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universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:41 am
by philip
a fellow chapter member of mine has a set of universal welding co. wire wheels on his 1915 touring. one of the hubcaps is stripped.
i an going to try to repair it. its thin brass with really fine threads. does anyone have a process that they use to repair these. also
see the picture does anyone have one to sell? thanks philip

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:05 pm
by Kevin Pharis
Good luck with your search... not many of these wheels out there, and I’m sure even fewer extra hub caps. The new Mclaren brand wheels are a reproduction of the Universal brand wheels. You should look up Mike Lebsack, as the Mclaren caps may directly interchange with the Universal. Could most likely recreate the logo and make whatever you need

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:57 pm
by wayne sheldon
I do hope a few people can chime in with better ideas! It is very difficult, quite tricky to do. However, moderately thin brass can be welded and built up using an oxy-acetylene torch. I have done it, and am currently repairing badly cracked brass 1915 style headlamp rims this way. The brass MUST be backed up with something that can take higher heat than the brass can. Brass heats up, heat migrates quickly to larger areas, and the brass goes from not quite hot enough to a hole over a puddle in an instant. Standard brazing rod works well, however, backwards from steel brazing, you must get the brass rod hotter than the piece you are trying to repair and let the melted rod run onto the part and melt together (like I said "tricky").
Repairing brass parts over the years, I have made plaster molds of ares of parts needing repair. Then done the work with a torch. I also sometimes form a steel piece to back up the brass while I weld it (that is how I am doing my headlamp rims). Be very careful to not let the steel get too hot or the brazing rod will stick and you will never get the piece you are trying to repair separated in good condition! For my headlamp rims, I bent a piece of scrap steel to match the curve, and C-clamp it in place to do the welding. For your hubcap, you may be able to get a chunk of steel pipe close to the right size and reshape it slightly. Remember, you need enough steel to heat-sink enough and stay cool enough to not attach to the brass.
Once repairs are done, the piece needs to be annealed by heating the whole piece to an appropriate temperature and slowly cooled (do it at least twice).

ABOVE ALL ELSE!!!! Do NOT attempt this with an important or valuable part until you have practiced on a dozen (AT LEAST!) common cheap similar sized pieces. Fix a few sets of original T brass hubcaps for friends. Do a really thin brass era gas headlamp rim (my '15s are massively thick by comparison), preferably one that is bad enough that nobody would care if you destroy it.

Once the piece is built up, it will need to be carefully chucked into a proper lathe with proper threading capability, and new threads very carefully cut.


Silver solder probably offers better options. I used that years ago to repair headlamp rims that also had to be nickel plated. I suspect it would be a better and safer way to fix threads.


Just a point of semantics. "Brazing" rod can be used on brass, however, "brazing" steel is NOT welding. Yet, when "brazing" rod is used for brass, being like materials it IS considered welding, not brazing. I usually use the pre-fluxed brazing rod, and flux IS needed when welding brass.

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:39 pm
by Scott_Conger
show the inside, with a focus on the threads, please.

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:46 pm
by philip
Yes I have considered brazing also I have a metal spray torch the backing is a good idea. One thought I had was to thread a new brass ring leave it a little thick then cut the threaded portion off of the hubcap and silver brake the new ring on and then
Finish the outside. Philip

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 pm
by tdumas
You could do the same thing using a brass Model T hubcap and silver braze together with Harris Safety Solv 45.

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 pm
by tdumas
You could do the same thing using a brass Model T hubcap and silver braze together with Harris Safety Solv 45.

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:00 pm
by tdumas
You could do the same thing using a brass Model T hubcap and silver braze together with Harris Safety Solv 45.

Re: universal hubcap

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:40 am
by philip
This hubcap is 3 inch od