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Old 05-06-2008, 09:41 PM   #1
lil'rex
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Default Wheel Bearings and Wheel Fitment

Wheel bearings.

People need to stop with the rumor that running lower offset wheels can and will damage your wheel bearings.

Coming from a technical standpoint, it makes sense that extending your wheel's footprint past the stock parameters can have a negative affect on your bearings.

The fact of the matter is, that on a Subaru, how much room do your really have to play with on a stock bodied car?

Take a standard 17x8" wheel, which isn't huge. You're not going to fit a -20 wheel on a subaru. You might barely squeeze something like a +25 on there, but not without some serious pulling an rolling.

All I'm saying is, stock offset is what? around +42 give or take? The best you're really going to do is a +30 at the most? So you've got maybe 15mm difference of play on a stock body?

Show me how that much of a difference that makes on your wheel bearings, and I'll shutup right now.

Considering I see nissans that go from +42 offset, all the way to -16 to -20 offset on 18x10's. Then get drifted the hell out of, which is one of the most abusive motorsports out there, and yet never have wheel bearing problems???

That range difference is huge on a nissan, while a subaru isn't even that noticable of a difference. Yet somehow, everywhere, someone always pipes in about the adverse affects on wheel bearings. Your car dealer and manufacturer might argue not to stray from the stock numbers, but there are a lot of things we do to our cars that they wouldn't like.

I still wanna see a 17x8 +20 on a GC8. And to prove everyone wrong, I'll do it one of these days. Probably when i finally pick one up.

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Old 05-06-2008, 09:48 PM   #2
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stock offset on a wrx is +53. But I understand your statement. I want to hear from those who have destroyed/replaced their wheel bearings as a result of low offset wheels and or wheel spacers.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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exactly. I'm fairly retarded when it somes to subarus, as I'm a nissan guy at heart.

I'm not trying to start a fight or anything, I just think that people saying that a low offset wheel will hurt your bearings, when my firsthand experience with friend's cars, and even with my own beg to say otherwise.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:09 PM   #4
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def subscribed to this.... i want to run 18 x 9.5 or 18 x 10 deep dish...but everyone says it cant be done. i have no clues about cars are offsets. I just want to pick out my rims get it in the biggest width and the deepest lip without that **** blowing up. any suggestions? im considering the SSR SP1 or the Volk RE 30
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:47 PM   #5
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stock fitment is +53 if not more.

i hate when people say "people need to stop spreading rumors!" but they don't have real facts straight or experienced professional research to back up their tirade.

the bearings are designed to carry weight and forces originating from DIRECTLY UNDER/AROUND them. you can't run wide tires inside beyond a certain point, because you have clearance issues with the struts and other parts.

that means if you want 10" wheels on a GD, you're going to run more of the tire and wheel on the outside, rolling the fenders and poking them out of the wheel wells.

this means the centerline of the wheel will be farther out than normal and put forces on the bearings from a different point. it might not kill the bearings that much faster, but it can and probably will happen if you drive at all and you should consider it before you go buy wheels.

word of mouth about s-techs... "they suck and will kill your struts."
truth: they aren't good for handling and eventually they will kill their struts. it's not that bad but if you pay 100 bucks more, you can get better springs that perform better, or spend a **** ton more and get coilovers that are just as low and perform even better than that.

word of mouth about low offset hella flush... "they will kill your wheel bearings and are heavy and slow"
truth: they are heavier. if you're tracking the car and NEED to run 255's because you make 600hp and can't get grip without them, then it makes sense to get big wheels and **** up your fenders and bearings. they'll still be heavier and slower, but if you can't grip then you can't go anywhere. however, if you make 300hp there's no way you need 255's. it doesn't make sense to get big wheels to drive to school or work just because it looks good. do what you want, but ti's wasting money and if you have any sense you'll regret it... not to mention it will be more rubber burning needlessly as you run down the highway... and less acceleration to overcome the friction and rolling inertia.

Last edited by Handsdown; 05-07-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:40 AM   #6
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It is a major problem. As Handsdown noted, bearings are made to take the load of the car on, or nearly on, center. As you screw up the offset, you form a lever that the load gets magnified along before reaching the bearing.

Assume, for a moment, that the factory wheels exert the load 5mm off the centerline of the bearing (it's actually probably less than this). Slap on those 30 offset wheels you talked about. You've just increased the lever between the bearing and the load from 5mm to 35mm, a factor of 7. So the load seen by the bearing is 7x whatever the bearing was designed to accept. Couple this with the fact that people who get improper-offset wheels tend to also run low and hard suspensions (which increase peak loads), and suddenly you're WAY above the design load for the bearing.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:33 AM   #7
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so far all the Subarus with bearing problems that i've seen r due to heavy track use. i have yet to see daily drivers with low offset wheels have bearing problems.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:35 AM   #8
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Heavy track use is high load+high heat, so of course those are going to fail the most quickly. High load (from non-track hard driving or bad wheels) will fail next quickest. We've got some guys running strange wheels that see accellerated rates of replacement. It's not like they get 10 miles to the bearing, but they replace maybe 30-40% sooner than totally stock.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:20 AM   #9
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.....regardless of the increase in potential bearing wear, there are other factors many folks ignore when choosing aggressive offsets. For example, changing the offset can result in a change in the scrub radius which directly affects the stability and handling characteristics of the vehicle. It's a wild guess but I'd wager that Subaru engineers likely chose the offset that they did so it would work in the overall design of the suspension. Obviously, (as Handsdown mentioned) there are applications where the benefits of a lower offset are greater than the negative effects and compromises/tweaks/modifications are made. .....for the majority of us asking others for advice when buying wheels, this is simply not the case (hence the advice to stay as close to the factory offset as possible).

EDIT: btw, I'm currently running +40 17x8's and can't wait to ditch them for higher offset wheels.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:47 PM   #10
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I had 18x8 +35 on my car for a while and even ignoring the rubbing issues, the car didnt handle the same. I also have at least 2 bad wheel bearings now that need replaced. I switched to some 17x7.5 +48's and things seem better, but the bearings are already toast.

BTW, never been to a track, but I did AutoX some.

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffg View Post
I had 18x8 +35 on my car for a while and even ignoring the rubbing issues, the car didnt handle the same. I also have at least 2 bad wheel bearings now that need replaced. I switched to some 17x7.5 +48's and things seem better, but the bearings are already toast.

BTW, never been to a track, but I did AutoX some.

J
how many miles do u have on ur car?
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
It is a major problem. As Handsdown noted, bearings are made to take the load of the car on, or nearly on, center. As you screw up the offset, you form a lever that the load gets magnified along before reaching the bearing.

Assume, for a moment, that the factory wheels exert the load 5mm off the centerline of the bearing (it's actually probably less than this). Slap on those 30 offset wheels you talked about. You've just increased the lever between the bearing and the load from 5mm to 35mm, a factor of 7. So the load seen by the bearing is 7x whatever the bearing was designed to accept. Couple this with the fact that people who get improper-offset wheels tend to also run low and hard suspensions (which increase peak loads), and suddenly you're WAY above the design load for the bearing.
Load or moment load on the bearings is increased by the square of the distance. For example; double the offset CL equals four times the load.
This is calculated from the centerline between the two taper roller bearings, not the offset from the hub.

Last edited by saber787; 05-07-2008 at 02:48 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saber787 View Post
Load or moment load on the bearings is increased by the square of the distance. For example; double the offset equals four times the load. 7x = 49X the load.
This is calculated from the centerline between the two taper roller bearings bearings.
Why is it squared? the force the ground exerts on the tire creates a torque through the wheel into the bearings, yes? Isn't the total torque experienced by the bearings just r cross f?
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:01 PM   #14
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not to nit-pick here but, drifting an abusive sport to the wheel bearings?

it's more abusive to go around a track properly.

and i'm not going to start on this whole +25/+35 offset fad that has recently taken this cult by storm.

.. but this belongs in wheel/suspension, would probably receive more feedback
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:36 PM   #15
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Handsdown - I see your point, yet you're not providing any personal experience.

I understand that the engineers decided that was the best way to do it. It doesn't mean that it HAS to be that way.

Maybe it's just me, but low offset wheels look BADASS. And being a guy who drifts a fair bit, i'm not the least concerned about things breaking due to having parts that aren't ideally functional.

I still don't believe that a 10-20mm difference in offset is going to hurt your bearings.

SifuSpEc - Drifting is abusive on every part of your car. Wheel bearings are no exception. But most drift cars don't live long enough to change em to begin with.

And sorry for not putting this thread in suspension.
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
It is a major problem. As Handsdown noted, bearings are made to take the load of the car on, or nearly on, center. As you screw up the offset, you form a lever that the load gets magnified along before reaching the bearing.

Assume, for a moment, that the factory wheels exert the load 5mm off the centerline of the bearing (it's actually probably less than this). Slap on those 30 offset wheels you talked about. You've just increased the lever between the bearing and the load from 5mm to 35mm, a factor of 7. So the load seen by the bearing is 7x whatever the bearing was designed to accept. Couple this with the fact that people who get improper-offset wheels tend to also run low and hard suspensions (which increase peak loads), and suddenly you're WAY above the design load for the bearing.
Yet we're assumning that the wheels exert the load 5mm off the centreline, and that the bearings are ONLY designed to function in that small margin.

That doesn't quite mash up. Considering a good friend of mine is running -10 offset on an S13 designed with +42 offset. With no issues over the last year or so

Yeah I understand we're talking about Subaru's here, but it's essentially the same thing
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:50 PM   #17
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....I don't think any of us mentioned that it HAS to be this way. Handsdown is stating facts in regard to the differences that such an offset will have on the suspension geometry and the fact that it will put more stress on the bearings. Whether this translates to premature failure or not is another question and likely depends on the application. Having said that, you can't deny the other "negatives" I mentioned earlier which in themselves should be determining factors when choosing an aggressive offset. .......btw, I like the "flush" look as well which is why I chose +40's. ......but hindsight is 20/20 I would do it differently if I had to do it all over again (i.e. choosing optimal handling/performance over looks).
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:00 PM   #18
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+40 is flush on a WRX?????

is that with coils or...
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:26 PM   #19
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I guess it depends on wither you want performance or looks. If you want performance, you're going to run the correct offset because that's the only way to get the right suspension geometry and the right loading.

If you just want the looks, you're going to find a way to rationalize your choice of improper offset and no one is going to be able get through to you.

It's no different than the carpet queen cars that are lowered severely. Those guys don't care how bad it screws everything up because that isn't the point of their cars.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
I guess it depends on wither you want performance or looks. If you want performance, you're going to run the correct offset because that's the only way to get the right suspension geometry and the right loading.

If you just want the looks, you're going to find a way to rationalize your choice of improper offset and no one is going to be able get through to you.

It's no different than the carpet queen cars that are lowered severely. Those guys don't care how bad it screws everything up because that isn't the point of their cars.
yep. but to the OP. if you want those just run them. if it eats up the bearings, replace them. end of story. some people love the way they look, and sometimes that has issues.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
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If you want performance, you're going to run the correct offset because that's the only way to get the right suspension geometry and the right loading.
according to......

Some stuffy engineer who said it works that way on paper?

I think that wheel sizing has a larger affect on driving characteristics than offset does.

Look at jeffg. He went from an 18x8 +35, to a 17x7.5 +48, and noticed a difference in handling. His wheel size differences had WAY more influence on it, than his negligible offset difference.

Regardless of any of that, I still firmly believe that running a lower offset wheel isn't going to do more harm to your wheel bearings than regular wear and tear.

If someone were to take an 18x8 +30, drive their car until the bearings failed, then take an 18x8 +48, change the bearings, and do a comparison, then I'd believe what people continually say about wheel bearings and offsets.

Until then, I still think it's a bunch of crap
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:09 PM   #22
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Wow. I have both regular and low offset wheels so I see this through both perspectives. I'm willing to take a little time to do work on my car in order for it to look the way I want it too, and perform that way. A lot of low offset fans like to play down the bearing issue and while I don't consider it to be huge, its still an issue. You can't just say its a bunch of crap when it's fact. Yes a stuffy engineer said it and hes ****in right. It's highschool physics. Your extending a lever arm which increases the force on the bearing. If you have the optimal(stock) wheel size, most of the impact is going to be on the plane of the bearing or straight up and down. When you put a lower offset wheel on the car there is now force being on a lever arm which is basically putting a force on the bearing that its not intended to take, at least not too much. Your facing three choices, stock offset for optimal performance, low offset for best looks, or somewhere in the middle. Make your choice but don't try to turn down facts simply because they are a negative aspect of what you like.

As for the wheel sizing, I would think that the weight reduction from going to a 17 as well as the 13mm of offset difference would have to do with the change in handling, not the wheel width. Tire size also plays a major role...

Last edited by blahhblahh; 05-07-2008 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by lil'rex View Post
Some stuffy engineer who said it works that way on paper?

I think that wheel sizing has a larger affect on driving characteristics than offset does.
The engineer who knows a hell of a lot more theory than you ever will and has the R&D lab to back it up with actual testing? Yeah. That guy.

You may think that wheel size would matter and offset wouldn't, but you'd be wrong. The center of the contact patch is a fundamental point in the steering geometry. If you don't keep the center of the contact patch in the correct spot, you change a lot of things.

You're like the religious fanatics who contest evolution. You're saying that since you don't understand science and science doesn't come to the conclusions that justify your faith-based beliefs, science can't possibly be right because you "think" different or it doesn't "feel" right.

You don't know better than thousands of professionals world wide who have gone to rigorous schools to learn automotive engineering. Get over yourself.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:23 AM   #24
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+40 is flush on a WRX?????

is that with coils or...
....the car has Prodrive springs but what I meant by flush is that the sidewalls of the tires are at the edge of the fenders. ......unless you're talking about slamming the car and stretching skinny tires on too wide of a wheel (which I consider simply ridiculous for both performance and looks).
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:46 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lil'rex View Post
Handsdown - I see your point, yet you're not providing any personal experience.

I understand that the engineers decided that was the best way to do it. It doesn't mean that it HAS to be that way.

Maybe it's just me, but low offset wheels look BADASS. And being a guy who drifts a fair bit, i'm not the least concerned about things breaking due to having parts that aren't ideally functional.

I still don't believe that a 10-20mm difference in offset is going to hurt your bearings.

SifuSpEc - Drifting is abusive on every part of your car. Wheel bearings are no exception. But most drift cars don't live long enough to change em to begin with.

And sorry for not putting this thread in suspension.
subarus aren't good drift cars, and if you drift a lot you shouldn't want to spend more money on broken parts when you could put it toward tires... the reason pro drifters have low offset wide wheels is because they want the most grip available to make the drift controllable, and they custom do their suspensions to fit them... often rewelding the mounts and using specialized arms and whatnot.

but for real, why are you drifting a subaru? and if you're not, why are you not making the distinction between a drift car and a daily driver?

if the looks are that important to you, sure... but it's definitely an issue.
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