Wheel Spacers Overview: Hub/Lug/Wheel-Centric

snoborderphx

Bought an X
Introduction
So I've been seeing a lot of information lately on the differences between hub and lug centric, and not much about Wheel centric wheel spacers. I figured I'd go ahead and put this up to clear up any and all confusion, because, to be honest, I was confused until I saw the light!


Why Wheel Spacers?
Wheel spacers, IMO, look GREAT. They push the wheels out on the Xterra and make it look a little bit more aggressive. Some believe there is off-road performance gains (more on that below), but I just like the way they look.


Any Off-Road Performance Gains?
Not really, but kind of. So the performance gains are minimal and not really noticeable. The only performance gains you'll receive are making your stance 2-4" wider (1" spacer to 2" spacer, overall = 2-4"), so as your vehicle gets taller from a Body lift or suspension lift, it helps to widen the stance which MAY help when you get in extreme off-camber situations. However (this is where I mean not really but kind of), I do not know for certain how much benefit this has overall.


Any Drawbacks?
YES.
  1. When in mud, you will coat the side of the truck pretty extensively with mud; some may not see this as a drawback while others will, so that's why it's included in this section.
  2. They will stick out past your fenders, which could draw scrutiny from you local LEO's (#blueslivesmatter).
  3. REGARDLESS (almost) of your suspension lift or body lift configuration, you will have to roll/smash/cut the inner lip of your fender in the back bottom. I had a 2" SL and 2" BL and 33" MT's, and I had to roll back my fender about .5". It's the lip on the inside of the wheel well towards the bottom on the side that's closer to the back. When you put them on, you will see where the adjustment needs to be made. It is in no way noticeable nor will anyone be able to tell at all because it's on an inside lip about 5" in from the outside of the fender.
  4. The biggest drawback is really based on the type of wheel spacer you get; lug/lug, hub/lug, hub/wheel-centric spacer (more of this below). Some wheel spacers put the extra weight and pressure from the wheel spacer directly on the lugs, others put them on the hub, and others put them on the wheel. The ones that put the extra pressure/force on the lugs could cause them to snap; while I haven't heard of anyone in the Xterra community having this problem while the spacer was on the vehicle, I have heard about it happening when removing or putting the wheel back on the spacer.


Lug-Centric vs Hub-Centric vs Wheel-Centric
Most people have heard the lug vs hub centric story for a while not, but most have not heard the wheel-centric side of the store. What most people fail to realize is there are actually two sides of the wheel spacer that determine centric-ness of the wheel spacer; the wheel spacer to the hub and the wheel spacer to the tire.


So what is the difference? Below is a little drawing I made up so it's easy to identify the difference. The large blue circle in the middle is the hub on the axle/spindle the tire, or wheel spacer, goes around; the smaller blue ones are the lugs, and the red lines are to represent the inner and outer edges of the wheel spacer. (Please forgive the simplification of the drawing). You will notice the title is setup LUB/LUB, HUB/LUG, and HUB/WHEEL...this denotes, going left to right, axle to wheel spacer/wheel spacer to tire, remembering there are TWO sides to the wheel spacer.


The less-desireable wheel spacer type - LUG/LUG Centric
FQxAHpF.png

Notice the inner edge of the wheel spacer is not resting on the hub, but rather there is a space between the wheel spacer's inner edge and the hub. This puts all the pressure from the wheel spacer and tire completely on the lugs on the axle/spindle. This is bad because the lug nuts on the Xterra are not designed to handle that pressure because the wheel itself is hub-centric.


The more-desireable wheel spacer type - HUB/LUG Centric
xXLs2XU.png

Notice the inner edge of the wheel spacer seats against the hub perfectly, preventing the lugs on the xterra from holding the whole weight; rather, the hub on the axle/spindle is holding all the weight, which is the design of the stock Xterra wheel.


The MOST-desireable wheel spacer type - HUB/WHEEL Centric
I7VnBjb.png

This picture is of the Spidertrax wheel spacers. I personally would have gone with these BUT they don't make them in a 2" spacer, and I wanted mine to be able as close to the Titan front end as possible. BUT, you will notice there is a lip on the lug side of the wheel spacer. This is the lip the wheel will rest on when you put the tire on. This means the actually wheel/tire weight will be on that lip, which on the side where the hub and wheel spacer meet is hub-centric, so your wheel spacer and wheel/tire are NOT supported at all by the lugs (only held on by), but rather completely supported by these lips on the wheel spacers.


Conclusional Tidbits:
The wheel spacers you will likely encounter on eBay or some other vender is going to be, at best, hub/lug centric. Bora and Spidertrax are the only two that I know of that make HUB/WHEEL centric wheel spacers. Is there anything wrong with the hub/lug centric spacers? I don't think so, because I've dealt with 2 pairs of eBay wheel spacers and didn't have a problem with either; in fact, I have a set on my rear now that are hub/lug and 2" thick. I JUST put them on, so I'm not sure of the longevity of them, but only time will tell.


I hope this helps anyone and everyone that is wondering about wheel spacers, benefits, drawback, obstacles to overcome, and the different types of wheel spacers.


Sn0
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SteeevO

First Fill-Up (of many)
Location
fontana,ca
I have actually been selling hub centric spacers for the second gens for a few years. And lug centric for 1st gens and older... As they do from the factory.
 

TJTJ

Skid Plates
Founding Member
Location
NJ
To fill in on your post (Great job!):

The widening of the stance to compensate for the added height of an SL, as well as armor, etc, helps to lower the COG. This DOES help off camber, etc.

The clearance loss on the lost BS (A spacer reduces the BS), is only for the front end. The front is IFS, and, the wider arc the tire swings through, especially on compression, tends to whack the tire into more stuff.

The REAR is a live axle, and the lost BS INCREASES tire clearance.

This is for example why I run spacers on the REAR hubs, but not in front.

:D
 

njnewb

Test Drive
Location
US
I was going to purchase some the other day and the salesman (or lack there of) denounced wheel spacers and said they are unsafe and doesn't recommend them, tires falling off all that. Anyone else hear of this?

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

Prime

Shut up Baby, I know it!
Admin
Location
Denver Adjacent
I was going to purchase some the other day and the salesman (or lack there of) denounced wheel spacers and said they are unsafe and doesn't recommend them, tires falling off all that. Anyone else hear of this?

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
If you don't torque your inner lug nuts properly, then yes. I also recommend red locktite on the threads so that the inner lugs can't move.
 

njnewb

Test Drive
Location
US
If you don't torque your inner lug nuts properly, then yes. I also recommend red locktite on the threads so that the inner lugs can't move.
Yeah I had them on my old cherokee and never had a problem. The dude at the store just had a huge problem with them I don't know why

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

ElPincheGuero4

Need Bigger Tires
Location
Cohoes
I was going to purchase some the other day and the salesman (or lack there of) denounced wheel spacers and said they are unsafe and doesn't recommend them, tires falling off all that. Anyone else hear of this?

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

It also depends on where the parts come from and if they are using quality materials and studs. A friend of mine put an eBay set on his sierra and 4 out of 6 studs snapped on one wheel with normal road use, and at least one on each of the others.
 

TheFauxFox

Titan Swapped / SAS'd
Founding Member
Location
Huntsville, AL
Yeah I had them on my old cherokee and never had a problem. The dude at the store just had a huge problem with them I don't know why

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

It boils down to two things, really:
1) Geometry, which is well explained above
--The ability to not disrupt the center of rotational inertia
2) Material properties of both the aluminum and studs
--The characteristic ability of both the parts to not yield (fail) on either the machined parts or threads
 

njnewb

Test Drive
Location
US
It boils down to two things, really:
1) Geometry, which is well explained above
--The ability to not disrupt the center of rotational inertia
2) Material properties of both the aluminum and studs
--The characteristic ability of both the parts to not yield (fail) on either the machined parts or threads
Any good recommendations for some good products?


Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

Prime

Shut up Baby, I know it!
Admin
Location
Denver Adjacent
Spydertrax makes some hub-centric stuff for the X but I don't know if they have 2st gen or not. That said, there's nothing wrong with lug centric spacers as long as they're properly torqued. The front on the 1st gen is lug centric anyway. The rear is hub/lug centric, but meh.

Red locktite and proper torque. Those spacers will be fine.
 

reefbandit

Test Drive
Supporting Member
Location
marcus ia
Introduction
So I've been seeing a lot of information lately on the differences between hub and lug centric, and not much about Wheel centric wheel spacers. I figured I'd go ahead and put this up to clear up any and all confusion, because, to be honest, I was confused until I saw the light!


Why Wheel Spacers?
Wheel spacers, IMO, look GREAT. They push the wheels out on the Xterra and make it look a little bit more aggressive. Some believe there is off-road performance gains (more on that below), but I just like the way they look.


Any Off-Road Performance Gains?
Not really, but kind of. So the performance gains are minimal and not really noticeable. The only performance gains you'll receive are making your stance 2-4" wider (1" spacer to 2" spacer, overall = 2-4"), so as your vehicle gets taller from a Body lift or suspension lift, it helps to widen the stance which MAY help when you get in extreme off-camber situations. However (this is where I mean not really but kind of), I do not know for certain how much benefit this has overall.


Any Drawbacks?
YES.
  1. When in mud, you will coat the side of the truck pretty extensively with mud; some may not see this as a drawback while others will, so that's why it's included in this section.
  2. They will stick out past your fenders, which could draw scrutiny from you local LEO's (#blueslivesmatter).
  3. REGARDLESS (almost) of your suspension lift or body lift configuration, you will have to roll/smash/cut the inner lip of your fender in the back bottom. I had a 2" SL and 2" BL and 33" MT's, and I had to roll back my fender about .5". It's the lip on the inside of the wheel well towards the bottom on the side that's closer to the back. When you put them on, you will see where the adjustment needs to be made. It is in no way noticeable nor will anyone be able to tell at all because it's on an inside lip about 5" in from the outside of the fender.
  4. The biggest drawback is really based on the type of wheel spacer you get; lug/lug, hub/lug, hub/wheel-centric spacer (more of this below). Some wheel spacers put the extra weight and pressure from the wheel spacer directly on the lugs, others put them on the hub, and others put them on the wheel. The ones that put the extra pressure/force on the lugs could cause them to snap; while I haven't heard of anyone in the Xterra community having this problem while the spacer was on the vehicle, I have heard about it happening when removing or putting the wheel back on the spacer.


Lug-Centric vs Hub-Centric vs Wheel-Centric
Most people have heard the lug vs hub centric story for a while not, but most have not heard the wheel-centric side of the store. What most people fail to realize is there are actually two sides of the wheel spacer that determine centric-ness of the wheel spacer; the wheel spacer to the hub and the wheel spacer to the tire.


So what is the difference? Below is a little drawing I made up so it's easy to identify the difference. The large blue circle in the middle is the hub on the axle/spindle the tire, or wheel spacer, goes around; the smaller blue ones are the lugs, and the red lines are to represent the inner and outer edges of the wheel spacer. (Please forgive the simplification of the drawing). You will notice the title is setup LUB/LUB, HUB/LUG, and HUB/WHEEL...this denotes, going left to right, axle to wheel spacer/wheel spacer to tire, remembering there are TWO sides to the wheel spacer.


The less-desireable wheel spacer type - LUG/LUG Centric
FQxAHpF.png

Notice the inner edge of the wheel spacer is not resting on the hub, but rather there is a space between the wheel spacer's inner edge and the hub. This puts all the pressure from the wheel spacer and tire completely on the lugs on the axle/spindle. This is bad because the lug nuts on the Xterra are not designed to handle that pressure because the wheel itself is hub-centric.


The more-desireable wheel spacer type - HUB/LUG Centric
xXLs2XU.png

Notice the inner edge of the wheel spacer seats against the hub perfectly, preventing the lugs on the xterra from holding the whole weight; rather, the hub on the axle/spindle is holding all the weight, which is the design of the stock Xterra wheel.


The MOST-desireable wheel spacer type - HUB/WHEEL Centric
I7VnBjb.png

This picture is of the Spidertrax wheel spacers. I personally would have gone with these BUT they don't make them in a 2" spacer, and I wanted mine to be able as close to the Titan front end as possible. BUT, you will notice there is a lip on the lug side of the wheel spacer. This is the lip the wheel will rest on when you put the tire on. This means the actually wheel/tire weight will be on that lip, which on the side where the hub and wheel spacer meet is hub-centric, so your wheel spacer and wheel/tire are NOT supported at all by the lugs (only held on by), but rather completely supported by these lips on the wheel spacers.


Conclusional Tidbits:
The wheel spacers you will likely encounter on eBay or some other vender is going to be, at best, hub/lug centric. Bora and Spidertrax are the only two that I know of that make HUB/WHEEL centric wheel spacers. Is there anything wrong with the hub/lug centric spacers? I don't think so, because I've dealt with 2 pairs of eBay wheel spacers and didn't have a problem with either; in fact, I have a set on my rear now that are hub/lug and 2" thick. I JUST put them on, so I'm not sure of the longevity of them, but only time will tell.


I hope this helps anyone and everyone that is wondering about wheel spacers, benefits, drawback, obstacles to overcome, and the different types of wheel spacers.


Sn0
so in your opinion, can i put a 0ne inch spacer , without lifting
 
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