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How Can Offset be Determined for Trailer Tires on a Trailer

Question:

Sir/Maam, How do you match off set on a trailer wheel? This shows offset of 0. I ask because I just replaced the hubs on a 25 year old trailer 5 on 4 1/2 bolt pattern. The lugs were damaged and I think damaged the wheels on the trailer...so they dont fit on the new hubs go figure. So went to a wrecking yard to find 5 on 4 1/2 wheels....only to find they rub on the inside fender/frame of the trailer. Looking for spacers as there is a lot of thread on the lugs to allow for a spacer. Or should I not use a spacer? If no spacer how do I measure to see what offset I need to clear the inside fender/frame? At this point Im open to just getting new wheels instead of running all over trying to find some that work assuming a spacer wont work. Thanks for your time.

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Expert Reply:

I do have a solution for you but we don't recommend using a spacer as that will cause your wheel to sit at a different location on your lugs.

The offset of a wheel can be determined by measuring from the mounting surface of the wheel (where it mounts to your hub) to the inside and outside beads once the wheel has been removed from your trailer. The difference of these measurements tells you what your offset is. Most trailer tires have an offset of zero but if your wheel has a negative offset then that means it moves the tire closer to your frame which would be why you are experiencing contact.

The Lionshead Steel Modular Trailer Wheel # LHHA211 that you referenced does have an offset of zero so if yours is negative this wheel will cause your tires to have more clearance away from the frame.

If your current wheel has an offset of zero then you will want to use a wheel with a positive offset like the Dexstar Conventional Steel Wheel which comes in Black # AM20304 and White # AM20334. These have an offset of positive 1/2".

Attached are some review videos and a photo showing where the bead seats are located on a wheel.

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expert reply by:
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Jon G

Question:

It looks like next to impossible to get an accurate measurement...no way it seems to measure with a tire mounted on wheel. Can I determine offset measuring the clearance between trailer inner fender/frame and the hub mounting surface. This is turning into me chasing my tail trying to figure out how to get wheels that will now fit the new hubs I just put on.

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Expert Reply:

You should be able to to determine offset with the tire on by measure from the mounting surface to where that outside lip turns up as that would be where the bead seat is located. If you still aren't sure we may be able to determine offset if you can let me know the size and width of your wheel as well as your tire size (found on the sidewall).

If the picture you sent in is the measurement from your fender to your hub and your tire is making contact with the fender on the side then I should be able to determine if you have an offset or not.

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expert reply by:
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Jon G

Question:

Tires are: 205/75/14 I’ll have to measure wheel widths later. Correct that measurement is from inner fender to outer surface of hub. So there’s 5 3/4” clearance from minder fender and mounting surface on hub.

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Expert Reply:

Thank you for the tire size.

I spoke with our resident tire guy (he worked in the industry for years) and he said that if you have 5-3/4" of clearance then your 205/75-14 tire should fit just fine with a wheel that has a zero offset. When I told him that you bought your current wheels at a wrecking yard and he believes that you purchased passenger car wheels. These typically have a positive offset which would place them much closer to your fender, especially if they are alloy wheels.

If you send me a picture of your tire and wheels that can help me determine if you are using passenger car wheels (if you don't know). The 5 on 4-1/2" bolt pattern that you are looking at is actually common among trailer and passenger car wheels which is why it would bolt up to your trailer hub. You can also tell if it has an offset by measuring from the outside of your tire to the bolt "plate" both on the front and back. These measurements should be similar so if they aren't then that would mean you have an offset.

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expert reply by:
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Jon G

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