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Center Cap Problem

sherwoodsherwood Senior MemberPosts: 1,220 Senior Member
I have a 2004 F150 and it has the chrome clad steel wheels. I have lost the center cap off 1 wheel twice now. The 2nd cap came off within 5 miles on flat road this morning. I put the second cap on with a ribber mallet so I know it was on tight. Why is the cap coming off the same wheel? Thanks.
I may be old but I ain't dead!
DPRMD

Replies

  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Front or rear wheel? If it's a front, which I suspect it is, jack the truck up and try to shake the wheel by grabbing it at the top and bottom. It's possible you've got a VERY loose wheel bearing and the center of the hub is dislodging the cap. The front hub is on the verge of parting company with the vehicle. Has it been shaking or making grinding noises when you apply the brakes?
    Jerry
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Front or rear wheel? If it's a front, which I suspect it is, jack the truck up and try to shake the wheel by grabbing it at the top and bottom. It's possible you've got a VERY loose wheel bearing and the center of the hub is dislodging the cap. The front hub is on the verge of parting company with the vehicle. Has it been shaking or making grinding noises when you apply the brakes?
    Jerry

    Jerry,

    The first time was on the left rear. The second was on the right front. I have heard no noises or felt anything wrong with the wheel. The wheel was moved to the front during a tire rotation. It's also 4-wheel drive if that makes any difference. Thanks.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    If it's not confined to one wheel, or the same cap isn't involved, no matter which wheel it's installed on, it sounds like you've got a mismatch between the design of the cap(s) and the wheel. Is this a problem with newly-installed parts, or are the caps original equipment and just recently started having problems?
    Jerry
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    If it's not confined to one wheel, or the same cap isn't involved, no matter which wheel it's installed on, it sounds like you've got a mismatch between the design of the cap(s) and the wheel. Is this a problem with newly-installed parts, or are the caps original equipment and just recently started having problems?
    Jerry
    Jerry,

    One of the original caps came off the left rear wheel. At first I thought somebody had stolen it but after I replaced the cap when it was put on the right front when the tires were rotated it popped off again. So, the first one I lost on the rear was an original. The replacement I put on the front was used. BTW, I looked at the used cap when I put it on and it looked OK. No cracks or dings anywhere.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,670 Senior Member
    Not a professional mechanic here, but it sounds like the same wheel has a chronic vibration in it...something that could be caused by a small weight imbalance in the tire that wouldn't be noticeable under normal driving conditions, or maybe a bent wheel?
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    It would have to be a pretty severe vibration to dislodge hub caps. How about using a little weatherstrip cement to help hold the cap to the wheel? It's possible that particular wheel has a problem with dimensions that makes the cap fit a little loose. The contact cement used to stick rubber weather stripping to doors and body panels is incredibly strong once it bonds properly, but it can be dislodged with a pry bar for a wheel change. Apply a thin layer to both pieces, then snap them together after it dries to the touch.
    Jerry
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    It's a Ford they all come with a tube of glue.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    It would have to be a pretty severe vibration to dislodge hub caps. How about using a little weatherstrip cement to help hold the cap to the wheel? It's possible that particular wheel has a problem with dimensions that makes the cap fit a little loose. The contact cement used to stick rubber weather stripping to doors and body panels is incredibly strong once it bonds properly, but it can be dislodged with a pry bar for a wheel change. Apply a thin layer to both pieces, then snap them together after it dries to the touch.
    Jerry

    Jerry.

    The truck is a 2004 and is now 10 years old. I bought it new. I've never had this problem before. Why now? No work was done to the truck before the first cap came off. Wheel was rotated to front of truck about a month after the first cap came off and the second put on. I immediatly went to the store after I put the second one on. Thanks.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    So do the other caps lock in like this troublesome one?
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    So do the other caps lock in like this troublesome one?

    That I did not try. They have all been put on the wheel they came off of since day 1.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    sherwood wrote: »
    That I did not try. They have all been put on the wheel they came off of since day 1.

    Teach,

    Is it possible that there is something wrong with the wheel? I haven't hit anything and the lug nuts are tight. Thanks.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Yes, it's a possibility. I've got a mini-motorhome on an 85 Ford F-350 chassis, and one hubcap squeaks and rattles all the time. Short of gluing it on, the only way I've found to eliminate the noise is to take it off. Nothing appears to be wrong with the caps or the wheels, but if I'm running with the windows down, it sounds like the wheels are loose. Look for wear in the area where the cap attaches to the wheel. Do you have a spare wheel you can swap into that position? I've got a solution to problems like that- - - -it involves a pry bar and a dumpster, or just tale all of 'em off and store them somewhere!
    Jerry
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    It's been a while but here we go again. I have not found out what is wrong with the first center cap/wheel. Yesterday at Home Depot while leaving the lot the left front center cap popped of. Luckily I had the window down and heard it come off. I picked it up and came home. I can find nothing wrong with the cap or wheel. HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • dlkdlk Member Posts: 419 Member
    You got a welder, doncha?:tooth:
    STEALTH COMPETENT

    I know what I'm doing, it just doesn't look like it.
  • roadkingroadking Senior Member Posts: 3,056 Senior Member
    Is it the type that clips onto the lug nuts or presses onto the wheel?
    My '99 has the lug nut type, and they pop off quite easily. Each cap has five lug spaces, but only 3 metal inserts that clip onto the nuts. Guess with all 5 in place it wouldn't happen as much, but it's a work truck for me so I just took the remaining ones off and put it the garage in case I need it to look good for something.
    Or, the lug nut inserts could be worn...maybe try finding new inserts?

    Matt
    Support your local Scouts!
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    There are no metal clips in mine. It seems that each clip around the lug nuts is the same for all 5. It looks to me that there is a clip on the cap that engages each lug nut and that is a clip of some kind.
    roadking wrote: »
    Is it the type that clips onto the lug nuts or presses onto the wheel?
    My '99 has the lug nut type, and they pop off quite easily. Each cap has five lug spaces, but only 3 metal inserts that clip onto the nuts. Guess with all 5 in place it wouldn't happen as much, but it's a work truck for me so I just took the remaining ones off and put it the garage in case I need it to look good for something.
    Or, the lug nut inserts could be worn...maybe try finding new inserts?

    Matt
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,395 Senior Member
    I checked a Ford forum. This center cap popping off appears to be a common problem. Best fix I found on the Ford forum I visited was to replace them with caps that are held on by the lug nuts. Pricey in some cases, but at least they don't fall off.

    If you're talking about the grease cap over the wheel nut, I got nothin'.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    The lug nuts hold them on. All plastic center caps. They appear to snap over a rim on the lug nut. Never had a problem with grease caps on any vehicle I have ever owned.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • olesniperolesniper Senior Member Posts: 3,763 Senior Member
    Sometimes, the spring clips on the back of hubcaps will lose their tension, after years of being removed and put back on. When you buy a used hubcap, there's a good chance it was sold to the dealer by someone who picked it up on the side of the road, because it popped of of another truck.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: For I carry a .308 and not a .270
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,395 Senior Member
    sherwood wrote: »
    The lug nuts hold them on. All plastic center caps. They appear to snap over a rim on the lug nut. Never had a problem with grease caps on any vehicle I have ever owned.

    The ones I'm referring to are put on after the wheel is mounted. They are heavy metal pieces with holes for the bolts to pass through and then the lug nuts are tightened against them to hold the wheel in place.

    Kinda like these, except these use drilled 'n' tapped holes to hold them in place:

    KGrHqYOKpMFIJgoF-ulBSEV2OpMqQ60_35_zpsdef2e88c.jpg
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • john.41john.41 Member Posts: 316 Member
    olesniper wrote: »
    Sometimes, the spring clips on the back of hubcaps will lose their tension, after years of being removed and put back on. When you buy a used hubcap, there's a good chance it was sold to the dealer by someone who picked it up on the side of the road, because it popped of of another truck.

    This was my problem with my '99. Bought one off ebay (probably found on road), didn't last 50 miles on paved roads. Bought one that I took off at a salvage yard, and it's still hanging on.
  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    My '92 had center caps like that. Never had a problem.
    tennmike wrote: »
    The ones I'm referring to are put on after the wheel is mounted. They are heavy metal pieces with holes for the bolts to pass through and then the lug nuts are tightened against them to hold the wheel in place.

    Kinda like these, except these use drilled 'n' tapped holes to hold them in place:

    KGrHqYOKpMFIJgoF-ulBSEV2OpMqQ60_35_zpsdef2e88c.jpg
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
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