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new guy bolt mistakes


Well-known member
Apr 17, 2001
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
I see a whole bunch of silly mistakes (I EVEN MAKE A FEW) but the one I can,t get my mind around, and see all the time is the guys that FORCE stuff thats OBVIOUSLY NOT FITTING OR THREADED CORRECTLY.....now IM not talking about tapping something into place with a plastic hammer, ...Im talking about the silly mindless stuff like trying too thread metric bolts into parts threaded for S.A.E. threads, or vice versa, I mean come on! after a turn or two its obviously binding!! if youve got the least experiance you reach for a thread gauge or a new bolt and verify the thread size and pitch, you don,t force it and screw up the threads or crack the part, or you reach for a tap or die set and clean the threads, put some oil or loctite or anti-seize on the threads, check the length, dia, pitch and location, do you have the correct bolt???
yet I see guys install parts like headers, and when the header bolts bind after a turn or two, out comes the long ratchet, after a few turns out comes the breaker bar, and its still binding, so rather than check why Ive even seen guys reach for an 1/2" drive phnematic impact driver, at what point do you think that little voice in your head starts screaming.....HOLD IT, THOSE CYLINDER HEADS COST $3000, maybe, just maybe I should check out WHY the bolts binding???
or I see guys who thread a bolt in for an inch or more finger tight, then when it it seems it bottoms out and the heads not tight against the washer they reach for a breaker bar...., never thinking the bolts the wrong length, or in the wrong location

all IM saying is, never get into a rush, think about what your doing and if something won,t fit ...FIND OUT WHY! DON,T FORCE IT!

Ive seen two friends very expensive cylinder heads cracked this way and a transmission seriously screwed up thru simply lack of paying attention and forcing sthe wrong bolt into the wrong hole this month alone (NO! I WAS NO WHERE NEAR AT THE TIME!) but I sure got called to diagnose misteryous leaks

BTW if your taking something apart and your not totally familiar with the process and parts ,LABEL the bolts in a zip lock bag, use majic marker and masking tape, as to original part and location(and it sure won,t hurt even if youve done it a dozen times) sure it takes a few minutes, but its better than needing to tear it apart and replace expensive components due to carelessness)

like most older shops IVE got several 5 gallon bolt buckets of random spare bolts,it helps a great deal, and a salvage yard trip can gather several hands full for nearly zip, if you take tools and an afternoon to get a good sellection,
its nearly hopeless, simply because you could have a spare for every bolt in your car and youll either not be able to find it when you need it or youll have used it elseware yesterday....resign your self to having several 5 gallon buckets of spare bolts in the shop and still need to ocasionally run to the local NAPA store,KEEP A SPIRAL NOTE BOOK AND PEN HANDY, TOO WRITE DOWN EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED SO YOU WILL GET EVERYTHING WHEN YOU GO TO GET PARTS,being on a first name basis at the local commercial BOLT supply house and being on a first name basis with the ARP guys,is mandatory when your doing this full time!. BTW if you make the trip to the local bolt/napa /hardware store and buy the bolts you need , buy a few extras and throw those in the 5 gallon shop bolt bucket, it makes you feel better because now you know the next time you need those bolts you have them on hand....not that youll be able to locate them you understand but having several 5 gallon buckets of bolts to look thru before making the trip to the bolt supply, gives you time to think, write down exactly what you need and and maybe avoid making two trips
btw, yes youll need a tap/die set

BTW,bolts kept in plastic buckets don,t tend to rust if you pour a pint of diesel fuel into the bucket and place an air tight lid on the buckets, yeah that means you pour the bucket out into a large metal pan and place them back then pour back the diesel over the bolts each time but that tends to prevent rust and keep them cleaner, and the wash tub can be used to collect oil drain oil temp, as its far larger and deeper than the plastic ones auto stores sell
Nuts and bolts can be frustrating, especially if you know you have the exact one you need but it's in the messy mixed pile... You dig and dig, pick up the same (wrong) one half a dozen times...

I've taken to raiding the recycling bin as my wife throws out old glass jars. I toss similar groups of nuts or bolts in and put on the lid. Then, if I need something, I take the jar and roll it around to pick out what I'm looking for.

There ought to be a rule about throwing out bolts!!


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