How To: Upgrade Your OEM Strut Mount Studs - SR20 Forum
 
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#1 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 12:05 PM
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How To: Upgrade Your OEM Strut Mount Studs

I installed a Cusco FSTB on my Classic and was not happy with the strut mount studs being too damn short. They only grabbed part of the locknut, not the entire thing. The stud was actually below the top level of the locknut. Perhaps "acceptable" but definitely NOT good. Therefore I set out to fix them.

I took these pics with an inferior camera (the pics get much better), but you can see that the OEM strut mount studs are unacceptably short. Here's the pics of the too-short OEM studs.:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn B
What is up with the bolts being too short? I'm gonna have to search out the solution. Yeah, they will work like that, correct me if I am wrong, but I want a quarter (1/4) inch or so above the nut.



Proper installation of a Cusco FSTB per the ~Knuckleduster~ thread. Once again, the bolts being just barely long enough. Which is not enough in my book. Un-accept-able.


Here is my original "studs too short" thread, with a whole bunch of input from mechanically adept folks.

http://www.sr20-forum.com/suspension...olution-3.html

I figure Happynole has had...what....eight (8) Group Buys on the Cusco FSTB? Surely not everyone has aftermarket fancy mounts with longer studs? Some folks out of the Cusco buyers must be running the Nissan OEM strut plates and (the too short) studs.

This is what I came up with.....

How To Change Out Your OEM Strut Mount Studs:

If you want to change out your factory strut mount studs, to much beefier and longer studs, with minimal hassle and expense, this is how to do it.

Total cost was eleven (11) bucks for hardware and whatever a couple small tubes of JB Weld costs. Plus a bit of time and effort. And I'm about to cut down that "effort" part considerably.

I bought six (6) 3/8 - 16 X 1 1/4 inch grade-8 button head socket screws in black oxide. Along with six (6) grade-8 locking nuts.

This is what the top of the new screws look like.



Here are the size comparisons between OEM and what I purchased.



Another stud vs. bolt comparison shot.



One more time.



Damn I love this new Cannon camera.



Looking at the ends.



Beefy new hardware all lined up with the mount.



Another angle on that one.



The new bolts fit through the bodywork and Cusco bar no problems. Just a small bit of play.



This is a 3/8 X 16 tap. It lines right up with the holes perfectly. We measured the stock OEM hole at 5/16 (standard). No prior drilling needed on the stock mount. Just line it up, eyeball it carefully, and twist it in.



The tap will self-align to a degree in the OEM hole. Then give it some careful torque and it will pull itself through.



Mike rocks, and it is through. I take pictures.



The new screw, halfway through, post tapping the mount.



Nice and flush. This is just hand tight to check it.



All three (3), halfway through.



Note a tiny-miniscule amount of space between the screw head and the mount. That goes away when you crank the hell out them after the next steps. Don't crank'em yet.



From the flipside. I love it.



Screw in all three (3) screws about halfway. Apply a liberal coat of JB Weld under the screw cap and up the first several threads. Think of the JB Weld as permanent Lock-tite.



Screw all three (3) screws in all the way. Crank them real tight. They will "seat themselves" against the strut mount perfectly flush. You should see some JB Weld on the threads as they come through the strut mount. The screw cap should squish all the excess JB Weld out of the way, use a towel to clean up the excess. Then dab some extra JB Weld around the threaded base of each screw. Up about two or three threads. Those threads will never engage anything anyways.



Finished product from the bottom. Which is facing up.



Another shot of the finished product.



Hell yes.



And that is a done deal.



Those grade-8 button head cap screws are not going to back out of the OEM mount any quicker than the original OEM stud. No way, no how. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get them back out. Not that I care, I wanted an easy, inexpensive, anyone can do it, no special tools required, no special knowledge required, solution. And I damn sure was NOT leaving those short-ass OEM studs as is.

Any input, comments or advice is welcome.

NOTE:

01/22/2009

I did not find this information out until post install. As we had to wait for the JB Weld to dry, I let Mike handle reassembling the struts in my absense. Hell, even I've done that before, no need to document.

However, per Mike (my mechanic):

1) You have to "slightly drill out" the other portion of the strut mount itself (it's a sandwich of plates) to accomodate the new studs/screws.

2) You may need to drill slightly larger holes in the vehicles strut tower body itself. Then touch up the slightly bigger hole(s) with primer and paint (if ya wanna be fancy). Then the very minor drilling evidence disappears under your Cusco bar.

Again, per Mike. Because you have to wait on the JB Weld to dry, you do the other strut mount plate peice (the other part of the sandwich), and the strut tower drill/primer while the JB Weld hardens (15 hour is the full cure time.)

As he put it, "a total peice of cake." Further, doing that bit of extra drilling and prep for the vehicle to accept the new studs is well worth it. His theory being that the new screws being an exact match for the OEM strut plate is far more important than very minor and easy drilling/touch up on the aforementioned parts.

Sorry I initially missed those installation notes. However, I am still very, very satisfied with the results. I'll post pics of the new bolts in place, with the Cusco bar bolted down properly, next week.

02/10/2009

And the final product on the vehicle. Notice plenty of thread above the nuts.



That photo is at a body-shop, hence the dusty vehicle.

Any input, comments or advice is welcome.

I hope this helps.

2004 Tahoe, stock and fully loaded.
'93 Classic - Original Owner, "OEM Plus" modifications

* The best offense is a good psychosis. *

Last edited by Shawn B; 02-10-2009 at 06:41 PM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 12:32 PM
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looks awesome

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 01:46 PM
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Excellent "HOW TO" Shawn B. A+

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#4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 03:01 PM
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Job well done. Next time i take apart my struts ill giving this thread another looksee

***GARAGE SALE***
http://www.sr20forum.com/mechanical-oem-part-outs/215172-garage-clean-up-sale.html

http://www.sr20forum.com/mechanical-oem-part-outs/217115-more-stuff-sale.html
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#5 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 10:20 PM
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that looks damn fine! you are a crafty little bastard. i didnt even think of that! simply over size the bolt and put threads in the mount........so easy

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#6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 12:10 AM
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Excellent job

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#7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unijabnx2000 View Post
looks awesome
Thanks. Should work perfectly. Minimal hassle, minimal expense, over-engineered.

Finally, after a long time getting the mechanicals just right, the Classic is heading over to Alberts Body Shop. Today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MR-4Door-SR20DE View Post
Excellent "HOW TO" Shawn B. A+
Gracias! I've certainly read enough "How To's" but have never actually created one myself.

The Suspension Thread is definitely not a "How To." It's more like a "get a clue" collegiate-level research paper on everything related to our suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blurr.rt.by.you View Post
Job well done. Next time i take apart my struts ill giving this thread another looksee
There you go. Mike (my mechanic) figured it would only take someone about thirty minutes, tops, to do both mounts. Assuming the mounts were already out of the vehicle and the hardware, tap, and JB weld were already on the premises.

Keep in mind, that you would have to disassemble the suspension, fix the mount per this "How To", then wait overnight (15 hours to be exact) for the JB Weld to fully harden. Then reassemble the mount and suspension.

Figuring out the exact hardware to minimize the work (no drilling), while leaving as much strut-mount metal "meat" around the OEM hole as possible, was a PITA. I did a ton of measuring and checking of the proper sized hardware. Then I remeasured again. Twice. I do believe I nailed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by classicaddict View Post
that looks damn fine! you are a crafty little bastard. i didnt even think of that! simply over size the bolt and put threads in the mount........so easy
Been a while since I was called a "crafty bastard." Thanks for the compliment.

Keep in mind, if you look at the original thread (linky above) that I had plenty of input from mechanically adept folks. I just did a bunch of leg-work, running around, measuring, and took a bunch of pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happynole View Post
Excellent job
Thanks Joe.

I find it hard to believe that with eight (8) freakin' Group Buys on that beautiful Cusco FSTB, that this issue had not been previously addressed. I guess everybody figured the OEM studs were "good enough" as is (apparently no one has had an issue...so far) or they used aftermarket mounts. Neither of which was an acceptable answer for me.

However, it's been properly addressed now sir.

2004 Tahoe, stock and fully loaded.
'93 Classic - Original Owner, "OEM Plus" modifications

* The best offense is a good psychosis. *

Last edited by Shawn B; 01-16-2009 at 11:53 AM.
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#8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 12:49 PM
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2 thumbs up Shawn.

Moving to the Tech Library.

C

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#9 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 02:36 PM
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shawn, I never used this jd welded, its really that hard ?
I mean, when you tighten the locknuts it wouldn´t turn the bolts?

Nice, I will need to do this job.

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#10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscar
2 thumbs up Shawn.

Moving to the Tech Library.

C
Thank you sir.

What a strange day it is when I manage to contribute a "How To."

A historic occassion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSpec View Post
shawn, I never used this jd welded, its really that hard ? I mean, when you tighten the locknuts it wouldn´t turn the bolts?

Nice, I will need to do this job.
JB Weld baby!

http://jbweld.net/faq.php

Read those FAQ's on their web-site. Yes, it is really that hard.

It is a two-part epoxy with metal in it. It can be painted, sanded, grinded and whatever else you want to do with it. It has a tensile strength of 3,960 psi. It will pretty much never break, it is usually stronger than the material that you are fixing.

I cannot imagine the torque necessary to break those new screws free. You have the JB Weld under the screw cap, in the threads of the mount itself, and gooped-up around the first two or three visible threads once the screw is torqued into place. That is a boatload of one of the strongest adhesives on earth. Further, if you look at all the actual screw/mount surface area that has JB Weld applied to it, that surface area is relatively big. And, JB Weld is designed to be a permanent fix, they call it a "cold weld" in their advertising. Unless you heat it to 600 degrees, it's failure temperature, it can only be sanded, ground or chiseled off.

Plus, remember the "tiny-miniscule" amount of space under the screw cap when I just hand tightened the screw? (Review the pics). Well that "space" gets "crushed" out of the way with torque when you "crank them tight", essentially binding the screw threads into the threads in the hole. As the screw pulls itself flush to the mount, the threads will get slightly warped and bind up against each other.

I'd imagine that once the JB Weld sets up, you would have to get out a metal grinder, a BFH, a serious drill and bit, possibly a plasma cutter, welding tools, then get plumb-crazy to begin to attempt to remove those new screws. They ain't going anywhere.

When you look at the original OEM stud, that baby just popped right out with a MediumFH. One whack and it was out. If you put the same amount of torque (twisting) on that OEM stud as on the new JB Welded screw, I bet the OEM stud itself would rotate in the strut mount hole before the new JB Weld'ed screws will.

2004 Tahoe, stock and fully loaded.
'93 Classic - Original Owner, "OEM Plus" modifications

* The best offense is a good psychosis. *

Last edited by Shawn B; 01-16-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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#11 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn B View Post
Thank you sir.

What a strange day it is when I manage to contribute a "How To."

A historic occassion.


JB Weld baby!

http://jbweld.net/faq.php

Read those FAQ's on their web-site. Yes, it is really that hard.

It is a two-part epoxy with metal in it. It can be painted, sanded, grinded and whatever else you want to do with it. It has a tensile strength of 3,960 psi. It will pretty much never break, it is usually stronger than the material that you are fixing.

I cannot imagine the torque necessary to break those new screws free. You have the JB Weld under the screw cap, in the threads of the mount itself, and gooped-up around the first two or three visible threads once the screw is torqued into place. That is a boatload of one of the strongest adhesives on earth. Further, if you look at all the actual screw/mount surface area that has JB Weld applied to it, that surface area is relatively big. And, JB Weld is designed to be a permanent fix, they call it a "cold weld" in their advertising. Unless you heat it to 600 degrees, it's failure temperature, it can only be sanded, ground or chiseled off.

Plus, remember the "tiny-miniscule" amount of space under the screw cap when I just hand tightened the screw? (Review the pics). Well that "space" gets "crushed" out of the way with torque when you "crank them tight", essentially binding the screw threads into the threads in the hole. As the screw pulls itself flush to the mount, the threads will get slightly warped and bind up against each other.

I'd imagine that once the JB Weld sets up, you would have to get out a metal grinder, a BFH, a serious drill and bit, possibly a plasma cutter, welding tools, then get plumb-crazy to begin to attempt to remove those new screws. They ain't going anywhere.

When you look at the original OEM stud, that baby just popped right out with a MediumFH. One whack and it was out. If you put the same amount of torque (twisting) on that OEM stud as on the new JB Welded screw, I bet the OEM stud itself would rotate in the strut mount hole before the new JB Weld'ed screws will.
I can´t ask for more thank you, now I understand why you use it in csk

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#12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 04:55 PM
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I can´t ask for more thank you, now I understand why you use it in csk
No problems.

And you are correct, they use JB Weld on the CSK's.

Remember....

With enough JB Weld and duct tape you can fix anything.

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'93 Classic - Original Owner, "OEM Plus" modifications

* The best offense is a good psychosis. *
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#13 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 03:40 PM
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Bump for this note below, which I have now included within the body of the initial "How To."

NOTE:

01/22/2009

I did not find this information out until post install. As we had to wait for the JB Weld to dry, I let Mike handle reassembling the struts in my absense. Hell, even I've done that before, no need to document.

However, per Mike (my mechanic):

1) You have to "slightly drill out" the other portion of the strut mount itself (it's a sandwich of plates) to accomodate the new studs/screws.

2) You may need to drill slightly larger holes in the vehicles strut tower body itself. Then touch up the slightly bigger hole(s) with primer and paint (if ya wanna be fancy). Then the very minor drilling evidence disappears under your Cusco bar.

Again, per Mike. Because you have to wait on the JB Weld to dry, you do the other strut mount plate peice (the other part of the sandwich), and the strut tower drill/primer while the JB Weld hardens (15 hour is the full cure time.)

As he put it, "a total peice of cake." Further, doing that bit of extra drilling and prep for the vehicle to accept the new studs is well worth it. His theory being that the new screws being an exact match for the OEM strut plate is far more important than very minor and easy drilling/touch up on the aforementioned parts.

Sorry I initially missed those installation notes. However, I am still very, very satisfied with the results. I'll post pics of the new bolts in place, with the Cusco bar bolted down properly, next week.

Any input, comments or advice is welcome.

I hope this helps.

2004 Tahoe, stock and fully loaded.
'93 Classic - Original Owner, "OEM Plus" modifications

* The best offense is a good psychosis. *
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