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Old 10-02-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
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Default Silly Chevy wheelcover project

When we first bought our Roadtrek 190P Chevy in 2008, we had zero knowledge of the RV community or the RVs themselves. In watching the RV.net class b forum we tried to get a feel for all of what we needed.


One of the more popular things going on then was that a surprising large amount of people were "converting" Freightliner Sprinters to Mercedes Sprinters by changing the grille, logos, etc while another group was doing the same thing to the Chevies to make them into GMC vans. IIRC the Sprinters would cost somewhere around $1000 to do and the Chevies a bit less than that. It seemed like a kind of waste of money just to try to have more status from a perceived higher value van.


Fast forward 10 years and we have put a GMC grille into our Chevy as part of the multiyear testing of all kinds of cooling modifications to see what works and what doesn't. The GMC grille has about 20-30% more clear air inlet area so helped.



Even since then, we get questions all the time from people who want to know when Roadtrek made GMC Savanna based vans. Obviously they didn't notice the Chevy wheel logos on the center caps and other badging. Many also would say we should get GMC wheel centers to match the grille, so some things haven't changed. Even DW leaned that way sometimes. Finding OEM GMC center caps is not easy or cheap, as they are always beat up at the junk yard or $300+/set if you can find NOS parts. The aftermarket ones use a plain decal for the center instead of the GMC style reflector, so not really great.


We have evolved through the center cap/painted factory wheel to using Wheelskins over the centercap which makes it easier to keep them clean. I also started modifying the center cap nuts to make them not screw on to the lugnuts for easier removal as the Wheelskin holds the cap on anyway. I then decided to use silicone to stick the whole works together into one assembled wheelcover to make life even easier. Prototype tests looked good so decided to do all of them that way.


Here is the simple nut modification, just removed .5" from the threaded end, but left enough to engage the hex on the lugnuts to support and located the center.





Here is what the backside looks like with messy silicone holding stuff together.





From the outside now as one piece. There is also silicone around the opening between the cap and Wheelskin and the nuts are between the cap and Wheelskin and siliconed. It simply pops onto the wheel as one piece like any other wheelcover.








The cap is recessed from the Wheelskin as it always was, which I didn't really care for, so I decided to see if there was some way around that.


Continued next post as running out of pic allowance.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gmc before change.jpg (123.9 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg gmc backside done.jpg (162.9 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg gmc nut before and after.jpg (79.7 KB, 24 views)
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:17 PM   #2
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I looked around on ebay at various center cap covers and found some that were close to the right diameter and looked like they might wind up the right height if the clips were removed and installed with adhesive. Nice chrome and slightly domed plastic and under $20 for a set of 4. The "bonus" was that they had GMC logo in raised perimeter, all chrome, no paint, decal, reflector, so why not.


Here is a cap as received.





I removed the spring clip and cut off latches, which was very easy to do, and then gave them a quick sanding on a flat sheet of sandpaper to even it all out for better location.


After trimming.





It was raining nothing else going on, and I thought they looked a bit plain, so decided to try to duplicate the "reflector" type thing GMC does. After a bunch of messing around settled on using glitter paint with clear enamel over it, brushed on with an art brush.


I then just stuck them in place with silicone and used black silicone to fill the small gap to the Wheelskins. They turned out nearly flush with Wheelskin and the dome certainly makes them look better.


Done and on the bench.





Done and on the van, please ignore the filthy tire that has not been cleaned up after the last two trips






All and all not a bad way to spend rainy time, as it does look nicer, but the modification to make it all one piece will certainly be more useful. Now the whole thing can go in the laundry tub to soak clean instead of squatting, cleaning, and polishing wheels.



Doing the Wheelskin modification should work on all the Chevies that have them installed on the factory wheels and centers, including the ones from the factory like Roadtreks. You could probably even find a Mercedes or Porsche center cover to put in them if you should so chose....


I would say that now that all is set how to do the changes, I could do a full set in about 4 hours of labor, but would have two periods of adhesive setting in between.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gmc cap before trim.jpg (104.5 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg gmc center after trim.jpg (83.5 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg gmc done on bench.jpg (134.5 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg gmc done on van.jpg (145.5 KB, 21 views)
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