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      12-07-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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The Truth About Wheel Spacers?

So I have a e92 m3 coupe ZCP and have seen alot of pictures posted recently with a 17.5mm/15mm set-up and it looks amazing! I would love to do this and get that real wide stance on my M3, but am unsure of the effects of spacers. 50% of the people I talk to say they are bad (for many reasons), and the other 50% say that there are no adverse effects at all.....


....can someone help me out and shed some light on the topic? what is the truth about wheel spacers? thanks again!
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      12-07-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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17.5mm is nothing to worry about as far as possible negative effects.
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      12-07-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
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Thanks!
Honestly I dont even know what size I would get (I just remember those specs from seeing them on threads)....but in general they dont cause damage?
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      12-07-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erm324 View Post
So I have a e92 m3 coupe ZCP and have seen alot of pictures posted recently with a 17.5mm/15mm set-up and it looks amazing! I would love to do this and get that real wide stance on my M3, but am unsure of the effects of spacers. 50% of the people I talk to say they are bad (for many reasons), and the other 50% say that there are no adverse effects at all.....


....can someone help me out and shed some light on the topic? what is the truth about wheel spacers? thanks again!
There is already a great article on spacers that can be found at this link: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336209

Examples of spacer fitments can be found here: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=262054

DIY installation instructions can be found here: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=272915

There is a LOT of info in the above links, happy reading.
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      12-07-2010, 12:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
There is already a great article on spacers that can be found at this link: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336209
Definitely a great article but it seems partial to the "pro" argument side of using spacers. What are some of the "cons?"

OR are there none?

There has to be a reason why the M division decided to not make it standard on their cars...
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      12-07-2010, 12:45 PM   #6
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^^^Great info!!

but onto the cons...
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      12-07-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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One thing I hate about them is by moving your wheels further out you have a bigger chance of throwing road debris on the side of your car. Paint chips etc from pebbles and dirt.
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      12-07-2010, 12:59 PM   #8
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Definitely a great article but it seems partial to the "pro" argument side of using spacers. What are some of the "cons?"

OR are there none?

There has to be a reason why the M division decided to not make it standard on their cars...
Keep in mind that not all road conditions, environments, specific uses or needs will be the same for all drivers.

BMW does use spacers in the GT4 platforms, as does Porsche.
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      12-07-2010, 01:10 PM   #9
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In the Porsche world you can actually get spacers as an option for a number of models. They are usually smaller though, 5-10mm range.

That makes me believe they can't be that harmful or have a big negative impact on performance. My personal opinion is that the larger you get the more opportunity there is for issues. So if you want to take a conservative approach, maybe stick with something closer to 10mm.
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      12-07-2010, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erm324 View Post
So I have a e92 m3 coupe ZCP and have seen alot of pictures posted recently with a 17.5mm/15mm set-up and it looks amazing! I would love to do this and get that real wide stance on my M3, but am unsure of the effects of spacers. 50% of the people I talk to say they are bad (for many reasons), and the other 50% say that there are no adverse effects at all.....


....can someone help me out and shed some light on the topic? what is the truth about wheel spacers? thanks again!
My truth -one of the three truths in life: mine, yours and THE truth- after 5 years of street and track driving with spacers in two different M3 is that there is no adverse effect in using the correct spacers.

The correct spacers for me are the ones that keep the wheel/tire from hitting any part of the car under any load or driving conditions (no rubbing the fenders, no hitting the fender liner in tight curves), hubcentric, with the proper lugs length and do not exceed 20mm in thickness.

Read as much as you can about spacers and make up your own truth, just be careful and responsible.
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      12-07-2010, 01:13 PM   #11
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I just put these exact size spacers on mine last week. Feels and looks awesome to me. As far as damaging the sides from road debris goes, I guess I can see the point but haven't noticed anything yet. Go for the 17.5-18/15mm combo.
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      12-07-2010, 01:26 PM   #12
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This is the deal with spacers... everyone knows the pro's, wider track = better handling, better appearance/stance etc. As far as the con's, well first you have to be sure you are using a hubcentric spacer. Because if you dont you are relying on the lugs to keep the wheel centered which is never good because it is very difficult to have the wheel perfectly centered that way and can/will cause vibration. It also adds more stress on the lugs. But even if you go with a hubcentric spacer because you are increasing the scrub radius you increase the chance of vibration (google scrub radius for more info on that). Thats not to say you will get vibration but there is a chance. As you read in some threads, many have experienced wheel vibration after installing spacers, it might also be that there is a slight problem with the wheel already and the spacer applifies that.

The main concern with spacers however is the increased scrub radius puts more stress on your wheel bearrings, which may cause them to wear out quicker. But with the mild spacers like 10 and 12mm etc, its such a small difference most will never really be subject to any of the long term effects. Of course as someone else mentioned, another negative is you will increase road blast on the side of your car and to the cars you drive infront of simple because your wheels are sticking out further.
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      12-07-2010, 01:30 PM   #13
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Are spacers on cars used on the road declared to insurance companies and if so does it impact on premiums (or is the situation regarding declaring mods different in the USA compared to the UK, where not declaring mods may well allow the insurer to walk away from a claim if the mods are found).
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      12-07-2010, 01:39 PM   #14
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for such a small mod it sounds like an important decision..hm
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      12-07-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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btw thanks for all the feedback guys
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      12-07-2010, 02:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselino View Post
This is the deal with spacers... everyone knows the pro's, wider track = better handling, better appearance/stance etc. As far as the con's, well first you have to be sure you are using a hubcentric spacer. Because if you dont you are relying on the lugs to keep the wheel centered which is never good because it is very difficult to have the wheel perfectly centered that way and can/will cause vibration. It also adds more stress on the lugs. But even if you go with a hubcentric spacer because you are increasing the scrub radius you increase the chance of vibration (google scrub radius for more info on that). Thats not to say you will get vibration but there is a chance. As you read in some threads, many have experienced wheel vibration after installing spacers, it might also be that there is a slight problem with the wheel already and the spacer applifies that.

The main concern with spacers however is the increased scrub radius puts more stress on your wheel bearrings, which may cause them to wear out quicker. But with the mild spacers like 10 and 12mm etc, its such a small difference most will never really be subject to any of the long term effects. Of course as someone else mentioned, another negative is you will increase road blast on the side of your car and to the cars you drive infront of simple because your wheels are sticking out further.
after reading this, i dont think i would ever get spacers...i dont know how much more you can really make the M3 better in terms of handling...i think their engineers did a phenomenal job the way it is right now
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      12-07-2010, 03:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpuer View Post
after reading this, i dont think i would ever get spacers...i dont know how much more you can really make the M3 better in terms of handling...i think their engineers did a phenomenal job the way it is right now
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      12-07-2010, 03:13 PM   #18
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Con: they weld (due to galvanic corrosion) onto the hubs after a few months unless you use lithium grease -- yes even the new ones with chamfers. If you live in an area that rains a lot like I do -- this is an issue to be aware of

I let mine soak for 6 hours with penetrating oil and still had to use a hammer and flat headed screwdriver to pry each of them off
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      12-07-2010, 08:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpuer View Post
after reading this, i dont think i would ever get spacers...i dont know how much more you can really make the M3 better in terms of handling...i think their engineers did a phenomenal job the way it is right now
Well BMW would have pushed the wheels out further if they legally could. In europe there are tire coverage requirements which limits manufacturer's from pushing the wheels out to far. The tire has to be covered by a certain amount to prevent road debris from hitting the car behind you. All cars that are sold in europe must adhere to this requirement or they can not be sold, this is one of many requirements that the average consumer has no idea about...trust me, if BMW could the wheels would be flush to the fenders. No one likes wheels that are burried.
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      12-08-2010, 12:01 PM   #20
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Lots of good info here. Like most things in life, whether or not spacers are right for you is not a simple yes/no.

A couple things to add:

Sometimes spacers are used to bring a wheel that does not fit right into the proper position. In a case like that, none of the concerns about scrub radius, road debris, rubbing etc would apply.

Any of the issues associated with the wheel sticking out further would also be applicable to wheels that are wider/have more aggressive offsets.

The unique issues of the spacers are those that have to do with the use of the plate in between the wheel and hub: some added hassle on install, more stress on lug bolts, need to get longer lug bolts, etc. Some spacers are thin enough that the wheel can still center on the hub. Some thicker spacers have a pilot or 'nose' that centers the wheel. A thick spacer with no pilot should be avoided.

Think of spacers like you'd think of forced induction. They have their place, they are useful when done right, but you can break things if you are not smart about it, and they do add some complexity.
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