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wheels vs. spacers?

Discussion in 'Modified 1995-2001 Explorers' started by JungleBiker, July 9, 2011.

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    1. JungleBiker

      JungleBiker New Member

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      So I'd like my '96 Explorer to be a little wider where the rubber meets the road, but after spending some time on this forum, I've come to the realization that simply putting on wheels with a different offset will probably screw with the ABS. I see other trucks on this site that have obviously non-original wheels; what are you guys doing about your ABS? Just doing away with it? I understand as well that there are some aftermarket alloys out there that are ABS sensor compatible, but if I switch to different wheels, I'll only be switching to the cheapest 15 inch steel wheels I can get, something like Cragar Soft 8's or Unique Tracker II's (on sale at Performance Plus for $34 each!).

      Alternatively, I would not be opposed to installing a set of 1" wheel spacers behind my stock rims, (even though I think my stock rims are kind of ugly, at least I already own them). If I installed spacers, would the ABS sensors still work, (I assume not) or could they be made to work with a minimum of effort? Are there other downsides to installing decent quality wheel spacers?

      I've done a search on this topic, but so far all I've found is pages and pages of people arguing for and against ABS.

      Am I just crazy for wanting to make my Explorer's footprint a little wider?
       
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    3. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ABS sensors do not have anything to do with the wheels you're running.
       
    4. JungleBiker

      JungleBiker New Member

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      So in other words, as long as I don't have clearance issues and as long as I am aware of the possible long term disadvantages to various bushings and what not, then i can run any wheels I want? Is that the case?

      Man, what were those other guys talking about when they were talking about ABS sensors in the wheels? (I imagined that they were talking about magnets in the wheel rims that worked with the sensors, like some motorcycles do. Maybe I just misunderstood, that's also possible.)

      I would just go outside and crawl around under my truck to figure it out myself, but my Explorer is in Florida and I'm in the UK visiting family for the next 4 months. I have a long road trip planned shortly after I get back to the US and I was sort of hoping to get the wheels ordered now so that I could quickly get the tires on before my trip. It would suck to buy 5 new wheels and then find that using them would mess with my ABS.
       
    5. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The only sensors in the wheels would be the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensors and you wouldn't have those. The ABS reads off of tone rings, around the ring gear in the rear and in the hubs on the front.

      Watch this
       
    6. Elessar65

      Elessar65 Well-Known Member

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      As long as you understand the added stresses on various components, go for it! I don't recommend spacers spacers though unless they are the kind that bolt on to your studs. The kind that just sit there aren't safe IMO.

      Its not really that big of deal as long as you don't get crazy with the offset. Just make sure to check for clearance at full lock and compression both ways. I've seen a few people throw wheels and tires on, then turn the wheel back and forth a little in the parking lot and say "Yep, they fit", only to crank the wheels to back out onto the road and have their tire rip off their bumper trim or fender flare.
       
    7. danwaters

      danwaters Active Member

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      I would also advise against spacers. Adding an additional varible to the equation is just that much more you have to always check on. Instead of one set of lugnuts you have two sets up front to maintain. Wheel spacers will be as much as alloy wheels anyway. If you want a little added width, you can get 2 inches of total track width increase from running a 15x8 wheel with a -19 offset. A 0 offset is a little wider, but as mentioned before you are increasing stress on moving components such as wheel bearing, balljoints, etc. Again like said above the ABS has nothing to do with wheel size. It reads off a tone ring on the back side of the rotor in the front.
       
    8. Vinson581

      Vinson581 Member

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      i wouldnt be too concerned about spacers and breaking things

      the guys over at brenthal are running 2" rear spacers on this truck with no problems.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHK6HqyAi6I

      only issue i could see would be high milage front 4x4 hubs
       
    9. JungleBiker

      JungleBiker New Member

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      Excellent! This is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. I was never crazy about the spacer idea, though I was willing to try the bolt-on type. I've heard of people running spacer/adapters as wide as 3 inches on Land Rovers, (the old Series I, II, IIa, and III trucks have a super narrow track), but the whole idea made me a little nervous.

      Thanks for helping me to get my ABS questions answered. -19 offset was about as radical as I was thinking about anyway--I have a '95 Ranger 2wd/extended cab/3.0 with some radically offset wheels on it that were there when I got it and they are really too wide, you can see that the front end is struggling to cope with the added leverage of the wider track, either that or the front springs are just tired... Anyway, when I get the new wheels for my Explorer I'll probably try putting the stockers on my Ranger to see what that's like and then put it up for sale.

      So! I think I've pretty much decided to go with the Tracker II wheels, 15x8 with a -19 maximum offset. Here's a related question--I'm planning to stick with 235/75x15 tires--would I be better off sticking with a 15x7 wheel? (Is the stock wheel a 15x7?) Or is the 15x8 okay with the 235 tire while giving me the option to go with something wider one day should I choose to do so? 235 tires measure 9.25 to 9.5" wide, so I'm guessing that an 8" wide rim will be fine.

      Thanks guys, I'm a mechanic, but I mostly work on motorcycles.
       
    10. danwaters

      danwaters Active Member

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      On the rear is worse when heavy offroading is applied. You bend axles eventually.

      With smaller tires sometimes the 8 inch wide wheel tends to make the tires look bubbly unless they are of a little more aggressive tread patter with a more square shoulder. A 15x7 0 offset will be slightly wider than the factory back spacing but you will barely be able to notice any difference.
       
    11. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      Curious if you have any proof (link?) of this. No offense to you, more of a curiosity thing cauz Brenthel has always had a very very high standard in builds and I find it a little hard to swallow that they'd go the "cheap" route instead of retubing the axle or getting another housing. I know the customer is always right but personally, I'd rather bring two spares with two different backspacing on a desert truck.
       
      Last edited: July 10, 2011
    12. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Width is a personal choice. Me, I'd go with the 8" wheels. My 86 F150 4x4 with the off-road package came with 8" steel spokes and 235/75R16 tires. I liked the look fine. Then with 8''ers you can always upsize tires if you get the desire to do so.
       
    13. danwaters

      danwaters Active Member

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      Ya its all preference, but usually when people ask such a question they don't know their preference yet. But anyways, you can run a 35 still on a 7 inch wide wheel. I don't understand why people think you have to run an 8 or wider wheel width for a 33 inch tire or larger. Its not true,
       
    14. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Well, yes you may can. One must know the section width of the tire to determine the correct wheel width, not the diameter.
      A 33/10.50x15 possibly, a 33/12.50x15 wouldn't be recommended.

       
    15. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      While you can mount wide tires on wheels that are slightly narrower than the manufacturer's recommendations, you are moving the "flex point" of the sidewall beyond the design specifications which results in increase heat buildup and a greater percentage of tire failure. Besides the uneven tire wear, the stability of the tire's structure (due to the odd geometry) also decreases and the likelyhood of popping the bead on aggressive turns / off camber situation increases (resulting in a "mushy" feel around corners).
       
    16. danwaters

      danwaters Active Member

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      I get where you're coming from and I understand they are simply guidelines. I've run a 35x12.50 on a 15x7 for 10 years on three different trucks. Never have I popped a bead in the most extreme situations even including very low psi desert/off road situations. As the quote you posted says the narrower wheel will hold the bead better even in aired down situations. I have always found this to be true. I think people are freaked out (well not necessarily freaked but more skeptic) too easily when they hear a couple people say you cant run a larger tire on a 7 inch wheel. They go with say a 10 and it looks ridiculous and balloons the tire out shrinking the tire diameter as well.

      Manufactures have recommendations and all of that goes out the window the minute the vehicle transitions from pavement to dirt/rock/sand etc. People just need to know that just because you want a 33x12.5 or even taller does not mean that you are required to run a wide wheel. I think that's all I am getting at.
       
    17. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Ah, now I know who you are danwaters. You're that guy leading the "Rid the World of 8-inch Wheels" movement!:D:D:D:D

      Just kidding, Dan! ;)
       
    18. danwaters

      danwaters Active Member

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      haha not so much 8's, but more so 10's and more. I ran 8's once, but aced them quickly due to adding too much width to my track width. When you're 10 inches wider than stock with new control arms you don't need the added width of a goofy offset wheel, haha.
       
    19. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I liked my 8's on my F150's and with 235/70R15 T/A's it handled great and tire wear was in the 60K mile range. I don't off-road so that doesn't enter into my picture.

      My '80 F150 4x2.
      [​IMG]
       
    20. Vinson581

      Vinson581 Member

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      guys the only real "proof" i have is when i talked to the owner of brenthal awhile back when we were talking about a 4x4 long travel kit on a 2010 lariat f-150 i owned, and shipping the truck out to their facility for a pre-production kit. this is what they told me they were running on the truck at the time the video was taken, word for word they said they later upgraded the rear, but wanted to take the truck out for the day so they just threw the spacers on. and in his words, these spacers are strong, we have never broken a set even jumping it. i never did get to try out any of brenthals products, as i bought a supercrew raptor, however perhaps i will get to build a 07 f-150 into something of that sort...
       
    21. jusatkins1

      jusatkins1 New Member

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      Wheels and braking

      I just put 22's on my 3rd gen with no ABS issues. The only thing that wheels and such mess with is TPMS
       
    22. stocked

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      I am running 235s on a 15x10 wheel and with the added wheel width it makes the stance look "wider", thats the route i'd go instead of going with a different offset wheel of the same size. To much offset can kill your ride quality too and make your ass feel every little Bump.
       

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