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May 2011 From The Back 40

Posted in Features on May 1, 2011
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Does the economy have you down? Have you thrown in the towel on some of the mods you planned for your rig? Hey, chin up, because I'm about to introduce you to a couple of ways to modify your rig without spending a lot of your hard-earned cash. You'll get the look and trail cred you want for significantly less money than you ever imagined. All in a way you never thought possible.

What is the most overlooked, unappreciated part of a four-wheel drive rig? Yep, you guessed it; it's the wheel center caps. The center caps just sit there, silently doing their job. They require no maintenance. They function flawlessly whether it's blazing hot or brutally cold. For too long, this important part of four-wheel-drive rigs has been neglected and ignored. Well, not anymore.

I was recently inspired by these amazing little items (and the success of faux beadlock wheels) to invent wheel center caps that get the appreciation and attention they deserve. Not only will they become the focal point of your rig, they'll also make your rig the topic of conversation. When you roll up with these babies on your rig, people will stand in awe of your rig's awesomeness

Faux Lockout Hubs
Lockout hub conversion kits are one of the coolest mods you can make to your rig and they're a sign that you obviously have it "going on" when it comes to tech. My idea is to manufacture wheel center caps that are exact replicas of popular lockout hubs. Yep, you just slip 'em into your front wheels and voila, you'll be the man/woman about town. Imagine how cool you'll look rollin' large in your truck or SUV, lookin' like you got the pricey lockout hub conversion as those "lockout hubs" whirl like little magic roulette wheels. Nobody will ever know you haven't really done a lockout hub conversion unless you tell 'em. Or unless they try to lock or unlock the hubs. Or unless you auger 'em into a rock on the trail and they shatter into a gazillion pieces, spewing plastic in every direction. For added realism I'd offer an optional "Faux Lockout Pro Package" that would include a small tube of axle grease that one could apply around the outer edge of each "hub" to simulate a leaking cap O-ring.

Faux 1-Ton Full-Float Axle Caps
One of the most drool-worthy mods a wheeler can make to their rig is a beefy, 1-ton, full-float rear axle. My second Great Idea is to make wheel center caps that look like 1-ton full-float axle ends, and they'll be a perfect companion to the Faux Front Lockout Hubs. Your friends will be speechless with envy when you roll up in your rig and it appears you've upgraded your rear axle. I'd offer 'em in GM 14-bolt and Ford 10.5-inch to start, and each kit would include a small, easy-to-pack, Campfire Edition booklet/tutorial of heavy-duty axle lingo. Upgrade packages would include officially licensed versions of caps that resemble axles fitted with axleshafts from your favorite aftermarket axle company.

But That's Not All
But the fun doesn't end by simply installing the Faux Lockout Hubs up front and 1-Ton Full-Float Axle Caps out back. Oh no, not by a long shot. Slap Faux Lockout Hubs in the rear wheels, and your friends will think your rig has rear steer. Or they'll think you've set your rig up for flat towing because you just purchased that diesel-pusher motorhome you've been wanting. And for those times when you want to really get your wheeling friends talking, throw a set of Faux 1-Ton Full-Float Axle Caps in the front wheels of your rig. The confusion should light a fire on your Facebook page or on your club's forum. It's also worth noting that these items would do wonders for those who can only afford a two-wheel drive truck. I envision a bonus kit for two-wheel-drives that would include the entire collection of Faux Hubs plus a pair of 4x4 stickers. A warning/information sticker would be included so car salesman wouldn't be misled into thinking it's a real four-wheel drive at trade-in time.

So There You Have It
Clearly, the Faux Lockout Hubs and Faux 1-Ton Full-Float Axle Caps are brilliant, innovative, and timely, great ideas. Obviously they're the next Big Thing. Or maybe not.
-Ken Brubaker

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