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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is to provide what I hope is useful info about using PlusNuts (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008VGWFAI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

It is not necessary to buy the expensive tool for installing PlusNuts if you use the DIY approach using adequate technique.

I've read people saying DIY is too difficult. That it takes too many nuts. The labor makes it an impractical method if you have very many to do etc.

Not so.

When my need for using PlusNuts first arose I was frustrated because I didn't have the tool yet and had been persuaded by the negative comments about DIY I didn't want to go that way. But, I really didn't want to spend another $50 or $60 for the tool and I wanted action NOW.

It turns out DIY is so simple I'm not even sure how the tool makes it go any faster.

DIY is easy if you DO IT RIGHT.

1. To tighten the nut that compresses the PlusNut use the kind of nut that has a free spinning attached washer (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FASSI3S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

2. Use a long enough bolt there is plenty of room between the nut to be tightened and the vise grip that holds the carriage bolt from spinning.

3. One of the most important things is to use a piece of perfectly flat metal between the tightening nut and facing of the PlusNut. You will see explanations that have you use another smaller wrench but that advice is hogwash. I was lucky enough to have a flat wrench that came with my router as a bit tightening tool that has the perfect sized hole to use it for the DIY PlusNut set up. If necessary, drill a hole in just a piece of flat metal to get the same functionality.

4. Smear some heavy axle grease between the nut that tightens and the surface of the flat bar it presses against. This is a critical feature of this DIY approach. It eliminates wear and tear on the washer and the threads of the bolt enabling the same ones to be used over and over again. The lubricant makes the tightening smooth and easier to do.

5. After that, tap the PlusNut into the hole and simply tighten up the nut until you know the PlusNut has been properly seated and compressed.

It took me no time at all to install ten PlusNuts today.:nerd:
 

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Somehow, i feel kind of responsible about these nonsense tips that were provided to others...

It's good to have multiple solutions to solve a problem, so you input is welcome: maybe others will prefer your method and that's fine. However, the only difference i see here is the use of grease. The smaller wrench i use is basically metal with a hole in it; i find it easier to manipulate a small wrench than a larger piece of metal.

I'm still firm on my position: for a small amount of Plusnut (let's say under 30-40), the DIY method works just fine; I've done over 140 Plusnut installation with the DIY method, so i guess it proves that it works... However, if your are at the beginning of a complete conversion, do yourself a favor and just buy the tool. A 50$ tool isn't much over a 10-15K conversion...

Cheers!
Antoine
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Somehow, i feel kind of responsible about these nonsense tips that were provided to others...

It's good to have multiple solutions to solve a problem, so you input is welcome: maybe others will prefer your method and that's fine. However, the only difference i see here is the use of grease. The smaller wrench i use is basically metal with a hole in it; i find it easier to manipulate a small wrench than a larger piece of metal.

I'm still firm on my position: for a small amount of Plusnut (let's say under 30-40), the DIY method works just fine; I've done over 140 Plusnut installation with the DIY method, so i guess it proves that it works... However, if your are at the beginning of a complete conversion, do yourself a favor and just buy the tool. A 50$ tool isn't much over a 10-15K conversion...

Cheers!
Antoine
When I began I used the "smaller wrench" approach. It was distinctly inferior. Primarily due to the fact wrenches like you show in your DIY photos are not FLAT relative to the surface you are using it against. The flatness and the use of grease is what makes it so easy to tightened the K-nut my way.

As my situation has developed I encounter the need for PlusNuts on a progressive basis. One day I'll find I need to use a small number of them. The expediency of not having to wait until I acquire a tool was the motivation. I suspect using grease with the tool if I had it would still be beneficial.
 

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I use the same tool from McMaster-Carr as post # 2 with two box wrenches.

No grease required. The 1/4-20NC Plusnuts are the correct size for the many holes in the body that are provided by Ford. A light tap from a hammer gets the Plusnut in the hole.

The small size of the tool makes it easy to use. There are a lot of locations where a large tool could not be used due to space restrictions.

Sometimes the depth of the hole does not allow the Plusnut to be fully inserted into the hole. Insert it partially and as the insert starts to deform you can push it further into the hole.

I would recommend spending the $30 for the tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Like any tool, once you own it you will likely defend to the death the reason you own it. For me, owning one has proven to be totally unnecessary.

Orton, you elected to not acquire the tools to do your own crimping but take your cables to a battery shop instead. I bought the tools and will never be sorry.
 

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Last year I installed about 15 rivnuts using the DIY methods. There was a bit of a learning curve as I broke / bent a few Grade 5 bolts before I finally wised up about bought some Grade 8 bolts. Those worked fine and I was able to install my bed.

However, my success rate was about 50%. Seemed like if I didn't keep the bolt perfectly straight - which is hard to do given the torque required - that I'd end up with rivnuts that were off kilter and thus hard to use, or else the rivnuts themselves would spin on the backside and be worthless. I think I even pulled one through the sheetmetal, too.

There's not a lot of margin for error with our Transit van sheet metal, especially given the limited number of holes in the some of the more crucial areas. I finally just bought a tool and it made a world of difference.

Plusnuts may be easier to work with and less prone to failure. I don't know. But going DIY with steel rivnuts is pretty challenging to get it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
But going DIY with steel rivnuts is pretty challenging to get it right.
Agreed. I have a rivnut tool and wouldn't think of going DIY with Rivnuts. They seem so dainty and fragile by comparison.

I'm sure the PlusNut tool would be great but for me the *need* hasn't arisen.
 

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Like any tool, once you own it you will likely defend to the death the reason you own it. For me, owning one has proven to be totally unnecessary.

Orton, you elected to not acquire the tools to do your own crimping but take your cables to a battery shop instead. I bought the tools and will never be sorry.
We all have different skill levels. I was not confident in doing my own cable crimps nor would I have a use for the tool in the future. Just too easy to hand over my pile of ropes, wait an hour and go home to install the cables.
 

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Last year I installed about 15 rivnuts using the DIY methods. There was a bit of a learning curve as I broke / bent a few Grade 5 bolts before I finally wised up about bought some Grade 8 bolts. Those worked fine and I was able to install my bed.

However, my success rate was about 50%. Seemed like if I didn't keep the bolt perfectly straight - which is hard to do given the torque required - that I'd end up with rivnuts that were off kilter and thus hard to use, or else the rivnuts themselves would spin on the backside and be worthless. I think I even pulled one through the sheetmetal, too.

There's not a lot of margin for error with our Transit van sheet metal, especially given the limited number of holes in the some of the more crucial areas. I finally just bought a tool and it made a world of difference.

Plusnuts may be easier to work with and less prone to failure. I don't know. But going DIY with steel rivnuts is pretty challenging to get it right.
You have just clarified the reason for using Plusnuts instead of Rivnuts.

The hole for the Plusnut does not need to be exact because the four feet extend out about 1/4" behind the hole. They do not pull through the hole. Plusnuts have a much larger margin for error. Good for less skilled installers like me.

I did install a few where I did not keep the tool perpendicular to the steel wall. That can prevent the bolt from entering the nut. Just used a tap to clean up the threads.
 

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(orton) yeah thanks, i followed your mcmasters link last year for plusnuts, the plusnuts are garbage! using the tool it sucks the threaded part right thru the outside hole in the plusnut if you are not careful about over tightening it. then this winter i gutted part of last years build to redo it to better fit my needs, when i went to remove the bolts from the plusnuts a few of them were stuck in the hole because of damaged plusnut threads and just spun round and round, i had to grind the bolt heads off and hammer them back in the hole to get them out!

the rivnuts babybuffy linked appear to be indestructable, there is no mistakenly over tightening them with the tool, and no messed up threads!
 

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(orton) yeah thanks, i followed your mcmasters link last year for plusnuts, the plusnuts are garbage! using the tool it sucks the threaded part right thru the outside hole in the plusnut if you are not careful about over tightening it. then this winter i gutted part of last years build to redo it to better fit my needs, when i went to remove the bolts from the plusnuts a few of them were stuck in the hole because of damaged plusnut threads and just spun round and round, i had to grind the bolt heads off and hammer them back in the hole to get them out!

the rivnuts babybuffy linked appear to be indestructable, there is no mistakenly over tightening them with the tool, and no messed up threads!
I have had zero problems with the Plusnuts. Just tighten them with a guess about how tight and have not had any pull through issues. I suspect if you really were determined you could pull the threaded part through the hole.

Have not and will not need to remove bolts from the Plusnuts so that should not be an issue. Using a thread lubricant would reduce the chance of galling. Working on my second conversion so will never be removing anything on this conversion. Did not remove anything on the first conversion either.

Sorry you had a problem. I did have problems with the nutserts which was why I changed to Plusnuts. Different strokes for different folks!
 

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rivnuts, plusnuts, it is hard to know what you are buying from mcmasters, these are what i bought last year following your link, (i may have bought the wrong kind) these are made out of light gauge metal and are trash!
https://www.mcmaster.com/#90186a213/=17fx0gi

(sorry, it looks like i bought the wrong ones last year, these are supposed to be put in with a screw driver, not a rivnut installation tool - i am sorry again)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
nor would I have a use for the tool in the future.
That was my excuse, no use for a PlusNut tool in the future. Just installed another four PlusNuts, on top of all the ones I did yesterday - finally had to use a new K=nut on the last one.
 

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I can see how those would fail.

Bought mine from Jay-Cee sales at rivitsinstock.com. They call them "cross nuts-pre-bulbed".

Part # RN2520280PNB

You should be tied to a post and lashed 100 times.
I feel like an idiot but want to have what I need when I need them (soon). I ordered your referenced tool and cross nuts but then I noticed that my Sortimo partition came with M6 plus nuts so I ordered the M6 tool too. They are very close in size. These tools remind me of my electrical knock out tool sets which seem to work on the same principle but really just cut conduit fastener holes in metal cabinets.
 

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I feel like an idiot but want to have what I need when I need them (soon). I ordered your referenced tool and cross nuts but then I noticed that my Sortimo partition came with M6 plus nuts so I ordered the M6 tool too. They are very close in size. These tools remind me of my electrical knock out tool sets which seem to work on the same principle but really just cut conduit fastener holes in metal cabinets.

The electrical knock outs work great for putting holes in the van roof and floor. I used the 1/2" to put the corner 7/8" dia. holes in roof for the fan opening corners and the two holes in roof for the bulkhead 90 degree fittings for the two solar wires. The floor holes for the 1" rubber hose shower and sink drains were done with a larger one that provides a 1 3/8" dia. hole.
 

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The electrical knock outs work great for putting holes in the van roof and floor. I used the 1/2" to put the corner 7/8" dia. holes in roof for the fan opening corners and the two holes in roof for the bulkhead 90 degree fittings for the two solar wires. The floor holes for the 1" rubber hose shower and sink drains were done with a larger one that provides a 1 3/8" dia. hole.

Thanks for the tip. Less mess and metal shavings too. I used them mostly for making control panels. There were a few knock out sets I had with index keys for pilot lights and HOA switches so they wouldn't rotate. Liquid-tight 1/2" conduit fittings would be excellent for wire penetrations into the van from outside.
 

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Liquid-tight 1/2" conduit fittings would be excellent for wire penetrations into the van from outside.
I used two for the + and - solar cables. Kept the MC4 connectors between the roof and the panel if I ever need to remove panel. Bought a 15' MC4 extension cable and cut it in two for the cable runs to the MPPT solar controller.
 
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