Spidertrax Wheel Spacer Kit

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF

Installing Spidertrax Wheel Spacers on a Samurai

Keep Your Wheels!

Have you ever bought a set of nice, standard rims for you vehicle and after a couple months of use you realize that you needed more backspacing? Do you like the look of the rims on your vehicle but don't want to waste time and money with getting custom rims mounted and balanced? Spidertrax has addressed this problem with the addition of a 2" anodized aluminum wheel spacer kit to their line-up of Suzuki products.

Samurai without spacers. Note position of wheel in relation to rear bumper.When I first started four-wheeling with my Suzuki Samurai, I still had the stock rims and tires. Before my big trip up the Rubicon with my almost-stock truck, I figured that I would get more backspacing with the rear tires by flipping the wagon wheel style rims around. This worked great for widening my stance and balance, but made for some crazy vibrations on the highway, weird tire wear, and it put the valve stem on the wrong side of the wheel. I wanted to do the same with the front wheels, but the disk brake calipers came into contact with the valve stem and the lug nuts hardly had any thread to hold on to.

Samurai with spacer installed. Note change in wheel position in relation to bumper.Now a couple of years later, Spidertrax has come out with a product that specifically addresses this problem. I wish I could have had a 1" wheel spacer then, because it would have made my rear wheel stance 2" wider on that Rubicon trip.

These clean, well-machined 1" wheel spacers are made from anodized aluminum and have the standard 19mm lug nut and bolt set-up found on Samurais, Sidekicks, Trackers, X-90's, Vitaras and Grand Vitaras. The bolt pattern is 5 on 5.5", which is also a common application for some Ford trucks and older Jeeps and other vehicles. They are sold in pairs by the better Suzuki aftermarket guys: Petroworks Off-Road Products, Rocky Road Outfitters, Zukisouth, and Dave Sport.

These kits, which will only lighten your wallet by a hundred bucks, could also be applied to other 5 on 5.5 bolt-pattern vehicles (as long as you do not mind having metric lug nuts and take in consideration that these spacers were made for lighter Suzuki trucks). The spacers provide an additional 2" of track (1" on each side), improving on-road and off-road stability, adding tire clearance from leaf springs and frame, and giving a wider, more aggressive stance.

Installing spacers on a TrackerThe application of the wheel spacers is extremely straight forward. If you can change a tire, you can install these wheel spacers, although a hand might be needed when it comes to putting on front spacers. Having someone apply the brakes will help hold the front spindle assemble in place while tightening down the front spacers. If there is no extra hand for help, and three of the four wheels are on the ground, just slip the transfer case into 4wd with the hubs locked. This also will keep the wheel assembly from spinning. Make sure the spacer nuts and wheel nuts are tightened down to factory torque (which is 36.5-57.5 foot pounds (50-80 N-m/5.0-8.0 Kg-m) for a Samurai and Sidekick/Tracker) and then everything is done.

Front view. Tracker without spacers.The first vehicle we tested the spacers on was Ted Schuette's Geo Tracker. We off-set the rear wheels first and stood back for a look. The Tracker looks great with a wider rear stance and if I owned one I would add these wheel spacers, along with a little more lift in the rear to complete a very aggressive look. After we added the spacers to the front, we noted how the manual hubs get tucked further inside the rim of the tire. This is an added bonus because it helps give your hubs a tighter profile, protecting them better from being damaged by large rocks that brush by the wheel when rock-crawling.

Front View. Tracker with spacers installed.Our second application was on a Samurai that had been modified only with longer shackles. Seeing how great the Samurai looked, we feel it should have come from the factory with the stance these wheel spacers give. There is no big difference driving around town, except that it does feel like the vehicle corners and holds the road better. Next we tried putting some 31" tires in place of the stock rims. It looked really nice, but we found that we did not have enough lift to fit 31" with spacers in the front. The tires, being pushed out further, would catch on the inside of the fender when turning. So for now, until this vehicle receives its spring-over lift, we will keep the spacers on just the rear.

While trail riding the product, the spacers added an extra that we did not expect. Pushing the tires out not only helps keep the body off obstacles, but they can be more easily seen by the driver, helping in the placement of the tires along the trail.

Samurai with spacers installed on 31s.Somewhere along the way, while installing and driving around with the spacers, I began to question whether or not they would need to be balanced with the wheel. I asked Eddie Casanueva of Spidertrax about having to--maybe--balance the wheels with the rings installed. He replied, "The Wheel Spacers are not balanced after machining, however concentricity is with in .003". With this in mind, as well as the spacers' light weight and small diameter, the Wheel Spacers do not need to be balanced with the tire/wheel," which was good enough for me. Reflecting the excellent workmanship of the spacers, we noticed no unusual vibrations after installation.

3/4 front view. Tracker with spacers installed.The Spidertrax 2" Wheel Spacer Kit is a really great product, and it is an easy way to modify your vehicle. Regardless of whether you need a wider stance or want aftermarket wheels that have insufficient backspacing, this is the solution to your problems.

--Adam Leach


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