OEM 15x8 on narrow trac axles

Gueon

Scrambler Junkie
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#41
Closing the loop here. So to quickly review my original issue, I have narrow trac axles and when I bought my jeep several years ago it had after market wheels on it with backspacing and width that gave it a nice stance. I've always liked the original wagon wheels and so I bought a set of the 15x7 to put on. Well when I did that the it just looked silly to me because I went from 10" wide wheels to 7" wide wheels and change in backspacing that made the stance way too narrow looking for my taste. So, I found a set of 15x8 wagon wheels that were factory drilled for center caps thinking that the extra inch on each wheel would give me the stance I wanted but it turns out that the factory 15x8 wheels have 4 inch backspacing vs the 3.5 inch backspacing of a 15x7 factory wheel. So I really only gained a 1/2" width on each side which still looked to skinny for me. In the end I ended up putting 1.5" wheel spacers on to give the stance I wanted but when I did that it offset the center caps so that they would no longer fit on the front manual locking hubs. Details and pics of why it wouldn't fit can be found earlier in this thread. So to fix the center cap not fitting issue I found a machine shop that built a jig to cut the center caps in order to fit the hubs. I think it turned out great in terms of being a clean cut. I was afraid it was going to come out mangled looking.

Here's what the cuts looked like..


And here is what it looks like once installed...



Unless you get really close you don't really notice that it has been modified with the exception of the manual locking hub being inset 1.5".

Let me know if there are any questions.
That's awesome, I had the same problem, now I know what I need to do. Thanks!
 

Gueon

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#42
A question for the Jeep CJ-8 production history buffs. From what I know the Scrambler was only produced with narrow trac axles during the first year of production in 1981(also used on pre '81 model CJ's). That same year was the last year that they made the 15x8 wheels and the only year that they made the 15x8 wheels with center caps. So it seems to reason that the 15x8 wheels were designed to work well with the narrow trac axles. That being said, from what I can tell and what I have read the 15x8 wheels have more back spacing than the 15x7 OEM wheels. If the 15x8 have more back spacing, would that not just exacerbate the issue of tires rubbing the frame or leaf springs? I guess my question is why did AMC decide to offer wheels with more back spacing on the narrow trac axles? Did the 15x8's just help with a wider stance on the narrow tracs? Was back spacing never really an issue because the stock tires didn't have any issues with rubbing? Is any of my information wrong? Is anyone running 15x8 OEM wheels with narrow trac axles with larger than stock tires and not have problems with tires rubbing on the leaf springs? Anyone running 15x8's on narrow tracs and is having a problem with rubbing?
I have an '81 with NT's that also came with drilled 15x8's. I did not like the look, it was just too narrow. I was running the standard tire so did not experience any rubbing issues, other than the fact that I hated the look of the NT axles. I ordered (2) 2" spacers and (2) 1.5" spacers in order to get the spacing width equal to standard axle and 15x8 rim combo. See "after" photo below.

 

Breal

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#43
I have an '81 with NT's that also came with drilled 15x8's. I did not like the look, it was just too narrow. I was running the standard tire so did not experience any rubbing issues, other than the fact that I hated the look of the NT axles. I ordered (2) 2" spacers and (2) 1.5" spacers in order to get the spacing width equal to standard axle and 15x8 rim combo. See "after" photo below.

Looks great. Where did you find the 2" spacers? 1.5" were the largest I could find. Also do you have stock rims and did you run into the same problem with the center caps matching up?
 

Breal

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#44
That's awesome, I had the same problem, now I know what I need to do. Thanks!
Glad it helped somebody. If your interested and want to send me your front center caps I'd be happy to take them to the same machine shop that already has the jig built for it now. My cost was $140 but they also had to put the time in to build the jig so I would think it would be a lot less expensive now. I could ask if anyone is interested.
 

Gueon

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#45
Looks great. Where did you find the 2" spacers? 1.5" were the largest I could find. Also do you have stock rims and did you run into the same problem with the center caps matching up?
I bought them off eBay from Bora Off-Road, made in the USA. They put the kit together for me, that is with 2 different sizes. It seems they are still offering the (2) sizes in one set. As I recall the 2" set goes on front and the 1.5" set in the back, that will bring you to original WT widths.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wheel-Adapt...Made-In-USA-/262058090951?hash=item3d03e121c7
 

Breal

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#48
What's the largest spacer you can use without having to cut the front center caps?
I went with 1.5" spacers and still had to cut them. I haven't measured but my guess is you would need to be somewhere around 2" if not more. The 1.5" was the thickest I found available but there's likely someone that makes thicker ones.
 
#49
I went with 1.5" spacers and still had to cut them. I haven't measured but my guess is you would need to be somewhere around 2" if not more. The 1.5" was the thickest I found available but there's likely someone that makes thicker ones.
I think you misunderstood my question. My intention is to not have to cut the center caps, so I'm wondering what the largest spacer I can squeeze in there without cutting. Thanks Breal
 

Gueon

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#50
I think you misunderstood my question. My intention is to not have to cut the center caps, so I'm wondering what the largest spacer I can squeeze in there without cutting. Thanks Breal
None... I think the rotation of any wheel spacer will interfere with the hub. It's not a function of width, it's a function of rotating the lugs to a spot that they hit the hub. Minimum thickness would have to be 1/2" just to accommodate the lug nut, but I still think that would hit.
 

certifiablejeep

Definitley Certifiable
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#51
Agreed, I don't think any width will work... you are rotating the mouting location of the tire, but the center caps stay in the same position, so therefore it hits in a new location.
Even at 2" or 3" (if there is such a thing), you will still be offsetting the mounting.

cb
 

Breal

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#53
I think you misunderstood my question. My intention is to not have to cut the center caps, so I'm wondering what the largest spacer I can squeeze in there without cutting. Thanks Breal
I understood what you're asking. If you look at the close up picture below you'll see that with a 1.5" spacer I was still short at least another 1/2" to end up flush with the base of the hub. Therefore if you could find a spacer thick enough you could in theory put center caps on without having to cut your center caps. That being said, I'm not certain what the actual thickness of the spacer would need to be as I'm not able to measure it currently. I also don't know what that thick of a spacer would do to your overall stability/handling/safety etc...
 
#54
I understood what you're asking. If you look at the close up picture below you'll see that with a 1.5" spacer I was still short at least another 1/2" to end up flush with the base of the hub. Therefore if you could find a spacer thick enough you could in theory put center caps on without having to cut your center caps. That being said, I'm not certain what the actual thickness of the spacer would need to be as I'm not able to measure it currently. I also don't know what that thick of a spacer would do to your overall stability/handling/safety etc...
Hey guys, I'm thinking about going on with some 1.5-2" spacers on my front axle, and it looks like I'll need my center caps cut. Anyone have a shop that's done them and knows what they're doing? Thanks.
 

Breal

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#55
Hey guys, I'm thinking about going on with some 1.5-2" spacers on my front axle, and it looks like I'll need my center caps cut. Anyone have a shop that's done them and knows what they're doing? Thanks.
The shop I used created a jig and could probably crank them out pretty quick. They're in Jackson, WY and I could try giving them a shout tomorrow to see if they still have the jig and what they would charge now that the jig is made.
 
#56
The shop I used created a jig and could probably crank them out pretty quick. They're in Jackson, WY and I could try giving them a shout tomorrow to see if they still have the jig and what they would charge now that the jig is made.
Thanks Breal! I've also put out a feeler for some already cut caps if anyone has some lying about
 
#57
The shop I used created a jig and could probably crank them out pretty quick. They're in Jackson, WY and I could try giving them a shout tomorrow to see if they still have the jig and what they would charge now that the jig is made.
Breal, I was lucky enough to have a find a set from a forum member who would trade me his already cut caps!

But one last question: Looking back on what you've done, what size spacers(front and rear) did you end up putting on and would you change those sizes now? I'm strongly leaning toward 1.5" for the front and 2" on the rear. My front already looks like they're a tad bit wider and I think that extra .5" will even them up if not put the rear a little wider.

Again, thanks for all the help, I'm leaning on you bc of your recent experience.
 

Breal

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#58
Glad you found some. I went with 1.5" on both front and back. Initially I would have considered 2" spacers if I could have found them but 1.5" was the thickest I could find. Now that the 1.5" are on there I'm perfectly happy with the way they look. If the set you found ends up not being cut just the way you like them or don't fit, let me know. I worked with a machine shop here and had the center caps cut with a super low tolerance so they would minimize as much extra cutting than was necessary.
 
#59
Just got my spacers installed: I took measurements from outside flat wall from tire to tire before and after. So, I run 33.12.5.15 BFG A/T on OEM 15x8 chrome wagons.

Before
Front: 66 inches
Rear: 65 inches

Installed 1.5" front spacers and 2" rear spacers

After
Front 69"
Rear 68 3/4"

While not perfectly matching, I think it looks markedly different and improved! Turning radius better easily.

If anyone want pictures, I'd be happy to send them, just can't upload.

Shout out to Breal for making this thread and everyone here for answering my dozens of dumb questions.
 

AdamH

Scrambler Junkie
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CJ-8.com Member
#60
i'd love to see a pic of a center cap already cut from the backside. from the pics above the cutting doesn't seem that hard to do at home. I will be adding center caps to my '81 here shortly and want to see what I am getting into with the front
 
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