579

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    Well in the time that has past since starting this thread, I have gotten a hold of (4) Kosei K1 rims with R-compound tires on them (205/50-15). Those are fine and dandy for the track, but for the street, I have to be disappointed on a regular basis. I look at the car from the side and the profile is striking; but then my eyes meet the bottom and see lots of rubber and ugly bottlecraps. I find these stock rims to be repulsive.



    Anyone willing to donate some 15" basketweaves for street use? :p



    I don't want to have to swap the tires out of the K1's every time I want to use them on the street. In fact, I only have 4, so I'm better off keeping those for the track and getting something else in place of my bottlecraps.



    But since I've finally gotten a separate set of rims/tires for track use, my nerves have eased a bit. Now I don't have to worry much about having to buy new tires so quickly if I was to use my street tires for the track as well.

    If I had the money, I would love to get the O.Z. Ultraleggera from TireRack as it's the only rim that I truly like from there. Problem is, the smallest those come in are 16's. Would potholes (which are a "feature" of this city) really affect the rims that much if I had 205/50-16 tires to match?
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    MGarrison

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    I like the looks of Konig Rewind wheels a lot, for a 15x7 E30 fitment -

    http://www.tiredealersites.com/konig2/default.aspx?PageData=wheelDetails&wid=12260

    I would like to know why the Tire Rack doesn't carry these wheels.

    Generally, I'd say potholes are always going to be a concern. A 205 w/ a 50 aspect ratio, you don't have all that much sidewall height. Over the years I've typically run 225/50/15's and have had pretty fair luck not bending rims with any frequency. That extra width means you might well have to roll the front fender lips if you consider that route, however.

    If you're gonna be doing snow driving, keep the bottle caps for snow tires.

    If you hunt ebay, you can probably either dig up, or piece together some E30 'is basketweaves (14x6.5"). They're a pain-in-the-tail to clean though, scrubbing the brake dust out of the holes between all the spokes. If you like the look though, you may be willing to make that tradeoff.

    Did you get the hub centering rings w/ the kosei's?

    Dr Obnxs guest

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    I did the math...

    and the weight savings from dropping weight in wheels and tires varies all over the place, but the rotational moment contributes about 1.6x and the straight mass 1x for a 2.6x for doing acceleration calculations. For unsprung weight stuff the moment of inertial doesn't come in and it's just a 1x effect.

    If you've got R-compound, you've got to get a second set of wheels for street use for sure.

    Kazera KZ-Vs are light and cheap, and available from TireRack. Edge Racing (http://www.edgeracing.com/) carries inexpensive wheel tire combos, but don't use thier lug nuts. I know more than one person who's had issues with them.

    Matt
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    az3579

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    Not exactly my cup of tea. Looks too "bubbly" for me. I like rims that look sharp and not something that looks like it would come stock with a car. Those rims, for some reason, remind me of Mini rims...


    I have no clue what those even are, to be honest. I didn't buy them new; I heard you can't get them in 15" anymore so I bought them from an individual. He ran it in his E30 as well.




    I like the Kazera KZ-V; do they have them in a darker color, gunmetal or black, perhaps?

    Well, the current second set of wheels I've got are the current bottlecraps. These are what I'm wanting to replace for street use. I don't particularly fancy the K1's I've got, but those are for track use and the tires already came mounted, for an excellent price to boot, so I took 'em. For street use, however, I'd like something that I like the look of.



    If that's not much of a gap between the road and the rim, then why on earth do manufacturers assume everybody lives in a place where no potholes exist and ship their cars with a 35 ratio? As far as I know, about 80% of the human (driving) population lives in a place where there are potholes galore. Those that buy new BMW's or Lexus' surely don't get a 50 sidewall, but something less.
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    MGarrison

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    I presume every aspect of new vehicle's suspensions are engineered to be able to handle the majority of road conditions that exist, taking into consideration of customer preferences these days for low-profile wheels/tires. E30 stock suspension performs reasonably well with the compliance that it has. If you don't put on lowering springs and sport shocks, you still have a pretty compliant suspension adding lower profile wheels/tires. If you want max handling, you end up doing more. I have eibach springs/koni sport shocks, and running 225/50's on the street, still haven't had much problem bending a rim. If you make a point of attempting to dodge the worst bumps an potholes, 205/50's by and large probably will be fine. Seems like in another post, several other posters say they use that size tire.

    You'd have to check w/ Konig about color options, I don't know offhand.

    The Konig Rewind's are just a classic old-school look, basically a Minilite look-alike. The basic minilite look goes way back - 60's, if not 50's. http://www.minilitewheels.us/ I think Minilites may have been used on original Minis, not sure.

    My 15" Kosei's center hubs are a little larger diameter than the E30 hub, they need a centering ring for proper mounting. They apparently have plastic and metal rings, I have sets of both. If your wheels are the same as mine, it's possible yours are in the wheel hubs already. If so, great, just keep track of them, don't let them fall out or lose 'em. If you need them, they can probably be obtained from the Tire Rack.
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    az3579

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    Just an update...


    I finally decided to "try on" the rims that I got (Kosei K1's with R-rubber) just to see how it looks. Honestly, it looks really funky. The ride height is stock and the rims are only 15" with 205/50 rubber. I've uploaded a pic to show the difference between the stock rim and the Kosei:

    [IMG]


    Even with a lowering kit, wouldn't that still look weird? Wouldn't 16's be the best option to go with?
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    MGarrison

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    225/50-15's fill up the wheel wells fine on mine w/ eibach springs - for rim protection in street driving, I wouldn't recommend 225/45's, or 205/50's. Minimal sidewall height is desirable for track/auto-x duty, but places you at greater risk of bending a rim on the street.

    +'s & -'s: 15" tires are less expensive than 16", but you have less selection. However, since you already have some 15" wheels, you could try 15" tires when ready, vs. the expense of a set of 16" rims.
    • Member

    az3579

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    I was originally going to try on some high-performance summer tires on the 15's when the track tires wear out so I could use them on the road as well. Wanted to see how well the 50's look and I must say, I'm rather disappointed. I've seen cars with a 35 height that look the same as these, only these look small and puny because they're only 15". I've seen 16" wheels on this car before and they look about right in size with the same 50 height. Maybe these would look better on 205/55 tires instead?

    I've checked tire rack and their tire size recommendations seem pretty consistent. For the 15" wheels, they recommend 205/55-15 tires and for the 16" wheels, they recommend 205/50-15. Maybe the 15's really would look better with a 55 sidewall height?

    jmalter guest

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    wrt the imagefile you posted, IMO you should try again - 'cos your just-changed rear-ride-height will settle down substantially after a mile or three of driving.

    Ev'ry time I let my car down off the jack, the shocks aren't fully-compressed 'til after I motor around for a bit.

    For your own comparison use, 1st take a side-view pic w/ the stock-wheels, also measure the height from the road-surface to the top of the f/r fender-arches. Then change the wheels, take a 2nd pic and measure the fender-arch heights. But in each case, drive the car awhile to let the shocks settle down, also, take the pics w/ the car parked in the same place & the camera in the same position.

    I think your car looks great! It's a lovely color that's set off perfectly by the black-out trim. If I might suggest, euro bumper-shocks to reduce the bumper-extension-dimension? Painting the bumpers (either black-out or to match the body-color) would also look fair' nifty.
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    az3579

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    Cool! Learned something new.
    I doubt it will be low enough to not look goofy though, but I'll give it a try. I didn't have the guts to change the front wheels because the jack starting moving as I was jacking the car up and didn't feel like having it slip and crash down. I need to find a section of the driveway that isn't slanted or sloped in some way. The garage is filled with crap so no space there.

    Danke. :)
    I wanted to fit Euro bumpers (non-diving boards) but I hear the conversion is really difficult and not to mention expensive. If I can't have Euro bumpers, then I don't want anything at all. I'm gonna leave these the way they are. Maybe if I get convinced, then down the road I'll shorten the extension, but I didn't think it looked right with diving boards.




    But then again, I've changed my mind about a lot of things, like exhaust sounds. I hated loud exhausts and still do, but mine is cutom tuned and nobody has an exhaust sound like mine. :D



    Anyway, how much of a lowering do you expect after riding around for a while? Is it because of the different weight of the tires/wheels?
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    The tires and wheels are unsprung weight - they have no effect on the suspension settling after you have it jacked up. It's simply because when you jack it up you completely extend and unload the suspension (as mentioned). So, when you put it back on the ground, the shocks are still somewhat extended, plus the suspension's going to be somewhat de-cambered, and the car will be sitting a tad higher than normal. There's probably a measurable but not perceptible amount of deflection to the unibody when suspended w/ the wheels off the ground as well.

    Driving it will re-settle the suspension in short order.

    If you are not on level ground (actually, even if you are) you should always put on the parking brake (assuming the parking brake functions properly) AND chock a wheel opposite of the end/side you're jacking up. There's a oem chock that should be w/ the car - if yours is missing, might be worth obtaining, probably easily found on Ebay, might not even be all that much new.

    The tire rack is typically conservative in their width recommendations, because they know they'll have unhappy customers if a recommended size rubs fenders or fender wells. A 205 width tire will fit without rubbing, absolutely (on rims w/ the proper offset range). 225's can catch the top of the fender lip, and bend it out. Fixable by rolling the fenders, but rolling the fenders so you don't crack the paint is a slow process w/ no guarantees, but it can be done. It was done on my car w/ a large pipe in about 4 minutes for both sides, so needless to say there's not much paint on the fender lips (which I wasn't much concerned about anyway). I'm not quite sure about stock ride height clearance, but 225's may be somewhat less likely to catch the fender lip w/ stock ride-height; however, a stock suspension is also going to lean more in corners than a lowered car, but then w/ a lowered car, there's less clearance - could be a wash, not sure.

    One other thought - using a smaller diameter wheel/tire combination acts like a differential ratio change in favor of better acceleration (numerically higher). You'll run through the gears a smidge more quickly the smaller diameter wheel/tire combination you use. If 205/50/15's are smaller diameter than your stock wheels, you'll probably be able to feel the difference in acceleration.
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    az3579

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    There has been an update.


    I finally got around to calling the Tire Rack about lowering and the 16" rims they have available for my car. They say that if I lower it using the springs they sell and I put the 16" rims on there, the tires will not rub (205-50). That clears up a lot of choices I've got.


    I've got a few choices but I'm absolutely torn on what to select. So, I put the question up to everyone to see what y'all think.


    #1: 15" BBS Basketweave, 4x100, 15x7 shipped from Germany, used but in excellent condition with tires. Don't know what the price is yet; it's still pending. Any idea of what shipping might be, in Euros? Has center caps so it reduces the risk of theft.
    My brother says they would look stupid and that they would look too "stock", but I think they look awesome and like the fact that they came stock with the car. I would be willing to spend up to about $350 including shipping to the U.S.
    Click here for pic

    #2: 16" O.Z. Ultraleggera, 4x100, 16x7 shipped from Tire Rack, new, not including tires. $215/pc. Tire Rack says they do not have locking lugs available for it, but there might be another solution to this problem. This would clearly be the most expensive option because I'd have to buy all 4 (maybe a spare as well - hope it fits in the spare wheel well) and have to get new tires for them. This would be a long-term upgrade (over a few months).
    Click here for pic

    #3: 16" O.Z. Superturismo GT, 4x100, 16x7 shipped from Tire Rack, new, not including tires. $190/pc. No locking nuts, says Tire Rack, possible aftermarket solution to this problem. Second most expensive solution, have to buy 4 rims (maybe a spare) and tires. This would be a long-term upgrade over the course of a few months.
    Click here for pic

    #4: 16" O.Z. Record, 4x100, 16x7 shipped from Tire Rack, new, not including tires. $138/pc. No locking nuts, says Tire Rack, possible aftermarket solution to this problem. Possibly third most expensive solution, have to buy 4 rims (maybe a spare) and tires. Long-term upgrade.
    Click here for pic

    #5: 16" ROH wheels (never heard of ROH), Alpina style, 4x100, 16x6.5, eBay item, new, not including tires. $399 for a set of 4 (~$99.75/pc). Don't know about locking nuts (need them). Need tires. Would have to pay all up front for just the rims.
    Click here for pic


    The BBS Basketweaves have the potential to be the cheapest option because they include the rims AND tires. Problem is, I don't know how much they usually go for.


    I managed to decipher the German eBay site just enough to see that there has been a set of 4 of these sold for about 120 Euros, 150 after shipping. I don't remmeber if they had tires, but I do remember that they weren't nearly as good in condition as the ones I'm considering. The selling prices seem to fluctuate; some are sold for cheap, some are sold for a lot (some good condition ones were cheap as well).


    What do you guys think would look best? The car will be lowered an inch later down the line.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Couldn't be bothered to read all of this. My $0.02- 15" with 205/55 tires are great. This is the setup I ran until I got a free set of 205/60s. The handling was better with the 55s, the ride is better with the 60s. 16s are pretty harsh on these cars. M3s had 16s (wrong bolt pattern, but you knew that) and I have driven a few. Great handling, very jarring ride on potholes. Remember that if you plan to lower your car (and you should) you will need stiffer springs. Add potentially heavier wheels, and you can dramatically change the ride of the car. Unsprung weight is not just a 1x thing when you add the lever arm into it, because there is still a moment of inertia about the pivot point of the control arm to consider. Totally correct about the moment of inertia for both acceleration and braking. Heavier wheels will reduce the "delivered horsepower" of the car. They will increase acceleration times, which is exactly like reducing the amount of power the car produces. Since this is your daily driver and you live up north, might I recommend 15" wheels, and Conti Extreme Contact tires in 205/55 size? I have been extremely happy with that setup in rain and snow, and they lasted a very long time when I was commuting 75 miles each way. Good price, too. I tried Kumho ASXs mostly so I could rotate them without pulling them from the rim (the Contis are unidirectional and my high miles commuting always wore the left side tires.) They were so-so (quieter, but not as good in rain or snow, not as sticky in the dry.) Good luck.
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    CRKrieger

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    You will get absolutely raped for shipping charges from Europe. For what you will pay to get those wheels here, you could buy a second set of used ones here.

    Are you on any other forums? I mean, I can pick up a decent set of used E28 wheels & tires for around $400 plus shipping almost every week. It seems there ought to be a lot more E30 sets out there floating around. If I were looking at this choice, I wouldn't go near a 16" wheel on an E30. Even on my E28 (that can keep up with the E30 M3), a 16" wheel is a noticeable hit in terms of acceleration and handling dynamics. I prefer my slightly undersize (the OEM TRX wheel is 15.35") 15" wheels. This all changes if looks, and not performance, is your primary concern.

    One thing that I am sure you're overlooking here is the 'cleanliness factor'. Bottlecaps are easy to clean, even when you're a bit thorough with the holes. A BBS cross-spoke is a PITA. DAMHIK. :mad: As long as you are prepared for that constant bother, the cross-spoke isn't a bad choice. So what if it looks 'stock'? BBS supplied stock wheels to BMW. They also put them on IMSA GT Prototypes. Nothin' wrong with that.

    Another thing you might consider is other manufacturers' stock alloys. I know the old VW GTi wheel was a 4x100 (as were a lot of FWD cars as well as a few '80s Audi Quattros) and I think the offset is close to the E30. I've seen a set on one. The only caveat there is, if you go to either VW or Honda, those wheels use a ball seat bolt hole, not the conical taper that BMW and almost everyone else uses. Conical bolts will tear up the bolt hole and ruin the wheel. Therefore, you have to use VW bolts.

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