Vibrations cause bolts to loosen up so it is no surprise that bolts come loose in the engine compartment. You may have thought that gremlins cause the bolts to back out, but that’s just not the case. It is usually a case of high-frequency vibration that rattles the fastener loose.
One of those common problem areas is the exhaust system. Temperature changes from hot to cold cause metals to expand and contract, then add vibrations of the engine and you have a fastener problem. We found a solution for that problem: a bolt kit from Stage 8 Locking Fasteners.
The concept behind Stage 8 Fasteners is simple, yet very effective in keeping bolts where they need to be. The bolts install like typical hardware, but they have a unique groove on the head of the bolt. With the bolt tightened, a locking retainer is slipped over the head of the bolt and an external E-clip is snapped into the groove. The retainer rests against any fixed part of the engine to keep the bolt from turning.
Company spokesman Glenn Thompson gave us a demonstration of how simple the installation, and how secure the locking mechanism actually is. Stage 8 has several kits available, from exhaust manifold bolts to turbo hardware kits, and other areas where vibrations can cause fastener problems.
Stage 8 Locking Fasteners install quickly and easily, much like the standard bolt. Thompson recommends using anti-seize on the threads, especially when bolting into aluminum. The bolts can be torqued to factory specifications, and the locking retainer is slipped over the bolt head.
The retainer should be positioned so that it’s touching a fixed spot on the header flange, engine, or other components. If the retainer cannot be rotated enough, simply flip it over and try the opposite side. The bolt can be turned a little further accommodate installation, and once the retainer is installed, the E-clip locks everything into place.
For more information on Stage 8 Locking Fasteners or the kits offered, visit them online at www.stage8.com.