Article courtesy of the Dicor Corporation
Looking for a new set of wheel covers or wheel simulators to dress up your motorhome? Stainless steel covers and simulators are one of the simplest things you can do to give your motorhome an extra “shine.” However, we find a lot of people have questions about these wheel coverings and how they work.
First, let’s be clear about our definitions. What we commonly refer to as “wheel covers” are analogous to hubcaps and look the same on both the front and rear wheels of a motorhome and are usually a convex (protruding outward) design with the protruding center fitting over the lug nuts on the mounting plane.
What we call “wheel simulators” are coverings that follow (or simulate) the shape of the existing wheels, which on motorhomes are convex in the front and concave (protruding inward like a well) in the rear.
Then, there’s the attachment system. For smaller motorhomes with 16-inch and 16.5-inch wheels, a hubcap type retention system is used. These covers have retention clips and fingers that bite into the wheel itself, enabling the cover to be snapped into place with a forceful hit from your hand and secured with a few taps on the outer edge of the cover with a rubber mallet.
For larger wheels, such as those 19.5 inches in diameter or more, a different method of attachment is used. As these wheels go down the road they flex, which can easily pop off a cover using retention clips as a fastening system. Covers for 19.5-inch wheels are held on with a bracket system that is attached to the wheel or hub of the wheel.
The front brackets are attached two different ways. depending on the type of chassis your unit is built on. For a GMC, Chevrolet and Workhorse chassis, the bracket is attached to two dowel pins located directly across from each other on the mounting plane. On all other chassis this bracket is attached with jam nuts that use the exposed threads on the wheel studs above the lug nut, For the rear wheels, a bracket with legs is attached to the wheel hub to provide a single, centered mounting stud that secures the cover.
AS FOR WHEEL SIMULATORS, two popular types come from Dicor Products, FastLiners® and Versa Liners®. FastLiners® are available in 16-inch and 16.5-inch sizes and use the hubcap retention system. Versa Liners® use a mechanical attachment system that uses two jam nuts encapsulated in lug nut covers to hold the simulator on a wheel.
So, to find the right covers or simulators for your motorhome, it helps to have the following information.
•Wheel size or diameter
•Number of lug nuts
•Number and shape of hand holes
•Any special part numbers
Please see the accompanying illustration and the following notes to understand what this information refers to and how to find it.
Wheel size is usually expressed in inches as the diameter of the wheel, which for motorhomes will be either 16 inches, 16.5 inches, 17 inches, 19.5 inches or 22.5 inches.
Most motorhome wheels have eight or 10 lug nuts.
Hand holes: Found in the wheel web between the mounting plane and the rim. Covers and simulators should match the hand holes on your wheels. It’s helpful to note whether these holes are round or oval as well as how many. A good match in size, number and shape is important here because one of the functions of these holes is to let in the right amount of air through the wheels to help cool the brakes.
For older Firestone® – Accuride™ wheels used on many motorhomes, you can also obtain a simple part number that covers these specifications, which will start with the numbers 27, 28 or 29, that is stamped on the mounting plane between the lug nut holes on the front wheels (see diagram). If for some reason the number is worn off, you can also find it with the rear wheels by looking at the inside flat part of the rim next to the bead seat. Maxion wheels made for Chevy/Workhorse chassis have a wheel part number starting in “w” in the same locations. Some people may find it helpful to take a picture of the number and the wheel to email to their dealer for further visual confirmation
Chassis manufacturer: Many wheel specs are organized by chassis manufacturer and they may have different part numbers and configurations for similar wheel sizes.
This information should enable you to find the right cover / simulator set and replacement parts for your wheels to add that extra exterior sparkle to your motorhome.