The Benefits of Using Wheel Spacers on Ford F350
All Ford F250 and F350 models (both with either single or dual rear wheels) produced between 1999 and 2017 feature a hub-centric rim with an 8mm by 170mm lug pattern. Here, the wheel is centered and supported by the wheel hub. Such a wheel uses lug nuts with flat washers.
A lug centric rim, on the other hand, centers and supports the weight of the vehicle solely using lug nuts. You’ll rarely ever find such in a heavy SuperDuty truck as they can cause the wheel to separate from the truck.
Ford made a few changes over the years to the F250 and F350 rims. The Superduty wheel saw an adjustment in 2004 in its stud thread pitch from 14mm by 2.0mm to 14mm by 1.5mm. The wheel offset was also modified in 2005 to accommodate a shorter turn radius and new coil springs. A 2005 rim fitted to an F250 built between 1999 and 2003 will sit inwards 2 inches more than required. This causes rubbing with the tire and reduces the truck’s stability.
To mitigate this, hub-centric wheel spacers/adapters can be used to sit the wheel assembly appropriately. They also reduce wear and tear to the suspension parts.
The Ford SuperDuty wheel spacers/adapters are available in pairs. Those of the rear wheels differ from those of the front wheels. Experts recommend purchasing steel adapters. They are, however, costly and often require some customization. Aluminum adapters will work just fine where there’s a limited budget.
To make sure that the one you’re purchasing is a hub-centric adapter, check for a raised portion that protrudes from the center by about ½ an inch.
Choosing Bolt Pattern & Thickness
Determining the exact thickness of the spacer that you’ll need is crucial. This is especially if you’ve previously performed individual customizations on your car. There are several ways you could determine the correct width. First, you can try to estimate how much further your wheel should sit by measuring the wheel and tire thickness.
This, however, may require repeated and consistent measurements which are often hard to do. Second, you could buy and test several spacers to find the one that fits. This again is impractical and costly. Third, you could follow our method which gives the best results having spent little time, money and effort.
The method involves the use of ordinary hardware-store forms of washers. For a DIY person, you might already have some on your shelves. If not, visit your local hardware and get a variety of sizes. The best washers are flat metal washers, not split washers, plastic washers or lock-washers.
The washers should have an ID (inner diameter) wide enough to fit your vehicles lug bolts or wheel studs. They must fit as this is how we will determine the size of the wheel spacers required. Washers are identified by their inner diameters. A 5/16” diameter bolt will fit through a 5/16” washer. Washers are built a bit oversized so as to provide some allowance. Their thickness varies from 1/16” or less to 3/16” or more.
Putting this method into practice might require you to employ several washers in each stud. Considering a 1” spacer breadth, a 5-bolt wheel might need approximately 8 washers on each stud. Up to 40 or 50 washers may be needed in extreme cases. Washers are inexpensive and can be reused once done.
Installing Wheel Spacers on Ford F350
For any F150, F250 or F350 owner who wishes to widen their truck or improve its appearance and stance, wheel spacers are one of the best upgrades to adopt.
They are inexpensive and work well with the manufacturer’s wheels. Below is a step-by-step process on how you can install wheel spacers on a Ford F350:
- Put a block against your vehicle’s tires to restrict its movement. Jack up your vehicle.
- Remove the lug nuts together with the wheel and tire. Remove any retaining clips if present. Failure to do this will prevent the spacer from sitting flat which can cause tire/wheel vibration.
- Fix your spacers as depicted below.
- Strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions while re-installing the wheels. Do not go beyond the specifications.
Have your wheels and fasteners re-torqued periodically during vehicle maintenance and service checks.
Ford F350 Mods with Wheel Spacers: Before & After (Pics)