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Wheel Spacers

My take and knowledge of wheel spacers

Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby 407driver » Apr 01 2017, 12:13pm

When I got my truck it had wheel spacers on the rear wheels. they were about 1/4-3/8" thick and just sat on the wheel studs. My tire shop manager suggested removing them because they caused the wheels to no longer rest on the raised boss on the hub. Instead they were hanging on the studs themselves.

I agreed with him and had him remove them. My truck is bone stock so the lift kit clearance issue does not come into play for me.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby ksmobile1 » Jan 22 2018, 2:57am

407driver wrote:When I got my truck it had wheel spacers on the rear wheels. they were about 1/4-3/8" thick and just sat on the wheel studs. My tire shop manager suggested removing them because they caused the wheels to no longer rest on the raised boss on the hub. Instead they were hanging on the studs themselves.

I agreed with him and had him remove them. My truck is bone stock so the lift kit clearance issue does not come into play for me.
Im not sure this is the right area to post, but, im looking for 1" wheel spacer for the 2015 gmc sierra denali 2500hd w duramax.

What is the Best quality spacer to look for. Any help is appreciated.

Kevin

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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby thkbaron » Feb 05 2018, 4:31am

motorsport tech. and if you do a spacer make sure to get them hub centric and wheel centric. you'll have zero issues that way. just make sure you get enough turns on your studs if you do a slip over type. getting a wheel with the right offset is the best option over all spacers.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby Silversierra13 » Mar 05 2018, 2:18am

I have a stock height 13 sierra with 20×9 +18 offset wheels and stock height 275/55r20 tires would I be able to run any wheel spacers 2 inches or less with a 2 inch strut spacer?
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby BigBlue74 » Mar 06 2018, 4:42am

Silversierra13 wrote:I have a stock height 13 sierra with 20×9 +18 offset wheels and stock height 275/55r20 tires would I be able to run any wheel spacers 2 inches or less with a 2 inch strut spacer?


My buddy has been running 2" spacers on his stock 14 sierra for a few years now and he has not had any issues (he did have to trim). I have 2" spacers on my 12 Silverado for .... long time 4+ years. My truck has a 6" lift in it and It lives an extreme off road life in, on , and around the Oil Fields. Just don't be cheap about spacers. I have Bora spacers. I recheck torque at every wheel rotation which happens with every oil change. To the stories of ware and tare on front end parts from spacers. Your going to get the same ware and tare from huge offset rims too. Other safety concerns can be avoided by regular maintenance. Make sure during wheel rotations you check for issues on the spacers. Check torque, look for cracks, chips, check for gunk build up from road or off road grime this crap can cause huge issues if it seeps into how the spacer seats. Another thing I do which might be over the top is check them after major temperature changes. Living in ND we can be -40 one week and +40 the next. Takes 30 minutes to drop the tires check torque and put things back together. I will spend that 30 min every time over the alternative. After 4 years never an issue and have been great and maybe that is to my over maintenance but hey been a great excuse to hide in the garage from time to time.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby HandyAndy » Jan 25 2019, 3:47pm

[quote="Onlyina_Chevy"]
If you decide that you have found the perfect spacer that uses the perfect density of metal for your truck, there are still limits to what you could or shouldn’t do. Do not use a spacer as a cheap remedy for a different amount of backspacing. Too many times, people have tried to take the cheaper route by using a wheel spacer in lieu the correct wheel for the application they desire. Changing your backspacing by adding a 1.5” to 2” wheel spacer is not the answer. The studs are only so long and you need to have enough thread in order to grab the stud and turn the lug nut 10 times. If it means that much to you to have your wheels stick out to a certain point, save your money and buy new wheels that are designed with a specific amount of backspacing to give that effect. The common thought across the board for truck and jeep applications is no more than 1.25” spacers if you have the correct spacer for your truck with the correct inner ring diameter.

Further Reading:

Beware: This is What Can Happen When You Buy Cheap Wheel Spacers

No offense, but this whole post is pretty vapid, and lacking any sort of scientific or engineering data to support it. The one point that I definitely agree with, and the philosophy behind it is obvious, is that spacers need to hub-centric, and provide enough threads to safely hold the wheel nuts. The original design intent is to have the weight of the vehicle sit on the wheel hubs, not on the studs, and if you're using non-hub-centric spacers that are transferring the full weight to the studs, that isn't wise. Hub-centric spacers are so abundant and inexpensive that there's really no excuse anymore to use anything else.

The rest of it, though, is a lot of hot air without anything backing it up. "Perfect metal density for your truck"? Using the right materials? There's no substance behind any of that. What forces are exerted on the spacers, and what materials have been tested to withstand those forces? Even the link showing the smashed spacer doesn't really specify how/why the spacer broke, or what specific materials are good to use and which ones aren't. It basically boils down to being propaganda / advertisement to sell their own product. If I made a spacer out of paper mache, it would clearly break, and you don't need a materials engineer to tell you that. And if I made one out of titanium it would easily outlast the rest of the truck components. But what specific criteria is there to say which aluminum spacer is 'good' and which one is 'bad'?

If there was some pandemic of broken spacers, you can be sure there'd be a lot more info out there on them. The nice thing about the internet is that when you don't have all the scientific data, you can crowd source information based off past experience. You have hundreds of thousands of wheels on spacers riding around the roads right now, and the examples of failures are almost non-existent. There are handfuls of very reputable companies, like Eibach, H&R, etc that make spacers in varying sizes, and fully advertise the materials used to make them. If you buy something generic and unspecified off eBay then shame on you, but I find it pretty hard to agree with 'some internet forum guy who heard from his local tire shop guy' that spacers are bad, when there are legitimate companies with full R&D and engineering teams producing them for specific applications. What makes tire shop guy's opinion on spacers evenly remotely valid compared to teams of engineers?

Another thing that I noticed some other posters pointed out, is that there isn't really much of a difference between using hub-centric spacers versus lower offset wheels. Draw up a force diagram of both scenarios. With a 1.5" spacer on stock wheels, you're moving the center of the wheel 1.5" further from the wheel bearing, which is adding 1.5" more lever. If instead of spacers you use wheels with lower offset, the center of those wheels is still 1.5" further from the bearing - adding the same forces. And in most cases, the big aftermarket wheels and beefy tires weigh up to twice as much as the stock wheels, which is likely doing more damage to your wheel bearings than any spacer on stock wheels would.

The last thing I'll add is that almost all of the theoretical arguments against spacers can be made against a lot of aftermarket wheels, as well. If you get some really cheap, no name wheels, they're likely made of the same cheap cast aluminum as the no name spacers. As is the case with spacers, do your research and buy from a reputable company that posts material info and backs their work - that is the answer for both spacers and wheels. Some aftermarket wheels also have two bolt patterns so they are a "multi-fit" wheel, which is the same spacing hole to hole as spacers again. And go take a look at the thickness of your aluminum wheels - I doubt you'll find any point on a wheel that is close to 1.5" or 2" thick like a spacer. So why would we expect a 1.5" thick aluminum spacer to be a ticking time bomb, but an aftermarket aluminum wheel with 0.5" thick spokes and 1.5"+ more backspacing than stock to be such a responsible and great decision? The only thing that's truly OEM-level of robustness is staying completely OEM stock. Everything in vehicles is give and take. There is no magical way to stance your truck with a wider wheelbase without increasing the stress on the steering and front end components.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby Onlyina_Chevy [OP] » Feb 06 2019, 5:57am

Thanks for your input.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby relentless85 » Feb 21 2019, 4:06am

I have a 2005 2 wheel drive crew cab Silverado. It has the 4.5 rough country suspension lift on it. I’m running 285/70/17 Nitto G2 on stock Tahoe PPV steel rims.

I have been toying around with the idea of having a wider stance. When I installed larger fender flares, the tires look “tucked” under the truck.

My question is, since my truck is a 2 wheel drive, did the rough country supension lift Extend my front track like the 4 wheel drive suspension lift would?

I wouldn’t want to cut the tips off the factory studs, so I would go with a 1.75 or 2 inch max spacer.

It is hard for my eye to see if the front wheels stick out further than the tears, especially after the flares have been installed.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby Jt_ardr » Aug 17 2019, 5:56pm

Lilmagoo brought up a very important subject, trimming the studs if the spacers aren't thick enough. As a career mechanic for the last twelve years and a shop owner, I've seen a good bit careless mistakes and installer errors come through my shop over the years, but this was probably the scariest one in my opinion... And the customer happened to be family! The truck was brought in with a complaint that at slower speeds the customer hears a creaking sound coming from the front that sounds similar to a hard wood floor creaking and it gets faster as you pick up speed, just like a dry u-joint. The customer was unable to pinpoint the problem so he drove 40 miles on the interstate to bring it to me. Unable to find a problem with just a visual inspection and everything both appearing and feeling tight, I decide to remove the 1.5 inch hub-centric wheel spacers so I can clean the mounting surfaces and retorque the bolts plus use thread locker, which was not originally used. What I found was 5 of the 6 factory wheel studs at the front left wheel were broken, leaving only 1 holding the wheel and spacer on the vehicle! Whoever had originally installed the spacers failed to notice that the wheel studs stuck out about 3/16 of an inch past the spacers and were preventing the wheels from butting up to spacers. Although everything was tight, this interference put an incredible amount of stress on the factory studs and eventually broke them. After replacing the 6 studs at that wheel and removing the other three spacers to check the condition of the rest of the factory studs, because they were protruding on all 4 wheels, I was able to cut off the 1/4 inch tip that makes it easier to start the lug nuts from all 24 studs and properly reinstall the spacers. Two years later, the customer is still driving the truck and has not had any more problems with noise or broken studs. While I do agree with most of the members on this forum, that wheel spacers are not the answer when you have clearance issues or want a wider stance, they are a popular and effective way to accomplish both, and I hope that anyone who reads this and is considering using wheel spacers will make absolutely certain that they are installed correctly.
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Re: Wheel Spacers

Postby jtdlow » Aug 23 2019, 12:15am

Useful stuff thanks!
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