Spidertrax Wheel Spacer for Jeep Wrangler JK

Aug. 09, 2013 By Jaime Hernandez

There are a number of ways to help your 4x4 from getting tippy on the trailóone of them is adding track width. This can be achieved by using wider tires, wider axles, aftermarket wheels with negative offset or wheel spacers. The last is by far one of the most economic and easiest ways to increase track width. Wheel spacers also work great for those looking to get additional room between the wheel and suspension components.

When our friend Brian stepped up to 35x12.50 R17 tires on his Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited, we ran into some tire clearance issues. The 35-inch mud terrains looked great mounted on Mopar 17-inch Rubicon wheels, but unfortunately the front tires rubbed at full steering lock. Even though his Jeep was set up correctly using a 2.5-inch suspension lift, the wider and larger diameter tires were making contact at the front sway bar and frame rail section closest to the firewall.  Our choices at this point were to run aftermarket wheels with greater backspacing or wheel spacers to help move the tires away from the vehicle and closer to the fender lip. Since the Mopar Rubicon wheels are such a great looking wheel and can take a beating on the trail, we decided to source some quality wheel spacers to help with our wheel and tire clearance problem. 
 

JEEP JK SPIDERTRAX WHEEL SPACERS
Brianís Jeep JK is his daily driver and sees both paved and dirt terrain, so we couldnít take any chances on spacers failing and sending the wheel rolling down the road Ė not only a scary concept but also very dangerous. Weíve experienced it and donít wish this on anyone.

There are number of aftermarket wheel spacers out there, but only a few are specifically designed for off-road use. The majority of wheel spacers sold are for automobiles that never see dirt. We needed a strong off-road wheel spacer, so we went directly to the leaders in the industryóSpidertrax. Manufactured and designed by off-roaders for off-roaders, Spidertrax makes their product from super strong materials fit for the trail.
 

All Spidertrax wheel spacers are constructed from a solid piece of billet 6061-T6 aluminum, matched with Grade 8 studs to ensure a bulletproof combination. Others spacers, most made in China from low-grade materials, may give the added wheel offset but lack the strength needed for the rigors of off-road use. Those cheap spacers have shown to fail off-road and when tested in a lab. Want more details? Check out this report Spidertrax put together to back up the talk. 

 

The Spidetrax wheel spacers we used feature a 5-on-5-inch wheel pattern and are designed specifically for the Jeep JK wheel assembly. They feature a hub-centric design that ensures wheels have a true surface and perfect fit. They are available in a 1.5-inch and 1.75-inch thickness, which will work on 2007-current Jeep Wrangler JK, 2006-current Commander XK, & 2005-2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee WK axles. Each kit comes with two wheel spacers, 10 standard wheel studs (pre-installed), 10 lug nuts, and a package of thread locker. 
 

One of our favorite features of the Spidertrax line of products is their dark blue anodized finish.  The blue isnít just for looks; its double anodizing process gives the Spidertrax wheel spacers twice the corrosion resistance over raw billet. In addition to making an eye-catching piece matched with strength, Spidertrax is proudly made in Colorado, USA.

When we spoke with Spidertrax Off-Road about our specific clearance issue, they recommended the 1.5-inch spacer for use on Mopar Rubicon 17-inch wheels running 35-inch tires with a 12.50 inch width. The 1.5-inch Jeep JK wheel spacer is one of their best selling spacers and works well with our tire-and-suspension combo.

SPIDERTRAX JEEP JK WHEEL SPACER INSTALLATION
Installation of Spidertrax Jeep JK wheel spacers can be done by any DIY mechanic. Youíre going to need a floor jack, safety jack stand, torque wrench, a set of metric sockets and wrench. 

To install the Spidertrax Jeep Wheel Spacer/Adapter Kit, follow these steps:
  
 

Once you have your Jeep on level ground, remove wheel as recommended by the Jeep Service Manual.  In other words, put the vehicle in Park and chock the wheels to secure it doesnít roll away while being worked on. Remove drum/rotor retainer clip(s) if present.
 

After removing the wheel, make sure to clean up any dirt, mud or rust on the wheel studs, hub and rotor face. This will ensure a good clean surface for the wheel spacer to slide on to and for the wheel studs to bolt on. Apply the provided thread locker to OEM wheel studs and assemble spacer/adapter to drum/rotor face by torquing the provided wheel spacer lug nuts to 90 ft.-lbs.  Have another person apply the brakes to prevent drum/rotor from spinning. Once installed, be sure the OEM wheel studs do not extend past the new wheel-mounting surface of wheel spacer/adapter.
 

Install the factory steel/aluminum wheel to the wheel spacer using the existing lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern to 80-90 ft.-lb. Do not use thread locker on these wheel studs found on the Spidertrax wheel spacer. Repeat this process on all four wheels.
 

To ensure the wheel-spacer lug nuts are properly seated, Spidertrax recommends checking the torque after driving 50 miles. Remove the wheel and check the wheel spacer lug nuts by torquing them at 80 ft-lb. If wheel spacer lug nuts move at all when torqued at 80 ft-lb, go back to Step 2 and repeat installation. If there is no movement, re-assemble the wheel to the wheel spacer/adapter using existing lug nuts. Tighten lug nuts in a crisscross pattern to 80-90 ft.-lb.
 
The Spidertrax Jeep JK wheel spacer definitely moved the Mopar Rubicon 17-inch wheel out and away from the sway bar and frame rail.  Here you can see the before (left) and after (right) effect.

The installation takes around one hour to complete. Checking the wheel spacers after driving 50 miles will also take less than an hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Spidertrax Off-Road solved our tire-clearance problem. Brian can now turn the steering wheel to full clock in both directions without any tire rub. The rear wheels also gained 1.5 inches of additional room to flex on the rocks. Thereís no more wheel rub on this rig.

Fitment of the Spidertrax wheel spacers was dead on. Everything fit like it should and was easy to do thanks to the hardware and instructions provided. Brian has put over 1,000 miles on these spacers with mixed driving on and off road and has had no failure. They are still true and have made driving the Jeep fun again. No more worrying about tearing the inner sidewall or breaking off tread blocks when tire rub occurs. The only bummer is that Spidertrax makes such a sexy looking product, itís hard to cover it with a wheel.
 

If you own a late-model Jeep and need to fix a suspension, wheel or tire clearance problem, we highly recommend looking up Spidertrax Off-Road for their wheel spacers. Spidertrax also makes wheel adaptors and wheel spacers for Jeep CJ, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Commander and Wrangler. They also make really nice heavy-duty axle housing and component fit for motorsports or hardcore trail use.
 

SOURCE
Spidertrax Off-Road
(800) 286-0898
http://www.spidertrax.com/

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!