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-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   Sun Ray Blues (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=20406)

Deanj 04-19-2016 10:21 AM

Sun Ray Blues
My front Sun Ray wheel covers keep falling off during operation. I've read everything from adjusting the tabs, to painting the wheels, to sealing the covers on with RTV-if you can believe that. I'm certain I install these correctly.

It seems some fit better than others as I've replaced the driver's front with a recent purchase. The obvious problems tell me I can't keep hoping to find the ones falling off- I'm 2 for 3- and can't keep up with the demand for trial and error.

Are the Sun Rays just problematic? Beside replacing all wheels with some non-stock aluminum wheel, are the '58s better fitting? 57's?

jopizz 04-19-2016 11:30 AM

I haven't found the sun-rays any worse than other Ford hubcaps of the period. Sometimes the metal gets fatigued and cracks where the tabs meet the outer cap and they will never stay on. I've found that if they go on easy they will fall off. Usually I have to bend the tabs to the point where I have to whack them pretty hard with a rubber mallet to go on. Then they will stay on.


Deanj 04-19-2016 12:24 PM

Thanks John. I bent the tabs so it was very difficult to put on the wheel, but only a change of wheel cover worked on the driver's front, so far. The funny thing is there's no warning as these are properly seated before I leave the house. Only 2 of the original 4 that came with the car remain. I spent plenty of time sanding, polishing and painting these stainless steel wonders just to go on a safari in someone's yard or around freeway ramps.

jopizz 04-19-2016 12:39 PM

I usually notice that they start to turn on the rim before they come off. I've actually had some where the valve stem gets bent underneath the cap. As you said the fronts are more susceptible to falling off than the rears. I've used both original rims and newer rims and it doesn't seem to make a difference. It seems that once the tabs get bent a few times they lose their strength.


Deanj 04-19-2016 06:40 PM

John, would you then conclude if the wheel cover comes off, it's not worthy anymore anyhow? By virtue of the fact these aren't strong enough to function, we should consider these garage wall art.

I'd hate to purchase a $130.00 new Sun-Ray and have it become a sailor.

jopizz 04-19-2016 07:16 PM

Before I wrote it off I would swap it with one of the rear caps since the fronts seem to fall off more frequently. The sun ray covers are pretty common at auto swap meets. I usually find quite a few for under $10.


DKheld 04-27-2016 02:09 PM

X2 with John - mine would "walk" around the wheel before coming off. Lost 1 of my originals that way. I found that if you bend the edges of the tabs a little extra for it to bite into the steel wheel they stay on better. Since bending mine that way I haven't lost one lately and they no longer walk around the wheel.


Deanj 07-03-2017 11:16 AM

I lost another Sun Ray wheel cover even though I tightened every tab. They seem to work their way out. I suppose the solution is re-pound with mallet every two weeks or develop a Sun Ray look alike aluminum wheel for $250 each. How about it Mac's?


Tbird1044 07-03-2017 03:02 PM

A friend of mine has a 64 Ford Country Squire and he couldn't keep the wheel covers on, no matter what he tried. After a while, I realized he started having the problem after he put radial tires on the car. After some Google searches, I found articles that said the "older" rims flex a lot more with a radial tire, and this becomes a problem with keeping wheel covers attached. If you do a little search on the net you will find related articles. Just thought I would pass this along.

Deanj 07-04-2017 10:43 AM

Thanks Nyles. I saw Mac's saying the same as you while selling their new steel wheels for a premium. Radials flex the old steel wheels. Some of mine walk around the wheel, also.

The solution is new steel wheels, aluminum wheels, or maintain these every week-which is reasonable unless I want to keep buying spares. I just put my last spare on.

I considered buying 15 inch aluminum wheels when these tires are ready for replacement in 2027.


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