Once you're satisfied that the spinners are properly tightened, insert the knock-off lock pins into the holes formed by the semicircular grooves on the wheel adapter and spinner (Image F). You'll notice that the knock-off lock pins are slightly tapered; the smaller end is inserted first. It may be necessary to lightly tap on the pins to allow clearance for the center cap to snap into place. Take care, though, as the pins are easily bent.
Don't place all of your confidence in the lock pins' ability to secure the wheels. They are simply an additional safety measure, and they won't prevent an improperly installed wheel from coming loose.
Now that all four wheels are installed on the vehicle, use a fine marker to place an indexing mark across each spinner and onto its corresponding wheel center cone. Draw a straight line across the top of the adapter onto the edge of the spinner (Image G). This mark will give you an immediate reference point to see if the spinner is coming loose during your testdrive.
Drive the car extremely slowly while listening for any strange sounds that might indicate that the wheel isn't properly tightened. After a short distance, inspect the index marks for alignment. If they aren't aligned, the spinners were not tightened adequately and are too loose. Re-torque the spinners before trying to drive the car any farther. Take several short testdrives involving left- and righthand turns before moving on to the next step. A wheel that is coming loose will sometimes make a clicking noise or cause the car to pull. If you notice either of these signs, stop immediately.
Once the wheels are properly installed, it's recommended that you check them often for tightness. As an added, more permanent, safety precaution, you can place a small piece of gray striping tape across the spinner and onto the wheel center cone where you made your indexing mark. The tape will blend in with the wheel and will not wash off when the car gets wet. Check regularly to ensure that the tape has been disrupted or torn; if it has, do not drive the car. This is an indication that the wheel is becoming loose.
There are a number of knock-off–specific tools available in the aftermarket. These include a suction-cup puller tool that can be used to remove the center caps without scratching or bending them, a common result when using a screwdriver. The cost of the puller tool is around $10.
Also available are knock-off wrench tools (Image H) that can be used for tightening spinners without damaging the chrome plating, as can happen over time when using a lead hammer. Keep in mind, however, that these wheels were designed with the hammer method in mind, and using a wrench deviates from Chevy's recommended installation procedure. For this reason, most Corvette mechanics still feel more comfortable using a hammer. Knock-off wrench tools range from $200-300.
If the foregoing procedures seem daunting, or you're still afraid of losing a wheel, you may want to consider purchasing a set of conventional bolt-on rims and installing them in place of your stockers. Most large Corvette suppliers offer bolt-on wheels that look very similar to your original knock-offs and can be installed without modification. Good luck, and I hope to see you out driving your car. vette
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