Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts

Front Hub and Wheel Installation - 1967 Chevelle

Add Article To List

Do you remember how excited I was after I installed the front brakes? I was finally going to be able to put the wheels and tires on the “broken car” and show Max my progress. Well, that didn’t go on-script either. After so much careful measuring and mocking up, my 15” front wheels are the ones that proved to be the problem. The 10” wide rears cleared the 12” brakes no sweat. The fronts didn’t fare as well. They contacted the calipers at the drop in the rim. It looked like the only way to be able to get away with skinny steel wheels on the front was going to be with the help of a spacer.

If you’ll also recall, I mentioned my dislike for the Wilwood aluminum hubs. This is a purely aesthetic hang-up that I have and is in no way a reflection on the brake system or the performance. The hubs just look silly when you run them with wheels that allow the dust cap and hub neck to show. They’re a non-sequitur. The timeless look of open centered mag wheels is jarred back into the modern-day by the precision machined cap poking through where a hammered in chrome dust cap should be.

Silly, I know. It’s one of those things that will totally put me off of a car though. Since I needed to take apart the brakes again, in order to install longer studs to use with a spacer, I might as well do something about the look of the hubs as well. For the record, I don’t like using spacers, but if I need to employ them, I wanted plenty of thread engagement and the strongest studs I could get.

Black steel wheels with dog-dish caps and redlines are a big part of my original vision for this car. With a hubcap covering the center of the wheel who cares what they look like. My concern comes from personna #2 for this all-black Chevelle. A set of Real Rodder Sprints with a polished magnesium EZ-Care finish. Incidentally, they cleared the calipers without a problem. At any rate, I plan to run the mag wheels with center delete plates on the rear and no center cap in the front. That leaves the world exposed to these hubs I despise.

If you remember the way that these brakes are assembled from the earlier article, you know that changing the lug studs means removing the rotors from the car and backing the studs out after the brake hat is removed from the main hub. Remember that red Locktite? Yeah, at least this time, it dawned on me to break all the hardware loose while the rotors were still attached to the car.

Once I had the setup removed, I could mask and paint the face of the hub and tower leading up to the dust cap. These parts are precision machined and fit very cleanly together, sealing with an o-ring. I was sure to take care in masking the mating surface to protect it and the bearings inside. I chose semi-gloss black and painted just the face of the hub. You could easily do this on the vehicle as well. Just mask the lug studs too.

The caps share the same machined finish and have a metal decal in the center. This decal is placed in the center of a depression and is difficult to get under. I used the corner of a razor blade taking care not to gouge the surface.

After thinking on it for a bit, I came up with a slick way to expedite the sanding and polishing steps required to bring the caps up to standards. You may laugh, but as it turned out, a small sanding drum attachment for my die grinder fit snugly in the tapered dust cap. I loosened the nut and put the sanding drum and fixture inside the cap and tightened the nut back up to expand the diameter. This proved to be a secure and concentric way to hold the cap in my drill press.

If it works, it's not dumb.

With the cap spinning at medium speed in the drill press I began by sanding off the machined lines on the surface. (no rings, no gloves, no long sleeves) I also softened the ledge on the face of the cap where the decal had been. This went quickly with 400 grit sandpaper. I stepped to 600 grit and then 1,000. All of this sanding was done dry. You can stop the drill periodically and gauge your progress. It’s key to keep the sandpaper moving and not to gouge or dwell in one place. After the surface was free of all unwanted texture, I stepped up to 2500 grit. At this point, the part should start to take on the characteristics of cloudy polished aluminum. That’s when you know you’re ready to really make a mess.

I like Busch polish (look for it soon from Speedway Motors) you can use whatever liquid, paste or wadding polish you like. With a moving part like this, the process will go quickly no matter what.

I put a small dab of polish on a terry cloth rag and worked it into the part with the drill turned off. After the surface started giving off some black onto the cloth, I started the drill at a low speed to help control heat. Taking this approach will also help save some of the mess. After I was satisfied with the smoothness of the surface I cleaned excess tarnish off with a clean terry rag and buffed the cap to a mirror-like shine.

While not exactly period-perfect they don’t stand out like a sore thumb anymore and that’s good enough for me.

After both sides were done, I stuck everything back together and was able to add a ½” spacer to the front that allowed the use of my 5” steelies. So, after months of constant ribbing from my two-year-old son about my, “broken car not having any tires”, I was finally able to set the car on the ground and roll it around.

His response to my proud presentation of this revelation? “Can we drive it now?” This kid. . . I can’t get a break!

Related Articles

Installing a Speedway Motors 22 Circuit Wiring Kit
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
This Chevelle project gets rewired with a Speedway Motors 22 Circuit wiring kit. Follow along as Jeff guides you through this application, starting with a good mounting location for the fuse box. Learn more on continuity, grounding and relays.
How to Install an EFI Fuel Tank - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Hot Rod
A step by step on how to install an EFI Fuel Tank kit in a 1967 Chevelle. Learn the benefits of using this kit including expanded fuel capacity and a 24 gallon tank.
Removing Paint on Car Body Panels - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
Follow along as Jeff demonstrates how to strip paint from the body panels of his 1967 Chevelle using a restorer porter cable tool. Learn how to save time by having the panels acid dipped to remove layers of paint.
Redline Radial Tire Application- 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
Jeff chooses Redline Radial Tires and black powder-coated steel wheels for his 1967 Chevelle. See how he installs the tires with some helpful tips along the way.
Installing a Gear Reduction Mini Starter - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
To keep this project moving forward, Jeff installs a gear reduction mini starter on his big block. See how to apply the mini starter on 153 or 168 tooth flexplates.
Lokar Muscle Car Shifter Installation - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
Jeff tackles the installation of the Lokar Muscle Car Shifter inside of a factory stick-shift floor pan section. This product won a "Best Interior Product" Award at the SEMA show in 2016.
Mounting a Fuse Block to the Firewall- 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
Next up for Jeff's 1967 Chevelle is fuse block mounting and wiring. View this guide on how to remove old wiring to installing a new fuse block and 22 circuit wiring harness.
Installing a Front Runner Drive System - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Tech
Jeff demonstrates how to install the front runner drive system by Vintage Air in his 1967 Chevelle project car all while maintaining a simple, factory fresh look.
Installing Automotive A/C Vents - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Hot Rod
Learn how to equip your car with A/C by installing the Vintage Air GenIV SureFit Complete Kit. Jeff installs this kit in his 1967 Chevelle while making some vent modifications to enhance the look and direct air better.
How to Mount an A/C Evaporator - 1967 Chevelle
by Jeff Karls - Posted in Hot Rod
Jeff demonstrates how to install and mount an A/C evaporator in his 1967 Chevelle. Read some tips on how to get a clean factory appearance.