Wheel Spacers

Submitted: Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 10:52
ThreadID: 55134 Views:4579 Replies:11 FollowUps:13
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In a previous post I mentioned that I fitted some wheel spacers to the rear of my 70 series TDV8 to make the rear track the same as the front.

There were many pursed lips and tutt-tutting (and a skirt twirl or two) over the legality of the issue for on-road use.

Look at this link (it applies to WA only):

http://www.4wddevelopments.com.au/tyres.htm

Here it says:

"Wheel track specification not to exceed 80mm above the maximum specification listed by the manufacturer for the particular model of vehicle."

For the VEHICLE, NOT for the individual axle.

All I've done is make the rear track EQUAL to the maximum specified for the vehicle, which is the front track.

I'm resting easy with what I've done. And I'm sure each State would have rulings with the same wording.

I wish we could use italics because I'm not shouting.

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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 11:56

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 11:56
Sounds perfectly logical to me ol' mate!!

Far too many people get all precious about various mods that some of us do to our vehicle/s.

I have a list a mile long of things that I know don't quite meet the regs when it comes to my truck. But I'm not in the business of doing stuff that is gunna end up with me or my family getting hurt (or anybody else for that matter).

There can be no logical reason why what you've done is a safety issue. The only downside MIGHT be that your rear wheel bearings will wear out a bit earlier than may otherwise have been the case.

As for insurance companies.....if you ever have a major bingle (I pray that you don't of course), then they would have to prove that the spacers contributed to the accident. Even if you did have a serious accident possibly resulting in the vehicle being written off, they (the assessor) would be unlikely to even check the presence of spacers.....it would have to be a case of the rear axle broke/snapped , causing the accident; ahhh let's see if we can find out why the axle snapped; oh what have we here? etc etc. Highly unlikely IMHO...

Good onya champ, don't worry about the panzy brigade.
AnswerID: 290563

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:15

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:15
Unless ..... the vehicle was deemed to be unroadworthy at the time of the accident. Wheel spacers ??
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 10:44

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 10:44
Yeh, but what I'm saying is that the wheel spacers wouldn't be obvious t first glance. If the vehicle was involved in a bad accident (let's say a head on collision) and was to be written off, it unlikely that the assessor would even bother removing the rear wheels as the area of interest would be at the front.

On the other hand, if the vehicle was w/off as a result of a roll-over and it was obvious to the assessor that the rear of the vehicle had "failed" in some way, THEN you would be in the brown stuff, cos they would go looking for causes of what broke on the back end.

Sort of the same thing as warranty claims. Some blokes worry that they will void their warranty if they modify a part of their truck........let's say the block-off their EGR pipe. Well if they have an issue with the brake master cylinder failing, the manufacturer is not gunna be able to say that blocking off the EGR was the cause of the master cylinder failing, eh!!??

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Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:33

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:33
Changes in wheel track normally come about due to different rims/tyres, not the use of spacers.
AnswerID: 290568

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 17:20

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 17:20
MrBitchi
I was thinking the same thing.
People put wide rims on, most of the extra width on the outside, such as going 15x6 to 15x8 and don't think twice about it, increasing the track by 2" - 50mm. Even have to add flares to cover the extra width. :o)

But spacers are looked upon as 'dangerous'.
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Reply By: howesy - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:47

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:47
The Australian Standards document you refer to applies to the fitment of rims and tyres and does not refer to wheel spacers. I went through this with my sons car. At least in NSW any changes in wheel track must be within allowable limits and must be effected in an engineer approved manor (diff alterations etc) with appropriate documentation or you must have changed the track with the fitment of rims and tyres as set out in the standards document. In NSW there is no engineer approval for any brand of wheel spacers. You have changed your track by means other than referred to in the standards document (rim and tyre fitment) and used spacers and usually they have seperate specifications for front and rear track so it is the rear track spec you must not exceed by 80mm which is 40mm each side.

As I said this is how it is in NSW and I checked rather extensively so I would be getting an engineers letter if I were you to cover your A*@e

Anyway I hope it all works out for you, take care.
AnswerID: 290571

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:50

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 12:50
Well, thank goodness I live in the Wild West.

cheers

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Follow Up By: howesy - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 13:00

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 13:00
That may be so but then again it is a federal you proudly refered to and it would seem that even in sunny WA it would apply so read it wisely. I removed my sons and we forked out the few extra bucks to get custom offset rims to conform with the regs. We found that spacers seem to loosen once in a while and if one ever let go and resulted in serious injury or death we wanted to have all the I's dotted and T's crossed to avoid gaol on a charge of negligence causing serious injury or death and thats the advice iwas given by NSW police and RTA.
If I were you I would try and con your state regulatory body to commit to something in writing to say they are fine.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:56

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:56
The second page I so proudly referred to is from a separate Western Australian document, not part of the first page.

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:14

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:14
Only the WA Dept of Transport will give you a straight answer.
Your document refers to wheels and tyres and not spacers.

And any idea whether they have made any difference to your fishtailing?
AnswerID: 290591

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:53

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 15:53
Only towed the van on bitumen so far. I'll wait until I take it on gravel before I form an opinion.

cheers

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Reply By: mowing - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 16:09

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 16:09
Hi Steve, The link that you have provided appears IMHO to refer to rims and tyres only, it doesn't mention anything about spacers. I would be contacting DPI to get a ruling as you know what insurance companies are like, if they can get out of paying, they will. Plus a yellow sticker would clash with the merlot TDV8.

Having said all of that, there would be a number of lifted 4WD's cruising around that have not been cleared by an engineer as to the lane changing rules.

Regards

Mark
AnswerID: 290596

Reply By: mechpete - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 21:45

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 21:45
you guys never cease to amaze me , the reason spacers are illegal is that the weight of the vehicle is now transfered to the studs alone ,where as without them the weight is carried on the centre of the hub ,the studs are normally to hold the wheel on ,not the weight
mechpete
AnswerID: 290676

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 22:27

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 22:27
The weight is transferred to the studs alone ????

What does the suspension do? Nothing??

Two bloody great big leaf springs sitting there just for the ride?

"You guys never cease to amaze me"

Just like last time I mentioned these things all the worry warts came out spreading doom and gloom (with a couple of exceptions, Roachie).

Thank goodness I took them off and chucked 'em in the bin after the last Post.

Good God, if we never did anything we would never DO anything.

You must all be on a high after the Mardi Gras in Sydney, twirling your skirts everywhere.
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 13:26

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 13:26
G'day GB,

I think I know what mechpete is on about in this instance. I just had a look at a photo of some wheel spacers in an ad in 4wd action mag.

On a standard hub, there is a lip or ring that the wheel sits on and when you do up the nuts, they are effectively just holding the wheel onto the hub, which is taking the weight.

I can see that with the spacers, there is no such lip/ring, so the 6 studs (or 5 in your case) have the weight of the vehicle bearing-down on them in a sheer-fashion.

Cheers

Roachie
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Reply By: John S (NSW) - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 22:32

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 22:32
Gone Bush,

Wheel spacers do not have ADR approval, and are for off road use only. But even still, if you have an accident with wheel spacers fitted, your insurance company will NOT pay out !! They are illegal to use on public roads (NSW) and if pulled over by the boys in blue they will give you a nice new red sticker. I helped a poor dude out a few weeks ago who didn't know better and got caught. He had to remove the spacers before he could drive it away - lucky his tyres still fitted without rubbing.

Changing the offset of wheels changes the forces on the axles. The wheel bearing is meant to take the weight of the vehicle. Moving the centre of a tyre in or out actually puts increased loads on the axle at the diff centre. This will fatigue the axle and cause early diff bearing failure. That is why you can only change the track by small amounts and if you have increased the GVM, these allowances are reduced.

Spacers are dangerous and I will never put myself or my family at risk just to save on a new set of rims.
AnswerID: 290686

Reply By: mowing - Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 23:46

Monday, Mar 03, 2008 at 23:46
Hi Steve, I stand by my post. Go to DPI and get a ruling, if they say the wheel spacers are fine, then you can come back on here and say that the goody two shoes are wrong. If they don't and you still use them someone might, if involved in an accident try to reduce your self managed super fund by sueing you. The fact that you have put the details on this website may have a negative impact in this regard!!!A solicitor would dance down St Georges Tce singing" Oh what a wonderful day"
You have a bloody nice cruiser, caravan and the time to see the sights of this great country. Enjoy!! I wish I could and I would live with a 80mm difference in wheel track.

Regards

Mark
AnswerID: 290695

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 10:23

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 10:23
I understand Mark.

They actually haven't gone back on the vehicle since I had the wheels rotated at my Dealer. I'll raise the subject with DPI and see what the result is. Although I hate asking a question if I don't already know the answer.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - LOS BUSH - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 12:37

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 12:37
Gday Gone bush If your spacers are 40mm then you are puting a force of say 40mm x 400kls extra on each side ,that a fairly small moment load that will add a bit to the wheel bearing load and a min. bending force or bending moment to the axil.This whole discussion about you seeing DPI is worthless because their advice will be not approved without the manufactures approval DPI will want their bums covered. GB I would expect a loaded roof rack would put more bending moment into the axil and more load on the wheel bearings when cornering or general offroad driving than 40mm wheel spacers ps why did the vehicle have different wheel tracks in the first place
LOS
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Follow Up By: John S (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 18:19

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 18:19
'why did the vehicle have different wheel tracks in the first place'

Most vehicles have a wider track at the front to improve vehicle stability at high speeds. I don't know how much of an improvement, but that is the theory & reason behind it.

But I get why you need the same track front and rear and on a trailer for that matter when off road.
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FollowupID: 556199

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 18:25

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 18:25
The current Toyota trayback has a wider front track to accommodate the V8 engine.

Toyota were just too damn tight to widen the rear track (there is 4" difference) because there is a new workhorse range coming out in a year or so (rumour mill).

Great vehicle but some significant shortcomings.
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Reply By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 19:27

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2008 at 19:27
"Fitting of wheel spacers (or adaptors for dual wheel conversions) between the wheel mounting face and the road wheel is not allowed unless fitted as original equipment by the vehicle manufacturer"

Vehicle Standard Bulletin 14

Scroll down to Page 15LS/71. This is a national Code of Practice, but not all of it has been adopted by all states. It seams each state picks and chooses which bits they will adopt.
AnswerID: 290801

Reply By: blown4by - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 18:58

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 18:58
Mate the article you refer to is superceded in WA by the Light Vehicle National Code of Practice (NCOP) which has been adopted in WA for all such modification matters. Also the Vehicle Standards Regs (VSR's) that you refer to have been replaced by the VSR's of 2002 and that Vehicle Safety Branch (VSB) brochure is no longer relevent due to the forgoing. The NCOP states limits for wideneing of the track on 4x4's with beam axles and independent suspensions and also has information on the use of spacers. Refer www.dotars.gov.au or www.dpi.wa.gov.au/licensing/my vehicle/vehicle safety/vehicle publications/codesof practice/VSB14. The main problem with spacers is they change the way the wheel rim is mounted to the vehicle in that some are spigotted so the spigot carries the load and not the wheel studs. Also you are putting extra load on the wheel studs by moving the wheel further away from the hub and your wheel nuts may not engage far enough on the threads of the studs. Also you can affect steering and braking characteristics which under normal driving conditions you may not notice but in an emergency where a crash stop or evasive action may be required you are putting full load onto all components and you may exceed the design load by the mods you have carried out. Sure lots will say that this is a load of bull--- but insurance companies, coroners courts and civil courts may take a different view.
AnswerID: 291650

Reply By: blown4by - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 18:59

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 18:59
Mate the article you refer to is superceded in WA by the Light Vehicle National Code of Practice (NCOP) which has been adopted in WA for all such modification matters. Also the Vehicle Standards Regs (VSR's) that you refer to have been replaced by the VSR's of 2002 and that Vehicle Safety Branch (VSB) brochure is no longer relevent due to the forgoing. The NCOP states limits for wideneing of the track on 4x4's with beam axles and independent suspensions and also has information on the use of spacers. Refer www.dotars.gov.au or www.dpi.wa.gov.au/licensing/my vehicle/vehicle safety/vehicle publications/codesof practice/VSB14. The main problem with spacers is they change the way the wheel rim is mounted to the vehicle in that some are spigotted so the spigot carries the load and not the wheel studs. Also you are putting extra load on the wheel studs by moving the wheel further away from the hub and your wheel nuts may not engage far enough on the threads of the studs. Also you can affect steering and braking characteristics which under normal driving conditions you may not notice but in an emergency where a crash stop or evasive action may be required you are putting full load onto all components and you may exceed the design load by the mods you have carried out. Sure lots will say that this is a load of bull--- but insurance companies, coroners courts and civil courts may take a different view.
AnswerID: 291652

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