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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this has been discussed before, but Kevin from JayCee Sales and Rivet told me to "ask the forum" how to proceed, so here I am.

The 1/4-20 Pre-Bulbed Crossnuts from JayCee Sales & Rivet are too big for the majority of the pre-installed holes in my 2021 MR Cargo Van (S25MG280, CPB2-2520-280 1/4-20 .280 Grip Cross nut pre-bulbed).

90% of the holes in my van measure .355" on the digital calipers, and the 1/4-20 pre-bulbed cross nuts require holes of 0.386” – 0.391”

I asked Kevin at JayCee if I should hammer the cross nuts in, or drill the holes to 3/8". He told me they are "not designed to be tapped in" and he is "hesitant" to tell me to enlarge the size of the holes.

Which road should I take:
1) Enlarge holes to 3/8
2) Just tap the stupid things in with a hammer (increased likelihood of spin?)
3) Buy straight shank cross nuts instead



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Enlarge the holes. Get some numbered drill bits, rather than fractional, and figure out the smallest size drill bit allows you to insert the hardware by hand.

And then, when you are installing stuff don't go overboard on torquing the screws. Nice and snug should be just fine.
 

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I used Jay-Cee Prebulbed crossnuts in my 2015 build without enlarging the holes. Just a light tap with a hammer put the nuts in the holes. Used the $30 McMaster-Carr tool. No issues with spinning. Did have to use a tap to clean the threads on a couple probably due to not keeping the tool perpendicular to the hole.

Suggest you try tapping them in to see how easy it is.
 

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Enlarge the holes. Get some numbered drill bits, rather than fractional, and figure out the smallest size drill bit allows you to insert the hardware by hand.

And then, when you are installing stuff don't go overboard on torquing the screws. Nice and snug should be just fine.
The Astro 1/4-20 riv-nuts fit many of the Transit holes without drilling and painting. Although I drilled most holes because the factory holes were in the wrong locations and used the more stout MCMaster Carr riv-nuts. Many on the Forum recommend using anti-seize compound to reduce the likelihood of spin. I also experimented a few times on some van window cutout sheetmetal to ensure the correct drill bit hole size, etc.
 

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Jay-Cee prebulbed in 2017 build. I put them in every hole available at the very beginning. So maybe 75 of 'em. Since then, I've had exactly 1 spin out on me. Three years later. Natch, by then, it was in the least accessible location possible :rolleyes:
Oh, right…to answer the topic, I just gave them a whack if they were too stubborn to push with a chunk of wood.
 

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Use a step bit. Best way to enlarge holes in sheet metal.
 

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I think sometimes we over think things, I used A BUNCH OF 1/4 cross nuts in existing holes, I just tapped them in lightly, no spin outs.
 

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If they can be tapped in with a hammer, do that. Better too tight than too loose.
 

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I’ve been messing with this issue as well. My findings/thoughts:

-I’m not going to drill; the whole point of the plusnut/rivnut approach is to avoid making unnecessary holes in the van where rust could happen.

-The pre-bulbed 1/4-20 seem to “acquire” a fit if installed tightly. That is, the head is initially slightly proud of the sheet metal due to the flange just behind the head, but if you add a bit of torque to the installer tool this flange gets pulled into the hole and the whole thing is nice and flush. Once installed like this I can’t get these to spin no matter how hard I try. I’m using the Astro setter tool.

-M6 Rivnuts also fit just fine; these are perhaps very slightly small in the holes but snug up great once installed. In theory these probably have a lower pullout strength since they engage less sheet metal on the backside than the plus nuts; however, I can’t think of any application in the van where I’d ever approach the pullout strength of either item. For the same reason the M6 rivnuts seems a bit more prone to spinning.

I’ll probably go with the pre-bulbed 1/4-20s.
 

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I tried the bulbed nuts and found that, depending on how you tightened them up, bolts might need to be started at a slight angle. This wasn't always possible depending on what I was attaching to the wall/ceiling.

I found the 14-20 rivnuts to be my go-to for the majority of the build. Rivnuts most always fit in easily and held great.

It might just be a technique/preference.
 

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All things being equal, the 6x1mm might be a slightly stronger hold than 1/4-20. A bit more threads per "inch". But, slightly smaller diameter. It all depends on the quality of the bolt, though. The cheap almost pot-metal ones that often come "free" with something are crap.
 

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-The pre-bulbed 1/4-20 seem to “acquire” a fit if installed tightly. That is, the head is initially slightly proud of the sheet metal due to the flange just behind the head, but if you add a bit of torque to the installer tool this flange gets pulled into the hole and the whole thing is nice and flush.
It is my understanding that the specified hole dia. is to accept that flange area below the head. When installed, there will be a greater area of contact of the head. That may be why some folks end up with some spinners. That is an interesting thought that with enough torque the flange will mushroom the vans sheet metal to accept the flange/allow the head to make full contact. Thanks for that insight. Some members have used washers on the cross nut to account for the oversized flange.

All things being equal, the 6x1mm might be a slightly stronger hold than 1/4-20.
Looks like an 1/4-20 has a greater tensile strength than M6-1
https://www.elginfasteners.com/reso...specialty-fastener-material-strengths-part-1/
both of which (even in grade 1) appear to be greater than the pullout strength of an undefined size of a plus nut in 0.030" steel. https://www.rivetnutusa.com/wp-cont...l-Properties-Information_Bollhoff-Plusnut.pdf BTW plus nuts do have superior pull out strength compared to rivnuts.

IMO the more important issue in the way these fasters are used in a van build would be shear strength which is about 60% of tensile strength, hence I would not use grade 1 bolt. I'd use grade 5 or even 8. Unfortunately I have never found any info on shear strength of installed plus nuts. I would speculate that it might be higher than 60% of the pull out force 🤷‍♀️. From a practical matter metric vs SAE is not very significant, the number fasteners and of course the strength of the structures that are being attached are a much more important variable.
 

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I used 1/4-20 PlusNuts and most needed some persuasion, just force to insert and maybe a few needed gentle tapping. I assume all the holes are the same diameter in the dies or punch press and it’s just paint thickness or maybe a burr depending on punch direction. I used 1/4-20 due to price and availability, but I like the idea of using metric so that one doesn’t have to carry both metric and SAE tools for a vehicle that’s otherwise mostly metric. My big beef with a lot of US aftermarket stuff which is specifically designed for metric vehicles; very common in the Toyota 4WD world.
 

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I'm glad you asked this because I was planning to share my learnings and never got around to it. I would recommend #1 Enlarge holes to 3/8. I suggest step drill because a twist drill even with a stopper can catch and send the bit through an exterior panel.

When the legs on the plus nut bulge out they pinch the sheet metal against the flange. This provides the grip needed to prevent the plus nut from spinning. What I found for all the plus nuts of mine that ended up coming loose/spinning was that the hole was one of the smaller ones that I had hammered the plus nut in using method 2. The failure was due to the sheet metal only being in contact with the lip. Also they never seem to spin out at a convenient time or location.

If the flange of the plus nut doesn't sit flat on the sheet metal when first inserted by hand, take it back out and drill/grind/whatever to get the hole to a size where it sits flush before installing.

So my answer to your question is 100% #1 Enlarge holes to 3/8

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Additional side note. I used lizard skin in my build. Plus nut installed over the lizard skin were prone to coming loose as the lizard skin under the flange became compressed and caused a gap. The successful plus nuts were either installed before the lizard skin, the holes were masked before spraying lizard skin, or I scraped off the lizard skin around the hole before installing a plus nut. Not all of the plus nuts over lizard skin failed, but like I said, they don't fail at convenient times in convenient location. so best for the flange to be in direct contact with the sheet metal.

(y)
 

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I installed all mine in the existing holes without any issues. Never noticed the flange. None of the inserts spun. Several needed to have threads cleaned up with a tap. Did not use a torque wrench. No issues with the inserts after 5 years of use. All installed with $30 McMaster-Carr tool.

Based on further information posted here I would now buy star lock washers that are the thickness of the under the head flange and install in existing holes. Lock washers would reduce the possibility of insert spinning and increase the contact surface area. Would not drill out the holes or use adhesive.
 
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