Whilst most classic car owners want value for money, they also look for quality, both in their dealings with tradesmen and suppliers. The trouble with fasteners is that they appear “generic”, in other words, all fasteners are the same. Whilst nuts and bolts are hardly the most interesting of subjects, the quality and durability of fasteners varies fairly dramatically.
On our bolts, right on the top of the head, you should find a code (of sorts). As you can see from the bolt head below, the code or markings allows us figure out who manufactured and supplied our fasteners.
It is clearly important when supplying bolts to industry that there is traceability of supplier and manufacturer. The fasteners we at Leyton Classics use are fully traceable and are of industrial/commercial quality. The strength and durability of fasteners is clearly vital in automotive applications.
We supply many of our fasteners in the original packaging as supplied to us, sourcing from people we know well and have used for many years. Many of our suppliers are based in the Midlands, we meet with them regularly and are able to review their quality controls and, where applicable, manufacturing methods.
Many classic car owners may not understand the importance of using new bolts when maintaining and restoring. Old bolts can become weakened by age, over tightening etc. It makes sense from a safety perspective to replace fasteners, on a like for like basis, as the owner is undertaking maintenance or restoration. Replacement bolts also look much better than “cleaned up” elderly fasteners! I always replace nuts, bolts and washers every time I remove a part. Home restorers often fail to realise that when nuts and bolts are tightened, the threads are stretched, which will, over time weaken the fasteners. Also if you place a new washer against an old item, the locking component will be much poorer.
All our drills are sourced from Europe to very high specification and are industrial quality. Please don’t confuse these drills with others offered elsewhere, which will be of inferior material and manufacture. My own experience of using “cheap” consumables is that they tend to break or lose sharpness at the precise moment when you need them!
This post came to mind following a classic car club meeting when nuts and bolts were discussed and I started to become concerned. The conversation regarded dismantling suspension to replace some specific components. Now we old car enthusiasts are known to spend excessive amounts of cash on new parts, we know they are made in small volumes and we are always keen on quality (although there is not a lot of that around these days). My concern centred on the fact that no-one thought to use new fasteners when re-connecting the new components, regardless of the fact that a nut and bolt costs “buttons” yet the new parts are often hundreds of pounds. The problem is that once a fastener has been used, particularly in areas of stress, it is good practice to discard it and replace with new.
A few years ago, an old friend asked me to help him buy out his company, an industrial fastener business, essentially to help fund and look after the financials. So started my period of learning about the humble nut and bolt. When you look around you, virtually everything we use at home, at work or in our hobbies are held together by something…normally nuts and bolts. Yet they are so ubiquitous that they become invisible, unless you’re working with them. What I did notice was that when our customers were stripping machines or making repairs, as a matter of course they ALWAYS replaced the fasteners.
I chatted to our customers who seemed amused at my surprise, their view being that for a few pounds they could save further breakdowns later, but more importantly, if a fastener was to “give way” a terrible accident could ensure. The general rule of thumb seemed to be, if it’s removed, throw it away and replace with new.
The simple truth is that once a nut and bolt are “torqued up” the thread will stretch…so if it is used again and again, it will inevitably weaken. Many of our classic cars are upwards of 50 years old, yet I wonder how many of the fasteners are “original”?
There is no doubt that imperial sizes are becoming more difficult to source, however there are a number of businesses, like Leyton Classics www.leytonclassics.co.uk and Leyton Fasteners who still supply Imperial, UNC, UNF, BSW & BSF from stock. You would be surprised how many factory machines are still plodding on with Imperial fasteners holding them together!
A final thought, be careful where you source your fasteners. Go to people who supply the trade and industry, as their fasteners will be from a reliable source and can be traced back to the manufacturer. Without this you run the risk of buying substandard items.
So for safety sake as well as to make your vehicle look good, replace with new from a quality source.