BMW Wheels – E34/E28 5-Series Fit On E36/E46 3-Series?
This answer is applicable for many BMWs in addition to the one listed below.
My question is about two pairs of wheels from different BMW models. I am wondering if I can put one set of wheels on the other car. I have a 1984 BMW 533i (e28) which I am about to sell. I have two sets of wheels and tires for this car, one set of street tires and one set of snow tires. The street wheels/tires were purchased from my mechanic who took them off his e34 project car. The markings on these wheels are as follows:
1 179 774
Theses wheels, which I will call the e28 wheels, have a set of 225/60R15 tires on them. If I were to use these wheels I would be repainting them and replacing the tires with a proper size for the new car.
I have tried to find a definitive answer on the internet, and that information is hard to come by. Someone mentioned that I should be able to do it, just make sure they are “hubcentric” and I have heard that it is possible with some sort of spacers. My mechanic said to come in and he’ll try to mount them to see if it works. I could try to put them on, but I don’t want to gamble with driving around on wheels that I don’t know if they have a sound fit. Can you solve this, once and for all, and tell me if I am easily able to mount the e28 wheels on my e36, and if so, can you sell me the parts that I would need to do it?
While both the E28 chassis (5 series 82-88) and the E36 chassis (3 series 92-98) have the same 5 x 120mm bolt circle and the same 72mm hub flange size, the E36 (and the E46 and E90) uses a much different wheel offset. The later, 5-lug, 3-series cars have about 20mm to 30mm more negative wheel offset than the 5, 6 & 7 series models.
In your specific case, the wheels that you had on your E28 (the E34 wheels) have a 20mm offset and the E36 wheels are 47mm. This means that your E28 wheels will indeed fit on the E36 hubs (they are hub-centric), but the tires (and wheels) will protrude about 27mm further outboard, on the E36. This will likely cause the tires to hit the outer fender lips. Obviously, spacers will not help this situation.
If you like the “cross-spoke” or “BBS look” wheels, which are indeed a classic BMW wheel design, we do offer both the Beyern and the D-Force wheels with the cross-spoke design. These wheels would be 17″, so they would require new tires, but they do look mighty fine on the E36 chassis.