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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 01-24-2013, 08:35 PM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Wheel Spacers for winter tires. From 20's to 18s on M-Sport. Review - Photos

Not wanting to end up stuck, stranded or worse, with all these snow projections, I finally got around to installing my winter (all season) tire set last week. My M-Sport 50 is equipped with the 20" wheel option. Love the wide stance but the summer tires are completely useless in any kind of fluff. The M-Sport and 20" Sport activity package come with bigger flares, a small detail but it completely transforms the look of the X5. Sure, I could have went with a set of 20" wheels in stock sizes and just mount a set of winter tires on but I wanted the extra sidewall utility that the 18" factory option offers. My car does see a fair bit of off-roading, so I was actually looking for a set of OEM 18" 210s that I plan on using in the spring and fall to do some fishing, crawling the rocks of Montauk. Thank you Brian, for a really nice set of wheels.

The stock 18" 210 50i wheels are 18x8 with a 46mm offset all around. Compared with the 20x10 40mm front and 20x11 35mm rear 333M wheels of the M-Sport. Doing some calculations, I came up with the position of the tire edge, 97.5mm (275/2-40 ) from the hub face in the front and 122.5mm (315/2-35) in the rear. Compared with the all around 81.5mm (255/2-46) position of the 18" 210 wheels with 255 tires. This leaves us with a nearly 40mm rear bias and 15mm in the front. That means the stock rear 18" wheel is almost 1 5/8" more inward than the 20" option, giving a track width (footprint) that is 1 1/4" smaller in the front and more than 3"smaller in the rear. Imagine how silly the car would look with the stock 18s, on a car that has factory flares. The option besides aftermarket wheels is a set of spacers.

H&R is a reputable company and has just the solution for this situation. They come in varying thicknesses from 5mm to 30mm for the X5. I went with a set of 15mm for the front and 30mm for the rear. This should yield an almost identical front tire outer edge position and a little over 3/8" inward for the rear. The Spacers under 25mm are from the DR series and 25-30mm are from the DRA series. The difference is: DR spacers are bolted through with extended length wheel bolts and DRA are bolted first to the wheel hub and then the wheels get bolted on to the spacers utilizing stock bolts. Note: Extended length bolts are not supplied with the DR system and have to be purchased separately. The DRA will allow you to re-use your Wheel locks because the wheel is held on to the Spacer with he stock bolts. With the DR, If you want locks on your wheels you will have to also procure extended length locks somewhere.

I started by loosening all my bolts with a breaker bar, then jacked up the front and removed one of my front wheels. Cleaned all the hub mating surfaces with a wire brush, them wiped them with WD-40 on a rag. I used a calibrated torque wrench and tightened all my bolts to 107 ft/lbs. Factory torque is 105 ft/lbs. The rear is even easier with the DRAs. You bolt the spacers to the Hub and then the wheel goes on. You don't have to sight three sets of holes to line up as with the DR when you put the wheel on, Hub/spacer/wheel. The DRA instructions state, factory torque on the spacer to hub bolts. I Used 110 ft/lbs. I'd rather be a little over, here, than under.

When I was done with one side of the car, I placed a straight edge against the bottom sidewall of the tires and the fenders, to measure the approximate difference in tire position relative to the fenders. In the front I got 3/8" with the 18s and a hair under 3/8s with the factory 20s. This is almost dead on position and is almost identical to my calculated predicted position. In the rear I got a hair under 3/4" for the 20s and about 1" for with the 18s and spacers. This is less than 1/4" difference. I'm pretty happy with the outcome. It certainly doesn't look anywhere as mean as the look you get with the 20" 315s in the rear but at least it doesn't look dystrophic as it otherwise would with the M-Sport wheel arches and stock 18" tire positions.

H&R makes some very good quality product. The machining, the finish and material quality on the spacers is top notch. Made in Germany, very light weight. I have no reservations about the 30mm DRA spacer being able to support the Loads. The threaded inserts are steel and mushroomed through the back of the spacer. No chance of it ripping out. The wheel will fail first before this spacer sees any stress.

Ride is very smooth, no vibration or adverse feel. It actually improves handling over the stock 18" position and it can be felt. Keep it under 80 taking hard turns and you'd be hard pressed to tell a difference between the 18's and the 20's. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the how little difference there is in the comfort as well. The 20's are actually a little cushier over smaller road irregularities. The tire pressure was set at 33 PSI front and 35 rear when I put the wheels on. I found coming up to 38 PSI front, 41 rear improved ride comfort.

Here are a few photos I snapped with my phone. It was getting dark so I couldn't get a good rear stance shot and had to do it in my garage.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2013, 04:01 AM
jashearer jashearer is offline
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Great Write-up!!!!

Jay
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:21 AM
bxmxwx bxmxwx is offline
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Great effort and write up indeed, and the pics too. Question: what about the shift that the spacers introduced to the threads? I mean that staggered setup still aligns threads despide width difference, but when you go to same width tires and shift the rear by spacers the natural alighnment of the threads is lost (from front to rear). I've read somewhere that can cause severe issues with traction/hydroplanning/wet snow. What is your view on that, or any experience already with this setup?
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  #4  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:53 AM
troymi troymi is online now
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Wow, detailed explaination. That is great. I'm in an almost reverse scenario, but will take your advise for next winter.

Our 35d came without the sport package and 18" x 8.5" ET46mm wheels. Straight fender flares. I purchased a set of takeofff M Sport wheels/tires (19" style 223), so I just got a box yesterday of the extended fender flares. Can't wait to get rid of the snow so I can change the flares and put the new wheels on.

But, next winter, I'll go back to my 18s with Blizzks and need the spacers, by my calculations at least I'll need 20mm in back. Your 18s are only 8" wide? Were they older?
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  #5  
Old 01-28-2013, 06:02 AM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bxmxwx View Post
Great effort and write up indeed, and the pics too. Question: what about the shift that the spacers introduced to the threads? I mean that staggered setup still aligns threads despide width difference, but when you go to same width tires and shift the rear by spacers the natural alighnment of the threads is lost (from front to rear). I've read somewhere that can cause severe issues with traction/hydroplanning/wet snow. What is your view on that, or any experience already with this setup?
Not really sure what you mean by threads alligning. If you mean tread pattern front to rear I can't imagine that could cause any issues and it would be dependent on the tires used on the staggered setup. We just had some snow the other day and it handeled it very well.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2013, 06:12 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z51vette View Post
Not really sure what you mean by threads alligning. If you mean tread pattern front to rear I can't imagine that could cause any issues and it would be dependent on the tires used on the staggered setup. We just had some snow the other day and it handeled it very well.
I think he means track, i.e. you widen it in the rear. Doesn't really affect anything.

Great write up, should be in F.A.Q.
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2013, 08:34 PM
NotEnough NotEnough is offline
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Not to hijack, but I'm going the opposite direction like troymi. PM sent. Where you're buying everything?
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  #8  
Old 11-18-2013, 09:55 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Hi z51vette

Am avare of tread is a bit old, but I hope you see this.
I am in almost similar situation, summer wheels is 223: 9x19 ET37 & 10x19 ET20 - 255/50x19 & 285/45x19.
Just bought and installed today a new winter set: 8,5x19 ET37 and 255/50x19 all corners - tires Nokian WR SUV 3XL.
With the MSport arches, the new front set up is not far away from summer set up and looks all right. But behind….….the new disappear completely! With a rough calculation I am missing 1 1/2" (app 37mm) on the rim and 17mm on the ET => around 54mm in each side. When measuring with a stick like in your photo I am also getting to 55mm app. I can see H&R goes up to 100mm in total but I am not really comfortable using a 50mm spacer in each side. You are using 30mm, can you share some lights if this have caused you any issue? I am initially leaning towards using 35/40mm in each side from H&R, but would like to hear your opinion and experience if possible.
Thanks in advance

JensM
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  #9  
Old 11-18-2013, 04:50 PM
Erlkoenig Erlkoenig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JensM View Post
Hi z51vette

Am avare of tread is a bit old, but I hope you see this.
I am in almost similar situation, summer wheels is 223: 9x19 ET37 & 10x19 ET20 - 255/50x19 & 285/45x19.
Just bought and installed today a new winter set: 8,5x19 ET37 and 255/50x19 all corners - tires Nokian WR SUV 3XL.
With the MSport arches, the new front set up is not far away from summer set up and looks all right. But behind…...…...the new disappear completely! With a rough calculation I am missing 1 1/2" (app 37mm) on the rim and 17mm on the ET => around 54mm in each side. When measuring with a stick like in your photo I am also getting to 55mm app. I can see H&R goes up to 100mm in total but I am not really comfortable using a 50mm spacer in each side. You are using 30mm, can you share some lights if this have caused you any issue? I am initially leaning towards using 35/40mm in each side from H&R, but would like to hear your opinion and experience if possible.
Thanks in advance

JensM
I read this thread extensively. According to my calculations 30mm in the rear and 20mm up front (I have a 35d with style 214 wheels) to put at stock 20" configuration. At this point I have decided to forgo the spacers for one simple reason. I want the front and rear track to be the same. Thus the rear tires will follow the fronts in snow/slush. I have decided that this is more important since I drive a lot in storms to go skiing. Following the same logic- perhaps that is why BMW offers winter tire and wheel configurations in non-staggered. I don't like the look of my pizza cutter 255/55/18 on 46et Sport Edition wheels when compared to ******** 315's, but in this case I think function over form is more important. Aufgabe durch Technik

I'm sure a staggered set up works well in snow as many members here have winter tires on a stock 20"set up, but the engineers at BMW must be shaking their heads.

PS. I will use the $400 not spent on spacers for lift tickets and beer
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Last edited by Erlkoenig; 11-18-2013 at 04:52 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2013, 05:18 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Erlkoenig,

I have heard this about having front and back in same track, but mainly from this forum. I have tried to google more broad and have not found any evidence that this should be an issue.
Maybe this will have an impact if driving in very deep snow - but when you are turning, the wheels do not follow same 'cut' either?
Have also in mind that many cars actually have a different track width even with same size of wheels front and back. Actually even the X5 is slightly wider back, but this is however minimal.
Not sure about the BMW engineers either, here in Europe quite a lot buy org. winter wheel set up from BMW in the 20" staggered version! But most people prefer the non-staggered and smaller tires (255 typically) as a 315mm tire could be a bit like 'Bambi on ice' if you recall from the Disney movie. So I think it is more about the width rather than having back and front follow same track.
So using spacers or not is more a question about the visual look rather than an eventually difference in performance driving in snow.
This is purely my opinion and I can not document, but on the other hand not able to find any proof of the opposite either.

Would like to hear from users of spacers when running 'thin' winter set up - both pros and cons

Thanks
JensM
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2013, 10:07 AM
troymi troymi is online now
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I finally got around to switching out the wheels last night. This thread is old, but I actually posted in it earlier this year. But, our vehicle changed in the meantime. We had a diesel that I added flares and M Sport wheels, but now we have a gasser with M Sport package.

So, I didn't take all the pics OP did but here are a few. I use the OEM style 209 wheel 18" x 8.5" with 255/55/18 Bridgestone Blizzak runflat winters. Had them on the diesel last winter for about 6k miles and they were great. ONLY reason I got the runflats is I found them on craigslist unused from a guy for a steal. So, even though I have the spare in back still runflats.

The white M Sport I added H&R 25mm DRA spacers. That is all I wanted. Front is stock mounting. I don't think they look great, but I can deal with this as function will overrule style in heavy snow.

For reference, I'll post a pic on the plat grey diesel with flares.
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2013, 10:45 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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speaking of H&R spacers:
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2013, 10:58 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Troymi,
Thanks for sharing pic. So the white is with 25mm. Not looking that bad, imagine mine is similar and current without, like your grey. Do you feel any difference when driving?


Smyles, what on earth have happened there? This does not look great. How did this happen? Both sides? I do not hope anybody have been in danger due to this.

JensM
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2013, 11:13 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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An X5 owner had them with 21"s, sensed vibration @ high speed, stopped only to discover one lug missing and others loose.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2013, 11:14 AM
troymi troymi is online now
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Originally Posted by smyles View Post
speaking of H&R spacers:
Please explain!
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2013, 11:16 AM
troymi troymi is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JensM View Post
Troymi,
Thanks for sharing pic. So the white is with 25mm. Not looking that bad, imagine mine is similar and current without, like your grey. Do you feel any difference when driving?


Smyles, what on earth have happened there? This does not look great. How did this happen? Both sides? I do not hope anybody have been in danger due to this.

JensM
Drove today for first time with the spacers in place. Absolutely no different feel at all. Up to 60 mph checking for any vibration, etc and nothing. Obviously the tire feels different. I will check the torque after I drive for a while though.
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  #17  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:34 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymi View Post
Drove today for first time with the spacers in place. Absolutely no different feel at all. Up to 60 mph checking for any vibration, etc and nothing. Obviously the tire feels different. I will check the torque after I drive for a while though.
Thanks Troymi,

I think I will go for a 30mm behind.

JensM
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  #18  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:35 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smyles View Post
speaking of H&R spacers:
Smyles

Would it be possible to give a bit more background for this?
Pic does not look good, but first time ever I have heard about something similar

Thanks
JensM
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  #19  
Old 11-22-2013, 11:45 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JensM View Post
Would it be possible to give a bit more background for this?
Pic does not look good, but first time ever I have heard about something similar
original post from Russian forum loosely translated by google

Last edited by smyles; 11-22-2013 at 11:47 AM.
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  #20  
Old 11-23-2013, 03:19 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Smyles

This is a very bad translation - I can actually not really understand what this guy is writing.
Anyway, pic speak for it self.
But as said before, I have never seen or heard about similar before so might be a one off. And on the other hand, you sometimes also see/hear about a cracked wheel - but how often does it happen? And this is not stopping people buying/using same maker of wheels

Regards

JensM
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  #21  
Old 11-23-2013, 04:17 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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Here's my take: the guy put spacers thorough somewhat extreme load conditions - heavy 21" wheels, high speed, probably rather crappy road - and H&R (if it's not a counterfeit one, which is a remote possibility, but still) failed.

Obviously it's a personal decision whether to continue using this or any other product from a particular company; the pics and story were just fyi. But as a side note, I regularly visit and consult forums in other countries, because often they have much more info on problems due to longer and broader experience, tougher conditions and more frank talk. Good example is carbon buildup in diesels that European BMW owners have been dealing with more extensively than we here in US. A lot of knowledge and valuable info even though we have slightly different engines, fuel quality, service, etc.

Last edited by smyles; 11-23-2013 at 04:19 AM.
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  #22  
Old 11-23-2013, 04:42 AM
JensM JensM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smyles View Post
Here's my take: the guy put spacers thorough somewhat extreme load conditions - heavy 21" wheels, high speed, probably rather crappy road - and H&R (if it's not a counterfeit one, which is a remote possibility, but still) failed.

Obviously it's a personal decision whether to continue using this or any other product from a particular company; the pics and story were just fyi. But as a side note, I regularly visit and consult forums in other countries, because often they have much more info on problems due to longer and broader experience, tougher conditions and more frank talk. Good example is carbon buildup in diesels that European BMW owners have been dealing with more extensively than we here in US. A lot of knowledge and valuable info even though we have slightly different engines, fuel quality, service, etc.
Smyles,
I basically agree with you, but this looks like a one off. I too read a lot of forums also German and this is the first time I have seen/heard about something like this.
I am from Europe and it is correct that we do see a lot of problems (and expensive) problems due to carbon build up. It is mainly because of wrong usage of a diesel car. 1) Diesel engines are not built for short trips - engine needs to be really warm and for this you need about min 20 km drive each way. 2) many buys a diesel because of economy and in order to get close to promised km/l you really need to drive with a light food => this builds up carbon. A diesel really need to be floored here and then and a good motorway drive with higher reps is good and needed. This cleans the carbon away from system. 3) quite often you see less good quality of diesel, I normally only use high quality diesel like Shell V-power, BP ultimus and similar. Here there is added special additives preventing carbon build up. I also here and there add an additive when filling up. I have been driving various diesel cars for +10 years without problems but I also follow above. As a side note, this is not only BMW diesels, all brands have same issues.

Regards
JensM

Last edited by JensM; 11-23-2013 at 09:07 AM.
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  #23  
Old 11-23-2013, 06:53 AM
troymi troymi is online now
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Wheel Spacers for winter tires. From 20's to 18s on M-Sport. Review - Photos

Drove 6 hours yesterday. This morning it's -8 F windchill and snow all day. Good test for the Blizzaks and X drive over next few days. Lots of hills and snow/ice.

No vibration at all from spacers. Even with winters on we averaged 23.5 mpg on computer. Will share any interesting encounters. Click image for larger version

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Pic is from hotel window so not great! Too cold to stand outside for long.


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