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DanRooms

Wheel spacers

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Is anyone running wheel spacers? I'm thinking of fitting some to my 540i, it's got staggered M paras. It's mainly the front where the wheels don't quite fill the arches. Might also get some H&R lowering springs at some point. So I was wondering what's the best sizes to get if I don't want any fouling (I don't want to get into arch rolling ideally)? How will they affect ride & handling? Presumably lighter is better as they'll add to unsprung weight. There's quite a selection on ebay so want to know what's best?

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2 hours ago, DanRooms said:

Is anyone running wheel spacers? I'm thinking of fitting some to my 540i, it's got staggered M paras. It's mainly the front where the wheels don't quite fill the arches. Might also get some H&R lowering springs at some point. So I was wondering what's the best sizes to get if I don't want any fouling (I don't want to get into arch rolling ideally)? How will they affect ride & handling? Presumably lighter is better as they'll add to unsprung weight. There's quite a selection on ebay so want to know what's best?

 

I run 15mm spacers all round on my Style 66s with winter tyres

 

When I ran E38 Style 37s; I ran 5mm hubcentric shims up front to take the offset to 8 from 13, rears were offsets of 20 with 275/35 tyres

 

You may find that 5mm hubcentric shims more than enough on the rear of your 540i with E39 Style 37s; any more and you'll risk rubbing of the inner arches; more so on heavy undulations in the roads and if you go onto lowering springs. Fronts, I'd say you'll be able to run 15mm spacers with no problems; the wheel wells are much deeper

 

I've used Bimecc spacers and Mteconlines own spacers as well as the spacers from Precision Autoparts; I'm also an advocate of running Mteconline's 82mm stud conversion; this replaces the need for longer bolts; and allows you to run spacers up to and including 20mm. For me it's a safer option is it tightens down both ways; pulling the wheel onto the spacers/hub and the hub into the spacer/alloy etc (if that makes sense)?

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/mteconline

https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/Precision-Autoparts?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

5mm hubcentric shims: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-x-5mm-Hubcentric-Bore-Alloy-wheel-spacers-Fits-BMW-M5-E39-1998-2003-74-1-5x120/223376380994?epid=11005177319&hash=item3402451442:g:mbAAAOSwFJBZVTAQ

 

As for handling; it'll give you that slighter wider track; so a bit better handling maybe. As for unsprung weight; it's negligible as they really don't weigh that much :) All in; you'll not notice much at all IMO

 

Edited by d_a_n1979

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3 hours ago, DanRooms said:

Is anyone running wheel spacers? I'm thinking of fitting some to my 540i, it's got staggered M paras. It's mainly the front where the wheels don't quite fill the arches. Might also get some H&R lowering springs at some point. So I was wondering what's the best sizes to get if I don't want any fouling (I don't want to get into arch rolling ideally)? How will they affect ride & handling? Presumably lighter is better as they'll add to unsprung weight. There's quite a selection on ebay so want to know what's best?

I'm running 20mm spacers up front with 0 rubbing issues. Staggered M pars and oem tyre sizes, although I am on stock suspension. Not sure if 20mm would be ok once lowered. As for which spacers, I'm using the Precision ones along with a stud conversion kit from Mtec same as what Dan suggested. You can get open ended locking nuts in the stud configuration too if needed. Some say its pointless to have locking nuts on studs as the studs have a hex on the face which you use to install/uninstall it hence may be able to get around the locking nut. But in my experience there is no way you're using the hex to remove the stud with the wheel installed. More likely to round the hex off.

 

As for handling, I can't say I've noticed any difference at all positive or negative. Don't really put much miles on her in lockdown.

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Is this the stud conversion I need? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-Black-Conversion-Wheel-Studs-82mm-50mm-Thread-Kit-with-Nuts-17mm-Hex/283950963159?hash=item421ccbd9d7:g:Ye0AAOSwilpfEaAS

 

Or would I require shorter ones for the 5mm back spacers?

 

Is it an easy thing for a mechanical doofus like me to do, or will need special tools, etc?

Edited by DanRooms

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1 hour ago, DanRooms said:

Is this the stud conversion I need? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-Black-Conversion-Wheel-Studs-82mm-50mm-Thread-Kit-with-Nuts-17mm-Hex/283950963159?hash=item421ccbd9d7:g:Ye0AAOSwilpfEaAS

 

Or would I require shorter ones for the 5mm back spacers?

 

Is it an easy thing for a mechanical doofus like me to do, or will need special tools, etc?

 

That's the one :)  Stick with the same length all round IMO. You never know when you may change alloys ;) 

 

And to fit them; very easy. Just need Red Loctite and basic tools. If you've got decent hex sockets; you can use them and torque them down to c25lb ft; no more. Or you can use 2 of the nuts; facing onto each other, to wind the stud in and torque it down the same :) 

 

I personally use similar wheel nuts to these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/20x-Steel-Extended-Open-Ended-Wheel-Nuts-JMD-Style-Black-V48-M12x1-5mm/184637326218?hash=item2afd3e038a:g:1i4AAOSwhYdgEAl5

 

Ignore the filth ;)

 

disgusting3.jpg

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You have to be careful with

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrub_radius

when fitting spacers to the front. 
 

E39s run ET20 offset as standard. 
 

I just swapped from 15mm spacers to 20mm on the front, BUT I have wheels designed for later BMs my fronts are ET32, so the 15mm spacers made my wheels ET17 over all, not really any different to standard.


So still quite tucked in.

 

Hence me changing to the 20mm spacers.

They took me to ET12 over all, the equivalent of using an 8mm spacer on standard E39 wheels. 
 

A 20mm spacer on ET20 wheels would take them to ET0, that has big effect on scrub radius, changing that can have big effects on steering feel making the car tramline etc.
 

Thats theory though, Dan has had a lot of different wheels on E39s so knows the actual effects. Do bear in mind he keeps everything perfect on his cars though, slightly worn bushes would start to show up much worse with spacers. As far as I know Dan has always had steering racks though, any inefficiencies in a 540i steering box could be shown up by running lower over all ETs.  


Also the outer edges of the tyres / rim move back & forward much more the lower ET you run, this can cause rubbing but also if you’re bothered it can make the wheels look very odd with their placement in the arch on partial steering lock. 

 

I got the Bimecc ones for my new 20s & found they are over all wide diameter:

 

MbXJu7r.jpg

 

the old black ones didn’t cover the whole face of the wheel:

0P5wIlu.jpg

 

You can see the dark mark round the edge there the spacers didn’t cover (they have still been fine for the last 30,000 miles though!) 
 

The Bimecc ones still don’t completely cover but are better:

bUbQw8j.jpg

 

I just run longer 45mm bolts & 45mm locking bolts with mine. 

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