Rear wheels and spacers

Can someone confirm that you would need bigger spacers on the rears ( of the NC) as the wheels are inside the arches more so than the fronts or is that just something ’ I’ve heard’?

Don’t really understand the question but do you mean can you get away with wider spaces at the rear?
I think a couple of members have fitted spacers, not too wide and it’ll be fine.
They probably be along shortly to advise.

People have told me the rear wheels require a larger spacer as they are ’ inside’ the rear arches moreso than the front wheels, I’m just wondering if this is the case.

I’m planning to put spacers on the car so obviously I want them all uniform in terms of the spacer size

You definitely don’t ‘need’ spacers at all… It depends on your question as Mick has pointed out.

You’re right about the rear wheels being slightly tucked inside the arch as opposed to the fronts.

If you’re just wanting to fill out the arches a little bit more then a pair of 10mm spacers should be fine… But be mindful of your wheel/tyre choice too, more so if the car is lowered.

If you move the wheel positioning outwards and you happen to bottom out, you run the risk of the your tyres striking the arches which wouldn’t be ideal.

From what I remember, with a 215 tyre on a 7.5" rim, any lower than 40 offset will give you potential issues. The standard offset wheel is 55. So if you stick with the standard wheel 20mm spacers all round should be fine.

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I run 25mm hub centric spacers all round with OEM 17” wheels and lowered suspension (approximately 30mm lower). As NickD stated regarding offset, I had aftermarket wheels on the previous NC with and offset of 30mm and Eibach -30mm lowering springs, effectively giving the same result. Not had any issues with arch rubbing etc in four years between the two cars. Be mindful though, slip on spacers reduce the amount of stud protruding for the wheel nuts which could be an issue, also anything less than 25mm for hub centric spacers means the OEM studs will foul the back face of the wheels meaning you would have to shorten the studs. Out of 20 studs on the NC, I only found a couple that protruded more than 25mm, by a couple of mm, this was accommodated by the recess found on the back face of the OEM wheels.

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Hi Barrie, I’m really interested in doing the same to my roadster as I don’t like the tucked in look at the rear. I’m sort of ok with the fronts as they seem to fill the arches just about ok. My car sound similar to yours (2011 Roadster on standard 17in wheels with lowered springs) so I have a couple (loads) of questions if that’s ok? Here goes…
You say you fitted 25mm all round so do the fronts stick out a lot? If you have any pictures to share, that would be great?
Did you notice any difference in handling or tyre wear?
Do you know if it’s ok to just do the rears and leave the fronts or should I do the same spacing all round? (I really don’t want to mess up the handling as that is the main joy of the MX5)
If I went for a smaller spacer, say 20mm, would I definitely have to trim the original studs?
Which spacers did you use and do you recommend them?

Sorry for the barrage of questions but I’d be really interested to hear what you think as you have clearly been through this loop a couple of times. I’m finding it quite hard to get solid information on spacers as some people say they’re fine, others say they are the devils work!
Would be grateful for your thoughts.

Hi Ben, first off, anything less than 25mm (say 20mm) and you will run into difficulties with the OEM studs. When I fitted mine, I read that 27mm was the minimum spacer thickness to avoid any stud conflict. Regardless, I bought DIRENZA hub centric 25mm spacers with zero issues. They were off eBay for approximately £100 delivered. From all 20 studs, only 1 or possibly 2 IIRC, protruded ever so slightly beyond the face of the hub centric spacers. The nice thing is, the OEM 17” wheels have a recess on the rear faces that can easily accommodate the extra 1 or 2 mm and more, if needed. Personally, I would go for equal spacing all round, however, you do see aftermarket wheel sets for sale with different offsets/wheel widths, front and rear, so who knows?
I just think that as OEM offsets are equal, then same size spacers all round, replicates that, albeit a 50mm wider track width. The 25mm spacers just push the wheels out to the edge of the arches, not beyond, perfect IMO. I’ve always ran spacers or lesser offsets on wheels on both NC’s and some of my mk1’s. My previous car, the1800GT, had 30mm offset wheels rather than the 55mm OEM wheels, effectively giving the same effect. With 30mm Eibach lowering springs, again no issues with clearance.

I had a set of BBR 071’s on my supercharged mk1 that were 15x9 and zero offset!! Now they did need a bit of arch work :smile:


Cars tucked away in garage but here’s a couple that might give you an idea.

With the Meister club race fitted and a 30mm drop over the OEM Bilstein coilovers, I’ve not had any issues whatsoever with rubbing etc, just perfect for me.
Hope that is some help?

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Hi Barrie thanks for all the answers and the pictures. They are a real help. Think I’m going to wait for the next dry day and do a bit of measuring and take the plunge. Still not sure about the fronts but what you say makes a lot of sense about keeping it even all round. The first picture you sent (red car with black bonnet) does look very good and is the stance I’m going for. Did you notice any difference in the handling out of interest?
Thanks very much for your words of wisdom and quick reply.

Hi Ben, TBH its a funny one regarding improvement? Certainly gave me the look I wanted but it was on standard, non Bilstein suspension with no other modifications apart from the Eibach springs and aftermarket wheels (BBS copies) 16x7’s which probably weighed slightly more than the 5 spoke 16" OEM wheels they replaced. Not sure if I recognised a massive change, although it ‘felt’ slightly better, more planted on the road. Not a lot to compare with as I did those mods very soon after getting the car. The current Sport Tech is very different indeed (for the better IMO) ILMotorsport ARB’S, Meister club race, new OEM style droplinks all round, the spacers obviously :wink:, has made the car very flat in corners and can be thrown around with some confidence. It could be improved further with stickier tyres I reckon but I’m happy with the Cooper C8’s I had fitted along with the wheel refurbishment. I’m certainly no track day warrior though, but very happy with the car as it is, suspension is set to full soft, most times, and provides a sporty ride which is what I like but could be tuned to be much firmer. Now, I’m sure I’ll get burned at the stake for this, but I have never, ever had any of my 5’s, over nigh on 20 years, aligned after the work I’ve done to suspension,wheels,
spacers etc. :astonished:, there, I’ve said it :grimacing::grimacing: not experienced any problems with tyre wear, etc, and covered quote a few miles over the years. Would I benefit from a 4 wheel alignment? :thinking: Personally, probably not, I like the way the car drives etc. and don’t feel the need.

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Thanks Barrie. Always good to get first hand views and opinions from experienced owners. Your cars look awesome by the way… looks like you’ve had a lot of fun with 5s over the years! My car is also a 2.0 Sport Tech which I bought on a whim 2yrs ago (went to test drive a Volvo, came away with an MX5🤣) and it made me fall in love with driving again after many years of sensible, but boring car ownership. Tbh, I’m fitting the spacers to improve the look of the car and not really expecting any handling improvement. I just don’t want to make it worse as I love the way it drives as it is. I’m planning on fitting Meisters later this year as the existing shocks and springs are feeling and looking pretty tired. I will probably get it setup properly when I do for peace of mind, but like yourself, I’m not a track day junkie so I probably won’t notice too much difference.
Thanks again for your help and advice.

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Hi, good thread ,
In my limited experience the 25mm spacer was too much, ( bought them , tried them and sold them)
I get the issue with the stud interference with stock wheels, but found that running a 15mm spacer and leaving the studs protruding into the wheel pockets worked best for me with no cutting,
I’m running quite low on coilovers mind so maybe for you 25mm will be ok?
Best advice is get a straight edge across your wheel rim and measure the gap you have to the arch lip.
You can obviously start messing with camber for better fit but that wasn’t the point for me.


Very nice looking car you got there! What are the wheels?
Thanks for the input, always good to get a different opinion. Out of interest, when you had the 25mm fitted, did you get any tyre rubbing with your lowered suspension?
I think I’m going to have to do some measuring as you recommend and see what I can get away with, which I will do if it ever stops raining!

Hi, the wheels in the pic are oem on the Zsport so same dimension as your stock alloys,
Yes they did rub slightly so I rolled the rear arches but I do run 215 tyres instead of 205.
I could of ‘got away’ with 25mm at the rear with the roll but though it looked too much.
Imo 15mm was a sweet spot for me.
Since messing with spacers and the stance, I’ve decided to suck it up and buy new wheels in 8j and “better” offset for good fitment.
Thanks kev

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