On my way to Ocala, I was stopped by a frantic driver who came up waving his arms at a stoplight. He claimed that my rear lug-nuts were loose and that my right rear wheels were making a bunch of noise. I stopped in the parking lot of the local tattoo shop to check out the situation. It turns out that one of my rear hubcaps was loose and rattling. It looks like the person who changed my tire neglected to re-install a spacer which caused the hubcap to have too much play in it. This would have been a simple 5 minute fix (remove wing-nut, install a few washers to substitute for the missing spacer and re-tighten) if someone hadn’t invented the tamper-proof Allen wrench. The wing-nut that holds the hubcap in place is secured by a bolt that has a founded end (impossible to grip with a vise grip) and Allen wrench fitting. But unlike any other Allen wrench bolt I’ve ever seem, this one has a tiny little pin in the middle of it that prevents any normal Allen wrench from being used. I called all over the town to see if anyone carried the required special Allen wrench (it looks like a normal one with a hole drilled in the middle) and ended up empty handed. Someone from the tattoo shop I was parked in front of came out to lend a hand and helps turn this fancy "tamper-proof" bolt into a slot screw I could remove using a standard screwdriver… so much for being tamper-proof.
After tightening up my hubcap, I stopped by Marci’s photo studio to get a few mugshots taken. I had gotten my hair cut outside by the lakeside a few days earlier. I’m actually starting to get a tan, which isn’t easy to tell in the photo.
Posted from Detroit Diesel parking lot
I wish I’d known you were heading to Ocala, Ben! I live out in the forest, but I was in town the other day and saw a bus similar to yours and thought to myself, “I wonder if that could be Ben Willmore…”
Glad your hubcap problem wasn’t anything more serious and that you got it sorted out without too much hassle.
Ben, next time this happens to you, try this Jeep owner’s trick: Allen head bolts are hardened. As such, those little tamper-proof pins are easy to break out by using a small punch and a hammer — one smack on the pin and presto, pin gone! Once the pin is gone, a normal allen will work.
Alternatively, you can buy sets of those special allen wrenches at a well-stocked auto supply store — though I never bother since it takes a few seconds to de-pin them 😉
Thanks for the suggestion… I tried that, but that pesky pin wouldn’t budge.
I’ve gotten a hold of one of those special wrenches, so it shouldn’t be a problem in the future.