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Old 05-13-2008, 07:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Low budget aero hubcaps (magnet attachment)

I bought four steel pizza pans from my local dollar store, and superglued neodymium magnets to them in a location that centers the cap on my wheels.

I first drilled and then reamed a hole to fit the valve stem through. The wheel rims I have have a central ridge with a diameter of about 7 inches that projects flush with the edge of the rim. The pizza pans have a nice stepped rim that stiffens them and gets the rim 'down' below the airflow.

Locating the magnets is easy. Stick them to the ridge on the rim, put a dollop of glue on each magnet, then put the pan over the whole works. You'll have a couple of seconds to center the rim before the glue grabs.

You can also measure a circle about the right diameter and glue the magnets to the pan before attaching it. I did both, to see what would work better, and saw no real difference.

Now to see if they will hold on at highway speeds and over bumps...


This first step toward aero improvement was inspired by someone's post here about using pizza pans for hubcaps. I didn't have any stock spring-friction fit caps to use, so magnets came to mind. These neodymium magnets are very strong, and I'll find out if they're strong enough.

Total cost- $4.00 US (plus 0.32 tax) and two dead hard drives scavenged for magnets. Total time= about 15 minutes each.

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Last edited by jim-frank; 05-13-2008 at 07:15 PM.. Reason: added thought
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My pizza pan hubcaps are held on by 3 screws going into drilled and tapped holes in the wheel. I'd be a bit worried by not having a direct physical connection between the hubcap and the wheel, then hitting a bump with that 60psi tire and the jolt sending that hubcap spinning off into traffic.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmm- I hadn't really thought of how they might affect other drivers if they flew off. I may have to come up with something better... (Although my tires are at 40psi, and don't thump that hard.)
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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jim-frank -

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim-frank View Post
Hmm- I hadn't really thought of how they might affect other drivers if they flew off. I may have to come up with something better... (Although my tires are at 40psi, and don't thump that hard.)
That's stunning inventiveness on your part. I used to have the "snap-in" racing disks. Whenever I hit a pot-hole just right, the disk on the front passenger wheel would pop off. Back in 1997 I was driving maybe 65-70 MPH on the freeway at night. I hit a bump and I noticed the lights of the cars behind me "wiggling". I instantly realized that they were avoiding my wheel cover. I went back the next day to find it mangled on the side of the road.

I still like the idea, but it may not work on cars at highway speeds.

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Last edited by cfg83; 05-13-2008 at 10:35 PM..
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Looks like hard drive magnets! Clever. I hope it stays on for you, and if it does, I hope next time you go to remove them, the glue is stronger than the magnets.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim-frank View Post
Hmm- I hadn't really thought of how they might affect other drivers if they flew off.
Hahahahaha! I had a 1990 Buick with the huge spoked steel hubcaps and the stupid plastic center nut to hold them on. I had one fly off and watched it go across the interstate into on coming traffic and turned a motorhome front grille into shrapnel

He kept going and so did I
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Has anyone done a before and after MPG gain for Aero Hubcaps of any kind? Is it really a lot?
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It's very small (probably too small to notice through tank-to-tank monitoring).

It also falls into the "it depends" (TM) category: Depends on how aerodynamically dirty the previous wheel style was to begin with; also the airflow characteristics past the wheel wells of the vehicle in question.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
It's very small (probably too small to notice through tank-to-tank monitoring).

It also falls into the "it depends" (TM) category: Depends on how aerodynamically dirty the previous wheel style was to begin with; also the airflow characteristics past the wheel wells of the vehicle in question.
True, but even if its a small difference like .5 mpg then over the lifetime of the car (Say 150,000 miles) the fuel savings would amount to 75 dollars or so... so for a $5 mod its not a bad idea!

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