2003 E39 BMW 530i SE wheel woes?
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Wheel woes. I thoroughly enjoy the Drive-My site. You keep us up to date with the latest in all things BMW but you don’t forget the older stuff either. It’s apparent that you go to great lengths to find and review interesting older cars. I also like the fact that you seem to keep the number of adverts down and those that are included are appropriate, thank you and well done!

Anyway, I’m writing to you as your article on wheels in the July issue caught my attention. I have a lovely original 2003 E39 BMW 530i SE with just 90,000 miles and I sometimes notice a wobble through the steering wheel (I know this can be a problem as I had two E39s from new and they used to do it once they had a few miles under them).

Whilst recently having a new set of tyres mounted, the fitter pointed out that the offside front wheel was a ‘sloppy’ fit on the hub. Swapping the front wheels around to check if I had an incorrect wheel showed the wheels are okay; it is the hub that is undersized! The car is as it left the factory (it has BMW style 32 17-inch wheels), there have been no upgrades or modifications and I have owned it for five years and done half of the miles. I wonder, is it possible that the car left the factory with the wrong hub? Did BMW make a car with a smaller hub and if so could one of those spigot rings you refer to remove the play between my wheel and hub and thereby help to reduce wheel wobble? Thanks for any help/suggestions.

Replies (1)

  • Eric Richardson Accepted Answer
    Thanks for the kind words. With regards to your wheel situation; that’s strange! If the fit was snug with either wheel on the other side then it makes sense that the hub is at fault. But what makes it stranger is that the BMW E39 was one of the only BMW models ever built with a different sized centre bore, which was 74.1mm, whereas virtually every other BMW built in the last 30 years came with a 72.5mm centre bore. We’ve not heard of hubs being interchangeable with another model for an E39, but it could be possible. Even if possible, it’s unlikely to have been done at the factory – at least we’ve never heard of anything like that. It’s more likely to have been replaced at one time or another since, possibly during a repair.

    The only other possibility is that the wheels are replica, non-BMW items, which would have a universal, larger centre bore and previously used a spigot ring to decrease the bore size. That would mean one is missing on the wheel that is loose and on the other side the spigot ring has welded itself to the hub so it’s unnoticeable, which is unlikely but we’ve have seen happen before. Perhaps you could measure the wheels and hub with a vernier gauge to see how much slack you’re talking and go from there as it is possible to get a spigot ring in virtually any size, as long as there is enough space, eBay is a good place to check what’s out there. Good luck!
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  • Started by Jonathan Musk
  • Tuesday, July 14 2015
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