Wheel Installation Guide Tool

(Wheel Hangers)

 

12x1.5mm Wheel Hangers - fits all Mini Cooper (2002-on) and most BMW, Mercedes, Saab and Volvo

1-4 Tools - $24.95ea

5-9 Tools - $19.95ea

10+ Tools - $15.00ea

 

Back in the good old days (pre-80's), just about all car manufacturers used wheel studs and lug nuts as a means of attaching wheels to the car's hubs. Many US and just about all Japanese car makers still use studs although the Europeans (Alfa, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche 996/Boxster, Saab, VW & Volvo) are fairly unanimous in their use of wheel bolts.

Using lug bolts avoids stud and wheel damage when mounting the wheels onto the car. However, aligning the wheel's bolt holes with the matching holes on the hubcentric hub can be difficult, especially when using wheel spacers or mounting today's larger sized wheel and tire combinations. When the wheel slips off the hubcentric hub ring as you try to align the holes, it can damage the wheel or caliper finish, the backing plate or injure the person doing the work as their hands become covered with brake soot. Try changing today's large diameter (17"- 20" wheels with tires) without this tool and you'll see what I mean.....its a lot easier to simply phone for "roadside assistance".

Manufacturers have recognized these problems to some degree and have included factory tools, apparently as a casual afterthought considering the quality of these products, to help guide the wheel onto the hub. BMW uses an arbor drift with a plastic tip (try holding the arbor, the wheel and the lug bolt with only 2 hands), Audi offers a plastic threaded hanger (I've got 2 with the threaded ends snapped off) and Mercedes includes an aluminum threaded guide with their sedans (a little weak in my opinion....Mercedes must think so too as they don't include one with the current M-class trucks).

The Ultimate Garage wheel installation guide tools are made from 300 Series stainless steel and include a knurled ring to grip the hanger when installing or removing the tool. If the tool becomes stuck, there's an end slot for use of screwdriver. The tool has a distinct thread stop to stabilize it in the hub when installed.

 

Using the Guide Tool: For most applications, 1 tool is sufficient. When using a single guide, position the wheel hub so that one of the hub holes is at the 12 o'clock position. Grab the wheel/tire assembly and hold it with the matching wheel hole at 12 o'clock. Using the tool as a guide, slide the wheel onto the hub's centering ring. The wheel will hang on the guide while you install the lug bolts, tightening them with your socket to seat the wheel. Remove the tool and install the final bolt. After snugging all of the bolts, lower the car and torque to factory specs. (Note- the tool can also help prevent accidental damage when removing your wheels. The 4 1/2" extension allows you to slide the wheel away from the hub and caliper without contact.).

The tool is also useful when replacing brake rotors. It will ensure that the lug holes in the rotor are perfectly aligned with the holes in the wheel hub. If your car uses rotor retainer screws (eg, BMW), install these screws with the tool guide in place.

 

Install wheel guide tool into the hub. Hand tighten only.

Optional- for cars using spacers, slide wheel spacer into place.

Hang wheel onto the guide tool.

Install lug bolts. Remove guide tool and install the final bolt. Tighten to mfg's torque specification.

 

Frequently Asked Question:

1. Why is your wheel guide tool so expensive? I can make one from and old stud or I can cut the head off a long bolt.

First of all, if you've converted your car from lug bolts to studs, you don't need this tool. Secondly, you can make your own wheel installation guide tool from a long bolt of the proper thread diameter/pitch. However, realize that any exposed threads on the bolt or studs will act as a rasp to remove paint and aluminum from your expensive wheels when you slide them over the guides.

My objective was to make the ultimate tool for our expensive cars which the manufacturers would be proud to include in their factory tool kits. Appearance and finish were important...the tool could never rust and I didn't want any plating which could mar the wheels during installation.....machined stainless steel was the material of choice. Strength was mandatory as today's large wheels & tires can weigh up to 60lbs each.....aluminum, which would have been about 1/2 the price in materials and labor, was out of the question. The end was knurled for grip....this process is difficult and time consuming given the hardness of this material. The tool's end points were beveled for safety (no sharp edges) and the exposed end slotted for ease of removal. Finally, cutting the threads on a piece almost 5" long requires slower lathes speeds....this did not make my machinist very happy.

2. Are there any wheels that won't work with the wheel hanger?

The wheel guide tools was designed to work with all factory wheels and most aftermarket rims. However, I've encountered a few which have been drilled to diameters very close to the lug bolt size. The 12mm tool requires a lug hole diameter of .515" and the 14mm tool requires .575". Wheels reported which do not work with the guide tool are:

BMW: IFG wheels

Please check your wheels before ordering any of the above tools. Also, if you find other rims which will not work, please let me know so I can add them to the above list.