Many are referred to the "stance thread" for tire and wheel fitment questions (lots has been tried), but if you are like me you may be craving more.
For those looking to get a bit more technical, i have begun to compile some resources. Feel free to post more or critique and i will add it. Eventually i may even combine all of this into a FAQ article.
Want to compare your wheels to what was on the car bofore? Use this site http://www.willtheyfit.com/
Early '02: 13x4.5 offset ?
Late '02: 13x5 offset 29
'02 alloys: 13x5 offset 25
E21: 13x5.5 offset 18
E30 steel: 14x5.5 offset 35
E30 alloys: 14x6 offset 35
E30 BBS: 14x6.5 offset 30
E30 325ix: 14x6 offset 47
E30 325ix: 14x6.5 offset 45
E30 6-spoke 15x7 offset 24 82-11-9-409-556 Style 10
E30 M Technic 15x7 offset 24
E30 325iX 15x7 offset 41
Some of these work on '02s. With E21 wheels you are limited to narrow tires. E30 alloys let you use bigger, wider, better tires (usually 195/60-14). E30 BBS (basketweave) alloys can be a tight fit on an '02 and an even tighter fit on a tii. Due to their extreme offset, E30 325ix wheels don't fit anything except an ix. E30 M3 wheels have five bolt holes.
Circa 2005 bimmerforums but it seems like good stuff.
2002's have a Bolt Pattern of 4x100; and a Center Bore/Hub Diameter of 57.1mm
Not nessisarily is the biggest widest tire going to grip the best. Tire grip is mostly based on rubber compound and tread pattern. I once had a set of 185/70-13 Michelins that out cornered the El-cheapo 205/50-15 tires that came with a previous set of wheels I had.
13x5 et28 '74-'76 2002 styled steel
Tires: 165/80-13 stock to 185/70-13
13x5.5 et18 320i styled steel, 21 spoke Alpina look alloy, and BBS look alloy
Tires: 185/70-13 standard, some cars and or tire brands may be able to fit 205/60R13 with these wheels.
14x6 et35 3-series '84-'91 "bottlecap" alloy. Widely avalible used, try craigslist.org, or a local wrecking yard. These fit very well and are concidered to be a good cheap way to get "modern" rubber on a 2002. There are many brands of tires avalible in this size, in MANY different compounds from El-cheapo to gummy race rubber.
Tires: 185/65-14, or 195/60-14.
14x6.5 et30 3-series '87-'91 BBS Sport alloy. Similar to above but BBS look and more expensive.
Tires: 185/65-14 fits well, 195/60-14 may have clearence problems.
Better fitting 14' wheels may be able to fit 205/55-14 tires.
15x7 et24 3-series optional BBS sport alloy and six spoke optional alloy. Great wheels but rare and pricey.
Tires: 195/50-15, 195/55-15, 205/50-15, the 205's will need the fender lips rolled extensively to clear with out tire rubbing.
The offsets for 15x7' wheels on a 2002 is from et22 to et28 with et25 being perfect. With rolling of the fender lips a 205 section tire is possible.
With my 15x7 et28 BBS Nardi wheels I have 205/50-15 Yokohama ES100's with a 3mm spacer up front and none in the rear. For suspension I have H&R springs and Koni shocks. I've also rolled the fender lips for clearence.
http://www.double02salvage.com has good deals on used BMW wheels.
http://www.2002parts.com/html/4-lug_wheels.html has a nice selection of the above wheels.
http://www.panasport.com/ has some very cool classic wheels to fit many cars incl. 2002's from mild to wild.
http://www.tirerack.com/ and http://www.discounttiredirect.com have 15' and 16' wheels to fit 2002's as well as a huge tire selection. They may not have ALL the choices up on the web sites so call them to see if there are more.
High quality wheel spacers and extended wheel studs are avalible here:
Most but NOT ALL wheels designed to fit the '84-'91 3-series also fit 2002's except for the most extreme mondo sizes.
Other resources for 2002 info are:
There are still many choices for wheels on 2002's out there. Many corner tire/wheel shops will try sell you wheels that they THINK will fit, but they're probably ment for a Honda or Toyota. Just take your time and make an informed decision and make sure they're going to fit properly, with a money back guarantee if they don't!
This is also an invaluable resource on all the details of tires and wheels. The tire size and offset calculators are incredible, especially the calculator on page 4 that allows you to compare rolling diameter of two different tires.
The ultimate suspension article for the 02. This is circa 1987 but i still learn something new with every read. Very focused on performance driving, not just "stance." If you have not read this one yet, you are new, or need your head adjusted. I copied some tire and wheel appropriate info.
http://www.2002tii.org/kb/324 - essential reading
These are more contemporary size selections and common fitments to Tii’s are 185/70×13 and 205/60×13. Both sizes will fit on a 6″ wheel without interference l[ you select wheels of the proper offset. Recently, 195/60×14 tires on 318i/325e wheels have turned up on ’02s. These appear to fit, that is clear the front strut and steering knuckle, if the rest of the car and suspension is straight and correct. Another tire size is 185/65×14 but, frankly, this is a retrograde step in load rating and not much of a handling improvement over the 13 inch tires. All these sizes do not really require any special attention to the suspension as they still have fairly generous sidewalls which a: do a fairly good job of absorbing initial shock impacts without transmitting them to the rest of the suspension and car and b: will tolerate some additional camber change during cornering. Therefore the general formula of stiffer springs, shocks and anti-roll bars with negative camber plates mentioned earlier will work very well. If the truth were known, a car with a 205/60 HR 13 tire on a 6″ wheel with this formula is probably the best OVERALL combination of ride and handling. Indeed, for several years I ran 205/60 HR 13s on 6×13 wheels (13mm offset although BMW AG also say 20mm will fit) with the sport front/HD rear Bilsteins, Miller and Norburn Touring springs, negative camber plates and 19mm anti-roll bars and found it to be an outstanding combination.
This is the leading edge of “high-tech” tire design embodying the now familiar “plus two” concept of mounting a very wide low profile tire on a wheel larger in diameter to maintain the original rolling diameter. The typical fitment is a 195/50×15 tire on a 6″ wheel although some tires will fit when mounted on 7″ wheels (20mm offset for either width). This is the combination which requires some deviation from the above formula. These tires have a very short sidewall which translates into very little shock dissipation by the tire sidewalls, especially on a 7″ wheel. Thus a suspension which yields that nice overall balance with a 205/60×13 or 195/60×14 tire is very likely to produce a very harsh ride with a 195/50×15 tire. To get around this, some aftermarket suppliers produce variable or progressive rate springs for the newer series cars. Such springs have a varied wire diameter or coil winding to produce a non-linear spring rate and feature a soft initial segment allowing additional compliance to compensate for that lost from the tire sidewall. Unfortunately, such springs are, to the best of my knowledge, not readily available for the 2002 Tii. Thus, we will not discuss this possibility further and must stick with the original suggestion of stiffer springs with a rate of around 135-145 pounds per inch in the front. However, we can trade a bit of roll stiffness from the firm shocks, particularly at the front where it is pronounced on a two wheel bump, to the anti-roll bars, where it is not as perceptible in two wheel bump motions. For my own car with this tire selection, I retained the Bilstein intermediate (“heavy duty”) rear shocks but have replaced the “sport” front shocks with the conventional “street” setting Bilstein shocks.
Our friends at Ireland Engineering have some excellent advise including backspacing tidbits...
The best backspace for our beloved BMW 2002 is just over 4-1/2”. This allows the tire to be under the car as far as possible to allow the most room at the fender lip for larger tires. The tire rubbing on the strut housing is the limiting factor for backspace, but the tie rod end is also a consideration on 13” wheels. It is not a problem to use wheels with a backspace of more than 4-1/2” with a spacer. This can actually work well as it allows you to adjust the tire in the wheel well for the best clearance. There are very few wheels available with the correct backspace for the 2002 but plenty of wheels with the deeper front wheel drive backspaces. We do this all the time on our racecars. I normally do not use spacers more than 1/2” thick. If using spacers, make sure you have long enough studs to have at least 1/2” (8 turns) of thread in the lug nuts.
Many 2002 owners use the 14” wheel from the 1984-1991 3 series (E30) in 14x6 or 14x6.5. These work well but may need a small 1/8” or 1/4” spacer at the front. A tire size of 195x60x14 works well. Larger tires usually require adjustments to the fender. Our easy to install “turbo” flares are a common solution the fender clearance issues.
15”x7” wheels with a 20mm offset are available and are best used with 195x50x15 tires. Larger tires up to 225 will fit the rim but fender modification or flares will be needed.
Wheels from the 1977 to 1982 320i (e21 chassis) do not have enough offset or backspace to fit properly on the 2002. The tires will tend to rub the fender lip. They can be made to work with narrow tires if the car has not been lowered.
The "stance thread" is too valuable of a resource to ignore, even if it's sheer size frusterates me. The original intent is excellent. If you posted in the thread, i would suggest you go back to your original post and update it. Especially in regards to details the original poster requested like offset, spacers, and how it held up over time (things always get softer). On way to use it well is to find a car with the setup you think you want, and message them for details. Tip: "fits" is a subjective term so beware.