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Old 02-29-2020, 11:12 AM   #1
ericr
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Default Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

Since drivers in the Model "A" era had so much tire trouble (flats, frequent replacement), and since garage equipment required removing the hubcap to secure the wheel onto the tool to remove a tire, were original hubcaps easier and better to remove and reinstall?
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:01 PM   #2
Tudortomnz
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

Probably not. I looked at many Model A's here from late '60's & nearly all had missing hubcaps or were badly dented & scraped. Caps were just pried off or holding tabs snapped off easily. Looked like people just left the caps on when changing tyres by hand & banged up the caps. Back then , most tyres were changed by hand.
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
Gary Karr
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

I think that they are much easier to install. Speaking from experience, I have installed NOS early caps as well as standard 28/29 caps by simply driving them into place using a piece of wood and a hammer. As you can see by factory assembly photos, the 1928 wheels were installed onto the drums before the hubcaps were installed, so they must have installed the caps by a similar method.
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:08 PM   #4
Joe K
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

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Originally Posted by ericr View Post
Since drivers in the Model "A" era had so much tire trouble (flats, frequent replacement), and since garage equipment required removing the hubcap to secure the wheel onto the tool to remove a tire, were original hubcaps easier and better to remove and reinstall?
Um. Its not necessary to use tooling to change a tire on the rim. More often was done "in the day" using the manual method and "tire-irons." We do much the same today with large screwdrivers (and soap and towels and lots of care lest we damage the paint.)

This process can actually be done more handily and at roadside on a jack with the rim in place on the hub. Front is especially easy since the wheel can be "rotated" while one uses a soaped tool to disattach and push the bead back from the rim roll and this while "spinning" the wheel. Last time I did this I wished for a stout plastic tool so as to be less likely to damage the paint.

The Model A tires are designed so if totally collapsed and devoid of air, the center of the rim is small enough when devoid of tube to allow one to push the tire to one side and "stretch" the bead over the rim roll.

As to the hub-caps, Ford in their Service Bulletins recommend turning over about 4 of the ears on the hub-cap - but not more. Its not the best system since wear, if it comes repeatedly on the same ears, will eventually fatigue them and break them off - but we're fortunate that more are nearby.

Many today turn over the ears "not tight" and either use a large O-ring or even the large office elastic bands and put these over the turned ears - thereby tending to "lock in" the hubcap and create a situation where the elastic will tend to pull up any gap and pull the hubcap tighter.

Hope this helps. Repops ARE different than originals, thinner certainly, and certainly detectable in judging, but in many ways the embossing is "sharper" (and the dents deeper.) Their attachment is much the same, its just their failings are more pronounced. Elastics take up a lot of the umbrage - and looseness.

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Old 02-29-2020, 05:21 PM   #5
Synchro909
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

The repro hub caps we see these days are a poor copy of the originals. (Hands up if that surprises you!) Even then, if you look at the shape of the fingers that we all bend over to hold the cap on, they are shaped so that if they were set properly, the hub cap would snap on. Pictures were posted on this forum when I first said this that show cars coming down the production line with wheels on but no hub caps yet. I think that confirms that they were an easy item to fit and remove.
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:18 PM   #6
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

The tabs can all be bent into a V shape and the caps can snap on and off .
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Old 03-01-2020, 04:49 PM   #7
Synchro909
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Default Re: Has anyone seen original hubcaps?

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The tabs can all be bent into a V shape and the caps can snap on and off .
Yes, they can but many of the repros aren't made of good enough quality steel to do it well. Add to that the fact that most modern owners of Model As don't know that, they end up being put on and the tabs all bent over behind the hub. It seems that has become the accepted way to do it.
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