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Building a set of BBS wheels and starting to plan

I already had parts sitting around for the '68 that I knew I wanted to use on the '69, so great, at least we aren't having a massive project shift.

My plan for the wheels was simple: remove all of the polished bolts: one becuase they were improperly polished or chromed, and replace the rear hoops with 1 inch depth hoops that i'd aquired in Germany. I was hoping for a staggered look like more modern BMWs. It also got rid of two hoops that were damaged in shipping (bite me DHL).

Note to self, try and find wheels that are domestically, and readily available. I bought these in England when I was there and they were nicely refinished. Problem was I trusted the bloke to package them up appropriately. That was a fail.

The RM01 (these wheels) were standard issue on the VW GTI 16v on the 1992 model only...the one I just sold. I hung on to an extra set I had when I knew that the car was going.

These rims were not as trendy back when I started this project I think for a few reasons: They aren't a BMW part number and have a VW/Audi logo stamped on them. They are a two piece design as you can see in the photos, where the comparable BMW part the RS rim is three pieces. This does in fact give you a lot more options for spacing, stance, etc. but for the 02 they go on perfectly have the right bolt pattern and the spacing is pretty darn close to what you need. I'll post pictures of that when I get my suspension sorted out.

Oh and the other reason they are less desirable is that the center rings and caps are push in, vs. screw down. There is a good solution to this problem that I will post pictures and descriptions of later.

I chose them because I knew their proven stoutness on the GTI which I had truly thrashed in the backroads, on freeways all over NORCAL, and mostly because I knew they could survive in adverse conditions like ownership by a 17 year old...I bought the GTI off my cousin.

Resto should be an easy project. Right? Right.

Well, not quite. One; there are 30ish bolts on every wheel that you want to remove by hand. Trust me on this if there is any corosion on them or your previous owner uses some level of "locktite" and/or manhandled them in. If you get any resistance at all with these rather soft and spindly bolt. STOP immediately and use more penetrating oil.

So my not so wise arse thinks it can carefully use an 8mm star bit (what's the reverse of a Torqs tool called anyway?) on the end of a carefully modulated driver to pull these out in record speed. Not a plan, not on your most careful and accurate day.

To avoid mishap: go to your zen place. Get out your hand tools. Recognize that you will be doing this for a few hours, maybe over a few days.

I ended up sheering a bolt off completely leaving me with a extraction and tapping job. I did however learn how to best extract and what tools work. Handy knowledge later on with head studs. I also had another bolt break off 2/3 of the way out. That one I soaked in oil and used a smartly placed pair of vice grips to save me another extraction and tapping job.

Now done, I was resigned to reassemble to factory spec. Kind of. I was told that you could use ATV gasket seal for the connection between the barel and the back face of the hoop. This may work for some, but it did not work for me. The VW crowd has been doing this for years. Instructions are simple:

1. clean face and clean back of rim. remove all old sealing material

2. place ATV or sealer on both surfaces and let cure together

3. place bolts and hand tighten

4. wait 24 hours, and torque to spec

I did all of this. When I went to do have the tires put on, i essentially had leaks, one slow and one fast. This is a lot more common with the 1/2 inch lip hoops I am running in the front based on the shape. Recommend using the actual sealant from BBS its available from Black Forest Industries and it is worth the extra money.

That sorted i reassembled the rims and hey presto, they hold air.

A couple of other learnings:

Tire selection is a pain.

I ended up running 195/45/15s on the front, and 205/50/15s on the back. They are yokohama SDrive tires. These are a very quiet and compliant tire. I have done a couple of vintage drives on these and they actually keep a lot of the around town road behaviours of my skinny 13s in terms of ride quality. The extra contact patch is well worth it.

There are not very many good 13 inch tire choices.

There are only a few good 14 inch tire choices. At first I wondered if I would like a 15 inch tire on the 02, it has ended up pretty great in all areas I was looking for.

Another thing to figure out: how down and out you want to go with your suspension before finalizing your tire and wheel selection. It saves rubbing and expensive suspension rework later. I got lucky here.

Lastly, always have a "wheelman" see video.

Great tires and wheels together in garage. Now what's my big plan.

Interior? Suspension? Engine? Hmm, yes please.

What to do first, where to start, what was an immediate maintenance need. What was my plan.

Time to go visit my father and get his expert project management skill paired with my design skills. As I have learned you want to build something as Iconic as an Audi TT: best to get design and engineering together early. Often.


Recommended Comments

thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate it. I read your thread a while back. Your car is awesome. Very inspirational for my project. Hey question, where did you get your hoops? I really like the finish on them. Did you do the polishing? Thanks, - cameron

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The lips were in pretty good condition when I bought them. Just had them taken to a local polishing guy in Sacramento and they polished them to a mirror. 

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Cool. That's really helpful. I should probably have my whole set run thru a polisher. I'll have to find someone down here. Thanks again for the feedback.

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