Welcome back everyone! As further research and development is done to Vancity Diecast wheels, so will the wheel swapping methods!
There are many different methods and resources online where you can reference on how to do wheel swaps.
The following guide below is specific to Vancity Diecast wheels and can be done by people of all skill levels.
This wheel swap guide is for Vancity Diecast wheels featuring a “through-axle” where wheels have a visible hole through the front.
Materials Required (you can purchase these from a local hardware store, or click on the links to purchase from Amazon):
– power drill
– 9/64″ drill bit
– small side cutters
– gorilla glue
– small flathead screwdriver or awl pointed screwdriver
– optional: hammer and punch
– optional: micro drill bit (0.8mm)
– optional: small beads
– optional: 2-56 sized self-tapping screws
For this guide, I will be swapping the new “Fuchs” style wheels on this Hot Wheels ’96 Porsche Carrera. This is one of my favorite castings, as it is clean and elegant. With the right wheels, this casting is sure to stand out!
Since the blister card is in good shape, I wanted to preserve it. Instead of tearing the plastic bubble from the card, I decided to use acetone (nail polish remover) and brushed the backside of the card right behind where the adhesive attaches the bubble. After that area of the blister bubble is saturated, adhesive should reliquify in about 10-20 seconds. This gives you enough time to separate the plastic bubble from the cardboard without ripping the printed surface. If the casting you already have is unpackaged, or the blister card you have is in bad shape or you don’t plan on re-using it skip doing this!
The first step that needs to be done is to drill the rivet heads from the bottom of the car. Use your drill, attach your drill bit, and start drilling through the center of the rivet head. I recommend putting a piece of paper towel on your workspace, as it will get messy and you don’t want fine metal shavings around to clean up later. Once enough of the rivet head is drilled out, you should be able to pry the car apart with some force.
Once the car comes apart, take out the windows and interior plastic pieces and set those aside. We will be working on the base of the vehicle. You will notice that each axle is attached by 3 little tabs. We need to remove the old wheel/axles from the base. I personally bend the axle slightly so my side cutter pliers can snip them off. If you are planning on keeping the original wheels, carefully pry the tabs with a small screwdriver or pointed awl. If the casting you have has a metal base, it is harder to bend the tabs so you may have to drill them out at some point. Once the old wheels/axles are removed, proceed to the next step.
The most troublesome part of wheel swapping is axle creation. As mentioned, there are many different methods/techniques to form axles. Some people like re-using old axles and attaching them together with small tubing, but this process requires more work to the base and may be cumbersome to beginners.
Vancity Diecast wheel sets include 2 axle rods. The newest style wheels include two pin-style axles which have a cap on one end and a pointed end on the other. The pin-style axles should be long enough for the majority of castings. We have to figure out the correct length for the axles, so first slide a wheel through the rod’s pointed end. After that stick it through the base of the casting and attach the wheel on the other side. Take note of the excess axle length. Take out the wheels and trim the axle accordingly, leaving about 2-4mm sticking out for crimping. It is better to leave more excess axle length than too short, so take your time and re-trim later on if necessary.
Some older style wheels will have our older axles included, which will require crimping on both sides.
To prevent the wheel from sliding off the axle, we will have to crimp the end of the axle that was trimmed. You can use the flat part of the pliers or use a hammer/punch in order to crimp the end of the axle. You just have to crimp a very tiny portion of the end of the axle, please reference photos below.
Once you have crimped the end of the axle, it should look something like the image below. The crimped end of the axle is larger than the axle hole on the wheel which prevents the wheel from sliding off the axle.
Optionally, if you want a better finish put a small bead onto the end of the axle before crimping. The bead simulates the round axle cap. It won’t look 100%, but the end result will be much cleaner than without it. Some people prefer the crimped end without a bead, and some people may prefer trimming the capped end as well. Use whichever method works for you!
Another new method: you can use a bit of super glue/gorilla glue on the end of the trimmed axle (instead of crimping) and attach a small bead to it. Once it dries, you can use a silver/chrome paint pen to color the glue for a very clean finish!
If you have not bent or drilled out the tabs holding the original axle in place, now would be the time. For plastic bases, I use my pointed awl tool or a small flathead screwdriver to bend the axle tabs back. Once that is done, put the new wheel and axle assembly into the axle channel, and bend the tabs back in place to hold the axle in.
Next, use some gorilla glue and apply it to the area where the tabs hold in the axles. This helps to reduce axle wobble and if you are planning on adding some camber later to your casting, this is a great idea. If you have a metal base with drilled out tabs, or accidently broke your plastic tabs, the gorilla glue is what helps to hold the axles in place. Once the glue is applied, leave it to dry for a couple hours.
Once the glue is dry, you can now reassemble the vehicle back together. The casting should snap back into place. Take a look and admire your hard work!
For reference, the rear wheel on the Porsche Carrera has the capped end from the axle, and the front wheel has the crimped end with bead.
When you perform the wheel swaps, make sure the ends of the axles are on the same side for a cleaner look!
That concludes this wheel swap guide! However, there are more additional steps you can take to finish off your work.
The casting is not permantly secured to iself, as you can still snap off and disassemble the casting. This would be fine to leave if you plan on taking the wheels off and swapping a different set down the line.
If you want to secure your casting together, you can use superglue/gorilla glue at the bottom of the base where the rivet heads were drilled out to hold the casting in place. Many customizers also use small self-tapping screws (2-56 sized) which also holds the casting together. Whichever method or what you choose to do to your castings are perfectly fine!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly!