Suggestions on best way to add hubcap clips to steelies? (2 Viewers)

Rusto

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I have a ton of mechanical and baselining still to do on my 75 BJ40 so hadn't planned on doing this so soon, but my crazy-ass, but nice, mother-in-law wanted to get me something for the 40 for my birthday. Wifey suggested hubcaps (she's all about the bling) so I said, "hey, why not..." Of course, neither of them understand that only one of my wheels has the clips already installed, but I found some OEM clips on ebay and just pulled the trigger on 24 clips and 5 hubcaps (one for the spare, even!).

Now... what's the best way to add the clips to the wheels? I can always weld 'em on, but they had rivets the factory I believe. I have a pop-rivet gun as well, but that would seem to be a little weak. It's nice that one of my wheels already has them, so I can use it as a template.

Suggestions? Mine will never be a show truck, so it doesn't have to done to OEM specs, but if that can be done relatively simply, I'm all for it.

the rest of my truck may not look so hot, but the BFGs KO2s, OME springs, shackles and shocks (added by PO - the one thing he did that I approve of) and shiny new hubcaps will make the shoes he's wearing look real nice
 

Jdc1

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I have a ton of mechanical and baselining still to do on my 75 BJ40 so hadn't planned on doing this so soon, but my crazy-ass, but nice, mother-in-law wanted to get me something for the 40 for my birthday. Wifey suggested hubcaps (she's all about the bling) so I said, "hey, why not..." Of course, neither of them understand that only one of my wheels has the clips already installed, but I found some OEM clips on ebay and just pulled the trigger on 24 clips and 5 hubcaps (one for the spare, even!).

Now... what's the best way to add the clips to the wheels? I can always weld 'em on, but they had rivets the factory I believe. I have a pop-rivet gun as well, but that would seem to be a little weak. It's nice that one of my wheels already has them, so I can use it as a template.

Suggestions? Mine will never be a show truck, so it doesn't have to done to OEM specs, but if that can be done relatively simply, I'm all for it.

the rest of my truck may not look so hot, but the BFGs KO2s, OME springs, shackles and shocks (added by PO - the one thing he did that I approve of) and shiny new hubcaps will make the shoes he's wearing look real nice
Looks like the 16s CityRacer sells use a machine screw.
 

Rusto

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City Racer suggested rivets, but that would involve me renting/purchasing a rivet gun. I'm not going to purchase a gun and can't seem to find a reasonable place to rent one.

Any tricks for adding the clips that I'm not seeing?
 

thebigredrocker

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I would guess welding could be tricky depending on quality and thickness of the clip steel. Your Safest bet would be screws or rivets. Can't think of a 4th way to attach clips.
 

Rusto

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I'm thinking I'm going to go with some machine screws and a little red loctite. The clips were delivered today, and they are OEM and relatively thick, but I don't want to weld them and the rivets seem to be the best way, but not the best way for me.

I'll be sure to post the progress and results.
 
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I riveted OEM clips to some minitruck rims (using steel pop rivets), and the spring tension of the clips was so high that every time I tried to install a hubcap, the clips would slip to the side. Pop rivets don't have enough tension to hold a clip.

I ended up tack welding the base of each clip to the rim, and that fixed it, but it looked crappy.
 
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I used 10-24 round head machine screws, but tapped the holes. My 16" splits had little notches in the drilling lacation. I added a nut on the back side to lock them in. Never a problem and looked great. I have harvested clips from some old wheels that were in poor shape. Heavy hammer, sharp cold chisel, one whack they are off.
 

Tank5

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I believe I've settled on using allen head machine screws with tapped holes. Should look sharp and with some red loctite be secure. May add a locking nut to the back, just to be sure.

I am planning to do the same thing in the future. Please post up how yours turn out.
 

Rusto

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Made a little progress this Saturday. I made a slight change and went to metric allen head machine screws, basically because my tap and die set were metric. They only had stainless metrics screws at the hardware store, so that's what I went with.

Tools and Hardware:

M8 x 10 (or 12) screws. - I found that these would go just through the holes in the clips, sometimes even requiring a little screwing, which was perfect.
M5 x .80 tap
Irwin #19 drill bit for the holes. Make sure the drill bit matches the tap. I was just guessing until I realized that Irwin makes the exact bit and shows on the packaging which bit goes with which tap.
metal punch
Small Crescent Wrench
Loc-tite Red


The bottom square edge of the clips were exactly 1" from the internal edge of the wheel. I was lucky to have one of my wheels with the clips already installed to use as a template. Getting this right, of course is crucial if you want your hubcaps to fit snug. Also, something I hadn't really considered initially, but am now paying special attention to, is that the clip placement needs to be as close to exact as you can get, otherwise, you could have a hubcap that could be a bit out of round when it spins. If your cap is off-center at all, it'll show when it rolls.

Once I measured and marked where the holes should go, I punched a starting point for the drill bit. Of course, it still wanted to walk a little bit, but make sure the punch is there to keep your hole in the right place.
Tapping the holes for threads is straightforward, but a bit of a pain in the ass for me. My T for turning the tip is pretty long, so with the angle it can hit the wheel when you turn it. Once I get it started a bit, I have to switch to a small crescent wrench. Not optimal, but effective.

Until I get all 6 clips on the wheel, I don't use the loctite. And I've been going slow on the first wheel to make sure everything lines up as it should.
It took me some time to get everything in order, two trips to the hardware store and such, but with everything in place, this should take me about 1 hour per wheel.

I managed to get 3 clips attached on the first wheel and test fit the hubcap on Saturday before my loving family and the obligations that go with them rudely interrupted me. :)

So far so good.

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Drill Bit.jpg
 
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Tank5

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Nice work! Thanks for posting your CV progress. Where did you buy your clips from? I locked on City Racers site but cannot find them listed anymore.
 

Rusto

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Found 'em on ebay. A set of 24 for $85. More than I would prefer to spend, but they were hard to find. With one tire already done, that gives me enough for all four plus the spare.
 

Rusto

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First wheel complete. The screws have to be tight, but not so much you strip them. First time I put the cap on, the pressure going on loosened the clips a bit. But I put the red Loctite in place and tightened up as much as I dared. Let it set, then the cap went on snug and stayed snug. With one wheel already done added to mine.. I'm 40% there.
 
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Nice. How did you determine where to mount them? Meaning, determining the radius of the clips to securely hold the caps, and how to keep it centered so they don't wobble going down the road. Also, how many per wheel did you use?
 

Rusto

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Thank you. Luckily I had a template as one wheel had OEM clips so I measured off of that. I used 6 per wheel. Could probably get away with 4, but factory had six so that's what I went with. No good reason to not do 6, IMO. The bottom edge of the clip ended up being exactly 1 inch from the edge of the diameter of the hole in the middle of the wheel for the hub.

The OEM clips were much harder to get the cap on, so maybe 1 inch isn't exactly right, or my measurements were a tiny bit off, but the clips can be bent a little and mine are still on there really snug. Such that I don't think they will fly off anytime soon.

If I had to do it again, two things I'd do different:
  • just order the black machine screws online instead of settling for whatever the hardware store had at the time. They're under the hubcap and I could always paint the stainless steel ones, but the black anodized ones would look a lot better. You could even fill in the allen top to make it look like a rivet.
  • and I'd get a brand new tap for the job. I used a cheap, old one from a kit. The dullness and poor quality added a ton of time to the first couple of wheels and didn't cut the threads very well. I got a new tap for wheels 3-5 and it was a breeze.
Very satisfying, relatively easy upgrade that looks great. Less than $250 all in, including five hub caps, 24 clips, machine screws, loctite, bits and taps, etc.
 
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