Tutorial: Johnny Lightning Wheel Swap - part two

tutorial how to customize johnny lightnings and hot wheels

In part one of Johnny Lightning Wheel swap, we looked at how easy it was to change the rims on a car that had rubber tires.  In this post we will examine how it is also very easy to remove and replace the rims from a Johnny Lightning vehicle that has plastic wheels.  No drilling required.

The candidate vehicle for this tutorial is a Dodge Monaco with plastic wheels and black rims.  I'm pretty meh on these rims so I'm gonna give this car some extra dazzle by replacing the existing rims with some chrome slotted ones.

Before you start, make sure you have a soft surface to work on so you don't damage the car.  I've simply used a towel here.  Also you will need the new rims that you want to put on the car.  And finally the magic tool I use is simply a pocket screwdriver with flat blade.

On Johnny Lightnings with plastic wheels, there are two slots on the inside of the wheel (see pic above).

You want to place the car so that it is resting on the towel, and you want to place the blade of the screwdriver into one of the two slots behind the wheel.  Now, with just a gentle push of the screwdriver, the rim should pop out.

You don't need to apply too much pressure.  If you do, you risk damaging the wheel or cracking it.  Avoid sticking the blade right through, ie don't do what the pic above is showing.

Here's how the wheel looks like after the rim has popped out (inside view).

Here's how the wheel looks from the outside.

Repeat the process on the remaining wheels.

Now take your donor rims and place them over the wheels.  With your fingers, press the new rim firmly into the wheel opening.

Once the rim is in the wheel, work your way around the wheel with your finger to make sure the rim is seated properly.

Here is the car Dodge Monaco the new rims.

Final words of advice, I've noticed that the inside diameters of the wheels varies from on different Johnny Lightning cars.  What this means is that you may have rims that are either too tight to fit into the wheel or too loose.

If your replacement rims fall out of the wheels, it means the rims are probably too small. I find that using a small dab of glue on the backside of the rim before I set it into the wheel helps to secure it.

If on the other hand the new rim will not fit into the wheel, take an emery board or a bit of sandpaper and lightly sand the rim all around. Be careful, in that you don't scratch the rim edges or surface.  You may have to repeat the sanding and wheel placement a couple of times before it finally fits, make sure you take your time.

Well, hope this tutorial has adequately explained how to easily swap out the rims on a Johnny Lightning with plastic wheels. Thanks for looking!

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