Wheel spacers

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PandaM3

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#1
anyone know what width wheel spacers to get the oe 19x8.5 et40 wheels more flush with the fenders?

I plan to get the 0.7 inch drop... just need to get the wheels more flush.

Btw before anyone mentions it... spacers are fine as long as installed properly. I’ve had spacers on my V8M3 with track use with no issues or vibrations. I also have huge spacers on my FJ Cruiser to give it a more muscular stance.
 

PNWmisty

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#2
Btw before anyone mentions it... spacers are fine as long as installed properly.
Technically, not entirely true. The spacers also have to be engineered and machined properly for that to be true. And it depends on what you mean by "fine". It's not ideal but, if everything is good enough, they won't cause any obvious issues.
The problem I have with spacers is they add an additional mating surface for the most important part of your car. They also multiply any machining tolerances/imperfections in the original vehicle and put additional load on the OEM components (simple geometry).
They probably won't cause obvious issues but they certainly are not ideal from an engineering perspective. Best avoided. You'll save money too! LOL! But hey, it's your car and your money.
 

PandaM3

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#3
Technically, not entirely true. The spacers also have to be engineered and machined properly for that to be true. And it depends on what you mean by "fine". It's not ideal but, if everything is good enough, they won't cause any obvious issues.
The problem I have with spacers is they add an additional mating surface for the most important part of your car. They also multiply any machining tolerances/imperfections in the original vehicle and put additional load on the OEM components (simple geometry).
They probably won't cause obvious issues but they certainly are not ideal from an engineering perspective. Best avoided. You'll save money too! LOL! But hey, it's your car and your money.
There are many wheels and oe companies that spec spacers on their cars for certain application. Porsche comes to mind as as they offer wheel spacers in their parts catalogue. BBS also specs wheel spacers for certain rim/ motorsport applications as well.

The problems I’ve seen people run into with spacers are 1) if that mating surface isn’t prepared apropriately then it leads to vibrations... however with the car being new I think that would be minimized. 2) if they are too large that will also put more strain than you would want (that being said my FJ Cruiser has huge 1.25 inch wheel spacers and with 50,000 miles of offroading and highway driving + non oem sized 33 inch tires there are no issues so far)

That being said... back to the question... whats a good combination of wheel spacers to get the OE wheels to sit flush?
 

PNWmisty

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#4
That being said... back to the question... whats a good combination of wheel spacers to get the OE wheels to sit flush?
I don't know, the wheels look about as flush as I would want them right from the factory. The reason they are not perfectly flush is for best aerodynamics. The idea is the spinning tire/wheel should be in calm air (which would not be the case if they were geometrically perfectly flush with the body). Also, there is a high-pressure area that builds under the floor pan of the car. Air can escape via the wheels without disrupting the laminar flow of air around the sides of the body. It would not be so nice if the wheels were geometrically flush with the body.
A very beautiful design with the lowest CD of any production car.
 

PandaM3

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#5
I don't know, the wheels look about as flush as I would want them right from the factory. The reason they are not perfectly flush is for best aerodynamics. The idea is the spinning tire/wheel should be in calm air (which would not be the case if they were geometrically perfectly flush with the body). Also, there is a high-pressure area that builds under the floor pan of the car. Air can escape via the wheels without disrupting the laminar flow of air around the sides of the body. It would not be so nice if the wheels were geometrically flush with the body.
A very beautiful design with the lowest CD of any production car.
You may be correct... the prototype 20 inch wheels where originally staggered, however on the website they are just square and 8.5 inch wide.

However as far as efficiency... this thing is already way more efficient than my V8M3. That thing will do 225 to 250 miles on a full $60 tank of fuel vs my TM3 which will do 275 to 300 on a full $19 supercharger session (even less when charging at home)

That being said I think getting it flush with the fenders give it a more muscular stance without having to get a new set of wheels... and the trade off in efficiency is negligible.

But hey different strokes for different folks right?

At least I’m not planning on getting the ride height stanced and getting the wheels so hella flush that I have to aggressively camber the wheels and run narrow stretches tires.

Additionally the oe 19 inch wheels are already flow formed/ rotary forged... rather than cast. Although not as light as fully forged wheels... they are much lighter than cast. Many of the aftermarket wheels specifically for the model 3 are just cast so will be heavier as well. More reason for me to keep the oe 19’s and play around with spacers.

I’m trying to keep myself from ordering some 20 inch Volk Racing forged wheels that would have a nice aggressive offset without having any issues as far as rubbing and such... but the design they have that fit the the Model3 is the exact same wheel I have on my V8M3... I guess it would be neat to have two different cars with same rimz. ( they have other designs but this particular design has offsets that match t sportlines 20 inch wheels which are 5mm more aggressive than oe staggered prototype 20 inch) But before that I want to see how spacers will look on the oe wheels.
 

Babar Batla

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#6
has anyone successfully installed a 10mm spacer in the front of the Model 3? I believe you need to replace the bolts with longer ones. I would like to use 10mm spacer to move my factory aero wheels out a bit. Will use 20mm in the back and don't expect any issues with them as they are bolt on types available in 20mm versions.
 

Babar Batla

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#9
I saw someone mention Motorsport Tech on the forum and called them. Lenny knows what he is talking about. I gave him the offset. 10mm front and 20mm back. 20mm needs the bolt on type. 10mm needs special bolt so you don't have to get longer threads on the front.

I just got them delivered (3 weeks turn around) but too busy to get them installed. I am lowering the car from Unplugged and will have them install it at the same time. Should have pics for you guys once done. I would say before end of month. I haven't opened the box yet, so don't know about the quality of product and bolts either. I did pay few bucks extra to get the black and not the silver color spacers. I forget exact amount.. $200-$300 for all.

I am sure you are eager to get going soon, like i was. I would say, wait until i get them done and based on that, decide if the offset works for you. I am in Irvine, so happy to have you swing by the office and take a look when done.

Lenny Stahl, Jr.
Owner
Motorsport Tech

280 S. Rock Blvd. Suite 100
Reno, NV 89502
Office 775 351 1000
Cell 775 530 4845
www.motorsport-tech.com
 

artsci

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#10
I've installed spacers from Motorsport Tech on my Model S and will do the same on my soon-to-be delivered 3. They are super high quality and Lenny provides great service. I also lowered the S and will also lower the 3.

Here are a few shots of my S with the spacers and lowered. It's a much more aggressive look and I think worthy of the Model 3 dual motor performance.

I won't decide what size spacers to use until the 3 is delivered. My process for determining front and rear spacer size is as follows:

1) Use painters tape with a weight (large washer) on one end
2) Tape the other side to the fender over the wheel center
3) Measure the gap from the edge of the wheel rim to the tape
4) Use the same procedure for both front and rear

That measurement is the width of the spacer need to make the wheels flush with the fenders.

DSC_8080.jpg IMG_1777.jpg DSC_8076.jpg
 
Last edited:

Skione65

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#11
I've installed spacers from Motorsport Tech on my Model S and will do the same on my soon-to-be delivered 3. They are super high quality and Lenny provides great service. I also lowered the S and will also lower the 3.

Here are a few shots of my S with the spacers and lowered. It's a much more aggressive look and I think worthy of the Model 3 dual motor performance.

I won't decide what size spacers to use until the 3 is delivered. My process for determining front and rear spacer size is as follows:

1) Use painters tape with a weight (large washer) on one end
2) Tape the other side to the fender over the wheel center
3) Measure from gap from the edge of the wheel rim to the tape
4) Use the same procedure for both front and rear

That measurement is the width of the spacer need to make the wheels flush with the fenders.

View attachment 11475 View attachment 11476 View attachment 11477
@artsci,

Let me know what you end up with. S looks great!

Ski
 

JohnTc

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#12
Thanks for sharing guys! Really interested in this. Mine is already lowered with UP Moderate and never used spacers before.
 

PNWmisty

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#13
Here are a few shots of my S with the spacers and lowered. It's a much more aggressive look and I think worthy of the Model 3 dual motor performance.
I must be the odd one out. Because when I think aggressive, I think more suspension travel, able to take bigger bumps at higher speeds and generally chew up gnarly roads without missing a beat. When I see a lowered car, I think weak, easy to break, easy to scrape, easy to bottom out on driveways, unable to drive over a small curb in an emergency and harsh riding. Not able to take a jump. Basically limited to anything but smooth pavement or perfectly graded gravel.

"Aggressive" to me, means burly, gnarly, and able to tackle difficult jobs. A lowered car looks more like something designed to for a singular purpose, maybe break a top speed record on perfectly smooth salt flats or a race on a smooth banked oval track. Not very aggressive looking, kind of weak and incapable. That "wheel gap" that so many people think looks bad, looks awesome to me, it says "I'm ready to take on the world, give me your best shot, 'cause I'm ready". Lowered cars look meek and timid, not aggressive.

Everyone sees the world through different lenses, I guess.
 
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#14
I was thinking about going the same route. Do you need to get the brake discs off to install longer bolts in the front? My current car doesn’t have bolts.
 

Babar Batla

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#15
Bad news guys. I just took the car to a shop to install spacers and there is a bolt in the way (check photo). Can't install the spacers i bought. No idea what that bolt is for. The wheels actually have cavities for the bolt. Spacers are flat. I will call Lenny on Monday to get his input. This means, unless i get the spacers machines to make room for the bolt, these spacers i bought wont' work.

Regard the question about longer studs in the front, Lenny sent me special bolts that have a longer nose that should work. You need 8 turns on the bolt and you are good to go.

IMG_0768.jpg
 

PandaM3

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#16
Bad news guys. I just took the car to a shop to install spacers and there is a bolt in the way (check photo). Can't install the spacers i bought. No idea what that bolt is for. The wheels actually have cavities for the bolt. Spacers are flat. I will call Lenny on Monday to get his input. This means, unless i get the spacers machines to make room for the bolt, these spacers i bought wont' work.

Regard the question about longer studs in the front, Lenny sent me special bolts that have a longer nose that should work. You need 8 turns on the bolt and you are good to go.

View attachment 11925
That looks like the screw that secures the disc onto the hub... wow what a way to cut corners Tesla on cost.

On my other cars it’s a a flat screw where the head is an Allen type that is sunk into the shaft of the screw.

I bet you can find the same type elsewhere and replace that bolt.
 

Sandy

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#17
That looks like the screw that secures the disc onto the hub... wow what a way to cut corners Tesla on cost.

On my other cars it’s a a flat screw where the head is an Allen type that is sunk into the shaft of the screw.

I bet you can find the same type elsewhere and replace that bolt.
Not just replace the bolt. Would also have to countersink the rotor hat around the bolt hole for the shallow V shaped countersunk bolthead so seated it would be flush with the rotor hat.

 

artsci

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#18
I'm sure Lenny will be willing to machine a hollow so the spacer can fit over the bolt head. And he'll probably do that for all Model 3 spacers he sells. Did you find the bolt on the rears? Also wonder if this is common to all Model 3 versions.
 

PandaM3

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#19
Not just replace the bolt. Would also have to countersink the rotor hat around the bolt hole for the shallow V shaped countersunk bolthead so seated it would be flush with the rotor hat.

I wonder if backing the bolt out would reveal something countersunk? I only ask because my BMW is countersunk, my VW is countersunk, my FJ Cruiser is countersunk.

Anyhow... looking at the MPP install video... you can leave it off

https://www.mountainpassperformance.com/page-mill-bbk-install/
 

lairdb

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#20
I wonder if backing the bolt out would reveal something countersunk? I only ask because my BMW is countersunk, my VW is countersunk, my FJ Cruiser is countersunk.
Negligible chance, unless they're using a custom fastener for a common application. Your examples have countersunk holes to accept countersunk fasteners. Fastener head in the picture suggests a Hex Washer machine screw, which have a flat underside:

Given that choice, the surface underneath needs not to be countersunk, or you lose most of the bearing surface and a large percentage of the shear strength.

Re. leaving it out: there's rarely fasteners, holes, and threads present for no good reason.