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I just called Discount Tire, Pep Boys, and National Tire and Battery and they both told me that mounting a wheel infront of a spacer is unsafe. NTB told me if I brought in a spacer with extended studs, that they would do it, but Discount Tire and Pep Boys said they just would not do it period.

I've seen several classics at car shows with spacers AND here on VMF with spacers. Are they really that unsafe or is it to a company policy to protect them if anything were to ever go wrong?

I'm guessing maybe a plain spacer would be worse than a spacer that had extended studs since there is less threds for the lug nuts on a plain spacer?

I just wasn't expecting this of all things to hear.

Chaz
 

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NTB is right, the other place is wrong. I agree with you, a conventional spacer can't be that safe, but some racing bodies allow the bolt-on type and I've never heard of a failure with them.
 

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Spacers are unsafe if over about 3/8" thick (maybe 1/2"); *adapaters* (those that bolt to your hub, and have their own studs) are safe WHEN they are made a a tough alloy, are machined and NOT cast, and are installed properly.

An adapter can be safe up to very thick dimensions - BUT the greater the thickness the more stress on the wheel bearings.

John Harvey
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, I think I'm sold already. Adapter it is for sure.

I didn't want to end up like Johnpro did!
(I know spacer's weren't involved in his mishap).

Chaz
 
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I have 1.5 inch adapters on my 66 and am not worried about it. I personally wouldnt use spacers that were very thick but thats just me.
 

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Adapters, yes. No more stress on your wheel studs than standard wheels. Wheel bearing stress is similar to same width rims w/o spacers as the centerline of the wheel is the same as before. IIRC, it's the width of the wheel past centerline wider than stock that causes the stress, the greater the width, the higher the stress.

Spacers greater than 1/4", no (at least not on street driven or track cars). Much greater stress on the studs, the wider the spacer, the greater the stress.

Daniel
 

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ROTFL :)

Just check to make sure you've got a consistent thickness! :)
 

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You are correct, it is having the center line beyond the stock location that causes increased stress on the bearings. The thickness in and of itself doesn't matter.

John Harvey
 

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On some NASCAR show I was watching last weekend, they were tearing down a full NACAR 9" rear end. I was surprised to see them using spacers to "fine tune" the rear track width. They looked like only about 1/2" but they were there.

They also have a realy cool variable camber upgrade to the ends of the axles and tubes. It really amazes me exactly how far NASCAR has moved from "stock" car racing.
 

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i run stock studs + 1/4" wheel spacers + aluminum wheels. i would like another 1/4" but cant do it without changing to longer studs.

Steel wheels could probably get by with 1/2"
 

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I had to put longer studs in my rotors when I switched to the Granada discs, because I run a 1/4" spacer. The stock lugs on the rotors I bought were kinda short to start with. With the spacers I could only get about 4-5 threads tops before it was torqued in place. Having had a buddy lose a wheel while driving one time, I thought a $40 - $50 investment in ARP wheel studs was a good idea.
 

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Tire shops that won't touch spacer applications (like Discount Tire) have this policy to protect themselves from liability, and I can understand it. People who use too thick spacers on stock studs are a law suit waiting to happen, and common sense would indicate that adding a spacer (even just 1/4") increases stress on the studs and reduces thread contact so stronger studs should be included when adding spacers automatically. Plus there are so many spacer/adapters on the market these days who's to know which ones are good and which are crap? A poorly machined adapter will be an endless source of vibration. Even an otherwise good adapter that isn't hub centric can be a nightmare for vibration issues if the hub it's bolted to doesn't have a concentric bolt circle. So to play it safe, many tire shops and race tracks will have nothing to do with these things. Personally, I have used spacers in the past but I strongly prefer to simply use wheels that fit correctly. It's a lot less hassle all around.
 

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I agree completely! It makes sense to have policies to avoid liability.
Many of us criticize sloppy practice of mechanics on the one hand yet want them
to do things that are non standard. If I want to put washers behind the wheels
of my car it's my judgement, my responsibilty! I don't ask a shop to do it!
 
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