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Full wheel covers coming off going down the road


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The last two times I had my strangely optioned 65 Merc out a few wheel covers came off,not wanting to have to chase them down and since its a entry level Montclair I have a set of poverty caps on the way.  I found them on Ebay and paid a little more then I wanted bit alot less then some wanted and got all four at one time.  Even though I never remember ever seeing any at swapmeets they will now be showing up for a couple dollars each.

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This is not an unusual problem. As I recall, there was quite a lot of discussion about the causes many years ago in some collector car magazine that had a technical editor who answered questions from readers. It may have been Cars and Parts, one of the Hemming's publications or another such. I can't remember for sure, but it might have concerned running radial tires in place of the original bias-plys as somehow the radials affected the rim (flexing??). The problem was more evident in mid-50's Ford products. Some respondents solved the problem on their drivers by drilling three small screw holes through the wheel cover and wheel (at 12, 4, and 8 o'clock) and securing the covers with small screws. I presume, if done carefully, they did not affect the tire bead to any extent or the tires would loose air. It's probably not a solution a lot of people would employ, but it probably works!

What I have done on some of my cars is to bend the gripper-teeth on the inside of the covers with pliers to provide a stronger hold on the rim. It messes up the paint on the rims, but keeps the cover on more securely. 

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Posted (edited)

I had the same problem with the wheel covers coming off.  I tried splaying out the tabs on the wheel cover and sharpening the teeth on them  so they would bite into the wheel more.  But it kept happening.  It stopped happening after I replaced the brake drums which had been cut too many times.  My theory is that the thin brake drums didn't have the meat on them to absorb the heat  from braking, and the heat transferred to the wheel causing the wheel to expand, loosening the wheel cover.

Edited by Pete O (see edit history)
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Wheel covers normally run into the grass and lie shiny side down, making them hard to find. Spray the inside of them with bright flourescent pink or orange, it will make them easier to find if they do come off.

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I've lost my share of hubcaps over the years but my absolute worst car for throwing them was a 1965 Buick Skylark with the 8 round-hole spinner caps on radial tires. They were kind of a flimsy flexible design anyway and even when I left my driveway and drove a few blocks down the street at low speeds to a stop sign it wasn't uncommon for one to come off and roll across the intersection. I tried everything to keep them on but they had a mind of their own!

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The left front hubcap on my 1959 Ford would often fly off. A few years ago it was run over by a car going the other way. I thought it would be a pancake but it really didn't look damaged. It was tight getting back on but has not fallen off since! 

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2 hours ago, sleeve-valve said:

The left front hubcap on my 1959 Ford would often fly off. A few years ago it was run over by a car going the other way. I thought it would be a pancake but it really didn't look damaged. It was tight getting back on but has not fallen off since! 

Maybe it learned its lesson? 😺

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Posted (edited)

According to my limited experiences, (full size) hub caps falling off seems relatively common among many ‘50s/‘60s American cars, but even more so if or when the wheels aren’t exactly same size/type the car (and its hub caps) originally came with. 

While many wheels may appear to fit and look (almost) alike from year-to-year make/model, quite often they are not and I believe most OEM hub caps were often designed & made to fit only a specific wheels design.

 

One of the most notable examples I’ve experienced is 1960 Chrysler wheels, which feature details to accommodate only 1960 Chrysler hub caps and not found in any other same era MoPars, including ‘59 or ‘61 Chryslers.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, TTR said:

According to my limited experiences, (full size) hub caps falling off seems relatively common among many ‘50s/‘60s American cars, but even more so if or when the wheels aren’t exactly same size/type the car (and its hub caps) originally came with. 
While many wheels may appear to fit and look (almost) alike from year-to-year make/model, quite often they are not and I believe most OEM hub caps were often designed & made to fit only a specific wheels design.

 

I have come upon this with Chevy 14" rims, and the full size wheel covers. The 57-61 rims have four raised 'nubs' on the edge of the rim to secure the cover. Without those 'nubs' the wheelcovers will fly off. Maybe this si the case with Ford's as well?

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, John348 said:

 

I have come upon this with Chevy 14" rims, and the full size wheel covers. The 57-61 rims have four raised 'nubs' on the edge of the rim to secure the cover. Without those 'nubs' the wheelcovers will fly off. Maybe this si the case with Ford's as well?

I’m not familiar with Chevys or Fords, but my afore-referenced 1960 Chrysler hub caps & wheels have same/similar “nubs” and “clocked” accordingly by valve stem location.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I have radials and full size wheel covers. I had one roll off while pulling out of a parking lot once (I don't think that one was on all the way though), and another when I had to brake hard. I check periodically to make sure they're still on there tight. However, the covers do like to rotate around until the valve stem stops them.

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When I bought my 94 Caprice wagon, it came with the wheel covers with the large black center. I didn't think they looked good, and they kept flyiing off! Chased some down, had to buy more replacements other times. So I went to Mincz Tire (Richmond, VA) and traded (with some cash) for a set with the open design and bowtie center. Haven't lost another wheel cover in 200 K more miles!

 

 

chevrolet-caprice-hubcaps-3168a-big.jpg

chevrolet-classic-hubcaps-3213b.jpg

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On 5/10/2021 at 11:46 PM, junkyardjeff said:

The last two times I had my strangely optioned 65 Merc out a few wheel covers came off,not wanting to have to chase them down and since its a entry level Montclair I have a set of poverty caps on the way.  I found them on Ebay and paid a little more then I wanted bit alot less then some wanted and got all four at one time.  Even though I never remember ever seeing any at swapmeets they will now be showing up for a couple dollars each.

So, how did that stick shift '65 Montclair turn out? Is it a good daily driver?

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2 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

So, how did that stick shift '65 Montclair turn out? Is it a good daily driver?

Tires are too bad to drive much so I am cleaning up another set of rims to paint and install the new tires on.

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My '55 President exhibited the same wheel cover shedding on the left front only, cured with some blobs of silicone on the retaining clips.The silicone wheel cover treatment also is effective on 'walking' or  rotating covers threatening tubeless valve stems, a problem I have had on Larks.

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I agree with radial tires on older rims, however, some rims just flex more the others. It may be age, or the long term use to which a wheel was subjected. I usually switch caps from wheel to wheel to see if that in any way changes to cap's tendency to walk. I have also rotated my tires to see if a different axle/spindle, mount will make a difference. I have also used two sided tape, which often holds well enough to keep it secure. As a last resort I use another wheel. Every car/wheel and tire combination seems a little different, so what works for one may not work for another.

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I'v recently lost two actual hub caps off #1 off my 35 Buick an the other #2 off my GMC Yukon with Escalade Chrome wheels.

In both losses it was after a repair shop had taken the wheels off for tire replacement.  Not wheel covers, but the small

hub cap.   Searched but had to buy replacements.  In the futrue I'll leave the hub caps at home if having work done.

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They kept falling off my Saab decades ago so I wrote my name/phone number on the back with a grease pencil. I did get one back because of it!

 

jim 

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On 5/11/2021 at 11:38 PM, Frank DuVal said:

When I bought my 94 Caprice wagon, it came with the wheel covers with the large black center. I didn't think they looked good, and they kept flyiing off! Chased some down, had to buy more replacements other times. So I went to Mincz Tire (Richmond, VA) and traded (with some cash) for a set with the open design and bowtie center. Haven't lost another wheel cover in 200 K more miles!

 

 

chevrolet-caprice-hubcaps-3168a-big.jpg

chevrolet-classic-hubcaps-3213b.jpg

 

I've got a 95 wagon that has the wire wheel covers and I cannot stand them lol  I want to change them to one like the bottom over but am not sure if they were a stock option in 1995.  Do you, by chance, know?  Thanks either way!

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15 hours ago, AnniesSS said:

I want to change them to one like the bottom over but am not sure if they were a stock option in 1995.  Do you, by chance, know?  Thanks either way!

They are interchange number 3213. "Might" be a GM 10194310, but picture is lousy, and the same part numbers show for 1992 to 1996 Caprice, so I am not sure.

I do not think anyone will challenge you if you run these in place of the wire covers.😉

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12 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

They are interchange number 3213. "Might" be a GM 10194310, but picture is lousy, and the same part numbers show for 1992 to 1996 Caprice, so I am not sure.

I do not think anyone will challenge you if you run these in place of the wire covers.😉

Great. Thanks Frank!

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Thought the Charger in Bulitt lost the same hubcap many times and sometimes the same hubcap comes off from different angles (how many times do you see the VW ?). One post says eight are shown.

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