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Old 12-16-2007, 07:55 PM   #1
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cheapy cheap wheel covers!

Hello all, this is my first post on your august forum.

I just bought a 3cyl/5sp metro hatch for $1000, after being car-less for 3 years (motorcycle). My last car was another metro, but it was impounded and I was broke. I had wanted to improve the fuel economy of my last car, but now it's reborn, and I'm setting to work!

So far I've advanced the timing, cleaned the injectors, fixed a ball joint, inflated the tires-- basic maintenance items. Today I experimented with wheel covers. I cut the center out of a hubcap with a jigsaw, then ground the remaining spokes flush to the lip with a die-grinder





Then I scored a circle into some 1/8" melamine (sp?) with a home made compass (a dowel with two penny nails through it), and cut that out with a band saw. Bolted it through the hub cap in three places with cad-plated aircraft hardware (only thing available!) and slapped it on-





I think it looks awesome, but I have to revise fitment before doing the rest of the wheels. The one cover was only secured by the hub cap's standard sprung dealy. Negotiating a right turn at freeway speeds on the way home, it popped off!!

I'm going to bond nuts to the backside of the hubcaps next time, then safety wire them to the wheels, then bolt the covers to the hubcaps. I'm sticking with melamine for now, but I'll likely move to sheet aluminum in the future. Thanks for reading! I hope someone else can use this technique, it's stupid easy-
-Ian
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:50 PM   #2
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Great post. Keep us updated on this. I would like to know what final solution works for you... as I don't like the idea of losing hubcaps on the freeway!
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:24 PM   #3
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I noticed the other day that the late 1980's honda hub caps were near disk hub caps, and wondered how they compared to things like you made here.
I wonder how heavy your home made ones are, and how light you could make them, I also noticed that your front passenger tire appears to be low.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by edenstrang View Post
I'm sticking with melamine for now, but I'll likely move to sheet aluminum in the future. Thanks for reading! I hope someone else can use this technique, it's stupid easy-
-Ian
That's actually a really cool look. Nice job!

Welcome to the site. I'm new myself.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:55 PM   #5
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They barely weigh anything, the melamine is basically masonite, if you've ever held that. The hub caps aren't the place to start for efficiency, I think, but I've been itching to do it! It's a dramatic visual in person-- they make the car look like a moon rover or sony robot or something. Initially I bought some pizza-pans from Wack-Mart, but they looked cheesy.

My tires are old and finicky- they had 8 psi when I bought the car last week!
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:27 PM   #6
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looks great... I was going to mention the 80's as well... it seems that back than a lot of cars had pretty smooth hubcaps... most still had some holes for ventilation but these where pretty modest and sometimes looking rather aerodynamic. not like todays horrible square spoked alloys, or these plasic hubs desperately trying to capture the look of them.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:43 AM   #7
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I'm sure people still associate aerodynamic wheels with those dumpy 80's cars!

You can't blame the public for it's taste, but if we can affect public perception about what a car should look like, it's a start. To someone thinking from a perspective of aerodynamic efficiency, the smooth wheels are much more attractive than thinly spoked race wheels, at least on a car without explicit sporting aspiration (most cars).

It reminds me of several hondas I've seen around here, with low profile tires in the rear, and standard steel wheels in front. (??) They are obviously thinking about their car from a different perspective than I am (...)
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:14 AM   #8
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The hubcaps on my Metro (may it rest in peace) were pretty much a smooth dish with some vent holes at the outer edges. I have to wonder if you scooped some air into the inside of the wheel when you were turning and it blew the hubcap off? Also I hope you got the balance perfect on the caps or else you could be looking at some wobble. Great idea using a standard cap to use for mounting it!
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:22 AM   #9
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just a guess but maybe by rivetting two different materials together the clamping action of the original attachment was somehow compromised a bit...
maybe by bending the metal ring slightly it could be made firmer... just a guess though
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:16 AM   #10
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I have to wonder if you scooped some air into the inside of the wheel when you were turning and it blew the hubcap off?
I came to a similar conclusion. It's between that and mounting action of the hub cap possibly falling short because of the disc, as mentioned aboved. I am optimistic, however, about safety wire curing all ailments. I'll post results tonight-
-Ian
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