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Discussion Starter #1
My first proper post so forgive if the etiquette is not correct. I realise it is also a bit verbose (treat as a "spacer fitting 101"). There is the usual disclaimer that this is provided in good faith but in the end it is your car and you decide what and how you do anything to it. If you are not sure go to a specialist.

I just fitted wheel spacers to my standard A5 18" wheels and thought I'd pull together points I found around other threads and my own learning to help any spacer virgins out there. I tip my hat to all those who have provided advice so far that I have amalgamated. There are too many names to credit all.

Choice: Size of spacers are a combination of aesthetics and current wheel off set so I am not advising on that. What I would say is always choose hub centred ones like the H&R Trak+ or Eibach Pros to ensure you reduce any likelihood of balance issues. I went for a modest look with 12/15mm front/rear. Also I wanted to avoid the DRA style where the spacer is fitted to the hub and the wheel is attached with the standard bolts. This is a personal choice. Note that the DRA style kicks in for spacers of 20mm and above. Eibach provide an equivalent system too. I have noted that most people go for around 15mm front and 20mm back but some go bigger still for a more aggressive stance.

Before you start: Besides the spacers you will need longer wheel bolts if you choose the through bolted ones like mine. To calculate the length required simply add the spacer width to the current bolt length. Standard wheel bolts are 28mm long and M14x1.5 with a HEX head of 17mm round or radius seat. So for my spacers I bought 20 x SB56R - Grayston (Wheel Bolts Fixed Rounded Head). These are 45mm in length and worked for both front and rear wheels. Down side is you need to get long locking bolts if you want to retain this function. As the 18" wheels have a hub that covers the bolt heads I went without.

You will also need a 2 ton trolley jack (it is not advisable to use the "widow maker" jack supplied with the car), axle stands, some copper slip and a torque wrench.

Step wise approach:
1. Locate the correct jacking points. If you are using a trolley jack you need to be careful about placing it. The regular jacking points are located in the manual but require something to fit over the panel seal (Our US colleagues advise a rubber puck with a slit in it). Alternatively, the rear jacking point can be found by feeling behind the seam where there is a clear raised circular pad on my car. I removed the cup from the jack and used a small rectangle of wood (3" x 4") between the jack and the jacking point mentioned earlier. For the front wheels the best point is just behind the wheel arch. If you tap you should be able to locate the solid point.
2. Tension the jack to release the suspension slightly and loosen the wheel bolts about a quarter turn. Work in succession diagonally across the wheel. Then jack the car and when the wheel is completely off the ground and, the car preferably on axle stands, remove the bolts completely apart from one loosely attached. I suggest the wheel is unlikely to drop off. Me experience is you will need some work to release the wheel. I used the palm of my hand successively on opposite sides of the tyre to release it. The remaining bolt will stop it dropping off suddenly. Once released remove the last bolt and the wheel.
3. Clean the hub and wheel surfaces of any rust or gritty residue. Apply a small amount of copper slip to the spacer surfaces don't get it on the bolt holes or bolts. TIP: I found fit easier to fit the spacer to the wheel aligning the bolt holes before offering it up to the hub. This way once on the hub you can place a bolt in and gently turn the wheel until the bolt lines up with the hub holes.
4. Tighten the bolts until they are all as firm as you can without rotating the wheel. Ensure the final round is done selecting diagonally opposite bolts to even out any tension. Remove the axle stands and gently lower the car until the wheel is in firm contact with the ground but don't lower completely. Proceed to tighten the bolts using the diagonal pattern until you need to finally torque them. The consensus seems to be 90 lbs-ft or 120NM for the standard bolts.
5. Repeat for all wheels and admire your handy work. Go for a test drive to ensure there is no vibration or unexpected affect. Try to experience a range of (legal) speeds as resonance can occur at different frequencies.

I hope this is helpful and realise for many it is probably stating the obvious. As someone new to the A5 and to wheel spacing it is was what I was looking for but had to glean from a number of searches and a lot of reading.

Let me know if it helps or, in deed, if I have said anything wrong.

Thanks

TB
 

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Toyboy, very good summary - thanks.

I've just ordered H&R DRAs for both front and rear and wondered why you had expressed a preference for DRs instead. I decided on the DRAs largely because I'm using after-market alloys and wanted to avoid replacing the original bolts.

Cheers
 

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Just on the DR vs DRA topic. I had Eibach's version of the DR spacers (longer bolts) and suffered from terrible steering vibration. Swapped out to the DRAs and the problem disappeared.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Warsaw

My preference for DRs was based on easy access to the wheel bolts for torque setting and checking also I am using relatively modest spacers. Having said that I have seen comments like that from Evil that suggest some cars benefit from DRAs in terms of stability. I am not sure if this is a function of the size of spacers or condition of the hubs (or something else entirely) .

My DRs have been absolutely fine with no discernable impact on ride and no vibration.

TB
 

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An item which may help in aligning the hub, spacer and wheel is a wheel hanger alignment tiool - like this:



You screw it into one of the bolt holes on the hub, use it to guide placement of the wheel and spacer, get the other 4 bolts hand tight, then remove this and replace with the 5th bolt.
 
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