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SAFETY WARNING - FITTING WHEEL SPACERS

s7wag

Ready to race!
Location
Bedfordshire, UK
Just a heads-up based upon first-hand experience. I've recently gone through the process of fitting VWR springs (professionally) with spacers/extended bolts front and rear.

Last night my wife and I were off to London to see a show - journey around 45/50 miles to Hammersmith in London. Just got off the M4 by Heathrow to join the A4 (after journeying down the M1 and around the M25 orbital) and what appeared to be front offside suspension knocking noises started. Seemed to be OK in smooth surfaces but any holes/un-even surface and front offside (drivers side) of the car seemed to knocking/rattling. Bear in mind the VWR springs had been fitted middle of last week - four days previous. I suspected some loose fixing bolts...I did a visual check, pulled the wheels about and checked lock to lock - couldn't see anything. We continued slowly to get to and park outside the Novotel whilst we then went off to the "Dynamo" show...whilst preparing for VW Roadside Assistance at 10pm.

Anyway, great show and walking back to the car we called VW Assistance. Said they'd be there in the next 55 mins and will call 10 mins before arrival. 20mins later we got the call and the AA man was there 5 mins later...

Quick road test in the service road of the hotel and car then jacked-up....suspension all looks fine BUT front extended wheel bolts had all come loose!!! Now I know they were all torqued up to 110nm (as I watched it being done).

He then checked all the other wheels and all bolts although tight were not at 110nm still. He told me this was common when using spacers and after-market extended bolts. He also suggested using thread-lock (lock-tite) on three of the wheels bolts as another counter measure.

We were LUCKY so a heads-up for you all - if you're using spacers make sure you check the wheel bolts regularly and ensure they are at correct torque setting. If it doubt also apply some thread-lock to at least two/three of the wheel bolts..

Steve
 

Yomny1

Ready to race!
Location
S Florida
Thanks for the heads up, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy anything after experiencing such noises. Glad it wasn't anything more complicated and will definitely keep present to check the bolts torque often.
 

Carlos Fandango

Ready to race!
I'm amazed the amount of people who don't bother to use thread lock. On my motorbikes I use thread lock and torque marker paint on all the safety items such as disc retaining bolts, wheel bolts etc. You'd be surprised how much vibrates loose
 

RjRacing

Go Kart Champion
Location
Philly
I'm sorry to hear this happened, glad no one was harmed as a result of this.

This is exactly why I converted my wheel bolts to lugs/nuts. Many racing organizations deem wheel bolts un-safe and require you to convert them. Wheel bolts put most of the stress at the threads of the hub, when you add spacers thats adds leverage which adds more stress and can cause them to work themselves loose or break easier. Wheel studs actually take that pressure and spread it throughout the length of the entire lug causing the whole thing to stretch slightly (just like your head-studs that bolt your head and engine block together), much safer and more durable design.
 

2015WhiteGTI

Go Kart Champion
I did the same thing as RJ and converted to a stud rather than using longer bolts. I've been using studs on my BMW for 8 years with plenty of track time logged in with no issues ever (used spacers front and rear).

I got the stud conversion kit from ECS tuning and stuck with the larger M14x1.5 thread rather than downsizing to the more common M12x1.5.
I also got a set of titanium lug nuts. They're so light, they feel like plastic :D
 

RjRacing

Go Kart Champion
Location
Philly
RJ, what conversion kit did you use?

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
I can't remember... I think I got them off amazon? It was a drunk 2am Saturday morning purchase just after i got my car lol, rarely do I make good decisions under the influence but these have been great :D. I bought the ones that convert them to the most common thread pattern 12x1.5, which every company makes lug nuts for as 95% of the cars on the road use these vs the VW thread pitch with is 14x1.5 if I remember correctly.
 
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RjRacing

Go Kart Champion
Location
Philly
What's a good brand for stud conversions?
These look like the ones I run....
http://www.amazon.com/Conversion-Converter-Adapter-14X1-5-Infiniti/dp/B010C69OKI/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1447217688&sr=1-2&keywords=14x1.5+to+12x1.5+stud+conversion

Keep in mind that i use extended studs for 20mm spacers on the OE wheels during the winter, so thats who these are so long. You only need 27mm long shanks if you are not running spacers. Also, make sure you use locktite when installing these.
 

Z27

Ready to race!
Location
New York
Thanks RJ. What's a good brand that sells 27mm? Also does that kit come with the nut?

Btw a bit off topic. Regarding your Maxton lip, I see it comes with screws. Do you have to drill holes into the bottom of your bumper?
 

s7wag

Ready to race!
Location
Bedfordshire, UK
Thanks RJ. What's a good brand that sells 27mm? Also does that kit come with the nut?

Btw a bit off topic. Regarding your Maxton lip, I see it comes with screws. Do you have to drill holes into the bottom of your bumper?
I used self-tapping screws to fix the Maxton lip. See this thread
http://www.golfmk7.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12435

Sounds like another conversion to lugs/nuts required!

Thanks all for feedback.

Steve
 
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