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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-08-2013, 09:20 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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No more BMW steel wheels for the E46

It looks like there are no more steel wheels for those of us who use snow tires. Bavarian is out, there are some left on ebay but you need to be careful about sizing. I'm going to have mine straightened.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2013, 09:26 AM
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There`s no such thing as "wheels specific to the E46". If you`re up on your Wheelology, you`ll know that any wheels with the proper offset and bolt pattern will work on the E46, regardless of their source.
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2013, 09:45 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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I agree with that, it appears that BMW OEM steel wheels are no longer available.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2013, 10:03 AM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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Why would you want BMW steel wheels, other than to replace one bent one? Single units can be found on eBay. For my snow tires, I like the 17" aluminum wheels I got from Tirerack, for about $100 each.
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2013, 10:20 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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I've done the cheap Tire Rack aluminum wheels. They don't stand up to new england potholes, frost heaves, etc. IMHO, the steel wheels last alot longer and take more abuse without breaking. This last set cost me less than $100/wheel and lasted 4 seasons. I can get them straightened for the same price.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:15 AM
lgr122 lgr122 is online now
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How hard do you hit pothole for bending steel wheels?
Can your suspension hold together that way?
I just switched out of steelies for second set of OEM aluminium.

Last edited by lgr122; 11-08-2013 at 11:17 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:26 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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The suspension is fine, although it needs the normal work you would expect for a 2005 that has 105k on it. Going minus one on tires and wheels also gives a little more protection than the M summer wheels and rubber
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:29 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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...........and OEM aluminum is a lot more than I want to spend for winter wheels.....
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:31 AM
lgr122 lgr122 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STS42 View Post
Going minus one on tires and wheels also gives a little more protection than the M summer wheels and rubber


Right thicker rubber helps some. My winter tires are also one inch smaller than summer tires.
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2013, 06:01 PM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Tire Rack offers plain steel wheels for winter tires (I tried to link, but it didn't work for that specific rim).

www.tirerack.com

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Last edited by alpinweiss; 11-08-2013 at 06:04 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2013, 09:54 AM
Zochin60 Zochin60 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STS42 View Post
It looks like there are no more steel wheels for those of us who use snow tires. Bavarian is out, there are some left on ebay but you need to be careful about sizing. I'm going to have mine straightened.
Do you use hub caps/wheel covers with your steel wheels? If so, how do they look? Seems the car would look unfinished without them.







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Last edited by Zochin60; 11-09-2013 at 09:56 AM.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2013, 08:03 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Boo freakin' hoo. Just buy some stock alloys off of Craigslist for less than new steelies and pocket the difference while looking better. Why on Earth would you want to spend a dime on steel wheels when the alternative is so much better?!
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:51 PM
sunsetcoast sunsetcoast is offline
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Originally Posted by Fishful Thinking View Post
Boo freakin' hoo. Just buy some stock alloys off of Craigslist for less than new steelies and pocket the difference while looking better. Why on Earth would you want to spend a dime on steel wheels when the alternative is so much better?!
How much salt do they use on the roads in WA? Steelies hold up better (strength & finish). Even when the finish is ugly, an inexpensive set of covers are usually mounted any way.

We are expecting our first lake effect snow tomorrow night (6"). Haven't mounted the snows on the winter beater yet. And they are on steelies. Even if alloys cost the same, any winter DD of mine will use steel wheels.

Last I checked, Tire Rack offered steelies for $55 each and would mount and balance with tire purchase.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:33 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Originally Posted by sunsetcoast View Post
How much salt do they use on the roads in WA? Steelies hold up better (strength & finish). Even when the finish is ugly, an inexpensive set of covers are usually mounted any way.

We are expecting our first lake effect snow tomorrow night (6"). Haven't mounted the snows on the winter beater yet. And they are on steelies. Even if alloys cost the same, any winter DD of mine will use steel wheels.

Last I checked, Tire Rack offered steelies for $55 each and would mount and balance with tire purchase.
Fortunately they use very little salt here, so our cars rarely rust out. But I grew up in Pittsburgh where they salted liberally. We had cars with steel wheels, and later, cars with alloys. I remember with little fondness taking a wire wheel to the steel wheels every year, then re-painting them. It sucked. On the other hand, I've never had to refinish an alloy. We'd just periodically rinse off the road salt and they looked great for years. So, I disagree with the idea that steel wheels have a more lasting finish than alloys.

Regarding cost, I paid $200 for a set of stock BMW alloys off of Craigslist. Guaranteed fitment, and cheaper than those (probably Chinese) steelies from Tirerack. And $20 cheaper. Not to mention, infinitely better looking, without the need for plastic wheel covers.

Understand, I'm not trying to pick a fight, but it I just don't see any advantage to heavy, rusty, ugly steel wheels over readily available OEM alloys. But, r
Each to their own. As long as your happy and safe, that's what really matters.
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  #15  
Old 11-10-2013, 08:10 PM
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Another problem for steelies is that they`re only sized for 323s and 325s....16-inch steelies won`t fit on 330s....
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  #16  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:11 AM
sunsetcoast sunsetcoast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Another problem for steelies is that they`re only sized for 323s and 325s....16-inch steelies won`t fit on 330s....
Now that is a powerful argument for alloys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishful Thinking View Post
I remember with little fondness taking a wire wheel to the steel wheels every year, then re-painting them. It sucked. On the other hand, I've never had to refinish an alloy. [...]

I paid $200 for a set of stock BMW alloys off of Craigslist. Guaranteed fitment, and cheaper than those (probably Chinese) steelies from Tirerack. And $20 cheaper. Not to mention, infinitely better looking, without the need for plastic wheel covers.

Understand, I'm not trying to pick a fight,

Agreed, to each, his own. To show how experiences differ, though:

I, too, grew up in the Pittsburgh region. Never had to refinish a steel wheel, even after 10 years, including those exposed "styled steel" wheels from the late 70's. Of course, I had the "opportunity" to wax them (just as we do alloys) every year.

OTOH, the first 4 sets of alloys I owned were on German cars. All were OE wheels, save one set. Only the set that never saw salt had a finish that was not marred by 3 seasons or less of winter driving. As we tend to keep our cars for at least 6 years...

If you can find a straight, nice-looking, easy to clean set of alloys for $200 AND you plan to keep the car for only a few seasons, that might be the way to go. But most $200 sets of OE wheels look uglier than steelies with wheel covers. And those flaws are where salt = finish problems.

Agree 100% on being safe: using winter rubber is the safer way to go, regardless of whether it is on steel or aluminum wheels.
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2013, 08:02 AM
STS42 STS42 is offline
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Where do I start. First the BMW/OEM steel wheels are/were 17". The cheap Tire Rack alloys bend very easily in New England, this is my 3rd BMW, an E23, E38 and now an E46. I do not want to pay for OEM winter wheels. The steel wheels from Barvarian came with a large cone to cover the hub so you don't need plastic wheel covers.
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