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Explorer Center Cap Attachment?


powerplaytwo

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I bought a set of 2001 Explorer alloy, 5 spoke wheels, 15X7 for my ‘97 Ranger which had 14” wheels.
I then bought a set of center caps as the new wheels did not have them. I received them and they have five plastic collars inside which look like they would slide over the lug nuts or bolts. However, there is no way the lug bolts are long enough to reach out to hold the center caps on. So, I guess I am missing some hardware for attaching these center caps to the wheels. I have looked in many places but can’t find any information on how these were originally held in place. I guess I need to send them back and start over.
 


sgtsandman

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The factory lug nuts should look like this. The center cap should clip onto them.

 

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powerplaytwo

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Thank you for your reply. The lug bolts on the truck look like those, but I still don’t see how the clips on the caps could clip on the lugs and hold, as there is about a 2” space between them.
 

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Thank you for your reply. The lug bolts on the truck look like those, but I still don’t see how the clips on the caps could clip on the lugs and hold, as there is about a 2” space between them.
I think you have to use the Ranger center caps to clear the front hub on the 97 and older. They are the deep chrome looking covers on the 98-11 Rangers. For the 4x4 front end on the 97 and older you have to cut out basically the center circle on the 98+ Ranger center caps to clear the front hub.
 

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Which wheels and center caps do you have. Can you post a picture of them or a truck that has them?

Those lug nuts should work for a large portion of the aluminum Ranger and Explorer wheels.
 

lil_Blue_Ford

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Which wheels and center caps do you have. Can you post a picture of them or a truck that has them?

Those lug nuts should work for a large portion of the aluminum Ranger and Explorer wheels.
I’m betting he has the flat caps that the 02+ Explorers usually used. They aren’t deep enough to cover even the front dust covers on the 97 and older 2wd, much less the 4x4 hubs. Those flat covers only work with the 00-11 Rangers to my knowledge. The live front axle or 2wd trucks. He needs a deeper cover and/or to cut the covers for the front.
 

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The live front axle or 2wd trucks.
I think that would be live axle only wouldn't it? I thought all 2WD Rangers from 98-11, and 2WD Explorers from 96-01, had the same hub and brake setup. Only differed in the knuckle attach points from my understanding.

You could be right, the only Explorer only caps/wheels I'm familiar with were the 96-01 Limited, and those clip directly to the wheel. Those are also 16s, not 15s. Most other Explorer wheels I've seen from the 96-01 generation used the same/similar mounting to the Rangers, if not the same wheel all together.
 

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I took mine off once only to have a devil of a time getting them to stick back on. I bought new stock replacements. Once again, no go. Good luck.
 

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Not calling you a liar, but that doesn't make sense to me. Line them up with the lug nuts and give them a firm bump with the side of your fist or palm, they should snap right on. I've had several sets of those style wheels and center caps, never had a problem removing and installing the caps.
 

Lefty

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Not calling you a liar, but that doesn't make sense to me. Line them up with the lug nuts and give them a firm bump with the side of your fist or palm, they should snap right on. I've had several sets of those style wheels and center caps, never had a problem removing and installing the caps.
I bought my truck used. Maybe those were not stock lugs. I bought polished aluminum wheels anyway.
 

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I think that would be live axle only wouldn't it? I thought all 2WD Rangers from 98-11, and 2WD Explorers from 96-01, had the same hub and brake setup. Only differed in the knuckle attach points from my understanding.

You could be right, the only Explorer only caps/wheels I'm familiar with were the 96-01 Limited, and those clip directly to the wheel. Those are also 16s, not 15s. Most other Explorer wheels I've seen from the 96-01 generation used the same/similar mounting to the Rangers, if not the same wheel all together.
Live axle is only 4x4. Means there’s no manual or auto hubs, the front axle is locked to the wheels so it’s always turning whether it’s in 2wd or 4x4. I know the Edge models used torsion bars with unit bearings and stuff. I have a 2000 2wd and it uses coil springs and individual bearings and all. Never tried the flatter caps but I think they would clear the dust cover for the bearings. Up until it got wrecked I was considering going to gear oil soaked bearings instead of grease on it. Those flat ones wouldn’t have cleared because the cap for the oil is more about the size of a PVH locking hub, so the deep ones would cover it.

All of the 97 and older stuff that I’ve seen used center caps that screwed to the wheels. Rim size doesn’t seem to make a difference, 14” and up seem to have all used the same size caps, so it doesn’t seem to matter what rim size you get caps from
 

Lefty

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Live axle is only 4x4. Means there’s no manual or auto hubs, the front axle is locked to the wheels so it’s always turning whether it’s in 2wd or 4x4. I know the Edge models used torsion bars with unit bearings and stuff. I have a 2000 2wd and it uses coil springs and individual bearings and all. Never tried the flatter caps but I think they would clear the dust cover for the bearings. Up until it got wrecked I was considering going to gear oil soaked bearings instead of grease on it. Those flat ones wouldn’t have cleared because the cap for the oil is more about the size of a PVH locking hub, so the deep ones would cover it.

All of the 97 and older stuff that I’ve seen used center caps that screwed to the wheels. Rim size doesn’t seem to make a difference, 14” and up seem to have all used the same size caps, so it doesn’t seem to matter what rim size you get caps from
Whatever the case may be, I tossed out those rusty old steel wheels and bought new aluminum which came with caps that just won't come off. New wheels and caps might be expensive. Mine were Pro Comps which cost a very reasonable $150.00 ea.

They are a very nice upgrade which may even add to the value of your truck. A friend of mine has made this change a couple times, then sold for a small profit. Personally I don't think it's worth all the trouble. Just enjoy them for what they are.
 

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powerplaytwo

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Here are pictures of the wheel and caps. They are supposed to be 2001 Explorer, but I really don’t know as I bought them both used. The caps sit right in the center recess, but the retaining collars do not extend into the wheel area to come in contact with the lugs nuts.
 

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