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      02-14-2014, 04:47 AM   #47
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Pinz's Avatar

Drives: 2013 M3 Coupe
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Vancouver, Canada

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Let me address several of your questions and elaborately explain in detail, as many didn't seem to understand me the first time.

Originally Posted by osteome View Post
You paid too much for cheap rims. You can buy gently used OEM 18s or 19s for a fraction of that. Do not equate cost with inherent quality.
Sorry, English is not even close to my first language, so when you said "cheap" I took it literally. I tried getting explanations as to what people meant, but many replies were either "use only OEM wheels" or "buy really expensive aftermarket wheels only". I wanted wheels in a specific colour of a specific size, the same size my vehicle came in. Is that too much to ask? Some are saying I MUST downsize for the winter, that is just nonsense. It might be a good idea in places where winter is colder than summer, but here, especially when you only take the car out on selective days, it's not a necessity.

I looked into AG and other "high quality" or "expensive" wheels if you wish. I would have to special order it from somewhere, pay a few hundred in shipping and duty to import into Canada, and then get someone to install them. It didn't seem worth it. First, because I wanted to be sure the setup I got would work properly. It was my impression that if I go to a wheel/tire place and ask for a package specifically made for my car, that it would be the safer route to go. I thought that people whose profession it is to do this might know more than me. They recommended the Riva rims first to me, but I said I want the VMR, because I've seen many members here use them, again, because I wanted to make sure it would be something that works. The reason I mention VMR is because it's the only other brand that we have here. If I went to the States, there would be a much larger selection that fit my car and look good.

Note that when I mention "safer" or things like that, I mean that the setup will work with my car. I didn't mention that I was looking for the safest and most reliable wheels possible. I know that companies making replica wheels have two goals in mind: Making them as cheap as possible, and making them fit as many models as possibly by changing widths/offsets. Compared to OEM wheels whose priorities are durability from road hazards, potholes, salts, car washes, and proper strength to support a fully loaded vehicle. So if you are here to lecture me about how OEM wheels are better, or whatever, thank you for trying to help, but unfortunately its irrelevant. I didn't ask for help choosing which wheels to buy, I already have the wheels, and I said I wouldn't sell them. Giving me advice about something irrelevant is just a waste of time.

That said, I could see the wheels I got where made with better quality machinery. It's a bit difficult to tell in the front because of the paint, but on the back you can definitely see it. That doesn't mean they are any stronger or more durable than aftermarket wheels from China, but it makes me more confident about choosing them even though they are cheaper. That also doesn't mean that they are not strong enough for whatever purpose I use them for.

Recommending crappy 18" wheels to someone who said aesthetics is important and said he doesn't want 18" wheels in the first place is like going to a fast food joint, saying you hate hamburgers and want a hot dog. Then the guy working there goes, "you should get a hamburger instead, it's better for you". You'd be like, "I don't care if it's better for me, I specifically asked for a hot dog."

Originally Posted by osteome View Post
I would invite to head over to Europe (yes, even Regensberg where the M3 is a manufactred) as see how many high end Mercedes, BMWs (my goodness even M3s!!!), and Porsches run on flat black steel rims in the winter. I guess safety and function are more of a concern than "aesthetics".
I am from Europe, Germany actually. I'm glad other people people put safety so high on their list! According to your argument we should try to be as much like other people as possible, especially people from Europe. I don't understand what you are trying to illustrate here. I've driven over some horrible potholes before with replica wheels and I haven't had a single problem. It doesn't mean it will never have a problem, but when hundreds of other BMWs in the same areas . Heck, I shouldn't even have to justify my choice to you. It's MY choice. If you have a problem with it, then keep it to yourself. You're not going to convince me by saying things like, "All race car drivers use 18" wheels, so should you!" That said, if I was still living in Germany and couldn't afford OEM wheels in the winter (where there actually is snow), I'd probably run steelies as well. I miss the infinitely better roads of Germany, though.

Originally Posted by osteome View Post
Again just because it cost a lot and looks good, does not mean it the best or even right choice. A simple search on this board and a little less hubris would have saved you a lot of angst.
Did I say it was the "best" choice? That is completely subjective as to what your goal is. What if your goal is to get the cheapest wheels because you're going to purposely crash the car for a film? How do you know that's not what I'm doing? Because it's not common? Just because you like to be super safe and don't care how your car looks doesn't mean I am like that also, or even need to be like that.

Search for what exactly? I mentioned how many hours I spent looking into this, it is not enough? I haven't found a solution to this that I am satisfied with. What exactly do you mean with hubris, anyway? In America it tends to mean "self-confidence", whereas in British english it means "arrogance" or "egoism". Is that because I am not "accepting" the advice here, selling my wheels, losing money, and settling for crappy wheels that I don't like? I wouldn't be happy with my car, I don't even have the money or time to do that. I thought by spending some time on here, someone might have a creative solution. But the #1 reason I am not "taking" the advice is because it's unnecessary. The wheels are not the problem.

Let's say you have a water leak in your home. The problem is that a "nut" (not sure what the proper english name for it is) is lose. But the plumber says, you should upgrade your pipes to all metal pipes because they are safer, more reliable and last longer. It will cost $5000. Who would be wiser, the guy paying 5K for something that's not causing the problem, or the one paying the plumber to tighten the nut and fix the leak (assuming you couldn't do it yourself)? No sure why I even bring up these examples, but it looks like either people are not reading my long posts, or I am not explaining things clearly enough. So hopefully these will help make it more clear.

Originally Posted by slicer View Post
Good advice has been given, you don't want to take it. Stop wasting everyone's time by posting. I don't care if you paid $10k for your wheels, they are cheap replicas. I did a quick search online and your wheels go for $900 a set, I'm not sure how you got to $4000. The fact that you are having these issues should be evidence enough that they are sub-par. OEM wheels are a fantastic option and are in fact cheap if you buy them from one of the numerous people who take them off their car to UPGRADE. An UPGRADE from OEM is a quality wheel in an actual M3 offsets made by a quality manufacturer with a solid reputation. Examples include BBS, Volk, Advan, OZ, HRE... Those options are all very expensive which is why I recommended getting an OEM set used. In addition, I'm not sure what gave you the idea that VMR's are some sort of benchmark around here. They are a decent wheel with a decent reputation but they are still a cast replica.
Good advice? Maybe it is good advice, but it doesn't help with my issue. I am happy I didn't follow the advice, because if I did, it would be money and time down the drain, AND my problem would still be there. I said the whole was $4000, the wheels, tires and everything as a whole: 240x4 (Wheels) + 480x4 (Tires) + 160x4 (Spacers) + 80 (Env. tax) + 120 (Labor) + 160 (RoadForce balancing) + 12% (Gov't tax) = $4345.60

The point of that was to illustrate that I am not "cheaping out". This is Canada, everything is more expensive here, our salaries are less, taxes higher, and cars are way more expensive.

Originally Posted by slicer View Post
You are over complicating this. Sell your wheels and move on. Don't take it personally. Live and learn, I have messed around with replica wheels in the past and they were always a complete hassle (bends, vibrations, etc). When you search the forum do you see any posts of anyone having to machine special adapters for their wheels to work? No, it's ridiculous to have to do that.
I agree it's ridiculous, which is why I can't believe that it was the recommendation by the technician. I never had to deal with things like this, which is why I went to a tire/wheel "expert" and asked them what the best choice is for my car. I never thought that after I bought them I would have such problems, and if I did, that they would take care of it because it's what they recommended to me. But no one here said anything about these technicians, only blaming me. There is a difference between giving advice and blaming someone for making a mistake. I at least know that replicas aren't as good as OEMs, but I've seen people buy brand new German imports with summer tires. They heard somewhere that they shouldn't drive in the winter with those (although many shockingly do around here!), so they come to a tire shop and ask for the best deal. If something like this happened to them, you would also blame them for making a mistake when they didn't know any better?

Let's forget everything that I know for a second. Assume I'm just a simple consumer. Many of the things I know are because of this issue anyway, so let's pretend I don't know anything about wheels and tires. BMW showed me their Winter Package, and said if I didn't like the look, to get an aftermarket set. So I followed their advice. The entire reason why I got everything from one place, including the spacers was because it was their recommendation, and the responsibility of the shop if something didn't work. I consider big vibrations such that it's difficult to hold the wheel, a product that doesn't work as advertised. Yet, they wiped their hands and said, "it's not our problem, go to BMW". I go to BMW, they force me to pay money down the drain, and they say I need to get "hub centric rings" from the tire place. I go back and they said BMW is wrong, there are no rings available, that they don't know what to tell me except to look into a custom machined part. So I spent all this money, they can't refund/return it, and yet it doesn't work. I am not familiar how to deal with such a situation in this country, if what they are doing is lawful and I'm really screwed, or if there is something I can do. Yet, no advice on this has been given. Would you really tell a consumer, it's your fault for buying such a product, spend $1000 (in loss) to sell the wheels and spacers, and buy a completely new set for another $1000 that will hopefully fit your existing tires. Ok, right... spend another $2000.

Originally Posted by slicer View Post
Edit- here's a set of OEM 19's with new snows for $1550
I appreciate sending me this to try and help me. Unfortunately this is from the states and in US dollars, which with shipping and duty will probably be over $2000 CAD, plus 3 of them have curb rashes, which I can't stand. I don't see anyone criticizing him for having 19" winter wheels or for using a 255 width.

I was close to buying a set from here for $1600 with black OEM ZCP wheels. They needed new tires soon, but still a good deal. Unfortunately someone snagged them just as I was talking with the seller. I waited for several weeks for something local to appear again, but nothing good came except OEM 19", which I just don't want on my car. I like the ZCP wheels, but I already have a black set, and don't really want the silver ones. So a replica set in gunmetal would be great. Yes, I decided to get a replica instead of OEM, <GASP>. The car is more for looks. If I want function, I have other cars that I can use.

Regarding your overall point, don't think I disagree with you. I completely agree with you that OEM wheels are better quality and almost all replicas are inferior, and that price doesn't dictate quality. However, pointing out my wheels are the problem just because I have aftermarket wheels is not helpful. I thought by explaining in detail what I was going through, the problem with the BMW service department and the tire place (the real problem) that it would save time. Instead, I had to go back, get my OEM wheels put back on just to show that the wheels are not the problem. Bash my aftermarket wheels all you want, they're not BBS or Volk, but if you really want to help, tell me some things I could try to get my current setup working. I wasn't defending the quality of the wheels, I was defending the fact that they are not the problem when everyone was saying "they ARE the problem", "you are blind to the truth" and calling me arrogant for not believing them. I was surprised that people came to such convinced solutions so quickly without taking in all the facts.

I don't have much hope in this forum helping me anymore. I'm interested in what people will start to blame now. I'm guessing the blame will still somehow come back to me, probably blaming me for not giving all the details right away, or for not trying that earlier. In advance, I'm sorry I didn't make my posts longer. I will try to make them as long as I can from now on (sarcasm of course). And sorry I didn't take out my summer tires in sub-7 degree weather to possibly damage them.

Originally Posted by sterile stork View Post
Your grand response served only to elevate the magnitude of "twit" that you embody.
Let me try to understand, because I wrote a reply that is "long", I am a "twit"? You couldn't have thought of anything better?

Originally Posted by sterile stork View Post
Sell the wheels, try to get back as much of the amazing amount you spent on them and get something the is respectfully/thoughtfully manufactured. You're in Canada, looking for snow tires, first and foremost, get a square setup--anything else is only doing part of the job. Secondly, why in the hell are you trying to run something as large as 275 for those purposes? Remember, you size down for snow tires.
What you said about Canada clearly shows that you know nothing about Canada. We don't live in Igloos dammit! No, I don't need a square setup, no I don't need to size down and get thin tires. Do people do that in California? Even if I did see snow one day, I sure as hell wouldn't be spending my time driving, but being outside enjoying a rare beauty.

Some advice about the word "try". It means to make an attempt. It's not valid in this case, I'm not "trying" to run 275 width tires, but I am running 275 wide tires. Also, I think instead of "large", "wide" is more appropriate in this case, as the overall size of the tire is not a big difference from the stock 265. If you think sizing down for snow tires is some kind of rule everyone must follow, then you have me laugh. Perhaps you meant to say, "usually you size down for winter tires"? And this is not a "usual" case.

Plus they didn't have 245 and 265 anyway, the only tires were 255 and 275 that they had to import from the States. My only other option was Blizzaks and honestly I trust the Pirellis more since that is what we use in Germany on high end cars.

Originally Posted by sterile stork View Post
If you don't want to hear the truth, don't make new threads. You're crying about not getting constructive criticism, yet you quite obviously did. You took a shortcut and will have to pay a significant amount to make it work. The wheels obviously are the problem, and considering you are part of that equation, it should be said that you too, are part of the problem.
The classic response, "you don't want to hear the truth". What truth? That I should replace my wheels? Wouldn't help in this case. Like I said, even the OEM wheels exhibit the same issue. And I don't know what you are talking about "making new threads"? I am "the problem"? Clearly I have triggered some emotional nerve of yours as you are attacking me directly without sense of self-consciousness. "The wheels obviously are the problem" - well, you're wrong "sterile stork", perhaps you're no longer "sterile".

It's funny how strongly people believe in something, even when you wave evidence in front of their face. I never would've thought I'd see something like this on a car forum, but I guess people can be religious about anything.

Originally Posted by TrakBch View Post
1) Slicer is not the wheel God, but his recommendation is one I'd strongly consider. You only need to look at all the wheels he's owned and tire sizes he's tried. If you look through any wheel discussion thread, he's usually there to answer succintly.

2) Expensive wheels (doesn't matter where they're made) can be as crappy as Chinese/Phillipine knock offs. Reference the CORR Wheel hysteria, and the Giant ADV.1 thread for this.
I agree, slicer's post would be helpful advice if the wheels were the problem. Even if the wheels are not the problem, what he said is good. It just doesn't do me any good right now. When you get 20 responses telling you you are stupid for getting cheap wheels and the solution is to change them when that's not even the problem, it doesn't help.

About the expensive wheels, that's what I was asking, what people meant by cheap. Because if it was simply about the price, then OEM wheels aren't exactly more costly, especially if you get them used. And even if they are expensive, it doesn't mean they're good quality as you said. I don't mind testing these out, the shop said they sell them to BMWs all the time. If they get damaged, I have extra insurance for that anyway, mostly for the tires since they are more costly.

Originally Posted by TrakBch View Post
3) Yes. There are Mid Tier wheels that may be ok. But they're always going to be a mixed bag. Some sets are good, some are garbage. When you get products made from a company with no reputation, or one that hasn't made the investment to make sure they meet recognized quality standards (TUV/JWL) your experience will be unpredictable.

4) I would take a look at how the spacers were installed. My experience with spacers has been that you really have to install them properly. Was there any debris on the hub that wasn't cleared when the spacers were installed? Were the Spacers damaged/nicked on the mounting surface that would keep them from sitting flush? Aluminum is SOFT, it gouges quite easily) Are the wheel bolts the same length? Are they the proper Length? It seems obvious but you would be really surprised with some of the workmanship out there.
I was worried about this as well. I would think that the shop, that keeps spacers in stock, would know how to install spacers properly. I told them to make sure to clean the hub before installing spacers and torque them right, but they said that's all standard work, they do it in a star shape as well. There is no vibration in the car, so it seams the rear are fine, even though they have the larger DRA-type spacer with inner bolts. I checked that all bolts are the correct length, too.

The strange thing is that I tried two completely different spacers, and they both had the same problem. One was a 20mm DRA-type of spacer with inner bolts (like at the rear), and the other was a Macht Schnell spacer bought from a user here. I could always ask if he had any problems on the highway with his spacer.

One thing I did notice was that the spacers fit differently when I put them on top of each other. One spacer fit quite tight on top of the other, a little difficult to remove, while another fit quite easily; you could even rotate the spacers while they were together. Neither had much room to move around, but it's possible that one of them might have a tiny little gap that's not visible to the eye. I doubt something that small could produce such vibrations though. At 120km/h, the wheels do 20 revolutions per second. The steering ratio is 12.5, so a 1mm movement on the wheel would translate to 12.5mm movement in the steering wheel. So we are looking at about a 1.5mm movement on one or both wheels. Putting the spacers together didn't show this much leeway, although one was more tight than the other as I mentioned.

The BMW technician said the spacers were mounted fine, no leeway on those, but he did notice it with the wheel. I looked at it with the OEM wheels and you could feel a tiny little bit of movement if you keep the steering completely still. A 1.5mm movement is not immediately obvious, and my guess the original shop didn't notice it with no one holding the steering completely fixed (you could turn the wheels a little).

Originally Posted by TrakBch View Post
I doubt this thread was intended to dump on the OP's income or whatever direction it looks like it's turning. But it is a good lesson going forward. There's tons of aftermarket for this car, and none if it is cheap (I miss modding my S2000!) You're going to run into lots of mid Tier or bottom feeding aftermarket companies selling garbage for just barely less than the good reputable stuff. I'm beginning to understand this is why all of our cars look the same.....

I hope the OP gets it sorted out.
Thanks for your polite comments and suggestions. Seeing so many modded M3s on here and on the road made me think it was a mod-friendly car. Maybe not like my Civic, but nevertheless. I never expected to get bashed for mentioning aftermarket wheels. I thought people would be able to understand that you don't need to down size and go with thinner wheels where I live. That I would rather spend more money on the parts I will be using more. I drive the car very little in the winter, the summer is when I drive it hard and maybe will take it to the track. But I still want it looking nice in the garage, or whenever I take it out. I thought people would be able to relate in some way.

Now I'm afraid to even mention aFe intakes, Active Autowerke pulleys and Akrapovic exhaust systems. Careful! They're not OEM!!! Arghhh!!!

Originally Posted by Ca$hOnly View Post
The wheels ARE the problem. The M3 is extremely sensitive to vibration, and unless you go back to OEM or buy quality aftermarket wheels you will not be able to solve your problem. Also, spacers will cause vibration issues unless they fit perfectly and most of the time they don't.

And yes, VMR wheels are crap. They are Chinese made junk. You might get lucky and get a set that will not cause any vibration, but with a car as sensitive as the M3 I would not take that chance.

You also mention that many guys on here run aftermarket wheels like VMR with spacers, etc... I'm telling you most of them probably have some sort of vibration and just ignore it.
Ask me how I know...I've been there done that.
In this case the wheels are actually not the problem, but I explained that already numerous times. Why exactly is the M3 extremely sensitive to vibrations? Is it just because of the steering being very direct and sensitive? I've had cars with quite direct steering (nothing like the M3 of course), but they weren't sensitive to vibrations at all. Some cars with less direct steering feel like there is a dead zone right in the centre. So if there even were any vibrations, you wouldn't be able to feel them. Sometimes I see cars on the highway whose wheel is clearly not centred, you could see it vibrating visually, and maybe the driver will never know.

I'm very interested in your spacer comment. When you say "fit perfectly" what do you mean? Is it the inner hub side, or wheel side that you have seen problems with? And why would they not fit properly? Is it something that's spacer-specific? Ie. each spacer is manufactured with a slightly different size and it can be off? Or some companies that make spacers are off by a bit and every spacer from that manufacturer will not fit perfectly? Is there any way around this? I tried two different types of spacers from two different companies and both do the same. Should I try a 3rd time?

It's interesting to know that many who run aftermarket have vibrations. It's not something that came across as a common issue when I was searching these forums, but it's difficult to read every thread ever posted when there are literally thousands. I couldn't imagine anyone driving on the track like this, or even on the road as it's difficult to hold a shaking wheel. I'm afraid if I let go, the car will go crazy and hit another car or crash.

Originally Posted by Giorgia View Post
OP did you try and drive the car without the spacers to see if the vibrations were still there?

also are they balancing the wheels with stickies?
I tried it one time and got it up to speed very briefly twice, and it seemed fine. However, at that time I didn't know the problem doesn't always happen. Another thing is that after taking the wheels off and putting them back on, the vibrations start out as very minor. After time they can get worse. So it's possible I missed it. I tried another time and noticed some minor vibrations, but now I'm thinking it was the road. I will do another long-term test and see. Although if it happens with the OEM wheel I'm pretty sure there's something wonky with the spacers. A complete test would be to also check the OEM wheels without spacers. Now if those still vibrate, then it's something completely different like suspension.

What do you mean by "stickies"? Like wheel balance weights that are stickers? Yes, they did. Not sure what BMW used, I'll have to check.

Originally Posted by dmppdx View Post
There are a lot of wheels snobs on this board that think unless you spend a thousand dollars a wheels you are riff raff. I purchased an M3 that came with snow ties and replica 18" wheels for that are probably made in china and probably pretty cheap. At freeway speed they vibrate a tiny tiny bit, but not enough for me to both doing anything about it or enough to make me not enjoy the car. The fronts are using 12mm spacers and I haven't tried using the wheels without the spacers to see if it would change them. I'm sure these cheap wheels will suit my purposes just fine since they work well for the most part. If I damage one, I can just replace it for a few hundred dollars.

If you are getting a lot of vibration like you are describing, that shouldn't be happening even with cheep wheels. I would suggest cleaning the surfaces of the wheels and spacers and tightening them back up off the ground making sure they stay centered. Use a criss cross pattern that tightens them up just barely, them do the same thing tightening them more, and the once again until they are fairly tight, then lower the car to the ground for the final tightening to specs. If that doesn't work, remove the spacers and see if that makes any difference. Sometimes through trial and errors you can find the problem.
Great post. I thought that it's the wheel snobs who read this section on the forums, who deal with many posts from people with broken aftermarket wheels due to being sub-optimal quality. Are your vibrations the same as mine, the wheel moves back and forth very quickly? Like about 10-20 times per second? I have 15mm spacers in the front, and I wonder if you removed yours if the vibrations would go away. I'm glad at least you share in the thinking that the wheels you have suit your purpose and it's inexpensive to replace them.

I would do all the cleaning you suggested, except that I don't have the tools. I looked into buying a torque wrench and all the stuff I need, but right now it's overkill. The shop where I got the wheels/spacers tried to fix the problem, so I could ask them to do what you mentioned. In my opinion it is their problem to deal with, but the manager said they are out of ideas, and when he mentioned machining a custom part, I just lost it. They did do the star pattern for tightening and everything. Maybe I'll get BMW to remove the spacers and install them, since when they took of the wheels and put them back on, the vibrations seem a bit less than when the other shop did it. Thanks for your suggestions, dmppdx! I appreciate your helpful and kind reply.

Originally Posted by Z K View Post
You just noted the problem here. Just remove the spacer and the wheel will fit fine. Simple solution to your problem. Any slight play between the wheel and the hub can cause vibration.
Seems like that's what it is. I could live without the spacers, just a bit of lost cash buying them, but I don't like how especially the rear wheels look. They don't look bad, since the wheels don't like they're high offset wheels, but it just looks so much better with the spacers. Why can't BMW be like Porsche and include spacers as an OEM option? :S

There has to be a way to get the front spacers to work. It seems the rear are fine. Maybe try a 3rd set of spacers? That ring from eBay sounds finicky, but could be an option. Or some kind of metal tape around the spacer hub extender, making it tight with the wheel?
2013 E92 M3 /// Mineral White /// Black Novillo Leather /// Competition Package /// Fully Loaded /// CF Roof, Mirrors, Spoiler, Front Diffusers /// Hellst XRT LED Angel Eyes /// BPMSport Tune Stage 1

Last edited by Pinz; 02-14-2014 at 05:27 AM.