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View Full Version : Spacers - track, bumpsteer, bearings???


minimusprime
08-01-2007, 03:55 PM
So I had sent a pm to ivan asking him some specifics about spacers. He thought it was a good idea to post it in public so people could also benefit from me picking his brain. :D

Any way. I have to add 5mm spacers to the front of my car to clear the bbk I am adding. This raises a few concerns in my mind.

1) What is going to happen to track if I add 5mm spacers in just the front... should I add them all around?
2) What happens to bumpsteer as I add said 5mm spacer. Is this enough for me to notice
3) I am running et37 wheels... so once I add a 5mm spacer what happens to my wheel bearings?

Many people on mm.org are lecturing me about how I shouldn't run spacers and should sell the bbk to get a kit that will allow me to run with no spacers. They are saying that I will not pass many track inspections with spacers and autoX etc. At this point... that is also a concern but I see a lot of track cars with spacers on... so nuts to that.

thanks in advance.

Slow Paul
08-01-2007, 04:01 PM
Many people on mm.org are lecturing me about how I shouldn't run spacers and should sell the bbk to get a kit that will allow me to run with no spacers. They are saying that I will not pass many track inspections with spacers and autoX etc. At this point... that is also a concern but I see a lot of track cars with spacers on... so nuts to that.

thanks in advance.

Both SCCA and BMWCCA allow spacers and BBK's you'll just be classed different. Track officals shouldn't give you grieff about your spacers/bbk as long as the hardware is up to par, like you have the correct size lug bolts/studs and nuts installed.

minimusprime
08-01-2007, 04:03 PM
this should prob actually be in cornering. ooops

iDiaz
08-01-2007, 04:11 PM
1) What is going to happen to track if I add 5mm spacers in just the front... should I add them all around?

Actually, adding them just to the front should make your car a bit more balanced by increasing cornering grip up front. Reason being, widening the track width will effectively lower the center of gravity up front. Either way, though... you can add the spacers to the rear as well, if you want it to just be a slightly grippier version of what you're driving now.

2) What happens to bumpsteer as I add said 5mm spacer. Is this enough for me to notice

You'll probably notice a small difference, but I doubt it'll be that bad.

3) I am running et37 wheels... so once I add a 5mm spacer what happens to my wheel bearings?

Tough to say... that's pretty far from the factory specs.

Many people on mm.org are lecturing me about how I shouldn't run spacers and should sell the bbk to get a kit that will allow me to run with no spacers. They are saying that I will not pass many track inspections with spacers and autoX etc. At this point... that is also a concern but I see a lot of track cars with spacers on... so nuts to that.

thanks in advance.

What Paul said. :tu:

minimusprime
08-01-2007, 04:13 PM
thanks guys. I feel a lot better about all of this now. maybe ill be able to sleep at night. Up until now I've had the buyers remorse. :P

ChocolateAZ
08-01-2007, 04:27 PM
I added 5mm spacers all the way around and have noticed no bad effects.

Rally
08-01-2007, 05:57 PM
Dude....don't listen to what people say:P. They read about stuff somewhere and then just chant it over and over again without ever testing it or knowing why they are saying it.

et 32 shouldn't be that bad. My front bearings did go, and i was running et 35's for a while.....but i think it's naturally bad bearings as i had only had those wheels and spacers on for a few months...not to mention 7 months out of the year I'm running SUPER high offset snow steelies, so my summer wheels are rarely on the car compared to my wintermode. With that said, rick's bearings went at the same mileage and he had stock wheels. I think that our bearings probably aren't the strongest, but i also don't think that offsets in the 30's will be enough to cause quick failure.

Anyways with that said....i think besides rubbing, 5mm spacers up front will rock. Like ivan said, reverse stagger is actually good for our cars. And i personally think it looks really cool.

I don't think you'll notice bump steer increases. When i added my 5mm spacers i noticed zero change in bumpsteer. When i got my new wheels with the 14mm offset i started noticing it, but it still isnt even that bad.

Bearings....i shared my opinion above. I don't think 5mm is anywhere near enough to blow your bearings. If your bearings blow because of the 5mm bearings....they probably would have made it 1k extra miles without the spacers but still blown. I dont know if you have a set of 5mm spacers in your hand....but when you see them, you will understand that it really isnt THAT big of a change. It alters your geometry a little, but 37 is already a lower offset, 5 more won't be a big deal that would justify selling the brakes.

You may rub though....32 is getting into low numbers. Be prepared to do some trimming if you haven't already. It won't be a big deal, but its another thing you should think about.

You certainly dont have to worry about SCCA classing as you have the pulley already don't you? If so, that already put you in a class where BBKs and spacers are definitely allowed.


Also....it's a good idea to get longer bolts with a 5mm spacer. Gorilla makes some good ones.

minimusprime
08-01-2007, 06:09 PM
thanks for taking the time to type all that out rally. It's a big big help.

I'm not worried about classing at this point. I've got a pully and a whole bunch of other crap. When I go autoXing I usually just do so for fun and to try and suprise a few people at what a mcs can do in SM. Actually... in my area I have placed 6th and 1st in SM... out of 15 cars or so. I do have to say though... that 1st is when the guy with modified elise and the guy with the modified 911 weren't there.

regardless I am pretty pumped about all this now.

I currently have 1 pair of 5mm h&r spacers on order and some longer bolts from turner motorsports. In case any one else is thinking of adding spacers 5mm h&r's are currently very hard to find. I only found a few places to get them that actually had them in stock.

pilo has spacers available but theirs look... pretty cheap.

as far as replacement parts... I agree with you rally. I plan on having this car for just a bit longer as a street car... about 15k miles. And run it into the ground as a track car. Regardless of my long term plans with this car, I think that if you plan to run into the 100k's with the mcs there are items that will need to be replaced: wheel bearings, clutch, bushings, cv's. Etc Etc. I'm not too worried about it. For reference what did you pay for your bearings?

Rally
08-01-2007, 06:28 PM
The bearings themselves arent bad. I got mine from www.germanautoparts.com because they were the cheapest i could find. They are 120 per side...240 total.

I was in such a rush and swamped by having to work on my wheels that i paid midas to install them which cost a lot.....but it's an easy install that one could do if they had the time.

xalfa
08-01-2007, 11:13 PM
So, I took some advice on spacers from my mechanic, who has a long motorsports background and has campaigned a Mini in endurance events. His advice for a street and occasional track use set up:

- Stock springs
- Koni yellows (cranked up for track days)
- 15mm spacers up front
- 5mm spacers in the rear
- 205/50-17 tires

His opinion was that the 10mm spacer gap front to rear dials out most of the understeer (as iDiaz mentioned above) and lessens the need for a stiffer rear sway bar.

I am running that spacer set up with JCW suspension now and am quite happy. I have not noticed increased bump steer, but the steering does feel "heavier" to me now and less assisted. This makes the car feel less "squirrelly" at highway speeds, and I find it wants to return to center on release with more force. My assumption is that the increased spacing gives the tires more effective leverage on the steering system. I can definitely feel increased grip up front and better turn in. The rear feels looser at the limit, although I only have some minimal on-ramp data to date. I may end up backing off my rear bar a notch.

My guy did mention that you will put more stress on the wheel bearings with spacers and they may fail a bit earlier, but that they are sealed units so are relatively cheap and easy to replace.

I was surprised at his tall tire recommendation, but when I asked about losing low end torque he replied, "Sure, but so what? Torque is useless." I take his point to be that in an FWD car on the track, low end torque is not very useful at all. My sense is that he's right, but torque can be a good thing in low speed auto-x work, assuming you can put it down. Anywho... I'm running 215/45-17s now and may go to 205/50s next, as the step up in size is not that big.

I've got Eibach spacers, which came with extended lugs and appear to be well made, TUV approved, etc.

Sorry for the ramble. Hope that helps.

Rally
08-01-2007, 11:22 PM
good write up xalfa:tu:....what is the offset of your wheels (before spacers)

xalfa
08-01-2007, 11:26 PM
I've got TRD PR1.2s in 17x7, which I think are very close to or identical to the OEM offset.

xalfa
08-01-2007, 11:27 PM
By the way, 15mm is a phat spacer!

Rally
08-02-2007, 12:58 AM
By the way, 15mm is a phat spacer!

hahah that's why i was wondering how high your offsets are on the wheels

minimusprime
08-03-2007, 01:47 AM
Great write-ups guys. Your experience is very helpfull xalfa.

I think for now I'm going to stick with a 5mm up front and none in the rear. With my et37 wheels I'm hoping that 5mm will be the magic number. As I am moving along my setup keeps getting better and better so i'd bet this will help. I'm pretty happy with how neutral the car is on the road for now even without a upgraded rear bar.

This will be my current setup:
-Hsport spring with stock struts (will be replaced with coil over soon)
-IE front camber plates -1.75 degrees
-IE rear control arms -1.5 degrees
-5mm front spacers
-1/16 toe out in front
-1/16 toe in in rear

right now turn in turn in is really solid and I still have a bit of understeer that comes around mid corner. I'd bet that this will make the car even better. I think I'll go for a webb motorsports or ie rear bar or ie rear bar so i can stay around stock or a bit stiffer.

thanks a ton for the help.

iDiaz
08-03-2007, 02:21 AM
Great write-ups guys. Your experience is very helpfull xalfa.

I think for now I'm going to stick with a 5mm up front and none in the rear. With my et37 wheels I'm hoping that 5mm will be the magic number. As I am moving along my setup keeps getting better and better so i'd bet this will help. I'm pretty happy with how neutral the car is on the road for now even without a upgraded rear bar.

This will be my current setup:
-Hsport spring with stock struts (will be replaced with coil over soon)
-IE front camber plates -1.75 degrees
-IE rear control arms -1.5 degrees
-5mm front spacers
-1/16 toe out in front
-1/16 toe in in rear

right now turn in turn in is really solid and I still have a bit of understeer that comes around mid corner. I'd bet that this will make the car even better. I think I'll go for a webb motorsports or ie rear bar or ie rear bar so i can stay around stock or a bit stiffer.

thanks a ton for the help.

Sounds like a solid setup to me. :tu:

My front wheels are also et37 (Superleggera 17x7"), so I'm eager to hear how it works out for you. :fish_h4h: