Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bottlecaps On A First Gen

I've received a lot of interest in the Bottlecap wheels on my first gen, so I thought I'd share some important information I found during the installation process, such as tire size and what's required to mount them properly, to help you choose whether or not they are the right fit for your CRX.

First, let's talk Bottlecaps.  For those of you who do not know already, the Bottlecap wheels were designed and manufactured for E30 BMW, also known as the BMW 3 Series, sold between 1982 and 1993.  The wheels are 14 inches in diameter, 6 inches in width, and have a 33mm offset.  They weight approximately 14.8lbs with a 4x100 bolt pattern.  For CRX owners, the important information comes from the bolt pattern and the offset.  The bolt pattern is an exact match, and the offset is very close to the offset of the factory Honda wheels.  This makes them easy to swap for the factory wheels.  However there is a snag.  You can't use the factory Honda lug nuts.  The center bore diameter on the Bottlecaps is slightly larger than the factory Honda wheels, making it impossible to center them correctly with the use of the factory lug nuts.  This issue can be corrected by purchasing either hub centric rings, or conical lug nuts; the lug nut option being the simpler solution and what I chose to do.  The conical shape of the lug nut's seating surface forces the wheel to center as you tighten down the nuts in the correct torque pattern.  It took me a while to research which lug nut would be the best fit for the Bottlecaps, but I did find a set that works great, and here they are:

Lug nuts:
Gorilla Small Diameter Lug Nuts
Conical Seat, 12mm x 1.50 RH, Tuner, Chrome Plated Steel
Summit Racing - PN: 21132HT

The next important topic to discuss is tires.  I realize that tire options for 14in wheels have diminished recently, but thankfully Falken came out with the Ziex ZE912 that is available for 14in wheels.  The tire size I chose was based on looks and performance.  I had seen different tire sizes on the 14in Bottlecaps (as well as other 14in wheels), and I noticed that some sizes looked fat or pillowy, for lack of a better word.  My goal was to find a tire size that was available for the Bottlecaps, had a flatter looking sidewall but also had the widest contact area on the tire for better traction..  After a little research, I found that a 185/60R14 tire was the best fit.  Even though it was not a low profile tire, the shorter, flatter sidewall and wider tread patch gave it a sportier look and maximized traction.  I got my set from Discount Tire, however I'm not sure if they still carry them.  I did find them on Amazon:

I realize that using a BMW wheels on a CRX is blasphemy to the Honda purist, but if you're looking for something different, while keeping the 1980's factory visual feel (like I was), the Bottlecaps are a great option.


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  2. Nice wheels, I'm searching for a same set of wheels for my 2gen CRX, because I think they would really look good!

    PS: Nice blog dude, keep on going! Greetings from Chile!

    1. Thanks! They look great on 2nd gens too.

      Thanks, I'm glad you like it. What's the CRX scene like in Chile?

    2. Honda never sold the CRX in Chile so we have some that came from Japan and had to changed the steering wheel to the other side, and some that came from the USA. I was lucky to get a 88 HF 2nd gen with its stock D15B6 engine.

    3. Wow, that must mean they are pretty rare down there. I'm glad you were able to get your hands on one! Are there any CRX or Honda clubs or groups in Chile?