Even before my 1991 BMW M5 arrived, I knew that I was going to need new wheels and tires ASAP. The original M System Turbines had been sold two owners ago (heartbreaking!) and the car was now wearing 18×9 BMW / BBS Style 42 wheels with worn out rubber. While I might have kept a staggered set of 18” (x8 and x9.5) Style 42 wheels, the look of wide polished lips up front did nothing for me. Funny enough, the 18×9 size is quite rare, and typically used only for the rears, so to end up with a set of four was quite a find. But, nonetheless, a find I didn’t want.
Approximately six weeks transpired between my initial talks with the previous owner and the car’s delivery on a rainy night in New York City – and during nearly every one of those days, I looked for a replacement set of 17” M System wheels. Turbine or throwing star style, I didn’t care. I began to get a little frantic as I knew the tires on the car were unsafe and causing a “shimmy and shake” at 55 MPH, and I wanted to be able to drive the car as soon as it arrived. Original wheels were also no longer available anywhere.
I was able to track down a staggered set of 18” BMW M Parallel wheels, part numbers 36112229731 (9.5in wide rear) and 36112229730 (8in wide front), and had a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires fitted (235 front, 265 rear). The M Parallel wheels were used on the later E34 M5s in Europe, and a popular upgrade in the U.S. in the 90s given their size and good looks. With the new setup, the transformation in the car’s steering and ride was instantaneous, as if 20 years had been taken off the car. Shaking? Gone. Tramlining on the highway? Gone. Crashyness over small bumps? Gone. Finally, the wheels needed new //M stickers, part number 36112228660, which took all of 30 seconds to install and I was good to go.
Satisfied that the car was now safe to drive basically anywhere, I packed up the wife and kid, and headed to my family’s beach house in Connecticut with a box of parts, a tool bag, and a firm resolve to keep the project going.
Next up: new door handle gaskets.
Years of Texas sun had taken a toll on my door handle gaskets, leaving them not just cracked — but altogether absent in some places. Replacing them isn’t just for looks, but ensures that rain does not get into the doors and rust them from the inside out.
I got all my gaskets, as well as new trim from eEuroparts, the parts are all fairly inexpensive in both aftermarket URO and EZ Zeigler, as well as genuine BMW options. Pretty great for brand new parts.
Fixing the issue is simple: order a set of front and rear door handle gaskets and trim, and start with one of the rear doors first as they’re easier. With the door open, pop out the rubber stopper on the side of the door with a sharp knife.
Inside, dead ahead about one inch deep is a silver metal L shaped hook. Push that hook in and your door handle cover will fall off.
Scrape off the remnants of your old gasket, attach the new one to the back of the cover, push it back into position and then pull the lever in the door back into position while holding the handle and gasket in place.
The trick with this last move is to use an open ended wrench (I used a no. 13) to pull the lever, but a well placed screwdriver could leverage it back into position as well. Repeat x3 and you are done. Total time for four handles = less than 45 mins and it looks so much better.