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I made myself the same tool, installed 10 or 15, but then I got the angle wrong on one, it started spinning, and I had to drill out the plusnut. It was an awkward location, took me about 30 minutes, so then I bought the proper tool from McMaster Carr.

https://www.mcmaster.com/catalog/125/3427
 

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I made myself the same tool, installed 10 or 15, but then I got the angle wrong on one, it started spinning, and I had to drill out the plusnut. It was an awkward location, took me about 30 minutes, so then I bought the proper tool from McMaster Carr.

https://www.mcmaster.com/catalog/125/3427
On same page I used the $30 "wrench-driven rivet nut tool" part # 96349A305 for 1/4-20NC Plusnuts. Tool worked fine.
 

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Help!!!

Maybe I'm stupid, or maybe I'm just not doing it right. I'm trying the DIY approach. Whatever I do, it seems the plusnut just spins when I try to tighten it. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to keep it from spinning? Thanks.
 

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Whatever I do, it seems the plusnut just spins when I try to tighten it. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to keep it from spinning? Thanks.
A photo of your setup might be helpful for diagnosis. Which DIY setup are you using? Do you have something acting as a thrust bearing?

I posted photos of my setup somewhere way back in this thread. I haven't had any issues of the plusnut spinning.
 

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I have had success with experimenting with the riv nuts and just crimping them into light sheet metal and adjusting the tool until I have the “Pinch/Compression” just right for the material I’m using them on.... Your going to waste some RivNuts, but that’s how I have had repeated success!!!
 

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I installed dozens of the plus nuts just using a star washer at the plus nut, a box wrench about the size of the washer, a regular washer and a grade 8 bolt. Hand tighten this before placing into the hole, then tighten 8 to 10 complete turns using a wrench or a socket with a hand driver or an impact driver. You can put a black line on the socket to help keep count of the turns. The box wrench needs to be held while the bolt is being turned. A video is on Instagram at this Link for plus nut install

132793
 

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Long 1/4-20 mandrels for Plusnuts for the Astro 1442 can be purchased from Summit Racing at this link:

Astro Pneumatic Tool Company Rivet Gun Mandrels LM1/4-20

The photo shows both the mandrel and nose piece although I only received the long mandrel.

Amazon may also sell the long mandrel although it's not clear whether it's the same item.

Here's a photo of the long mandrel along with the short mandrel:

133045
 

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On same page I used the $30 "wrench-driven rivet nut tool" part # 96349A305 for 1/4-20NC Plusnuts. Tool worked fine.
I bought the same tool, months ago from Orton's suggestion, and have probably installed 50 plus nuts with it.
Well worth the $30 IMO.
 

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I have the Astro Rivnut tool set from Amazon and have used it extensively (maybe a bit too much) on my van. Unfortunately, one out of 5? is difficult to use after I finish the install. I assume that I bend the tool when extracting or I crimped a bit too much.
Another tool which has been really helpful with it has been a tap and die set. I have an inexpensive (and cheap) one from Harbor Freight because initially I didn't think I would use it much.
Instead, it allows me to clean up the threads after I install a Rivnut. It has been really nice to have on call and I use it quite a bit.
 

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I'll add a comparison that will probably be useful to approximately 0 people...I couldn't find a plusnut installation tool in stock anywhere, and needed to get going mid-pandemic on subfloor and framing install. I'm about halfway through a couple hundred 1/4-20 plusnuts, and this thing has worked scary-quick, 100% success rate on the first try: http://www.cardinalcomponents.com/assets/c6000_tool_manual.pdf

Thread a plusnut on the mandrel with a quick push of the plunger, insert in hole, squeeze lever, unthread with a quick pull of the plunger---it is literally about 8 seconds per plusnut! Once I had to adjust the mandrel slightly to make the "squeeze" a little tighter to keep the plusnut from spinning, but that's it--100% success, no unuseable nuts, no galled threads. I have no point of comparison--I have no idea if every install tool is this awesome. Since I've never installed rivnuts or plusnuts before, I was a bit intimidated, and very surprised that my first ~100 are all perfect, and were very easy.

I ended up there because I think they're an aircraft supplier, and were still at work and shipping stuff quick. I paid the extra bucks to get something in my hands and get to work. It is probably not what I'd recommend to anyone doing one or two vans--mostly because it is over $200. But, for the rest of my life, I'll be looking for every opportunity to use plusnuts, just because this thing is so quick and reliable. (Ask me how I'm installing my rear view camera display, where the rear-view mirror would go if I had a back window!)
 

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There's another option, plusnuts are the superior design over rivnuts due to the greater surface area they exert at the back of the metal frame. Van frames are actually a part of the unibody structure of the vehicle, instead of solid thick bars they use thin U shaped metal skin framing, it's the same difference as a human's skeleton versus an ant's exoskeleton. the best method would be drill your hole for the plusnut, sand around the hole or use a angle grinder to grind down to metal, install your plusnut, than tack weld the surface of the nut so it doesn't spin. you could try to weld around the whole nut but it might burn through the metal or burn off the paint on the other side. not certain, you'd have to test that. if the metal does get exposed it's not 100% it would cause catastrophic rusting. rust is more likely on the floor where water pools and cannot escape fast enough, on a unibody frame it's vertical so nothing pools. you can spray paint the top of the nut after you tack weld it. the frame and nut should be mild steel. the coating on the plusnut looks like zinc.

I know welding brake cleaner or galvanized steel will kill you, not sure about zinc or whatever coating is on that plusnut, it probably is safe to do but ask a welder and get the material specs on the plusnut coating. Also with tack welding you could just get steel uncoated nuts and just tack weld them straight to the frame, no need for plusnuts at all , just don't weld it to the inside metal skin where they paint the outside of the van unless you know how to do a paint job repair, which I could figure out but most guys here probably can't. also it might be a good idea to cut small pieces of metal square skin or grind off the coating on washers and tack weld them to the frame and than tack weld your nut to the center. it increases the surface area and strengthens the foundation for the nut you're welding to it. in fact adventure wagon rivnut's metal bracing to the entire van framing. I would fabricate my own bracing, but I may weld the thing onto the frame to make it even stronger, those are just ideas to go above and beyond. when welding to thin skin, place thick metal under it to soak up the heat and reduce the chance of burn through, acts as a heatsink, anyways that's the stuff I would try
 

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How do you access tight spaces? I want to install rivnuts into the ceiling and dont really want to drop headliner. So hole is like inch before deep you reach metal. I have rivnut gun but I can't reach it such tight spot.
 

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I see a few people using 1/4" plusnuts. I thought the hole size on the transit was 6mm. Has anyone purchased 6mm and had success?
 
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