Are Wheel Spacers Safe? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Never thought I'd ask this but, it might be a solution for a back space problem. My main concern is safty and strength. I haven't measured yet because somone just suggested spacers but, I probably need 1 or 2 inches. Any comments? Thanks
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 09:31 AM
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Wheel spacers, specially the generic 'J.C.Whitney' type, are not recommended on any performance vehicle, are illegal in most competions and some states for street operation.
It is important if you are seriously considering them to be sure you have properly engineered "Hub-centric" type that bolt directly to the flange/hub and are engineered for your car. The common 'universal' type do not allow the hub to properly carry the load and transfer it to the flange and studs. The studs are designed to work in a clamping direction and not in a load carrying direction. They will quickly fail if the adapter allows the load to shift to them only. The hub/flange can also quickly fatigue and fail if the load is leveraged beyond it's bearing or structural design parameters.
I have worked on many off-road applications that used engineered spacers/adaptors and they perform well, but still have seen failures.
A common well engineered off-road type is - http://www.wabfab.org/products/wheel...eelspacers.htm - but I don't remember them selling any 4 3/4" bolt circle adapters. Contact them for info.
You can check with a good supplier of custom wheels, like RONAL, as they often supply specialty adaptors for their wheels to some applications. You would need a set of 5X120.65mm (5X4 3/4") spacers for a Camaro. Don't know where you are located but here is a list of their dealers - http://www.ronalusa.com/
Any of these require special attention in properly torqueing them into place.
Remember that no matter how well engineered an spacer/adaptor is - one bad mechanic with an impact wrench can ruin your day ...

(Edit) I hope you don't take this that I endorse spacers/adaptors for the street - I don't ...
There is another post linking to this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzhkqzDKleA - showing a spacer failing on launch during a drag race (go to 0:40 on the video and look between the car and the rim/tire)

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Last edited by Vintage 68; Oct 3rd, 07 at 08:00 AM. Reason: left out a word ...
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 09:57 AM
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

There is a lot of difference in wheel spacers and wheel adapters. Spacers are like a shim and slide over the wheel studs then the wheel is put in place and bolted on. A wheel adapter has it's own studs and is bolted to the hub and the wheel is bolted to the adapter.

There are a lot of guys at open track and autocross events running 4th gen Camaro and modern Vette wheels with 7" backspacing on old cars that require about 4" - 6" of backspacing to fit without modifying inner fender, shoch and spring placement. There's even a 1st gen that is seen at local goodguys shows running these and the car competes in high speed open highway races like the Silver State Classic in Nevada
www.silverstateclassic.com

There are plenty of custom wheel builders these days that will give you what ever bakspacing you want. There really isn't a good reason to need adapters... There are even companys making Vette knock off wheels with backspacing for old classics...

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 12:51 PM
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Not in my book they aren't, the adapters that is. Sorry to say, they are a big buck$ item on e-bay lately.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 01:08 PM
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage 68 View Post
(Edit) I hope you don't take this that I endorse spacers/adaptors for the street - I don't ...
There is another post linking to this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzhkqzDKleA - showing a spacer failing on launch during a drag race (go to 0:40 on the video and look between the car and the rim/tire)
I couldn't find it at 0:40 but did see it at 0:41 Amazing how some things get to be widely used when they don't need to be. I know it's tempting when you get a chance to pick up $2000 wheels for $500 and $200 adapters will allow them to work...

...Dennis

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

That's what I thought. Thanks all.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 04:16 PM
 
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Smile Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

I have Summit 7/16" spacers on my car now, BUT I also have 1/2" Grade-8 studs!!

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 07, 05:37 PM
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Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdq67 View Post
I have Summit 7/16" spacers on my car now, BUT I also have 1/2" Grade-8 studs!!

pdq67
I'd think a spacer is safe...isn't a disk brake rotor a "spacer"?

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 3rd, 07, 08:16 AM
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Wink Re: Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 67FamilyFun View Post
...isn't a disk brake rotor a "spacer"?
Not really, no more so than a drum.
A disc rotor (or drum) is designed to register on the hub/flange and/or the base area of the wheel stud for support AND is firmly clamped between the wheel and hub/flange by the studs. It never serves as just a spacer between the rim and hub.
This design is carefully engineered to exceed the forces it will be subject to. Seldom can an adaptor supplier test every application their part will be used in and be sure it fits properly - so problems occur ...
You will often find the disc/drum actually fastened to the hub by screws in many cars also.
Bottom line - I'd trust a factory design way before some aftermarket system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DjD View Post
I couldn't find it at 0:40 but did see it at 0:41 ...
Yeah, that's why my professional comedian gig fell through ... I suck at timing

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