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Old 09-11-2020, 12:52 PM   #1
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Can't Find Valve Stem - OUTER TIRE! E/450

2004 E450 Minnie Winnie (new to me)

On the rear tires, the inside tire has an extended valve stem that protrudes through the outside wheel vent holes. Easy to access. No problem.

However, the OUTSIDE rear tire has no visible valve stem. It is apparently covered by the chromed, full pie-pan, hub cap, which is mounted to the wheel with what appears to be a chrome acorn lugnut! And worse, I think it is put on with an air hammer! My unit came with a 10" long "T-Handle Wrench" which I thought was for removing this beauty hub cap. But, after trying very hard, that acorn nut ain't moving with that skinny metal T-handle.

Anyone have these "chrome hub caps" that cover the outside wheel?
How do they go on or off? Nothing in the Winnie manual at all.
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Old 09-11-2020, 01:44 PM   #2
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in my experience those wheel covers have decorative lug nuts. two of them will come off allowing you to remove the wheel cover. look at each closely. you should be able to tell the difference between the real and decorative.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:24 PM   #3
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On my old Sunova I had to remove those covers to access the valve stems, it definitely was a grumbling point for me.

On each tire there should be two nuts that will have a “dimple”, or line or some form of marking that they are the decorative ones. If you find one the other should be on the opposite site.

If someone cranked them on you may need to use a socket and extension and gently work loose, that T handle doesn’t give you a lot of leverage.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:34 PM   #4
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Rather than look for the notch, I have found they have a definite different sound to the two which you want to remove. Tap each with something like a screwdriver to see if you get a different sound and then the other is directly across from that one.
I don't have the "special" wrench but a set of large slip joint pliers and padding works for me. Maybe a bit of wd-40, etc. sprayed on first to help?
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:32 PM   #5
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Thanks fellas. All good info. I'll go back and try again. But, If I have to remove those hub caps every time for checking pressure......they're outta here! I'm a tire pressure nut. I have to check before each trip and maybe once on the trip! No way, I'm wrestling with that every time!
Cheers!
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:33 PM   #6
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I believe a 1 1/8" socket will fit but find the 2 nuts with a groove around them. They are the only 2 that can be taken off.
i had Borg valve extenders installed. Have excellent results with them
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Old 09-11-2020, 04:57 PM   #7
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Valve extenders??? Who knew? :-)

I shall be looking into that, for sure!

Thanks again!
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:34 PM   #8
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I thought it was just that the covers were not put back in a way to let the valves stick through holes?
If you really like to know what the tires are doing, it sounds like you are ready for a monitor system to tell you full time what the temp and pressure are running as it does change constantly. I went with the type which does not have the valve sticking up to check or add air which I did debate but once I got into looking at the pressure and finally bleeding it way down, I now find the pressure is not something that gives me any trouble at all as it stays much more stable than my car tires and I have never had to add air in more than a year.
Maybe a couple hundred dollars is worth never having to get out and check again as the numbers are right there beside you?
I get spoiled easy!
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRatt View Post
Thanks fellas. All good info. I'll go back and try again. But, If I have to remove those hub caps every time for checking pressure......they're outta here! I'm a tire pressure nut. I have to check before each trip and maybe once on the trip! No way, I'm wrestling with that every time!
Cheers!

For what its worth, my 2016 Minnie Winnie has the "old fashioned"? pry-off wheel covers. None of the special lugs that apparently other rigs have. Once the cover is removed you should see the stem for the outer wheel.

I solved the accessibility issue by buying a kit with steel braided extension hoses that end at brackets attached to the wheel covers. Makes airing up and pressure checks much easier, especially if you get a TPMS and need to add the sensors to each wheel.

If the stem on the front wheels are also hard to access, they make steel stem extenders of various lengths and angles.

I've had this setup for a couple years now and have had no problems at all with it, even on two trips from Alaska to the Lower-48 and back.
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:47 PM   #10
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I went with the type which does not have the valve sticking up to check or add air which I did debate but once I got into looking at the pressure and finally bleeding it way down, I now find the pressure is not something that gives me any trouble at all as it stays much more stable than my car tires and I have never had to add air in more than a year.
Not sure I understand. Are you saying you have no way to add air?
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:10 PM   #11
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Not sure I understand. Are you saying you have no way to add air?
No, just that there are two different designs of the sensor/wheel part. One is called flow through and you put air in a valve at the top of it, while those are bigger, I also did not want to think about the batteries as they are replaceable on that type but with the problem of not being able to fully seal a battery compartment, so they tend to get wet and fail.
The version I chose was not a flow through tyep but can be removed with a special wrench gizmo which has something like a "clawfoot to reach in and under the sensor body to turn a nut to remove the sensor. This arrangement has the advantage of being very difficult to remove without the special wrench but also have "lifetime" batteries in a sealed area so that you send them in for replacement. You get "lifetime" which we all know is not true but they are totally sealed from water leaks. My brother had the flow through at first but was never able to keep the water out and found that it was not a bother to him to use the wrench and remove them on the few occasions when he needed more air. He switched to the smaller seal on his second buy.
There are tons of different makes, models and brands but this is an example of flow through and not.
https://www.etrailer.com/TPMS-Sensor...-507-FT-4.html
https://www.etrailer.com/TPMS-Sensor...ts/LC37VR.html
Note that these are not what I bought but just one of many choices and I would want to reshop if doing it over as things do change quickly on electronics, for sure!
I did not like the set screw to hold on the threads of my valve stems as that seemed like asking for trouble, so I went for the wrench and find I don't need it very often.
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Old 09-12-2020, 12:41 PM   #12
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Saturday Morning Update

Ok, I found the "dimpled" nuts on the hub cap - across from each other. That's good. The bad is, I can't budge them with the T-tool, and a normal SAE 1-1/8 socket won't go over the nut because the center hub interferes. Only the thin wall T-tool will slide over the nut.

I don't know how the tire shop got these on so tight? (4 weeks ago when I got the new XPS RIBS). I suppose I will have to drive to the tire shop and have them loosen.

QUESTION: Are these dimpled nuts ACTUAL LUG NUTS holding the wheel on?
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DesertRatt View Post
Saturday Morning Update

Ok, I found the "dimpled" nuts on the hub cap - across from each other. That's good. The bad is, I can't budge them with the T-tool, and a normal SAE 1-1/8 socket won't go over the nut because the center hub interferes. Only the thin wall T-tool will slide over the nut.

I don't know how the tire shop got these on so tight? (4 weeks ago when I got the new XPS RIBS). I suppose I will have to drive to the tire shop and have them loosen.

QUESTION: Are these dimpled nuts ACTUAL LUG NUTS holding the wheel on?
I took all of mine off this morning just for kicks. All I used was the T tool. It seems flaky, but quite sturdy.

There was one that made me a tad nervous so I sprayed the Penetrating Blaster lubricant https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blaster-PB-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds and waited about 15 minutes. It came right off. Maybe all of yours need lubricating spray?

When you do get around to trying to take it off, try a towel to cover around the T part so you can get a good grip. Just focus on breaking the seal with few hard jerks.

Inside it is a lug nut that goes on the stem. You will NOT break that lug nut. If the T Tool breaks ( and it won't) so be it. Out of 8 at least one should easily come off so you can see inside and say no worries.

I sprayed all of my stems with the lubricant before putting it back together. It is a lot easier than I thought. In future I may pull the hubcaps off to clean in the house and then polish the chrome in the comfort of my house at my leisure.

Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:38 PM   #14
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I'm devising a way to extend the T-tool for more leverage. And I sprayed in with WD40. Tomorrow, I will try again, and if no luck, it's off to the tire store. It's making me nuts!
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:50 PM   #15
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I'm devising a way to extend the T-tool for more leverage. And I sprayed in with WD40. Tomorrow, I will try again, and if no luck, it's off to the tire store. It's making me nuts!
As bold as I am, I don't think I would extend with mechanical leverage. Wrapping that T handle with towel or maybe some big gloves where you can get a good grip, and where you can apply the force downward is all that you should need. If NONE of the 8 come off based on WD-40 and that manual force, I would take to tire store as you state.

I don't know if the WD 40 will penetrate as good as the Penetrating Blaster but it should be good enough. Maybe tap the lug nuts with rubber mallet while you spray the WD- 40?

Note: Make sure you are trying to move the right two off each hub? You can see the notch or as someone suggested if you tap you can hear the sound difference. Now that I have done it, the sound suggestion works great as I just tapped it with the T handle.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:51 PM   #16
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I agree...take them off & leave them in the garage. I never used extensions on the inner..I found a chuck & pressure gauge that worked without an extension. Required having the wheel in the proper rotation & a little patience. I have heard way too many issues with extensions.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:00 PM   #17
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For what its worth, I don't think you need to remove the covers to get to the out board stems. They are there, that are just pointing towards the inside. You have to have a right angle tire gauge. Just one man's thoughts.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:36 PM   #18
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Removing the "wheel simulators"

The T-bar wrench is pretty much worthless if the wheel simulator jamb nuts are more than just a snugly tight. I used a 1- 1/8 deep socket with an extension and a pull handle to remove mine the first time. Evidently they were put on with an impact wrench at the tire store. When I put them back on, I lubricated them and put them back on just snugly with the T-bar.

BTW, after you take them off, you can line up the holes to match the location of the valve stem. However, I always have to take mine off to check the air because the simulated wheel holes are too small to get the air gauge lined up properly to check the pressure. And, you need to go to NAPA and get the proper truck type pressure gauge to properly check the inside or outside rear valve stems due to their position and orientation.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:37 PM   #19
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If all four wheel covers are the same, move to another wheel and look for the removeable lugs. Can't believe all would be frozen. That would allow you to identify the proper lugs to remove. Good luck.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:08 PM   #20
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Tight

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If all four wheel covers are the same, move to another wheel and look for the removeable lugs. Can't believe all would be frozen. That would allow you to identify the proper lugs to remove. Good luck.
Believe me, they can be very tight if the tire store or a mechanic replaced them with an impact wrench. It happens.
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