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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > How do wheel spacers affect handling?



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      03-06-2008, 01:11 PM   #1
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Question How do wheel spacers affect handling?

Would putting on wheel spacers to widen the track have a similar effect as putting on stiffer anti-roll-bars?

Intuitively, that seems logical to me, but wanted to see if someone has actual experience changing handling characteristics by widening the track with spacers. So to reduce front-end push, I can widen the rear track? (aside from lowering the front, increase front neg. camber, setting up zero or even pos. camber in the back!?)

Thank you in advance!
Sam
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      03-06-2008, 03:51 PM   #2
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improve handling in corners (different characteristics than anti-rollbars)...
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      03-06-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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well, maybe, if U dont get banned from the track because of spacers. AFAIK the use of spacers is prohibited on a lot of tracks for safety reasons (utfg).

Also it's questionable how much the improved handling characteristics caused by wider track compensate for added unsprung weight.
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      03-06-2008, 07:41 PM   #4
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You also reduce the weight the car can handle.
More here

http://books.google.dk/books?id=rhiS...hl=da#PPA92,M1
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      03-06-2008, 10:57 PM   #5
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It also puts more wear on the wheel bearings..so that they "can" accelerate the wear process with them...it all depends on the size though. My old BMW race car had spacers that were like 35mm...YIKES.
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      03-07-2008, 02:10 AM   #6
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It also changes something like the Kingpin inclination angle... or something along those lines. It gets into really advanced geometry that I have no clue about. Orb seems to have a pretty good understanding of this so see if he chimes in. I've read about it some but it is way too complicated for my simple brain.

I thought that widening the rear track with be like "increasing" traction in the rear, so if your car is pushing, it'll push even more. My car is a little twitchy and can snap oversteer so I'm going to run rear wheels that stick out a bit further than stock (similar to running spacers) to compensate.
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      03-07-2008, 03:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judec View Post
well, maybe, if U dont get banned from the track because of spacers. AFAIK the use of spacers is prohibited on a lot of tracks for safety reasons (utfg)...
So even high quality proper-fitting hubcentric spacers like Rogue Engineering or H&R are prohibited?

I run wheel studs with wheel nuts (no more bolts!)... is that a problem at many tracks as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S4to335 View Post
It also puts more wear on the wheel bearings..so that they "can" accelerate the wear process with them...it all depends on the size though. My old BMW race car had spacers that were like 35mm...YIKES.
Wouldn't the effect of spacers be the same as running wheels without spacers with a small offset (e.g. e46 M3 offset ET25 vs. e90 factory rear offset ET37)? Maybe its not the spacers but having inadequate offsets that can accelerate bearing wear...?


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Originally Posted by Chowbow View Post
It also changes something like the Kingpin inclination angle... or something along those lines. It gets into really advanced geometry that I have no clue about. Orb seems to have a pretty good understanding of this so see if he chimes in. I've read about it some but it is way too complicated for my simple brain.

I thought that widening the rear track with be like "increasing" traction in the rear, so if your car is pushing, it'll push even more. My car is a little twitchy and can snap oversteer so I'm going to run rear wheels that stick out a bit further than stock (similar to running spacers) to compensate.
Interesting... but spacers or not, I guess its really the effective wheel offset that determine "kingpin inclination angle" issues or bearing wear issues, etc...

I got a used set of wheels/tires for the track (initially just for autocross), but front wheels/tires won't fit without spacers...it hits my coilovers. Tires also won't fit under the fender without lots of negative camber. The rears came with spacers locked into the wheels from the wheel factory (O.Z.)...not even sure how to remove it yet .

Anyway, autocrossing this setup should hopefully give me a good feel for how my car will react on a real track (if they'll let me in with it).
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      03-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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They have no problem with you running studs rather than bolts...it is always less safe to run two parts (wheel plus spacer) rather than just having a wheel with a different offset. Yes, I understand it gets you to the same place..but it is safer not using spacers....for one thing..they can get loose..and that is no fun.
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      03-07-2008, 10:56 AM   #9
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I mean there were rumors this Autox accident was caused by improper bolts used with spacers, but who knows. Sorry if OT:

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      03-07-2008, 01:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judec View Post
I mean there were rumors this Autox accident was caused by improper bolts used with spacers, but who knows. Sorry if OT:
Its strange they all fell off at the same time.

Do the RX7's even use bolts? I thought they used studs. Maybe he used spacers with stock length studs and didn't have enough threading for the nuts to hold. That's my guess anyway. BTW awesome avatar
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      03-07-2008, 02:17 PM   #11
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That accident was caused by using incorrect lugs. The thread pitch of the lugs were not correct so while they bolted on and torqued correctly, they were barely holding the wheels on and the lateral load was enough to essentially push all the lugs off the threads.
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      03-07-2008, 02:34 PM   #12
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So then the verdit is.. Spacers when installed correctly with the correct bolts will in turn affect handling in the postive? Would it be smarter to go with a thinner spacer for track/wheels falling off purpose? haha

I am about to order 10mm spacers and i am wondering now if i should do it..
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      03-07-2008, 03:04 PM   #13
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No, I think verdict is that getting the correct offset wheels is the best solution. Instead of getting 10mm spacers for example, get a wheel that has 10mm more offset (lower number).
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      03-08-2008, 11:43 AM   #14
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Within reason, there is no real problem in running a modest spacer and no real additional loads that would be greater than increasing the sectional width of the wheel. For example, upgrading from an 8.5" rear to a 9.5" rear wheel will push the wheel out towards the fender 12.7mm and will also bring the wheel in towards the hub 12.7mm, for a total of 25.4mm, or 1". Although a 10mm spacer will not have the inner support of a larger width wheel, it does not stick out farther than the larger wheel in the example and therefore will not exhibit much extra load on the hub as compared to running the same width wheel with a 10mm lower number offset wheel (8.5"ET45 vs. 8.5"ET35).
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      03-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sambonator View Post
Would putting on wheel spacers to widen the track have a similar effect as putting on stiffer anti-roll-bars?

Intuitively, that seems logical to me, but wanted to see if someone has actual experience changing handling characteristics by widening the track with spacers. So to reduce front-end push, I can widen the rear track? (aside from lowering the front, increase front neg. camber, setting up zero or even pos. camber in the back!?)

Thank you in advance!
Sam
To reduce the understeer you would need to increase front track, not the rear.

Alignment would have some affect on the handling as well, reducing front toe and add a bit of negative camber would help.

From the handling stand point, I would try to keep the car as square as possible, meaning same size wheels/tires front and back. Adjust the balance of the car with spring rates and/or anti-roll bars, not with wheel spacers.
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      03-08-2008, 03:33 PM   #16
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sambo> avatar got banned, moderators accused me of "pron"... what world are we living in, when a nice cameltoe with a BMW logo on it is called porn?
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      03-27-2008, 05:24 AM   #17
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I will try these. 40mm and se how it works.
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      03-27-2008, 09:35 PM   #18
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well U're possibly in the wrong forum with these ones
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      03-28-2008, 02:19 AM   #19
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Donno. The thread says "How do wheel spacers affect handling?"
So i will say that you are the one who used the wrong thread with the porn thing kido.
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      03-28-2008, 03:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunga View Post
I will try these. 40mm and se how it works.
Will wheels even fit on the car with such wide spacers? What kind of offset do the wheels have that you want to use? Do you have flared or widened fenders?
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      03-28-2008, 03:38 AM   #21
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No. Do to the weather here and my helpless heavy foot i choose 7,5" wide wheels. Rain here are often heavy. So too wide tires force you to drive slow. 7,5" are ok to drive safe. Offset 37.
But its not that i have to take exactly this size of spacers. When i messure from tyre to edge its says 40mm.
But i am concerned about how it will affect the handling in daily driving.
I also will have it lowerd by changing the springs. That also do something to the car i guess.
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      03-29-2008, 06:42 PM   #22
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well, "kido", I suppose 40mm spacers belong to the wheel forum or cosmetic mod poser shit forum, not to the track, but I might be wrong... or U're the one who's wrong and U should look for a different offset, but no way 40mm spacers
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