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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 04-02-2006, 09:27 PM   #1
MLR

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Larger Wheels...What's the real story

Hello, just bought my first bimmer. A 99 323iC. I love it. The car orignially came with 15" wheels. The sport package increased it to 16" wheels. The car came with M5 OER 17" wheels. I need new tires. I'm looking at upgrading both wheels and tires. Questions.... Can I upgrade to an 18" wheel? 19" on a E36 323ic? When do I need to worry about the wheel and tire rubbing the original fenders? At what point do I have to upgrade the brake calipers size? Is the handling that much better with a larger diameter wheel? How wide can I go? I am definitely going to upgrade to BMW OEM or OER chrome rims. I also plan to get new tires. This is my summer car. She will be babied and garaged in the winter. All of your thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
MLR
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:33 PM   #2
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1st off welcome, my compadres here with the 3 series will be more informative on tire sizes, widths etc. But when your after chrome oems, etc contact www.capitalwheels.com they excellant folks to deal with Also Tire Rack is a good source for tires

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Old 04-02-2006, 10:08 PM   #3
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Well, here's my thought....

Huge ass rims on a bimmer 3-series just look retarded. I'd say, if you were going to go + then I'd say stop, PLEASE stop at 18". Even 17's are a real good size. I've got 16's on mine, and though some may thing they're tiny, I differ. They are just the right size. Also consider that if you upgrade your suspension (ie lowering), having those larger wheels may hurt you more than help. Now, I can't give you any figures on sizes and what not reguarding what can and will fit (E46 owner with no E36 experience), I'm just going on appearence sake.

Welcome and goodluck

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Old 04-02-2006, 10:40 PM   #4
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As dough said, huge 20" wheels on an e36 will not only look horribly huge, but will definately rub.

If you are going for looks, 18x8" wheels tend to look very good and fill the wells quite well. I have 18x8" wheels on my car and I love them

If you are looking for performance only, 17x8 or wider are the most well advised wheels I have read. They are tall enough to stiffen up your cornering, but not so large that you risk damage or rubbing.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:44 AM   #5
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whoa, stop. When you upgrade wheel size from 16 to 17 to 18 etc.. you don't change the overall dimensions of the tire. That would be bad.

Go here http://www.discounttiredirect.com fill in the year and model and they will give you plus sizing. Also if you have inspection in your state they may limit the amount of plus sizing you can do.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:51 AM   #6
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Max on a e46 would be to go with 19s. Skinny wheels and tires though. Id go with 18s for an e46. They look just the right size.
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jms
whoa, stop. When you upgrade wheel size from 16 to 17 to 18 etc.. you don't change the overall dimensions of the tire. That would be bad.

Go here http://www.discounttiredirect.com fill in the year and model and they will give you plus sizing. Also if you have inspection in your state they may limit the amount of plus sizing you can do.

To some extent, depends on what size tire you buy. Try this site www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html. I know it's a Miata site but info, nevertheless. You put in the size of the tire you have, input the size of the tire you want, And it tells you how much difference in height it is, and the percentage of change in rpms. It doesn't do width, just diameter.
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomctx
To some extent, depends on what size tire you buy. Try this site www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html. I know it's a Miata site but info, nevertheless. You put in the size of the tire you have, input the size of the tire you want, And it tells you how much difference in height it is, and the percentage of change in rpms. It doesn't do width, just diameter.
If you dig into Tire Rack they give specs width, height etc..
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:27 AM   #9
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we need pics of your ride first though
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power
Max on a e46 would be to go with 19s. Skinny wheels and tires though. Id go with 18s for an e46. They look just the right size.
Right, but it's an e36.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:32 AM   #11
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if you get 20's, i hope you get banned.

stay with 17-18's.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:09 PM   #12
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Right, but it's an e36.
ZING! That one went right over my head. Damn 99 and their split years. The iC should've been my first hint, or mayeb the fact he said e36 in his post.

In that case don't go bigger than 18". 17" would be more performance oriented. 17's look great (i have now) but 18s look sexybagel.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:33 PM   #13
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you can go with a bigger wheel, just make sure the wall thikness gets smaller as you go.
you can have virtually any wheel diameter, its the outside diameter of the tire that you have to keep the same.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:50 PM   #14
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Just remeber, the bigger the wheel, the more expersive the rubber!
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Old 04-03-2006, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c1apton
If you dig into Tire Rack they give specs width, height etc..

You are right, sir! Tire rack is another good source of info and purchasing!

PS: If something were to happen to you, could I have your car? I believe my next BMW will be a 5 series.
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