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      03-24-2009, 01:30 AM   #1
McLuVan
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spacers + wheel bearings = ?

I've been hearing bad things about spacers and wheel bearings. I don't know too much about the subject so someone please enlighten me. As far as I know the only analogy(not sure if it's right) that made sense to me was that if you hold a metal rod out and put weights on the opposite end of the rod you(your hand) will feel more stress, and this is what happens to the bearings. true? false? anyone?
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      03-24-2009, 02:08 AM   #2
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Interesting topic, I'm interested as well as I was thinking about getting spacers also. With my background in mechanics and aerodynamics I'd think that your consern is accurate and it very well may induce more stress lateraly on the bearings. But I don't think 10mm spacers will make a huge difference but then again I'd really like to see how our M3 would hold up after say 10,000 miles with those spacers.
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      03-24-2009, 08:15 AM   #3
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i would assume it to be minimal.. if not then running wheels with an aggressive offset compared to stock would cause problems too
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      03-24-2009, 09:18 AM   #4
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Because of levering effect.
With spacer, longer bolt or bolt conversion which will change physic calculation, such as the longer the level will be easier to lift up an object; provide more force to lift up an object.
Under this situation, wheel bearings will be premature damage. Wheel bolt will under more level forces and spaces between wheel and hub will increase. Although you are using a very thin spacer, car is a very heavy object and traveling very fast, an exponents calculation.

Last edited by Fanta; 03-24-2009 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Physic Questiong
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      03-24-2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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^ what the heck did that say

Good topic. The longer lever arm obviously produces more torque on the bearings. However, wheel bearing are designed to take not only severe vertical but severe side loads as well, especially in a sports car. Think about the side load when cornering really hard. This effect will obviously be larger with larger spacers. My gut instinct about the phyiscs, along with the fact that spacers are so widely available and used says that premature bearing wear will not be an issue. You do see nearly the same effect with aftermarket wheels with differing offsets as well. Don't think this has caused many folks premature bearing wear either.

Myself I do run spacers purely for looks reasons. In general they are kind of a "hack" but I am not ready to shell out the $ for wheels and tires quite yet.
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      03-24-2009, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post

My gut instinct about the phyiscs, along with the fact that spacers are so widely available and used says that premature bearing wear will not be an issue. You do see nearly the same effect with aftermarket wheels with differing offsets as well. Don't think this has caused many folks premature bearing wear either.
+1. Not to mention that spacers are most commonly used at the 10mm-20mm range, and the added distance is very minimal.
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      03-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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all great answers guys keep it coming! Pencilgeek where are you my friend!
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      03-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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depends - if you use a spacer to return an aftermarket wheel to stock offset there should be no effect. if you put 25 mm spacers to get a lowrider rim sticking out look it will affect the bearings if you drive hard. if you are doing it for show and dont track the car its prolly no big deal.
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      03-24-2009, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayemthree View Post
if you put 25 mm spacers to get a lowrider rim sticking out look it will affect the bearings if you drive hard.
Hunch, speculation or evidence of this? Where is the cut off point, 15, 20, 25? I suppose the latter question illustrates my point - there is not clear line in the sand on such issues, just shades of grey.
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      03-24-2009, 07:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Hunch, speculation or evidence of this? Where is the cut off point, 15, 20, 25? I suppose the latter question illustrates my point - there is not clear line in the sand on such issues, just shades of grey.
20mm would be my cutoff point, you're essentially doubling the length of the lugs.

If anyone feels the need to run higher - they should really look into buying wheels that fit the car, not cars that fit wheels.
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      03-24-2009, 07:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
20mm would be my cutoff point, you're essentially doubling the length of the lugs.

If anyone feels the need to run higher - they should really look into buying wheels that fit the car, not cars that fit wheels.
Isn't this simply another grey area?

Lugs are another concern but the wheel bearing issue and lugs are a separate issue. You know the problem it is more with OEM wheels. OEM clearances are very generous for mud or snow or anything else and give poor looks.
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      03-24-2009, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Isn't this simply another grey area?

Lugs are another concern but the wheel bearing issue and lugs are a separate issue. You know the problem it is more with OEM wheels. OEM clearances are very generous for mud or snow or anything else and give poor looks.
The additional width in discussion has very little effect - at most times, we're spacing out at a max 15mm (approx 0.5in).

Most times OEM wheels are going within a 12-15mm window from stock specs, not much at all.
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      03-24-2009, 07:27 PM   #13
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good topic. i was about to buy 15mm from eas a second ago
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      03-24-2009, 07:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
The additional width in discussion has very little effect - at most times, we're spacing out at a max 15mm (approx 0.5in).

Most times OEM wheels are going within a 12-15mm window from stock specs, not much at all.
Again, WRT the 20 mm limit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Isn't this simply another grey area?
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      03-24-2009, 07:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Again, WRT the 20 mm limit:
I'm not understanding your question.

I'm simply stating that anything 20mm and under is completely safe and no cause for concern on bearings and/or lugs. If you should need more, simply consider getting the proper wheels to fit your car.
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      03-24-2009, 08:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
I'm not understanding your question.

I'm simply stating that anything 20mm and under is completely safe and no cause for concern on bearings and/or lugs. If you should need more, simply consider getting the proper wheels to fit your car.
tom, i think what swamp is saying (and I agree with him) is, where do you get 20mm from? how do you know that this is the threshold? is there actual evidence that shows that certain added stresses exist beyond 20mm?

the point is that a lot of people (including myself) will say that you are good with less than 10mm, or 15mm, or even 20mm, but that is not from actual experience or evidence, rather from common practice. 20mm could be a totally arbitrary number for all we know...it would be nice to have some real data, but i think there are simply too many variables.
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      03-24-2009, 08:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Windy View Post
tom, i think what swamp is saying (and I agree with him) is, where do you get 20mm from? how do you know that this is the threshold? is there actual evidence that shows that certain added stresses exist beyond 20mm?

the point is that a lot of people (including myself) will say that you are good with less than 10mm, or 15mm, or even 20mm, but that is not from actual experience or evidence, rather from common practice. 20mm could be a totally arbitrary number for all we know...it would be nice to have some real data, but i think there are simply too many variables.
I never said this was a rule for everyone to follow, it's simply something we don't recommend. The additional shank length is only one of the factors.

Past experience can be seen on e46 M3s, which are on their 8th year of seeing US roads with no ill effects of spacers within these thresholds. If referring to e9X M3s, there's not enough time to tell, but I doubt it would be drifting far from past models. Spacers are even a common mod of Ferraris that see track duty to increase track width.

Staying under 20mm is perfectly fine, I would simply avoid going further than that if at all possible.
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      03-24-2009, 08:30 PM   #18
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The only concern I would have with very large spacers is that you have a lot of bolt not threaded into the hub. With proper wheels you will only have a short amount of bolt before it is threaded in.

Just seems like there might be a lot of stress on the bolts, but I am no engineer so just guessing. I would have thought they would make bolts that were not threaded all the way to the top for added strength....Steve
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      03-24-2009, 08:33 PM   #19
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The only concern I would have with very large spacers is that you have a lot of bolt not threaded into the hub. With proper wheels you will only have a short amount of bolt before it is threaded in.

Just seems like there might be a lot of stress on the bolts, but I am no engineer so just guessing.....Steve
This is why extended lugs are necessary. A minimum of 6-7 turns is a good indicator of a firmly seated fastener.
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      03-24-2009, 08:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
I never said this was a rule for everyone to follow, it's simply something we don't recommend. The additional shank length is only one of the factors.

Past experience can be seen on e46 M3s, which are on their 8th year of seeing US roads with no ill effects of spacers within these thresholds. If referring to e9X M3s, there's not enough time to tell, but I doubt it would be drifting far from past models. Spacers are even a common mod of Ferraris that see track duty to increase track width.

Staying under 20mm is perfectly fine, I would simply avoid going further than that if at all possible.
thanks, tom. i see what you are saying, but there still is no absolute data. for instance, what evidence do you rely on to know that over 20mm is bad?
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      03-24-2009, 08:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
This is why extended lugs are necessary. A minimum of 6-7 turns is a good indicator of a firmly seated fastener.
I understand that part. It is more that you are relying on a lot of the bolt that is passing through the spacer not attached to anything....Steve
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      03-24-2009, 08:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
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thanks, tom. i see what you are saying, but there still is no absolute data. for instance, what evidence do you rely on to know that over 20mm is bad?
Turning the tables a bit - there's no evidence to show that over 20mm is perfectly safe either. It's a a decision that is yours to make.

To answer your question - Zero. However its not a risk we're up and willing to take, as you're close to doubling the stock shank length.

On another note, H&R offers a particularly wide spacer (30mm) for X5s which allow the lugs to thread into the spacer itself (DRA Series), and no reports of damage since the models were introduced back in 2000, clocking quite a bit of miles to date.
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