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Triumph TR3 - Restoration Nuts and Bolts

No, really, I'm restoring nuts and bolts.

There are many pieces of hardware that I clean up and reuse, sometimes because they're in good condition, and sometimes because they just don't make 'em like that any more. We're talking screws, bolts, nuts, washers.

I usually attack them with a wire wheel on my Dremel. I'm wondering if this removes a plating or coating that may leave them more vulnerable to rust. Any thoughts from those of you who also believe in nuts and bolts restoration? Is there a better way to clean them up? I do replace hardware when it makes sense to do so.

Am I the only one who finds curious enjoyment and satisfaction in transforming a grimy bolt into a thing of beauty?

Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A

Bill Stagg

I took all the nuts and bolts that I wanted to re-furbish to a cad plating shop. They put them all into a tumble barrel with sand or another grit abrasive. They let it turn for hours as needed. Then they cad plated them to come out like new silvery nuts, bolts and washers. I also did thisfor all the brake pipe fittings after making sketches where which should go where and put these onto the new pipes I had bought from my local auto parts store. Then you should use a silvery (as opposed to a coppery) anti-seize paste on the nuts and bolts and they will come apart in 10 or 15 years like new stainless ones.

Remember that during the next 15 or 35 years, you will have it sitting in a dry garage in the winter and when it's not in use and when you do take it out, it may rain while you are away from home, but if it is pouring rain, I'm sure you won't be taking the TR out for an hour just to fetch a loaf of bread for supper.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

I had removed the front apron, all the seat hardware
as well as some engine compartment pieces and some other things last winter during my initial "go through". I replaced all w/ new stainless steel.
Some are as original, some are not. Then again, that holds true for my entire vehicle...

But I have spent inordinate amounts of time doing questionable hardware refurb. Some folks around me think I'm nuts. (no pun intended)
Mike
Mike Gambordella

Bill: My only comment on the restoration of orginal bolts,is to be careful that the intergity of the bolt is maintained. During the rebuild of my TR3A, I found many of the old bolts had minor stress cracks and most of the threads had been stretched. As I drive my restored vehicles regularly and did not want to risk a failure on the freeway, I replace all the bolts with new stainless steel bolts of equal or better grade than the orginal.
Jim
J.W. Herbert

Jim,

Thanks for the caution. Makes good sense. My strategy now is to reuse hardware for non-critical areas, but replace for the critical ones. I'm guessing you would recommend replacing the bolts connecting the drive shaft u-joint to the differential flange. I picked up new lock nuts, but the bolts looked pretty good.

How can you judge whether a bolt has been stretched?

Thanks, Jim!

Bill
Bill Stagg

My drive shaft bolts for front and rear end are the originals. They were always tight and have more than 158,000 miles on them.

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

Bill: The easist way to confirm stretching to compare the bolt against a new one using a good micrometer. You also make notice stretching of the threads by checking the threads with a thread gauge.
The bolts I would worry about are any that are used in tension or ones that their failure would result in a major wreck. IE Steering, suspension and brake fastners.
Jim
J.W. Herbert

Bill - If you are thinking of re-using any old high strength bolts, runs a brand new cad plated or s/s nut all the way up the threads. If it runs easily, the bolt is not stretched, at least not in the threaded zone. Don't try it with a nyloc nut, just a new regular nut. If it's not stretched in the threads, it's probably not stretched in the other part.

They say to replace head studs if they are stretched. All I did when a new nut was hard to thread onto the original studs, that told me that the threads were stretched a bit. But I ran a die down the studs with the head off to cklean up the threads and used the new nuts. That was 14 years ago. I've done that once more since on these studs in 14 summers (over 78,000 miles).

Don
Don Elliott

I'll give that a try, Don. I do have a tendency to clean up nuts and bolts with a tap and die set, but I'll check the studs with your procedure.

Curiously, my local hardware guy has stainless bolts only in coarse threads, but I can get stainless nuts in fine or coarse. I need to find another source...

Thanks!

Bill
Bill Stagg

All the TR race drivers use ARP nuts and bolts. These are very strong. For normal driving, the standard ones are OK. ARP even have studs for the TR series of cars. The set for TR3A runs $200 or so.

If they have stiless I don't know, but they would be very expensive.

http://www.arp-bolts.com/

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

Here is the ARP site for stainless :-

http://www.electronic-pr.com/pr/new_arp_746.html

Don
Don Elliott

Bil: Here where I work we order many items from the McMaster-Carr Supply Company out Brunswick, NJ. Stainlees hardware among them.
Go to - http://www.mcmaster.com/
In the search box, enter pg.3401
If that doesn't work, type in stainless steel - the product page will come up w/ a catalog number window at the top. Type in 3401.
This is a page which describes in detail all the different types of stainless steel and their recommended uses. Choose your poison. I used type 316 for it's combination of corrosion resistance and tensile stength.
Have fun -
Mike
Mike Gambordella

Thanks to everyone for the help on this topic. Just a few more questions:

1. In using a micrometer to measure "stretch", are we measuring differences in diameter along the threaded part of the bolt, or length?

2. Can anyone comment about the quality of the bolts obtained through Moss, TRF, et al, compared with sources such as McMaster and ARP?

3. How much heat will remove the temper from a bolt, and is it the mere heating that does it or the subsequent rapid cooling by dousing with water, etc.?

Many thanks, all!

Bill
Bill Stagg

Bill:
1.I believe it's length, which would in turn change the dia. and the run of the threads, no? I say if they're stretched, throw 'em out. Hardware is cheap.

2.Don't know about the quality of Moss or TRF bolts, but why pay mark-up? Buy direct.

3.If I remember correctly, heat removes the temper, cooling brings it back. How much heat depends on the type of metal.

Just my 2 cents...(actual worth - .001)
Mike
Mike G.

I don't know that you can measure the stretch other than the new nut will not spin onto the male threads like it would on a new un-stretched bolt. A micrometer is of no help. Of course if you have access to a tensile tester, you could test a new one and a "stretched" one to find the differences - probably in the slope of the yield curve and the breaking strength. But then it's too late.

ARP are the best.

But I used a lot of regular grade stainless bolts and nuts to attach the fenders, valance, floors to sills, door hinges and latch plates, hood hinge nuts, bumper, bumperettes and brackets front and rear, hock attachments, all tub to frame bolts, all front suspension points plus rear drums screws and "U" clamps for rear axle.

Never had any break in 78,000 miles.

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

This thread was discussed between 19/02/2004 and 26/02/2004

Triumph TR3 index

This thread is from the archive. The Live Triumph TR3 BBS is active now.