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Wheel Spacer vs Wheel Adapter

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Trucked Up, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Trucked Up
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,580

    Trucked Up

    How about your opinion or past experiences. I have a '49 Chevy Pickup with a Mustang II front end. I need to add 1" to use the wheels I want to. A wheel change is not an option for several different reasons.

    Problem is I am torn between running 1" spacers with long studs added to my rotors or running the spacers/adapters with five drilled holes and 5 additonal studs.

    Some say that the long studs are subject to snap or break.

    Some say the spacer/adapter has twice the lugs twice the studs hence twice the chance of something coming loose.
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,821


    they're both right, so use adapters and a torque wrench occasionally.
  3. Smokeybear
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 325


    Hey to another Pike Countian!! Four words... Spacers bad, Adapters good. I've run adapters on my sons 67 mustang for a long time, no problems. I've also run them on a 4x4 truck no problem. Spacers put a LOT of stress on the lugs. Adapters put stress on them too but no where near the amount that spacers do.
  4. enjenjo
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,548

    from swanton oh

    There are spacers, and there are spacers. I have used 1" spacers on the back of my pro street car fot over 21 years now, with no problems. They are hub piloted spacers, with hub piloted wheels, so the lugs only hold it together, not support the weight of the car.

  5. Trucked Up
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,580

    Trucked Up

    If I run the plain spacer I plan on replacing the studs with 3" racing studs from Summit.

    My thought on the adapters is that you have 10 chances of lugs loosening as opposed to 5.
  6. rcoffey
    Joined: Dec 13, 2007
    Posts: 161


    or you have twice the clamping ,
  7. oldspert
    Joined: Sep 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,261

    from Texas

    No matter how you do it, do not use the die cast adapters or spacers. If you go that route, use billet aluminum only. Die cast is porous and can crack.
  8. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 777


    That's one way of looking at it, but from a fastener engineering point of view its the wrong way.

    With adapters, if nuts come loose you hear something clanking and tighten them up.

    With long studs thru spacers, if the nuts come loose just enough to allow the wheel to move a little, and not necessarily enough for you to hear or feel anything wrong, the studs will be in cyclic bending with a load reversal on every revolution of the wheel. In that situation, you notice it when the studs fatigue and the wheel comes off when they all break at once.

    As long as the long studs remain tight, they'd work fine. The weight of the vehicle is supported by the friction at the bolted joint, and not by the studs themselves. As long as the studs remain tight, they never see any variation in load, either tensile or bending, as the wheel rotates.
  9. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    ive used both on cars for yrs and i have never had a problem.and i do abuse my cars on a regular bases.
  10. This is very true!

    I would opt for the proper wheels but that doesn't appear to be a safe option here.

    With that said, 1 inch isn't that much, I'd go with a spacer and use ARP wheel studs.

    Reason: The ARP studs are the best you can buy and a spacer only has 5 holes in it whereas an adaptor will have 10 (5 for the studs & 5 for the attaching lugs). Less holes, more mass, less of a chance of cracking and your wheel will not just be held in place with a chunk of aluminum, it will also be held in place with the axle's iron flange.
  11. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,108


    I'm with Waddayacare, the ARP matls are top shelf. Then to torque and recheck now and then. Hub centering sounds better too.
  12. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,045

    from Oregon

    The billet adapters have worked great for me, even in cars with some HP to really twist them. I wont run spacers if they were over 1/2" thick.
  13. 1951Streamliner
    Joined: May 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,875

    from Reno, NV

    I have 1 inch adapters on the rear of my car, and I've had no problems.

    You have twice the bolts to come loose, but you also have twice the bolts to stay tight.
  14. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,682


    I had my Porsche over 200 with factory wheel spacers (over long studs). They were about 3". Never a problem, but then again, what the heck to German engineers know?
  15. I have the cast spacers on the rear of my car but they are only 1/2" and the car has a mild drive train and is just a cruiser. Think I'll be OK?

    I never thought about the adapters being safer...
  16. a set of billet (steel or aluminum) spacers on ARP studs are just fine provided that the proper torque values are considered and applied with a properly calibrated instrument.

    too loose, you risk the studs getting pounded until they break.

    too tight, you risk them breaking from being stretched.

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