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  1. #1
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    Default Four bolt wheels (BMW vs. VW)

    OK, i've been learning about wheels. THE HARD WAY.

    I drive e30's, and so I've done a little homework and I look around at what's out there.

    Stock/OEM 14" e30 wheels are et33 (bottlecaps) or et30 (basketweaves)... so OEM VW wheels (teardrops, bottlecaps, 7 spoke, or snowflakes) seem to fit the bill perfectly! (well, +/- a couple mm on the offset... whatever)

    I have come to find that VW wheels, although they are the right shape and size (4x100 bolt pattern with 57.1mm bore), and dang near the correct offset... DON'T FIT. The "face" of the VW wheel will clear the e30 caliper, and the wheel and tire have about 5mm of clearance from the strut tower, BUT!...
    The outer wall (the 6" wide portion) of the VW wheel comes into contact with the e30 ball joint.

    With spacers, VW wheels could work on an e30.

    However, all of this should mean good news to anyone with a 4bolt VW (golf/jetta/rabbit) who wants to run any e30 wheels, since it looks like they would give you plenty of clearance.

  2. #2
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    It's also not a terribly difficult or time consuming operation to change the center bore on a wheel. Redrilling the pattern usually isn't possible due to the way wheels are made now to optimize material and reduce weight, but the center bore typically has some wiggle room to grow.

  3. #3
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    it's the bmw et30 vs. vw et38/42 that's making them not fit.

    spacers resolve these issues. but then again a lot of us want a more aggressive offset anyway so avoid the stockers.
    -Pete flickr

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubswede View Post
    it's the bmw et30 vs. vw et38/42 that's making them not fit.

    spacers resolve these issues. but then again a lot of us want a more aggressive offset anyway so avoid the stockers.
    The offset itself isn't the constraint... 10mm of discrepancy isn't enough to cause problems with offset on a 6" wheel on an e30.
    The constraint is the design of the VW wheel vs. the e30 suspension geometry, and I'll explain.

    the inner lip "rim" of the VW wheel has plenty of clearance from the e30 suspension, and the "face" of the VW wheel clears the e30 calipers... no problem.

    The problem is that the cylindrical part of the VW wheel (the "inner diameter" as you look into the wheel from the backside) becomes narrower as you go outward from the inner lip. So much so that it comes into contact w/ the e30 ball joint and seizes the wheel when lugs are tightened.
    The e30 bottlecap, by contrast, has a larger inner diameter to allow for the e30 ball joint.

    In other words, an et38 e30 bottlecap (if there were such a thing) WOULD fit an e30 without problems, without spacers.

    I'm being a little pedantic, and yes, spacers would alleviate the issues described above.
    But when you've got to shell out $250 for spacers + new lug bolts, putting $100 VW wheels on an e30 just doesn't make a lick of sense anymore.
    Remember that e30's have only about 5mm of "collar" on the hub to align the wheel. That means finding double-hubcentric spacers, which are definitely out there... but you can't expect to find these things on craigslist.
    ecstuning.com has some awesome options if anyone reading needs to look into e30 spacers. Great prices, too.

    You could be shopping for any number of $400 direct-e30-fit options.
    Last edited by JPB; 10-10-2009 at 12:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Iowa
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    I run bmw wheels on my vw just had to get a fill and redrill done and bought hubcentric rings i also had to use tuner lugs. Got it all done with shipping, tuner lugs, lug tool, hub centric rings, and the fill and drill for close to $500 but it was well worth it as i have never seen anybody run these wheels on a mk3 just mk4s but that also doesnt mean nobody has put em on a mk3 either.
    I don't like jail they've got the wrong kind of bars there. ~ Wojtek Stachowiak

  6. #6
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    Just ask BimmerTim. He went through this whole ordeal with this when he put Aaron's steelies on his e30

  7. #7
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    ^^ truth.. he just got spacers to make them work. The bottlecaps have been on my car all year with no fancy bolts, or hubcentric rings.. just bolted them on and drove away
    Team B0N4R

  8. #8
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    I just bought standard H&R 25mm spacers and the vw steelies are on my car.

    The bore is the same on both of them. 57.1mm

  9. #9
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    Also one of your quarter panels is pink

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BimmerTim View Post
    I just bought standard H&R 25mm spacers and the vw steelies are on my car.

    The bore is the same on both of them. 57.1mm
    seems a lot of trouble just for 14" steelies.
    I would guess they're wider than the 5.5" 1991 318i OEM steels?

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I thought about that after I put them on. I was like, "damn, I could just bought cheap bmw wheels." Oh well. It's not like spacers lose a bunch of value.

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