Jul 12, 2019 update to the BMW 318is project car

Project BMW 318is: New Wheels And Tires

When we bought our 1991 BMW 318is for $450, it had a myriad of issues, namely, a very broken engine. After completely rebuilding and hopping up our engine thanks to our friends over at Metric Mechanic, we set out rebuilding the suspension and brakes. Now, it was time for wheels and tires. The tires were old and unusable, and the wheels, while not super-heavy, had seen better days. Plus, in our goal to best a BMW E30 M3 on track, any weight we can lose is a net positive in our book. The original tire size for our 318is is 195-65/14”, making for a 24.0” diameter original tire size. We want to stay as close to 24" overall, as if we were to go bigger or smaller, we'll mess up our car’s gearing, plus the odometer and speedometer will be off.

We wanted to go with plus-one wheel fitment: 15” wheels to be able to get a bit better tire and to make our now-lowered BMW look a bit cooler as well.

We did some research and found that a 195-60/15” tire is 24.2 in dimeter, a 205-50/15” is 23.1” in diameter and a 205-55/15” is 23.9” diameter. Bingo. The E30 M3 came with this rather odd 55 section tire and tires in this size are available. We picked Vredestein’s Sportrac 5 tires in this size.

For wheels, we knew before we even bought the car what wheels we wanted. We used BBS RG 359 15x7” wheels on our last E30 318is, and really liked everything about them. These wheels are insanely light at 10.8 pounds each, have styling from the early nineties that looks perfect on this car and are reasonably priced—considering the quality looks and light weight—at $505 each. 

Once mounted, we had ½” wider wheels that were an inch larger in diameter—putting more rubber on the road—but without any fitment issues.

We also had a tire/wheel package that was two pounds lighter on each corner and gave us a subtle upgrade on the classic 80s BMW BBS spoked wheel look.

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Comments
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aw614
aw614 Reader
7/12/19 10:21 a.m.

Loved those wheels when I first saw them on a mk2 scirocco back in the mid 2000s. They look great on the e30, subtle, but OEM+ like.

Notice the stud conversion on the e30

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
7/12/19 10:23 a.m.

One wheel is worth more than my entire E30.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
7/12/19 10:37 a.m.

In my world $505 better be a set of four, never mind how nice they look.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/12/19 5:45 p.m.

No wonder I was confused...in this post from the other day it says the wheels are 14" .  https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/project-bmw-318is-finishing-t/155648/page1/#post2771364

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/12/19 5:52 p.m.
Tim Suddard said:
 

The original tire size for our 318is is 195-65/14”, making for a 24.0” diameter original tire size. We want to stay as close to 24" overall, as if we were to go bigger or smaller, we'll mess up our car’s gearing, plus the odometer and speedometer will be off.

We did some research and found that a 195-60/15” tire is 24.2 in dimeter, a 205-50/15” is 23.1” in diameter and a 205-55/15” is 23.9” diameter. Bingo. The E30 M3 came with this rather odd 55 section tire and tires in this size are available. We picked Vredestein’s Sportrac 5 tires in this size.

Factory tire size on my 325iX is also 205-55/15", but winter tires are hard to find in that size so I use 205-60/15" instead.  At least on my car, I've actually found the odometer and speedometer read more accurately.

livinon2wheels
livinon2wheels New Reader
7/13/19 4:16 p.m.

Love the look with the 15s but I would have gone for +2 fitment...and probably 215/45 for 23.6 inch diameter or 225/45-16 for 24 inches exactly. Bet with correct offset there would be no clearance issues and the extra grip would pay off when you actually have to run against that M3. Wheels might cost more....but if you didn't flinch at 500 per wheel money is no object. Just sayin 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/13/19 5:11 p.m.

EDIT: nvrmind. 

TreDeuce
TreDeuce New Reader
7/15/19 10:37 p.m.

The E-30 coupe, just gets better looking with every year, and more valuable. Glad I still have my 91' 318is  &  325i.

Now does anyone make 5-lug hubs for E-30's, or know of conversion parts.

TreDeuce
TreDeuce New Reader
7/15/19 10:44 p.m.

This refreshed 318is, is worth the $2,000+ investment in wheels.

$2,020 has to be a small fraction of the total investment in this restoration/refresh that is likely worth north of $15,000-plus, now.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/16/19 6:30 a.m.
TreDeuce said:

The E-30 coupe, just gets better looking with every year, and more valuable. Glad I still have my 91' 318is  &  325i.

Now does anyone make 5-lug hubs for E-30's, or know of conversion parts.

Use e30 M3 front hubs, and rear trailing arm / hub assemblies from an e36 318ti.  http://clavinzero.com/e30-5-lug/

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/16/19 12:53 p.m.
stuart in mn said:
TreDeuce said:

The E-30 coupe, just gets better looking with every year, and more valuable. Glad I still have my 91' 318is  &  325i.

Now does anyone make 5-lug hubs for E-30's, or know of conversion parts.

Use e30 M3 front hubs, and rear trailing arm / hub assemblies from an e36 318ti.  http://clavinzero.com/e30-5-lug/

You can also use all the E36 front suspension pieces as well. Just need to also use the offset front bushing for the control arm to get the caster back into spec. 

I may be wrong (I've been out of the E30 game for awhile), but I was thinking people were using the other E36 front pieces because there were issues with just trying to use the E30 M3 hub?

EDIT: Just read the link, as I remembered, you have to have the entire E30 M3 front setup (I think the strut tubes alone are approaching $800 each). You can't just throw the E30 M3 hub on the non-M E30 spindle and have it work. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
7/16/19 1:06 p.m.

Were 8" wide wheels an option? If so, you could've gone with 15x8s or possibly even 17x8s. You could run 225/45R15s, or 215/40R17s. Those are 23" and 23.8" diameter respectively.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/16/19 2:37 p.m.
GameboyRMH said:

Were 8" wide wheels an option? If so, you could've gone with 15x8s or possibly even 17x8s. You could run 225/45R15s, or 215/40R17s. Those are 23" and 23.8" diameter respectively.

THey definitely fit. I ran 17x8 ET25 Work wheels on my 318is. With 215/40/17.

You can easily fit 235/40/17s on the same wheel with no rubbing problems. 

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