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Old 02-13-2022, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Wheel spacers

I have heard a lot about wheel spacers added to class bs. What is the purpose of this. Is it only done to certain chassis and if so for what reasons.
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Old 02-13-2022, 05:19 PM   #2
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Post the model you have and you may get some more detailed responses.


Mike
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Old 02-13-2022, 07:27 PM   #3
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I have heard a lot about wheel spacers added to class b’s. What is the purpose of this. Is it only done to certain chassis and if so for what reasons.
It is all about thrust and drag. On each side of the vehicle you have drag centered on the front wheel for that side. At the same time you have thrust centered on the rear wheel for that side. Now if the thrusting force is not directly behind the drag it will try to make the misalignment even worse. One may think the two sides would cancel each other, but in real life there are other factors involved. Tire pressures, weight distribution, road surface and other things. Result, a vehicle with tendencies to wander like a drunken sailor. I have a 95dodgeRoadtrek 190P that acted like that. Reason was the rear axle was the same as used on the dual wheel pickups but the van only uses one wheel per side. This results in a narrower track compared to the front wheels. I verified this by placing bricks against the outside of front tires then moving the van out of the way so I could easily measure the distance between the bricks. Repeated for the rear wheels and then compared measurements. Sure enough they were quite different. Divided the difference by two and ordered two spacers accordingly. Now the van acts nice and sober so the police don’t want to check MY breath.
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Old 02-13-2022, 09:59 PM   #4
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It’s a 2008 Ford econoline.
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Old 02-14-2022, 02:51 AM   #5
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go to www.carspecs.us/cars/2008/ford/ and select your model.
For instance the econoline E-250 - Cargo Van 4.6L V8 lists front track 69.4 inches, rear track 66.6 inches.
PS. Check for fender clearance before you spend money
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Old 02-14-2022, 10:25 PM   #6
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I've only heard about this solution with the Dodge Roadtreks (and similar brands). Ours was a year 2000. As blackbourn3704 mentioned, on that vehicle the rear tires did not track exactly behind the front tires. On a perfectly flat road or at low speeds it made no difference. But at high speeds (say, over 60 mph) on a road with any kind of depression (even pretty slight) where the wheels ran, it could make the van very difficult to handle as the back and the front wheels had different ideas of where they should run. The wheel spacers were intended to fix this, although some folks said they also could lead to axle failure by putting more stress on the axles.
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Old 02-14-2022, 11:44 PM   #7
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I have heard the claim that it could lead to axle failure but have not read about any such failure. I don't see how that could happen as after all, the axle was designed to have another wheel out there. Just mho.
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Old 02-15-2022, 12:06 AM   #8
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I have heard the claim that it could lead to axle failure but have not read about any such failure. I don't see how that could happen as after all, the axle was designed to have another wheel out there. Just mho.
Agreed. When I wrote that I was thinking there can't be that many owners of such old vehicles looking for solutions to handling problems. Now I'm feeling a little guilty about spreading internet mis-information. So, for the record, even though I never used them with our van, I got the impression from reading scores of posts on the subject that the folks who installed spacers were the happiest with the improvement in handling, compared to all the other solutions like shock absorbers, steering stabilizers, and alignment tweaks. And I also don't remember anyone saying the spacers caused any damage to the rear axle. Plus, the argument for spacers seemed to have the most science behind it, in that the handling problems I had with my 2000 Dodge were definitely dependent on the condition of the road.
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Old 02-15-2022, 12:26 AM   #9
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Well, I replaced the front shocks with some having coil springs around the shocks because the main springs were showing their age and bottoming out on the least little bump in the road. Didn't noticeably affect the handling, just made for a more pleasant ride. Installed "roadmaster" spring helpers on the rear springs. Same reason and result but did also help the rear sway like when driving across the gas station gutters at angle. We drive mostly "blue" roads, so the spacers were absolutely the best investment.
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Old 03-19-2022, 03:20 PM   #10
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What brand spacers did you install?
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Old 03-19-2022, 09:45 PM   #11
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Sorry, that was about 7 years ago and I no longer have that info. I normally keep info on appliances and the like but did not for the spacers. They came from California and have counterbored holes for mounting to the axle using the existing lug nuts and have studs already installed for mounting the wheel to the spacer using the supplied nuts.
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Old 04-19-2022, 09:00 PM   #12
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Agreed. When I wrote that I was thinking there can't be that many owners of such old vehicles looking for solutions to handling problems. Now I'm feeling a little guilty about spreading internet mis-information. So, for the record, even though I never used them with our van, I got the impression from reading scores of posts on the subject that the folks who installed spacers were the happiest with the improvement in handling, compared to all the other solutions like shock absorbers, steering stabilizers, and alignment tweaks. And I also don't remember anyone saying the spacers caused any damage to the rear axle. Plus, the argument for spacers seemed to have the most science behind it, in that the handling problems I had with my 2000 Dodge were definitely dependent on the condition of the road.
Michaelingp, just so you know, there are still quite a few out there seeking to improve their wandering vans….. I’m one of them with the 2003 dodge Roadtrek we picked up last fall. And, the axle damage comments- those are related to wearing out bearings faster. A semi-floating axle has one outer bearing, and spacing the wheel out farther adds more twist to the axle shaft and flange, increasing wear on the bearing. Full floating axles, however, have 2 bearings out there and the spacer/adapter does not affect them much due to the design difference over a semi floating axle. I’m just shopping around for a set of adapters and came across this post, so I thought I’d toss my 2 cents in…..
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Old 04-19-2022, 10:02 PM   #13
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I have a 1998 Leisure freedom WideBody built on a dodge 3500 frame, a 1 ton frame and I suppose axle, but not a floating one (which I find surprising). I put heavy duty Bilstein shocks on it that made a big difference. So it drives like what it is, not too terrible but I am looking to improve what I have. It has firestone bags on the rear that are not independent of one another. I run them at 80lbs. I am just looking for input from anyone who has installed the spacers, steel vs aluminum, and suppliers.
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Old 04-19-2022, 10:04 PM   #14
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I am also wondering about springs in the rear. Adding a leaf, something to get a bit more clearance. I am not an off roader but the rig is a taildragger if not careful.
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Old 04-19-2022, 10:06 PM   #15
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Michaelingp, just so you know, there are still quite a few out there seeking to improve their wandering vans.. Im one of them with the 2003 dodge Roadtrek we picked up last fall. And, the axle damage comments- those are related to wearing out bearings faster. A semi-floating axle has one outer bearing, and spacing the wheel out farther adds more twist to the axle shaft and flange, increasing wear on the bearing. Full floating axles, however, have 2 bearings out there and the spacer/adapter does not affect them much due to the design difference over a semi floating axle. Im just shopping around for a set of adapters and came across this post, so I thought Id toss my 2 cents in..

I agree with this completely but with on small comment.


Full floating axles use a axle housing supported hub with two bearings in the hub to support the wheel so no weight on the axle. That gives the axle a huge advantage with no bending load, just torque. The offset of the wheels is set to put the weight of the vehicle between the two hub bearings so the hub is always pushing down on the axle housing in two spots. If you offset the wheel to much to the outboard side, you can get that weight centerline outside of the outboard hub bearing which lifts the inner side up instead of being loaded down. This inconsistency puts extra load on the outboard bearing and also can can cause seal life issues as the seal is right next to the inboard bearing.
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Old 04-19-2022, 10:58 PM   #16
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Well described. Because I do have the full floating, likely due to having the tow pkg, and having heard many favourable comments from other roadtrekkers who just have the semi floating, I’m thinking I should be ok with 2” adapters to eliminate the 4” difference in width vs the front wheel tracking. As soon as I can find some here in Ontario that have the proper 120.9mm hub bore, I’m going to proceed with installing some. So far I’m only seeing some with 126mm hub bores.
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