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Ive got a td5 which has had various additions, one of them being 25mm wheel spacers.

I hadn't thought about it until I saw some advertised Is there another way of widening the axle and wouldn't aluminium spacers which obviously fit between the wheel and steel hub make a weak spot in the axle.

I know moving the wheels out a little will improve stability but at what loss and how much difference can 25mm (50 with both wheels) make over the perceived loss of strength?

coincidentally the turning circle on the disco 2 td5 seems to be bigger than the disco 1 but i don't know if thats standard or the fault of the spacers

Anyone actually looked into this?

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I'd use them as paper weights.

Spacers place an unacceptable strain on the outer wheel bearings and the bearing can fail dramatically and without warning, here in good old Oz they are illegal for on-road use.

If you must go for a wider wheel with the required off-set, this option has the advantage of you being able to have different off-sets front and rear, sure you may have to carry two spares - or simply one of the narrower rims and tyre combo - but you achieve your objective and at least you are spreading the load, the other option is to go to your local wrecker with a tape measure and check out the widths of Toyota and Nissan, Benz, Jeep axles there may be a set to suit your requirements but its a whole load of work modifying them.

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Thanks Boydie I must admit i hadn't thought specifically about bearings but thats a big no no for me. It looks like discovery 2 bearings are more difficult to change as disco 1 as well and that erks me

The spacers were already fitted when I bought the car and and its been nagging me a bit ever since...

looks like they're coming off.... unless the wheels or tyres are none standard, then I might have to leave the paperweights on it

what size is a standard disco 2 road tyre anyone? mine are 255/65 R16

I have a set of offroader wheels and tyres that I'll check later

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Spacers OR larger offset wheels place the same strain on wheel bearings, so you may want to check the off road wheels you have to go on, and see if you even want to.

A photo will let someone tell you if standard wheels or not, I suspect not, or why put spacers on in the first place?

Wheel spacers are undoubtedly strong enough even made of aluminium, what do you think alloy wheels are made of?

I share birdie's concern over them and wouldn't fit then unless I couldn't avoid, but they are in use on many, many modified cars out there will little issues. I am think the biggest issue is people not doing them up properly and nit using thread lock, and then not checking they are tight every time they have the wheel off. As with anything lack of maintenance and ignorance is what causes most problems.

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I run spacers on my car. The ones I run is 30mm each, so that widens the track by 60mm on each axle. There is a strict set of rules at what modifications we are allowed to do here in Norway, so things such as Lift kit, bumpers, after market steering wheel and also spacers is normally not allowed. My co-driver also had problems with the seats he had in a 110 some years ago. I think it was some Recaro seats. Dont even mention roll-cages.

Some of these things will pass if they have TÜV-approval. Then things get into the car documentation. In my documentation, I have TÜV approved lift kit, and TÜV-approved spacers. The spacers are(was) from Hoffman. I've now replaced the spacers with others as I only had them on loan for the approval procedure :)

I'm not sure if I've noticed any more wear on the wheel bearings then without. But I've also ran the car on wheels with no-standard offset. (ET-8 and ET-15 vs ET-33) If I remember correctly, My car now should have ET-15 + 30mm spacers, so in effect it should be ET+15, that is 48mm on each side. That means 96mm wider than normal. I do run 30 spacers and ET33wheels, so it's maybe a bit better. But then again, the approved tyres are 205R16, or 235/7016, but I'm running on 255/85R16.

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thanks guys I suspect the chunky wheels will not fit without the spacers.

I need to get a couple of piccies and check the sizes and I'll post em up

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It's not only wheel bearings that suffer increased forces and susceptibility to failure because of spacers or high negative offset wheels. Steering components also suffer, from swivel pins to rod ends and steering boxes.

The other option to replacing the axles with something else from a breakers would be inserts between the axle flange and stub axle at the rear or axle flange and swivel housing on the front, with extended half hafts and steering rods. Not cheap, but it be as safe and reliable as a standard axle and wheel combination and you wouldn't need to be inventive with the modification. You could use it as an opportunity to uprate the shafts and steering rods, too.

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It's not only wheel bearings that suffer increased forces and susceptibility to failure because of spacers or high negative offset wheels. Steering components also suffer, from swivel pins to rod ends and steering boxes.

The other option to replacing the axles with something else from a breakers would be inserts between the axle flange and stub axle at the rear or axle flange and swivel housing on the front, with extended half hafts and steering rods. Not cheap, but it be as safe and reliable as a standard axle and wheel combination and you wouldn't need to be inventive with the modification. Of course, that gives a good excuse to go for uprated shafts at the same time... ;)

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whats the problem with spacers? run mine for near 2years with out any ill effect. can happilty run 12mths with out even touching bearings/kingpins.. looks good. helps steering. helps stabilty. allows alloys on older hubs. only a win win for me. :)

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Ive got a td5 which has had various additions, one of them being 25mm wheel spacers.

I hadn't thought about it until I saw some advertised Is there another way of widening the axle and wouldn't aluminium spacers which obviously fit between the wheel and steel hub make a weak spot in the axle.

I know moving the wheels out a little will improve stability but at what loss and how much difference can 25mm (50 with both wheels) make over the perceived loss of strength?

coincidentally the turning circle on the disco 2 td5 seems to be bigger than the disco 1 but i don't know if thats standard or the fault of the spacers

Anyone actually looked into this?

You actually have several questions going on here. I'll try and answer some for you .

1. Turning circle. Standard vehicles have steering stops, which restrict how far the wheels can be turned on full lock. The reason being, to stop the tyre rubbing on the front radius arm. That said, the stock position is usually very restrictive. On older LR's the stop is just a bolt, so you can wind them in and out, or even remove them. I think on a D2 they might be a solid pin, but I'm sure you must be able to do something to adjust them.

2. When people fit bigger fatter tyres, it can impact the amount of steering lock you get. A wider tyre will, on the same rim end up having it's inner edge closer to the radius to start with, so less lock. Also taller tyres will hit the radius arm sooner. The easy solution is to move the wheels outboard and wider the vehicle track.

This is done by two main ways:

-Different offset rims

-Wheel spacers

They essentially achieve the same thing. And anyone who tells you wheel spacers are worse because of 'x' or 'y', is probably just not understanding what they are talking about.

Moving the wheels out will generally allow more steering lock and a smaller turning circle (very important if you compete in trials events).

Wheel offsets are quite an involved and complex subject in their own right, and it's well worth reading up and understanding them.

But for instance, if you have an 8j wide rim now and replace them with some more 8j rims that have a ET of -25mm from your current ones. Then it will place the wheel in exactly the same place as running 25mm spacers on your current rims.

The below is true for both different offset rims as it is for wheel spacers.

Improvements:

-Visually nicer stance

-Ability to retain or improve steering lock

-Maybe more stable on a side slope (really this is a very minor thing and would only matter on large lifts)

-Ability to run wider/bigger tyres

Negatives:

-Likely to make the wheel stick outside the body work, which in the UK is illegal for road use and usually not allowed for competition use either.

-Can induce more wear on the wheel bearing. But tbh, most cases it will highlight a worn part. Good bearings will likely be fine and last an acceptable amount of time.

-It will change the kingpin angle and result in more bump steer. So on and off road it may not steer as well as it did. And may induce different tyre wear characteristics. However, the reality is, most setups are still more than acceptable and often even not noticed by the driver. So be aware of this, but don't stress over it.

The only additional risk with wheel spacers is making sure they remain done up. But this shouldn't be anymore bother than checking your wheel nuts anyhow and no more risky.

There is a good vid that explains the basics, the vid centres on wheel spacers. But everything they say is also true for wider offset rims.

Last up, you mention wider axles.

Now this is an option, but will require some fairly major work and fabrication. Many purpose built off road vehicles will use wider axles, to remove the need for spacers or wide rims. But axles are neither cheap, nor a 5 min bolt on solution.

Not sure if you compete in your LR, the MSA allow wheel spacers, however some trials organisers don't normally, such as the ALRC. However the ALRC will likely allow them in the close future.

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It will change the kingpin angle and result in more bump steer. So on and off road it may not steer as well as it did. And may induce different tyre wear characteristics. However, the reality is, most setups are still more than acceptable and often even not noticed by the driver. So be aware of this, but don't stress over it.

The king pin angle doesn't change and bump steer isn't related to track width, but suspension link lengths and layout will affect the bump steer.

I should add though, I agree with the rest of your post :)

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As this is in the competition section, it's worth pointing out that any spacers you fit MUST be TUV approved for UK motorsport under MSA regulations. It used to be the case that only up to 25mm spacers were allowed in the regs but this was changed a few years ago (mainly because 25mm spacers were just too dangerous on a Land Rover due to wheel nut sizes) and 30mm was the thinnest, safe, practical option. At the same time though, they also added the TUV approval requirement and many spacers on the market don't comply with that.

As others have said, I'd rather get wheels with the correct offset than mess around with spacers but if you want to fit them and understand the risks then just make sure you get TUV approved ones if you want to compete in the UK.

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thanks for all the info so far guys

I don't compete and apart from access to various difficult removals don't do very much off road (once or twice avoiding maniacs driving on the wrong side of the road LOL) but i figured since the car is set up for offroadiing the people here might have more experience of the specifics of all the mechanics involved.

Looks like I was right :i-m_so_happy:

I havent lookeed at the car mechanically since I bought it during the summer (been very busy) but there is a steering issue I need to look into (drop links are worn and I think one sticks)and this was part of what I had noticed, so I am sounding out wether or not I might need to make bigger changes and what might need doing.

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For what it is worth, my findings for many years with spacers..

- wider track could give better stability

- wider track can give a netter turning circle

- wider track can create space for wider tyres

- wider track gives to some people a better look to the vehicle

- we have not had problems on different vehicles with them after many, many miles

However..

- as the leverage on the various components increases one can expect more wear

- as the leverage on the various components increases one can expect mechanical failure to come earlier

- it is of the utmost importance that the spacers are up to the job - we use Kensons in Wednesbury

- the legal side is often somewhat "grey" as fitting them changes the track width from standard and this

could lead to problems with Police, insurance, MOT etc.

- In many countries they are banned.

Same applies to changing offset to rims.

Make your choice..

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I personally don't use them. The risk of them coming off is to great, plus they weigh a ton. If you want to use spacers, try 25 mm longer wheel studs and the spacer in between the wheel and the hub. This is what happens in race and rally applications if you change camber and the track width is set by regulation.

I have widened my (steel) wheels by 50 mm, to give the extra 25 mm wider track (per side). My main reservation to going wider is the strain on the steering box and joints in case of a big impact. so 25 mm is pretty much as far as I go. The argument of more wear is true also, but I run earlier (wider) hubs, were the bearings sit much further apart, reducing the leverage. Wheel bearings have never been a problem with this set up.

 

Daan

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Here in NZ we are allowed them or offset rims you can even run both but there is an overall limit that you may run (have the book somewhere here can look it up if you want) 

Now as to the reason why this limit is there... yes the mechanical reasons mentioned above are part of this but the main reason is something called Scrub Steer 

Imagine a line that runs through the centre of your kingpins down to the ground, this is the centre point of your steering when you turn imagine sitting stationary and turning the wheel.... the important distance is the distance between this and the centre of your tyre contact patch 

Take a standard series with the original wheels and rims (rims have a similar offset to IFS rims) this puts the contact patch directly under the kingpin contact point so you have no Scrub Radius (the important bit) this was why they didn't need power steering .... now you bif some spacers or offset rims at the same axle say 25mm spacers not much really..... wrong its a big change and here is why 

Your steering is designed to take the impact knocks to the wheel eg bumps (bump steer is a different thing all together and comes from suspension movement) I'm talking about as you travel forward and your tyre hits a bump the tyre trying to be forced back now in the series axle with its original rims no drama it has little feed back into the steering system but if you move the wheel out (spacers rims etc) when it gets hit the tyre wants to swing backwards rotating around the kingpin contact point feeding back into the steering now consider the extra distance the same as a cheeter bar on your ratchet..... if your handle is this long and you double it what do you do to the force on the nut ? now think about this with your steering lol yea that is why the powers hate spacers etc 

All this said from experience there is normally ALOT of safety margin designed into steering components of 4wd's so a bit of extra width isn't going to smash things On a hilux axle more than 30mm you will get a noticeable increase in wear of consumables (kingpin bearings, balljoints etc) they will handle up to 50mm before your looking at damage level and I know some running 75mm each side in trials that with regular maintenance are not failing

Right time for work lol hope you appreciate this post.... it has cost me half n hour of CAD time designing my trailer 

Cheers      

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Cheers DeRanged, brings another aspect of it to the party :)

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There was one more bit to this that I forgot to add running out of time and that is tyre size, because your kingpin inclination angle is angling out at the bottom as you increase tyre size you can move the tyre contact patch inside of the kingpin point.... easy way to visuallise this is small tyres and offset means impacts to the wheel will cause toes to swing out, large tyres and no spacers will cause toe in 

All of this assumes road conditions where your hitting a bump with the contact patch.... offroad when we smack into a bank or other high point you are ALOT further away from your pivoting kingpin line.... add in offset rims, spacers and like most big fat tyres with side biters and this is normally when things go snap lol this is also why I prefer axles with the tie-rod at the front of the axle, from my experience the worst impacts are when travelling forward with trying to use momentum to get up something this impact pulls on the tie-rod a rear mounted tie-rod is under compression any bends are are weak points. Yes there is an argument that the tie-rod as a week link is a good thing.... I see this a different way a bit more time in the shed and solve the next few weak links and I drive past where the dude with the rear mount tie-rod is sitting on the track crying lol 

In the case of the hilux axle (lol I have put alot of time building these so know there issues well) it means high steer custom made steering arms (also allows me to set the ackerman for the wheelbase) 80 series cruiser tie-rod ends and custom made cro-moly tie-rod and drag link, make up new kingpin bearing caps that use a thinner bearing making the centre pin on the bearing bigger, does mean the bearings wear out sooner, ARP studs for the steering arms or better yet six shooter arms and swivel housings and after all that change the steering box to a surf or cruiser box and go X over steering 

Biff all this into a custom built housing with longfields custom mix of hilux and +2" 40 series shorter I'm 75mm wider and have the option to run IFS hilux hubs for another 66mm of width and I haven't done anything yet with spacers or offset rims lol also known as my "porn" axles  a set of which I will toss at the Out Law 

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If you look at the subject from an engineering, safety or performance viewpoint, you can only come to the conclusion that spacers or offset rims are a bodge.  The correct method would be to fit a spacer neck between the axle tube and swivel housing on the front axle and the axle tube and stub axles on the rear.  That is a very easy thing to do, but what costs is the custom length half shafts to reach the diff.

There are some valid arguments to say that offset wheels are safer than wheel spacers.  These are essentially limited to the points that the nuts on spacers can unwind behind the wheel, as seemed common on steel spacers available in the UK (I had this occur several times), that the greater difficulty in removing spacers (no ground friction to hold the hub still while cracking the nuts, easily sorted by using a bar across the studs to prevent rotation, but you now how amateur mechanics are) discouraged people from servicing drum brakes as often as they should, and that some spacers were poorly manufactures, either using weak materials or having insufficient thickness around the studs or holes.

However, both suffer the scrub radius effects described well by DeRanged (this is also a big deal when suffering a front puncture) and the leverage wears the stub axles, wheel bearings, swivel bearings, steering rod ends and steering box much faster.  Too much offset (from either method) could put forces within a dangerous proximity to the maximum loads for the components, especially when combined with large diameter, wide tyres with their greater foot prints and much higher gyroscopic forces, these big tyres often being the reason for increasing offsets in the first place.

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The only other thing worthy of note IMO is. While i fully agree with all of the science. There are simply 1000's of examples of Land Rovers running spacers and/or wider offset rims, to no ill effect. And covering large distances of a large period of time. Unless you are going completely extreme, then the reality is, you'll be perfectly ok.

 

And indeed Land Rover themselves have offered different width and offset rims over the years, nothing extreme. But goes to show that even car makers will add variance. 

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