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Old 05-07-2014, 09:48 PM   #1
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Losing hubcaps - help!

Background: Axles are 3 years old. Wheels, bought from Inland RV are also 3 years old. Tires mounted and balanced, plus I use the Centramatic balancers. After losing 3 of the original full wheel covers on various trips the first year we had her back on the road, we decided to paint the rims blue and bought the dome hubcaps from Inland.

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Installed them in the June last year (2013), and went all summer on several trips, include one to New York and Massachusetts with no problems at all.

This year, I repacked the wheel bearings as I do every year, and installed the hubcaps before leaving for the Vintage Trailer Academy. Stopped after 100 miles or so, and removed the hubcaps to re-torque the lug nuts. Released I forgot my rubber mallet to put the hubcaps back on with. Used the heal of my hand to install the hubcaps, and they all seemed just as secure as using the rubber mallet.

Stopped for lunch, and two of the hubcaps are gone. Chalked it up to not having my rubber mallet, so they must not have been seated as well as I thought. Removed the remaining two so we didn't lose them on the rest of the trip.

Called Inland, and ordered new hubcaps (4, just be safe), and had them shipped to the VTA campground, Enchanted Trails. Great place to camp btw - nice friendly staff, wonderful desert campground. Picked up a new rubber mallet on the way as well.

Installed the two old hubcaps and two new ones before leaving the campground for the trip home. Used rubber mallet to install, being careful not to dent them.

Stopped for gas before stopping for lunch, and are now missing two hubcaps again!! One of the old ones and one of the new ones.

First time we lost hubcaps, one came off the driver's side front wheel, and the other came off the passenger's side rear wheel. This second time, the old hubcap came off the passenger's side front wheel, and the new hubcap came off the driver's side rear wheel. So, opposite wheels lost the hubcaps the second time around. Removed the two remaining hubcaps for the rest of the trip home.

Has anyone experienced losing hubcaps this frequently before? I'm at a loss to explain why they are coming off. All seem very snug and require a fair amount of force to get them to snap onto the rims, which is why I use a small rubber mallet.

I'm beginning to think the Little Girl wants shiny new shoes (aluminum mag wheels), but before going that route, I wanted to see if anyone has any ideas on how we can help ensure the hubcaps stay on, because we really like this look.

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:12 PM   #2
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I like the look too. Those wheels and caps look great!

I am not for sure how the connect to the wheel, but I assume by the welded clips on the wheels, if so, maybe they need to be adjusted by bending them a little.

In my experience repops aren't usually exact, and they often need a little adjustment, and with hub caps even the thickness of the paint can cause fitment issues.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:58 PM   #3
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Hello Chris,

Your problems of repeat replacement are daunting. I have a 68 Sovereign that I bought recently with no hubcaps. After your experience, do you still recommend buying them from the Inland company? Could it be that their supplier does not supply the exact replacement size due to stamping issues? Where else would you go to find them? I also lost a grease cup on the way home, same issue as yourself, palm hammer. Where might I find one for the AS 15" wheel. I've gone to 8 different shops in 3 states and no one has that size.
Cliff
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:07 PM   #4
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I have the opposite issue.
I bought a bunch of parts and in among the stuff were a set of hub caps. Never installed and brand new. Beautiful. Only problem is that I cannot get them to fit. I tried the heel of my hand and then moved on to a mallet with no success. They are just ornaments right now.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:49 PM   #5
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Hi, I had this same problem many years ago. It was on a 1963 Fairlane station wagon, not a trailer. The problem was the steel wheels weren't made for radial tires [radial tires have so much more grip than bias ply and balloon tires] and flexed on turns. I lost several wheel covers on curved freeway on-ramps. I heard, and seen, a few of them as they flew off.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:23 AM   #6
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Popacliff, The hub caps I bought, according to Inland RV, are specific to the wheels they sell. The wheels do not have welded on clips to hold the hubcaps. They have 3 lugs formed into the wheel that the hubcaps snap onto when you install them. Considering the amount of force I need to get them to snap onto the wheels, I'm still surprised they came off while traveling.

Bex, The hubcaps you have are probably not the correct ones for the wheels (rims) you have. While I haven't tried them, Vintage Trailer Supply also sells hubcaps. They might fit a different rim than the ones from Inland.

Robert, I had not thought of that. I do have radial tires on the steel rims. I wonder if that's the issue? We're heading out this afternoon, and I re-installed the hubcaps with my rubber mallet. Maybe I'll pull them off for traveling, and re-install once we get to the rally site.

We did order new hubcaps in a totally different style from a different company. They clamp onto the lug nuts instead of the rims. Unfortunately, they have not arrived yet, so we won't have them for this weekend trip. I'll post pictures once we get them installed, and update after our first trip with them.

Chris
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:17 PM   #7
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baby moons

You have an interesting mix of intrigue and frustration...
Steel wheels and baby moon hub-caps is a good look. To me, the only reason to change to aluminum wheels would be a set of first generation Center-line Auto-drags.

I can agree that not all “exact replacement” products exactly replace the product that they are replacing. Sometimes it looks the same, they say it's the same... I'd hate to think that a wheel center/bolt face was squirming enough to pop a hub-cap off. Wonder what is the inspection quality of hub-cap seat diameter and run-out of today's exact replacement wheel?


This isn't entirely pertinent, but explains some... I have four genuine OEM Airstream wheels for fitment to my 68 GT. One pair is1968, and has six riveted on spring clip hub-cap mounts. The other pair is Genuine Airstream from seventies and has FOUR nubs holding the caps. There is no interchangeability of hub-caps between these.Click image for larger version

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The Baby Moons that fit my four nub AS wheels are a set that I bought from JC Whitney around 1974. I saved the limited fitment list from the box. The very accurate inside measurement that I took from these caps of which I am 100% certain is, 10.25”. They snap on by fist with a feeling of correctness. They don't fit loose. They have never come off by themselves. Require pry tool to remove. Click image for larger version

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I saw hundreds of baby moons on eBay, but no 10.25” size. Closest reproduction size for sale is 10.125”. Maybe these pound on with a mallet. I wonder if your replacement wheels accept 10.125” or 10.250”?


I've had cars with loose nub style hub-caps that rattled but never came off. Maybe the added deflection of a 10.125” rim onto the 10.250”nub does not allow the rim to get over the apex of the nub and get a grip from behind it, or changes the angle of capture... loses its temper to grip when stretched? Paint? You definitely have an attachment issue.

Please keep posting, this is a good mystery.
Thanks, Wm
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:43 PM   #8
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Steel wheels will flex. (Cast wheels not so much) Some wheels flex more than others because of the construction of the wheel. It really depends on the construction of the wheel and primarily the wheel center. Especially a dual axle making turns the pivit point will not be at the point the tires meet the road. So all 4 tires are being dragged around the turn which induces stress on the wheels. If the wheels are not fairly rigid the center will flex and pop the wheel cover off of the center.

The solution may not be in the wheel cover or cap.

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Old 05-20-2014, 03:02 PM   #9
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I still find it amazing that we ran an entire season last year with these hub caps, including a trip to upstate New York and Massachusetts, without losing a hub cap. Now this year, we've had a total of 5 pop off the rims. The last one was as we were pulling out of our campsite Sunday morning. I heard it pop off and the trailer wasn't even out of the campsite yet. We stopped and I removed the other 3 and put them in the storage hatch for the trip home.

The replacement hub caps were waiting for us when we got home. Need to paint a bit more of the rims and then I'll post pictures of them. I put one on to see how it fit, and now I can't get it off! It clamped onto the lugs nuts really well I guess. I need to find or fabricate a small pry bar to get underneath the edge of the hub cap so I can pry it off the rim.

Chris
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:41 PM   #10
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As promised, here's the pictures of the new hub caps. While we like the look of the "Nurse Diesel" hub caps better, they're not worth it ($25 each) if we're going to lose them.

These new ones are very ok, and are only $6 each. They snap onto the lug nuts instead of the rim. Hopefully Little Girl will like them and she'll let them stay on.

Chris
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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Those would look awesume with some beauty rings.

I also have problems with popping off baby moons on my 4 dimple rims. They will feel like they seated but its only snapped over 3 of the 4 lugs. I have to put them back on exactly as they came off to get them seated, a small black mark that lines up with the valve stem helps. I have them marked as to which wheel they fit onto.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:57 PM   #12
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Beauty rings?

Chris
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:35 PM   #13
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Beauty rings?

Chris

Chrome rings that cover the lip of the wheel rim.

Stainless Steel 15 Inch Beauty Ring, Smooth - Speedway Motors, America's Oldest Speed Shop


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