Re: Re: Re: Replacement tires for 1998 BMW M3

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Posted by Ray Adams on October 29, 1999 at 11:04:50:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Replacement tires for 1998 BMW M3 posted by Ray Adams on May 12, 1999 at 11:14:04:

It has been quite some time since I posted a message regarding my tire solution, but I received a message from a fellow reader who wanted to know what I did. The results, I regret to inform you, are not promising. I must apologize for the length of the message, but there's a lot of detail.

At the time that I was in need of tires for my 1998 BMW M3 sedan, there seemed to be a glut in the market for the manufacturer's recommended sizes(read my initial posting for OEM information). My target tire, because I had great luck with the company in the past, was the Bridgestone Potenza S-02 Pole Position. Sizes required were 225/45/17 Front and 245/40/17 Rears. However, they were on backorder from Japan, and over 2,500 were already spoken for with the 3-4 dealers that I called (Tire Rack being one of them). So, I had a contact that could get me the BF Goodrich G-Force TA/KD's for a reasonable price. I said okay, he ordered, we were set to go.

First problem was that the guy couldn't even get the MXX3's off of the Forged Rims - which happen to be some of the most expensive that BMW makes. The equipment slipped off of the sidewall, because it was so strong(awesome tires, those MXX3's), and gouged the rim. That's right, about a 1/8" indentation in the spoke. Anyway, he gave up, sold me the tires at a reasonable price, put back on the MXX3's, and I was off to the BMW shop. I did, however, finally manage to buff the majority of damage out of the rim with Mother's Aluminum Polish.

So. Leith BMW ended up mounting the KD's for around 60 bucks. And if I may say, if you EVER need BMW service in Raleigh, Leith (In North Raleigh) is the place to go. Wonderful bunch of people. Anyway, off I went with new KD's on the car. With, I might add, a fresh balance(of course) and a full alignment.

After about 100 miles, I noticed a vibration in the car. Not just in the steering wheel. The entire car. So, I had the tires balanced again. One of the fronts was off a little, so I went back to the BMW shop for a re-balance. Yep, one was off. Seemed to be good for about another 1,000 miles.

Guess again. Another vibration. Another balancing act. Another alignment. Checked out okay. Can't get rid of the vibration. Another 1,500 miles. BMW shop suggests that the tires are wearing improperly. Another 1,500 miles. Another vibration. Another balance. One tire out again. Another alignment.

So, I think that the tires will wear back in. They didn't. After about 5,000 miles, the tire specialist at Leith hits me with a statement that I can't believe: "You need new tires". Oh my goodness. So, I contacted BF Goodrich concerning the tires, and I was going to be able to replace them under a pro-rated warranty because of improper wear. Cost me another $340 bucks. So, now I'm into this type of tire for 3 alignments ($180), 3 additional balances ($30), original cost of the tires ($1,100), and a pro-rate cost for a new set($340). Total so far? $1,650 bucks. Worth it? I'll get back to you in another 5,000 miles.

Believe me, I take tires seriously. I tried everything that I could to make sure that my initial investment didn't go south, but it did anyway. What do you do with a stock that you keep pouring money into but it doesn't return anything? You dump it. I think that if I could have had BF Goodrich switch me out to another tire, I would have. I don't think that it would have been fair for me to ask for my money back, simply because I had used the tires for 1/4 of their life. However, the thing that got me was that BF Goodrich gave me a 75% original credit, then charged me 25% for the replacement tires. When I asked how much, they said that the tires were $322 and $319 for the front (different left & right, different price), and $348 on the rears (different left & right, same price). MENTAL NOTE: BUY FROM TIRE RACK. So. That meant that I would be stuck with a $340 bill for replacement instead of what I originally paid - which 25% of that would have been $275. Not much of a difference ($65), but enough to make me wonder if anyone would spend $1,337 on a set of tires(not including mounting/balancing) that were not Corvette or Viper super-mama sizes.

I must give credit though, to BF Goodrich for taking care of their customers. Seems a little expensive, but when you are going with the "King of the Dry" tire, it's going to be expensive. They were great, as were Merchant's where the tires were mounted (they even took them to BMW for balancing). Although I spent more money, I must say that I am happy with the service, if not with the tire. Maybe I just got a bad batch. Who knows.

So. What you've been wanting to know is... should you buy them? I think you have to decide between 2 tires. The Bridgestone S-02 Pole Position and the BF Goodrich G-Force TA/KD. If you want sheer performance, I would have to say go with the KD's. I'm not going to downgrade the tire because of one bad experience. Making high performance tires is a tricky art. However, if it happens again, they're outta here. I have no experience with the S-02's on my car, but I have had awesome results from Bridgestone RE-71's in the past, and any other Bridgestone tire I have ever had. For all around driving, comfort, noise, and wet/dry weather handling, I'd say go with the S-02.

On another note, I also ordered a set of BBS RX rims with Yokohama A032R tires. I'll let you know how those are on the track.

I hope that all of this was helpful. Sorry if it wasn't.

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