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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 04-13-2004, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm looking to change my rims (wider, taller i.e. 16 or 17") as well as lowering the suspention.

What do you think of the after market rims sold at tire rack or tires.com? If I follow their recommondations for plus 2 or 3 will they fit the car? Will I need spacers?

I also have been looking at new springs and shocks to lower the car a little. I found one set of springs which would lower the car ~1.3". If I install these springs do I have to have the front end realigned? Any recommendations for sping kits? If I lower the car is there an issue with the wheels rubbing?

Any help or advice welcomed
Jim
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I recently called my dealer and asked about lowering the car and was told the alignment would be have to be changed. He also said something about the cambers(??not sure if that's what it was, i've never heard that term berfore) needing to be adusted. He made it sound like lowering the car was a bad idea=/
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I haven't got any real experience of lowering BMWs but it's something I'm considering doing on mine... probably Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs. I was looking for details on this and I found

E30 suspension

which is pretty comprehensive. It says, and this guy seems to know what he's talking about, that if you lower the car more than 30mm (about 1.3") that you'll run into cambering issues.

Cambering is when the wheels aren't vertical to the road. So they're like / or \ instead of I. If they're angled then you're wearing tyres unevenly because of uneven pressure, burning more fuel/accelerating worse than you need because you're getting less grip and the steering will be uneven. If you take your hands off the steering, the car will wander across the road. Bad bad thing and it's not adjustable on the rear to compensate ghead.
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I have a new e46, but that's exactly what he said about the rear:that there was no room to adjust it.
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Old 04-13-2004, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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a 17x7 wheel with a 20mm offset, 215/40 tires, and a 1.3" drop will fit without spacers or fender modification. i ran that setup a while back on my e30.

camber is the angle at which the wheels tilt away from vertical, if they are tilting in towards the fender you have negative camber, if it is tilting away from the fender you have positive camber. negative camber makes the car more stable and have a lot more grip at the expense of tire wear, you'll notice race cars have quite a bit of negative camber since they can change tires in about 10sec. positive camber is ugly, affects tire wear and stability, and most likely means your strut or trailing arm is bent. camber is not adjustable on e30's, but can be corrected at a high cost with the installation of adjustable camber plates or offset bearings.
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Old 04-13-2004, 06:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm. Something I've been wondering, kind of on-topic... what is the widest tyre you can put on standard factory 14" bottlecap alloys (6J14H I think is stamped on the wheels)? 175/75 came as standard, I've got a set of Pirelli P6000 195/60s on there at the moment... how much wider can you go?
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Old 04-13-2004, 07:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by broketiltuesday@Apr 13 2004, 07:02 PM
Hmm. Something I've been wondering, kind of on-topic... what is the widest tyre you can put on standard factory 14" bottlecap alloys (6J14H I think is stamped on the wheels)? 175/75 came as standard, I've got a set of Pirelli P6000 195/65s on there at the moment... how much wider can you go?
you can fit 225's with no modification with stock ride height, and on lowered pre88 e30s, but i dont think a 225 14" tire is very common. you'll have much more selection in 205/60
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Old 04-14-2004, 01:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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MrM3 - whoever you are, thank you... THANK YOU.... for staying on this board & doing a good job to correcting the enormous amounts of mis-information on this forum... so i don't have to with that, i'll share my thoughts anyway

you can lower your e30 w/ something like H&R Sport Springs or Eibach Pro-kit coupled w/ Bilstine Sport Shocks & Struts (the most popular spring & shock/strut choices for introductory suspension mods) w/ no problems whatsoever. yes, your negative camber will increase a tad and there's nothing you can do about it w/o spending serious dough, but that's nothing worth fretting about... it'll just increase handling w/o noticably increasing tire wear.

widest tire appropriate for bottlecaps are 205's, although 215's are possible as well (just less likely to be found at a reasonable price)

a 17" rim, in my oppinion, is asthetically (and performance.... ly? ) too large for a non-///M e30. unless you spend some serious big bucks, they'll be heavy & they'll slow you down... as well as look too big.
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Old 04-14-2004, 05:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I didn't realise that negative camber could be a good thing... thinking about it, I guess it makes sense. But I've hardly been posting misinformation?

Hehe. Anyway. So is there a difference in ride height between pre-87 and facelifted 88- models? I own an early '87 318, and I see a '91, end of line I guess, E30 320i parked in the car park at work. Both cars have the same bottlecap alloys and similarly profiled tyres (195/60 vs 175/75), but mine, the older 318 seems to have a larger gap between the wheel arch and top of the tyre. We're talking some distance here, a few inches. The later 320i has a much smaller gap, but the underside of both cars looks to be a similar height off the road. I thought it was just some kind of optical illusion but I'm used to being wrong.

I thought the facelift changes were basically cosmetic... new-style lights, different trim and bumpers etc, and not suspension based? Or were the fenders/wheel arches redesigned slightly too?

Wider radius wheels have a greater inertia... being like a "rotational mass"... that makes them harder to spin. As things with more weight need more force to lift, so wheels with a greater inertia need more force to spin. If your engine outputs the same amount of turning force torque but the inertia of the wheels is increased, the rpm of the wheels for a given rpm of the engine will decrease and the car will slow down.

Thanks for putting up with another question!
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Old 04-14-2004, 03:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by broketiltuesday@Apr 14 2004, 05:53 AM

I thought the facelift changes were basically cosmetic... new-style lights, different trim and bumpers etc, and not suspension based? Or were the fenders/wheel arches redesigned slightly too?

you're right. there may be some slight variation in ride height when you compare two e30's with different engines and production years, but the biggest difference is that 84-87 e30's had higher cut rear fender arches which would cause the effect of a early model sitting higher from the road than a newer model
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