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Hubcaps

This component is part of Wheels and Tires. We also have good instructions on how to paint your hubcaps.

Definition

On the wheels with steel rims, a Hubcap (German: Radzierblende) is mounted. There are two major kinds of hubcaps:

  • split, or earlier style hubcaps used on the 230SL and 250SL. It consists of a trim ring and a small hub cap

Two-piece hub cap


  • one-piece later style hubcaps used on the 280 SL.

One-piece hubcap


The change from the earlier to the later style hubcap took place January 1968, in conjunction with the introduction of the "New Generation" dash eight [/8] Mercedes cars.

The earlier style (small) hubcaps press into the Rims using either pins or small noses, depending on Rim type. It separates into an outer ring and a small hubcap.


Exploded two-piece hubcap


The outer ring is attached using retaining clips similar to, but not the same as, the later clips shown below. The spring clip Part # is 113 401 0628.(6 on each ring).


Outer ring



Center inside


As a result of these the Rims used on the 280SL miss pins or noses for the small style hub caps. They are attached using clips, see picture of the later retaining clips below, Part # 123 401 0128 (4 used per cap).


Inside of one piece hubcap



Clips



Early 230 Clips


Colours

The steel wheels themselves are not made by Mercedes-Benz but bought in from one of three vendors. The wheels in the early sixties were painted with a grey-green basic coat of semi-matte paint from the manufacturer (Südrad, Kronprinz or Lemmerz). At the Mercedes-Benz factory, the wheels were sprayed with the body colour of the car, from the outside. The rear side thus remained grey-green, with spray "fuzz" behind the openings in the wheel metal. Sometime in 1966 the colour on the wheel centers was changed to black (also semi-matte) from factory, like it still is today. The body colour of the car was sprayed on from the outside, like before. Then, in 1968, the hub caps were changed to the whole (one-piece) wheel hub cap. There was thus a "rationalisation" which allowed the wheel centers (rims) bought in from vendors to remain black (= lowered production cost). The inside of the little chrome hub centers were painted with a sand or pale grey shade, just like the inside of the bumpers. We usually use DB 158 paint to represent this when restoring a vehicle. After 1968, the one-piece large wheel hub caps were not chrome anymore, just pressed metal. They were painted an olive drab paint on their insides.

Wheel centres are painted the same as the body of the car. On a W113 (or if a coupé or sedan that has two colours/shades) the colour number is marked "UT" on the data card. The outside centres of the hub caps (around the embossed star) is painted the same colour as the W113 H/T (or roof on a coupé or sedan that has two colours/shades) and the shade (colour number) is marked "OT" on the data card. If the W113 car has H/T colour is same as body colour (like on my 250SL) the colour marking in the data card (and on the little plate near the hood catch in the engine compartment) is repeated twice "568/568". If your car has black H/T (colour No 040) the hub cap centres are supposed to be black 040 too (they were at delivery ex factory).

Adding Hubcap Pin

AL 14" Rims - "Heckflosse" hubcap mounts

The following is an instruction for fitting pins to Alloy wheels to allow fitting of the ‘dog dish’ type hubcap of the 230SL and early 250SL’s

From the following 190SL site http://190slparts.com/page12.html From table 24 you need #2, 3, 4, 5, and 2 bolts/washers/locknuts PER clip. Ignoring the cost of the mounting hardware - $31.90.

Total cost to do 4 wheels -> $382.80!!!!!!

Yes - you can cut these clips off old wheels, but that is still a lot of work.

I really wanted the 14" AL rims, but I wasn't about to spend the time and $ on these poorly designed clips.

Being that I'm more familiar with the 110/111 chassis cars (known as Heckflosse or Fintail) I knew the steel 13" rims had 3 simple "nipples" that work very well.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the nipples listed as a separate part in my EPC, and even more amazed they were still available. The Classic Center informed me there were "thousands" on hand in Germany. They were very surprised I wanted to order 15 (a few spares for experimenting). I guess the demand for these is pretty low!

Cost - $1.40 each part # 110-401-01-74. 4 rims can be done for $16.80!

On the steel rims, these are pressed in and then "mushroomed" on that back. The AL rims are much thicker. This wouldn't be an option for numerous reasons. Instead, I threaded the posts. I know it isn't a Metric thread, but 10-24 coarse was the best size to thread the posts. This is also a common tap/die combo to find. I believe the posts are HARDENED - don't get a cheap die!

Just transferring the measurements from the 13" steel heckflosse rim wasn't going to work b/c the profile of the 14" AL rims is completely different. On the 13" heckflosse rims the nipples are pointing straight up. On the AL rim they will be angled - pointing outward. Figuring out the correct placement is vital.

I used one of the nipples with the post cut off, the measurements off the 13" heckflosse rim, a hubcap, digital calipers, poster board, a compass, protractor, ruler, and lots of head scratching. Getting the 3 posts arranged in a triangle would be easy - the 14" AL rims have 15 holes around the perimeter. Aligning with the top of every 5th hole would be easy enough. Getting the posts equally spaced AND the right distance was more work. Using a right angle triangle, equally bisecting the 5th hole, w/ 3 points of contact was the solution. Drilling the hole centered on 24mm (from the opposite end) was the placement I found to work.

(You will notice the pink triangle I used probably will vary from what somebody else may find. I included another photo w/ the triangle next to a ruler to help assist others.)

After marking the 3 spots CENTER-PUNCH your mark before drilling! If the drills "walks" on you - which it will w/o the center punch - all 3 points are useless. Start over on a different set of the 15 holes. You can weld or epoxy the bad holes shut. I experimented on some scrap AL and found a 5/32 drill bit best for tapping the holes 10-24 coarse.

I'm planning to use the RED Lock-Tight to finalize the install. I think this should work well. Open to any other suggestions? I'm a bit concerned about the Aluminum to Steel dissimilar metal contact, but with the thread lock and the eventual powder coating or paint - I think it will be OK for many many years to come.

The hubcaps fit very very well, are centered, and go on/off like they should.

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