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Wheel Spacers on 2003 TJ

kinger402

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I just got a 2003 Freedom Edition back in June. The owner left it pretty much stock, no lift original freedom edition 15” chrome rims. From what I could tell no mods were done to it.
So much to my surprise when I bought some new rims and tires I found what I believe to be 2” wheel spacers
71FBBD32-B775-4100-B2F1-95A3FACCCF0C.jpeg


A few questions, these look aftermarket.
Are they needed to prevent rubbing? Besides the wider stance for improved handling/more aggressive look. Any harm in leaving them on?

The tires I bought are 30x9.5 and the new rims are 15x7 with a -10mm offset.

This is my first wrangler so I do notice on speeds above 45mph, the noise is pretty loud are these the AT tires & manual transmission? Would removing spacers help?
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Those spacers are definitely not needed for your 30x9.50 tires, throw them in the trash. They don't help and they actually increase the 'scrub radius' of the front tires which means they swing through an arc during a turn instead of pivoting about a point when you turn the steering wheel.

When you had the new tires installed did they check your front-end's toe-in angle to make sure it's correct? If it's not, which is easily checked and corrected at home with nothing but a tape measure, wrench, and pliers. An incorrect toe-in can cause accelerated tire wear and conceivably increased tire noise.

This is how you can do your own toe-in. Done with just a modicum of care it will produce a toe-in angle every bit as accurate as a good alignment shop can produce. Really. https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/how-to-align-your-jeep-wrangler-tj.85/
 
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kinger402

kinger402

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Those spacers are definitely not needed for your 30x9.50 tires, throw them in the trash. They don't help and they actually increase the 'scrub radius' of the front tires which means they swing through an arc during a turn instead of pivoting about a point when you turn the steering wheel.

When you had the new tires installed did they check your front-end's toe-in angle to make sure it's correct? If it's not, which is easily checked and corrected at home with nothing but a tape measure, wrench, and pliers. An incorrect toe-in can cause accelerated tire wear and conceivably increased tire noise.

This is how you can do your own toe-in. Done with just a modicum of care it will produce a toe-in angle every bit as accurate as a good alignment shop can produce. Really. https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/how-to-align-your-jeep-wrangler-tj.85/

Thanks jerry
Yeah I bought the new rims and tires from tire rack. And then took it into a shop for an alignment. I’m assuming I can just remove, no realignment necessary?
 
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BlueC

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I’m assuming I can just remove, no realignment necessary?

Correct.
This is my first wrangler so I do notice on speeds above 45mph, the noise is pretty loud are these the AT tires & manual transmission? Would removing spacers help?

What noise are you talking about? The trans shouldn't be making a noticeable noise, and modern AT tires run pretty quiet.
 

Jerry Bransford

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Yes you can remove the spacers without it needing to be realigned. They wouldn't be causing the hum, it's probably just from the new tires. Offroad oriented tires like all terrains and mud terrains usually generate a little (to a lot) more noise than conventional street tires do.
 

BlueC

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the noise is more like a hum. and its not necessarily coming from any particular wheel, would removing the spacers potentially help?

I doubt removing the spacers will make any changes there. Noises can be hard to track down, especially when taking online. I assume you bought new tires and not used ones. Would you describe this "hum" as a low growl? And is it only at 45 mph and above, or does it just get louder as you go faster?
 
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kinger402

kinger402

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yeah the tires are General Grabber A/T X. To be honest even the old BF All Terrains on there when I bought it were loud. I feel as though it gets louder as I go faster. Its fine going around town, but on the highway its pretty annoying and would make a long trip difficult. Again my first Jeep, so im not expecting it to be as quiet as a Honda civic, just want to make sure nothing is wrong.
 

BlueC

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yeah the tires are General Grabber A/T X. To be honest even the old BF All Terrains on there when I bought it were loud. I feel as though it gets louder as I go faster. Its fine going around town, but on the highway its pretty annoying and would make a long trip difficult. Again my first Jeep, so im not expecting it to be as quiet as a Honda civic, just want to make sure nothing is wrong.

Jerry might be correct, it might simply be the tires and not a real problem.

But if it's so loud that you hear it over the wind noise of a soft top (MT would likely be that loud, probably not AT), it's possible that you have a bad wheel bearing, which typically produce a low growling noise that increases in volume with speed. Just pay attention to it. If it gets louder, have it looked at by someone you trust.
 
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kinger402

kinger402

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ill try and take a video. was just in for the alignment, you would think they would mention a bad bearing, but you never know. i guess I could shake each tire to see if there is any play when i remove the spacers
 
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kinger402

kinger402

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ok quick update. I took it for a road test and paid as close attention to the humming/drumming noise as possible while driving. Here is what i found:
  1. noise starts around 35/40mph
  2. i have become attune to it where i can slightly feel it in the steering wheel
  3. the noise gets louder as i get to highway speeds
  4. when i turn the wheel slightly to the right or on a gentle right turn, the noise goes away
  5. on a left turn the noise remains
is this the sign of a bad front wheel bearing?
 

BlueC

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ok quick update. I took it for a road test and paid as close attention to the humming/drumming noise as possible while driving. Here is what i found:
  1. noise starts around 35/40mph
  2. i have become attune to it where i can slightly feel it in the steering wheel
  3. the noise gets louder as i get to highway speeds
  4. when i turn the wheel slightly to the right or on a gentle right turn, the noise goes away
  5. on a left turn the noise remains
is this the sign of a bad front wheel bearing?

All of those point to a wheel bearing. I agree with dodj since it goes away when unloaded on the right, I'd start there.
 
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kinger402

kinger402

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the front look relativly easy to replace as the whole hub assembly. a moog one is only like $57 from rock auto. I may order two and do both fronts.

i did a wheel spin test, and both front made a similar noise, almost like a brake pad scraping but no big grinding noise, but again i only hear it at 35+ mph

The rear look like more of a challenge, to replace..... when spinning them, similar noise to the front (may be brakes) howver both the rear wheels do have a tiny bit of play (up and down) i think, but I heard thats normal for the rear.
 

BlueC

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the front look relativly easy to replace as the whole hub assembly. a moog one is only like $57 from rock auto. I may order two and do both fronts.

i did a wheel spin test, and both front made a similar noise, almost like a brake pad scraping but no big grinding noise, but again i only hear it at 35+ mph

The rear look like more of a challenge, to replace..... when spinning them, similar noise to the front (may be brakes) howver both the rear wheels do have a tiny bit of play (up and down) i think, but I heard thats normal for the rear.

Make sure it's not the brakes rubbing. No need to change parts if they're not bad. If you have it narrowed down to bad bearings, then I typically do both sides at the same time. While not mandatory, when one side goes, the other usually isn't far behind. Front hub assemblies aren't that bad off a job, pending rust. I also prefer Timkin or Koyo bearings. I think Timkin also builds the "nation" brand at Advance.

No reason to mess with the back unless you're having problems back there.