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1997 K3500 front wheel spacer removal?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by snooker, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Can these spacers be removed?

    I'm thinking about removing this spacer and turning the front wheel around to match the dished look and the width of the rear wheels. I'm not sure if the bolt pattern or size is correct, but maybe someone could fabricate an adapter.

    I can't imagine this would change the handling characteristics (as long as the tire ends up in about the same spot). If you have any knowledge on this subject, please let me know. Thanks.
     
  2. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    If its anything like my solid-axle truck, you would need to swap the hubs to single-wheel style to get rid of it.

    Seems like an awful lot of work for no real reason, personally I think it would look awful and could potentially change the loading on the bearings (my brain is tired and doesn't wanna think about physics).

    My advice is leave it alone. Less hassle, less chances of problems. The General knew what he was doing when he built it. ;)
     
  3. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    Can it be done - in a word "yes". The adapters on IFS Chevy one tons is a bolt on deal.

    Should it be done - no freaking way. As Derek said at some point some engineer with a whole bunch of degrees designed that piece to allow the use of the same wheels front and rear while maintaining the fgeometry of the entire front end. You will find that the width of the adapter is not even close to the depth of the offset of the wheels. If you want to change the look of the front end of your truck take off the adapters and run standard 3/4 ton or single wheel one ton wheels.
     
  4. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Thanks for the replies.

    But just for the sake of arguement, if the spacer is removed and tire tracks in the same place (width), wouldn't the travel on the suspension and the leverage at the hub be the same?

    Personally, I think the standard dually look with the "outie" on the front and the "innie" on the back looks goofy.
     
  5. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    First off I think single "innies" on the front is going to look even more "goofy".

    Second, and hypothetically speaking, if the track were exactly the same with the spacer removed and the wheel flipped it shouldn't be a problem. However the track isn't going to be the same without the spacer and with the wheel flipped and that is going to place excessive stress on the wheel bearings, ball joints (the weakest link), tie rod ends, control arms and pitman arm (the other weak link on these trucks).

    I stand by my recomendation. If you want to change the ook ditch the spacers and run 3/4 ton or srw 1 ton wheels. Then your track width will be the same as it is now.
     
  6. crashz

    crashz Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    The spacer in the front is there to align the centerline of the wheel/tire combo with the centerline of the bearing assembly. By removing the spacer and flipping the wheel so that the dish is towards that outside, it pushes the centerline of the wheel away from the centerline of the bearing assembly. This same problem occurs when people use the wrong backspacing on custom wheels, to a lesser degree.

    What you'll notice is that obviously the wheel bearing hubs will wear out very quickly (especially on a loaded one ton). Steering will be difficult, the steering wheel will not return to center, and you'll experince over steer all the time. Ball joints and tie rod ends will be in constant need of repair. Control of the truck will more difficult and unpredictable.

    Considering safety and maintenance issues, I'd keep the truck as it was intended from the factory.
     
  7. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Thanks! Not what I wanted to hear, but that was an excellent answer.

    The thing is, with the spacer, the centerline of the tire/wheel is offset from the bearing in the rotor. It's not alligned center of bearing to center of tire. I haven't measured the difference if I removed the spacer and flipped the wheel around, but I'm thinking it's not much more than an inch or two. I'll check that out and get back with some pics. Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2004
  8. crashz

    crashz Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    You're right, I was generalizing a bit. However you'll find that the centerline of the wheel will fall directly on the bearing assembly. If the centerline is move off of the bearing assembly, you'll get cantilever loading. That loading is what causes the maintenance and handling problems. Newer Fords and all the IFS Chevys have had this problem for years, especially when the owner would swap an older wheel style on their truck. My friend put some really nice wheels on his 2000 F250 and burn out the bearing in about 8 months. He put about $3000 into the front end of his truck, and he doesn't even plow with it!

    Too keep proper geometry you can follow wfd44's advise and run a wheel off of a 2500 or 3500 SRW in the front. This will keep your stock handling, keep the front end happy, and eliminate the bulge of the dually wheels in the front.
     
  9. crashz

    crashz Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    BTW- there is a a calculated distance that is used from the centerline of the wheel to the centerline of the bearing assembly. The distance is small enough that the load is directly over bearing, but off the centerline so that the forces of turning (which would tilt the wheel) balance out with the natural tilt in the caster and camber. I'm not sure what that distance is, but you may be able to get that from an exploded veiw at the dealer's parts counter.
     
  10. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Ok, I give. Thanks for the info! Great advice.