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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-19-2011, 09:55 PM
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Newbz guide to wheel spacers

So with my recent drop of 3.5", I realized I needed wheel spacers. So I set out and despite some of the great threads out there, there were still a few answered questions I had. So I set out and thanks to patience I have it mostly figured out. So here it is, in newb easy format.
*parts of this thread is a direct c/p from the bfc thread, parts are my writing. youll be able to tell the difference

First off. Why the heck would you spend 80+ bucks on a piece of aluminum that essentially has no mechanical function?
-Well, if you're Los (sorry to ruin it ), you want the wheels to be flush with the body, and give it a nice "stanced" look. This is purely taste here, and can look sick. Also i should add that because it does widen the wheel from center of the car, small but positive handling characteristics can be observed.
-If you're like me, you bought coilovers and made your bumper a road-clearing piece of sexy awesomeness. But, because you have OEM wheels with offset of 45+, your wheels rub the coilover. Not to worry, a wheel spacer will fix this. And still give the above mentioned hellaflush look.
-If you're like anyone who put a rim with crazy offset on their e36, you'll need a spacer to make those fit without rubbing the suspension.

Now, if you fit any of the above criteria, then read on. If not, then feel free to go. This is where it gets tricky. The first thing you need to know is the offset of the rim you have. This is what will give us a place to start. For this example, we will say you have style 30s, which have ET46 offset. Now that we know what offset the rim is, determine if the tire width on the rim is the width you plan on running for a long time (ie, if you plan on going from 215 to 225). If you're gonna change, do that before ordering spacers. You do not want to buy these things twice, trust me. Got your tire/wheel setup? Kgood.

Now you need to measure how much room you have in between the tire and the inner fender of yours. This is crucial, so do not skip this step. How to do this? With the car on the ground, hang a piece of masking tape from your fender. Stick a quarter or a nickel on the end so that it hangs straight down, like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. Next measure in from the masking tape to the outside edge of your tire. This will tell you how much space you have until the tire would contact the lip of the fender. For our example, the space is about 25mm, or 1" of clearance.

So what does that mean? Well, that means you could get away with a 25mm spacer. However. I really would go a few mm smaller then your measurement. This is so you know the tire wont rub when you go over bumps. If you have no coilovers, then feel free to get any size under your measurement. If you have coilovers, you will need at least 5-10mm of spacing. This is where your wheel offset comes into play. From everything I have found and out my experience, the magical number is around et40 to clear coil overs. My coilovers cleared at 8mm spacing, with et46 wheels.

"but wait, my offset is et46 but you're telling me I need et40 wheels?" No. A wheel spacer, in essence, is a "dummy offset". If your wheel is et46, and you add a 10mm spacer, it will fit the same as an et36 wheel. As you add more spacers, the offset decreases. Once you think about it, it becomes very simple. If you had ET0, the rim hub would be flush with the back of the rim. Get it? Got it? good

So here we are. You have your measurement of 25mm clearance. You have coilovers, and your wheels/tires are what they'll be. So, this leaves the question. What overpriced spacer do I order? In this instance, you would need at least 8mm due to coilovers. However, 12.5mm would be a better way to go. Not only is 8mm a weird spacer size, but they arent longer then the hub on the car itself. This is a big deal if you have OEM wheels, or any wheel thats hubcentric.

Hubcentric wheels rely on the hub for structural support, and to make the wheel sit straight and true. Yes, you can just run longer lugs and *hope* the lugs center the wheel, because the wheel will still sit on the hub by 3mm. But heres the thing with that. Do you really want to cheap out (im talking specifically about autozone spacers) with the thing that is part of the wheel staying on the car? Think about what would happen if the spacer ever became an issue. You wouldnt find out until the wheel falls off on the freeway. Dont skimp on this one (and if I'm saying that...).

Basically, any spacer under 12mm should be considered "tuner spacers", meaning you use them for fine tuning of the wheels. This really only applies to race cars or extreme setups, as you'd need wheel studs and 20mm or more spacing already. Dont forget, you need to clear that little hub ring, which is 11mm. If you just throw a 10mm spacer on, your wheel will not have enough of the hub to be safe, nor will it be lined up properly, nor will the oem lug bolts be long enough. This is why you would use a 12mm as a starting size, because it clears the oem hub and works in almost every situation

Great. So we're going to use a 12mm spacer, that will clear the coil over, and clear the fender. Now you need extended lugs (unless you have lug studs; if your studs dont have enough threads for your lugnut you will need longer studs). Heres another dilemma in itself. Luckily, TMS did the work for you.

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-12...ividually.aspx

However, the way to know how long the stud you need isnt too hard to figure out itself. The oem length is 17mm, I believe. All you have to do is add the length of your spacer to the lug length. So for our example, we add 12mm. We'd need lugs 29mm in thread-length.

If you can, look for lug and spacer kits. Saves money and the time trying to measure.

Also, make sure your new spacers are hubcentric. this is a big deal. If you need to triple check before ordering, then do it. Paying for parts you cant use is expensive.

Few other notes...(which isnt stolen from bf.c...)
Miscellaneous Notes and Details on Spacers

-Most BMWs will take a 15-20mm spacer when used with the stock wheel/tire setup. This is because the German TUV (similar to our own DOT) still requires adequate clearance for snow chains. These are still widely used in Europe, especially in The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden even though they are obsolete or irrelevant in other markets. The TUV also requires that every car in Germany be equipped with either dedicated snow tires or snow chains for winter driving.


-All BMWs use hubcentric wheels. When mounted to the car, the wheel rests on a lip instead of the wheel bolts or studs. The lip is usually 9-10.5mm in depth. The lip contributes to the strength of the wheel and the wheel cannot safely be used without a lip. The wheel bolts are not strong enough to support the weight and loads generated through the wheel.

Any spacer smaller than 10mm will not have a hubcentric lip on it. It's physically impossible since the spacer slides over the existing lip but is not thick enough to take the lip's place (the standard lip still protrudes through the spacer). With a 9mm lip, a 5mm spacer will only leave 4mm of stock lip left for the wheel to rest on. This is important to keep in mind when considering your wheel/spacer setup. A wheel with a beveled edge on the back will not adequately rest on the lip, resulting in a vibration because the wheel is not truly centered on the hub.

For most 5-lug BMW applications, Turner Motorsport offers a hub-extender. This takes the place of your hub's dust cap and adds an extra 10mm of lip for the wheel to rest on. Using the example above, instead of 4mm left over on the lip, you now have 14mm of lip to use. With the hub extenders, you can also change spacers around without fear of losing lip space - it can be used with a 3mm, 5mm, 8mm, or 10mm spacer.

Spacers with their own integrated hubcentric lip are: 10mm*, 12mm, 12.5mm, 15mm, 18mm, 20mm, 25mm, and 30mm.
* -- Note that H&R and Turner Motorsport each make a 10mm hubcentric spacer but due to interferences between the spacer and lip, it's best to leave this to specialized applications. The lip on the car must be shaved down so the 10mm spacer will fit flush on the rotor hat.


-When talking about tire sizes, remember that sizes vary a great deal from one manufacturer to another. Even though the tire size is listed as "245", the actual widths can be hugely different among brands and even tire types. Tire manufacturers publish their actual widths on their websites. This is important because a setup with a wider 225 tire may rub versus a setup running a narrower 225 tire.


-When installing spacers, never use anti-seize or grease between the spacer and the rotor hat face. In fact, you should scrub this area clean with Scotch-Brite or a wire wheel attachment. A thin amount of anti-seize can be placed on the lip of the hub for the spacer to sit on and on the spacer lip for the wheel to rest on. The number one reason for wheel vibrations with spacers is rust or some other substance on the rotor hat.


-Removing spacers can be a frustrating experience. Many spacers have a chamfer along the inner edge and with a hammer and chisel, the spacer can be knocked off the hub. However, this will easily damage the spacer. The newest generation of TMS Wheel Spacers include pockets around the entire circumference of the spacer. This allows you to pry the spacer without damaging the material



Feel free to post questions. Il help best I can. Il see if I can get Ed to update his dumb links thread with this as well
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2011, 11:31 PM
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im not reading all that.
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:55 PM
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im not reading all that.
I did... Good info...
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:23 AM
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Good stuff. But hey its functional for me, too (sort of). The rim is less than the width of my pinky from rubbing the trailing arm.

But yeahhhh you're right, it's going to be sexy.



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im not reading all that.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:12 AM
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im not reading all that.

.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:34 AM
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I bet you would if you were like me 48 hours ago and clueless about spacers...
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1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:50 AM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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Quote:
The lip on the car must be shaved down so the 10mm spacer will fit flush on the rotor hat.
False. I got spacers off ebay and they worked fine, I had to hammer the spacers onto the lip but This is probably from the amount of corrosion on them, since it was hard to get the wheels off until I put the spacers on. It is a good idea to completely clean the lip on the hub and wheel with a wire brush to make sure your wheels don't get stuck. I did the on the rear of my car which doesn't have spacers and it worked well to stop the wheels from getting stuck.

Quote:
The number one reason for wheel vibrations with spacers is rust or some other substance on the rotor hat.
Where did you get this info from? I understand if it is thick enough, but I have never heard this before and can't imagine it would cause any issues with spacers if it doesn't cause issues without spacers.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:01 AM
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I'm still trying to understand this,

Nonhubcentric spacers are bad because the wheel puts all its weight on 5 lugs and could possibly fall off and also cause wheel vibration ? And hubcentric spacers allow the wheel to sit on the lip and still put its weight on all 5 lugs?




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Old 07-20-2011, 09:09 AM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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Originally Posted by Dino1394 View Post
I'm still trying to understand this,

Nonhubcentric spacers are bad because the wheel puts all its weight on 5 lugs and could possibly fall off and also cause wheel vibration ? And hubcentric spacers allow the wheel to sit on the lip and still put its weight on all 5 lugs?




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Non-Hubcentric means there is no lip to center the wheel.

Hubcentrism (correct tense?) allows the car to displace some of the weight onto the lip on the hub, taking weight off the lug bolts. It also helps to center the wheel on the hub so that it is radially balanced during rotation.

A hubcenteric spacer does the same thing as hubcentric hub, it just pushes the profile out farther away from the cars center.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGutmannnn View Post
Non-Hubcentric means there is no lip to center the wheel.

Hubcentrism (correct tense?) allows the car to displace some of the weight onto the lip on the hub, taking weight off the lug bolts. It also helps to center the wheel on the hub so that it is radially balanced during rotation.

A hubcenteric spacer does the same thing as hubcentric hub, it just pushes the profile out farther away from the cars center.
this. the hub was part of the rim design, and some of the stress forces of the road (like bumps) go through the hub. think of it kind of like the I beam in your basement. if your house is the rim, and the i beam is the hub (for those who dont have basements, there is an I beam that goes across the top of the basement and a pole in the floor to give the house support). Yes, you could build it without that I beam. But you sureley wouldnt want to, because eventaully over time the stresses the house experiences will overcome the wooden frame underneath the floor. same story with the rim. at first you'll be okay, but after awhile the rim will eventually get damaged
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

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1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:56 AM
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Ahh, I see now. My car needs gas so those wack spacers are going back and giving my car something to drink

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Old 07-20-2011, 05:07 PM
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give me your address, il send you the extra bottle of lube i have left over from when i ordered mine (trust me, i used alot...and it still hurt like hell)
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:47 PM
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.......
how much??
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:11 PM
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heres a link to the ones i got.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...K%3AMEWNX%3AIT


76 bucks with lugs
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:46 PM
MikoPr MikoPr is offline
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All I can say is that you must like to type cause I sure as hell skip it after the first paragraph.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:24 PM
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oh hello miko... well thats what i do while i wait for flatbeds to show up
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:34 PM
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I think I'll be buying these if my 68s don't clear the coils...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/5MM-7...ht_1768wt_1045
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
I think I'll be buying these if my 68s don't clear the coils...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/5MM-7...ht_1768wt_1045
those should work, i think 6mm of hub would be enough...
havent you put your 68s on the front just to see?
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by drive by72 View Post
those should work, i think 6mm of hub would be enough...
havent you put your 68s on the front just to see?
Nope. It was sort of an ordeal to get the bottlecaps on the front with the non-hubcentric spacers and 1mm of exposed hub. I don't want to go through that again, so I'm just going to wait until Saturday, when I hopefully get the last wheel fixed.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:50 PM
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oh. I say just take one side off. i got my non hub spacers on when i had them easily with the bmw tool in the trunk. once i had a lug in, it was cake really
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:01 PM
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I'm just gonna wait until Saturday because I'm lazy
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