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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Specific discussion about the E89 2009 Z4 (sDrive35is, sDrive35i, sDrive30i, sDrive23i)
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mkinternet
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by mkinternet » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:16 pm

Hi Guys / Girls

Just about to take my alloys in for a refurb and was thinking about adding spacers to bring the wheels out to "fill" the arches more. Apart from visual styling improvements what else do spacers do???? - improve / degrade handling? Thoughts !!!

Steve
E89 - 3.0i Auto 2010
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by enuff_zed » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:24 pm

Just aesthetics really.
I put 20mm on the rear of mine to fill the arches but left the front alone. They don't look too bad anyway and I thought it would add extra load to a hub that already has to deal with braking and turning.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by B21 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:48 pm

They will widen the track which will marginally improve cornering..

The rear offet is largely irrelevant, on the front changing the offset changes the scrub radius, this can have a significant impact, ideally you want to stay within +/- 5mm of the OE scrub radius..

https://www.wheel-size.com/calc/

This helps do the calcs

Usually spacers are done as part of wheel changes..

Some people notice small changes, others drive around with steering geometry out and worn tyres and seem ok..

A full wheel alignment wouldn't hurt usually.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by sars » Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:26 pm

B21, good answers :thumbsup:

Widening the track by adding spacers isn't a great idea, if you are doing it purely for aesthetics then be aware that you will increase torsional stresses in both steering and suspension, an analogy would be like increasing the distance between the end of a lever and the fulcrum, yes you can lift more weight but the stress in the lever increases and at some point the lever will just deform.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by B21 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:08 pm

sars wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:26 pm B21, good answers :thumbsup:

Widening the track by adding spacers isn't a great idea, if you are doing it purely for aesthetics then be aware that you will increase torsional stresses in both steering and suspension, an analogy would be like increasing the distance between the end of a lever and the fulcrum, yes you can lift more weight but the stress in the lever increases and at some point the lever will just deform.
On the E89 you can't really go very far on the spacers before you foul something..I would advocate that they are primarily used for bringing after market wheels within OE offset specs... or so..as I've discovered what works on one E89 fouls on another..
Yellow Peril 1: 1977 Fiat 126 (1977-1980)
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by Smartbear » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:59 pm

I always thought my 3.0si felt more “nervous” after i fitted spacers to it :?
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by B21 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:19 pm

Smartbear wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:59 pm I always thought my 3.0si felt more “nervous” after i fitted spacers to it :?
Rob
Apparently quite small changes ( a few mm) can affect the steeing feel quite dramatically ..in one of the BMW tech docs they were getting excited about 5-6 mm changes!
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by Zedebee » Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:10 pm

My Coupe seems to handle better and tramline less on the winter wheels with ET34 offsets compared to the standard ET47s. It could be the tyres or it could be the wider track.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by TomK » Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:39 pm

sars wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:26 pm Widening the track by adding spacers isn't a great idea, if you are doing it purely for aesthetics then be aware that you will increase torsional stresses in both steering and suspension, an analogy would be like increasing the distance between the end of a lever and the fulcrum, yes you can lift more weight but the stress in the lever increases and at some point the lever will just deform.
Bear in mind the E92 M3 GTS was supplied from factory with spacers (~5mm iirc) using stock e92 m3 hubs and many of the race car bmw stuff (in order normally to clear springs) would also, so I think the above is a bit of a moot point on a 'normal' road car assuming you are not going crazy with the width, so many cars out there running >15mm without any issues for many years.
Is it a good/bad thing for handling? That's a much more complex question that I certainly am not qualified to answer! But I don't think it affects the handling hugely, it is no different after all than putting on a set of wheels with different offset.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by sars » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:51 pm

TomK, are you stating that it’s okay for him to add spacers to widen the track, how thick should he go? 5, 10, 15 or perhaps 50mm is okay. Your argument that BMW does it so it’s okay, which it is for them because someone at BMW will have calculated it all out, have you?

My point was and remains so, that lowering the offset using spacers increases the stress on steering/suspension components, this is an indisputable fact
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by Silverstar » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:45 am

sars wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:51 pm My point was and remains so, that lowering the offset using spacers increases the stress on steering/suspension components, this is an indisputable fact
I have heard this from elsewhere too, that adding spacers can lead to earlier failure of components and or have negative effects to the handling. Does the same thing happen if you change to wheels which have different offsets to the originals with the aim of filling out the arches?
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by iiNNeX » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:08 am

Ive had spacers on quite a few cars over the years, never had issues and have generally noticed improved handling characteristics.

I've kept my choice of spacer to high quality brands and up to 15mm per side at most. I am sure there is a little more stress on the hub but honestly, I think some of you are overthinking these "consequences" too much. Slap em on, get a better stance and get on with life :thumbsup:
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by sars » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:10 am

Silverstar, As B21 stated at the beginning, the recommendation given by third party wheel suppliers is a maximum +/- 5mm offset difference between the new alloy and old one. If the new alloy has a higher offset then the use of spacers reduces that offset, if you want to bring the wheel out then increase the wheel width say from 8.5 to 9.5 and as long as the offsets are similar (with or without spacers) does not add stress as the wheel will stick out 12.7mm and will be closer to the suspension by 12.7mm but the centre line remains the same, just be aware of potential rubbing.

The use of www.willtheyfit.com is a valuable resource and I encourage everyone to use it when replacing their original fit wheels.
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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by Roddy » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:11 pm

I used spacers on the rear of my Z3 (20mm) and it definitely looks better, didn't feel any difference in handling. The best option of course is to get the correct offset in the size of wheel you desire.
If you are in spending mode, M2/M4 437M wheels are the dogs dangly bits, will do exactly what you want while keeping the original offset.

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Benefits of wheel spacers????

Post by clarker63 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:25 pm

Roddy wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:11 pm Don't show your significant other the credit card bill
do you ever? :D

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