One of the biggest pains you can have in overhaul/restoration is trying to use old “hardware” as is a commonly used term in the aviation industry to describe the typical nuts, bolts and screws etc used to hold the thing together. In aircraft many nuts and bolts are “lifed” for relatively short periods more so particularly in helicopters where most are mandated to be thrown away when any disassembly takes place and also at amazingly short intervals where called up on specific service bulletins.
Why then do we restore some 40 to 50 year old motorcar to good condition but use the old hardware to hold it together? Rusty nuts and bolts take time to clean up and will always be suspect as to their integrity. It is easy enough to examine a used bolt by naked eye to establish if the thread is damaged but try looking inside a nut and you will really never know if it was OK. Is it because of the prices you see in local automotive retail sources on blister packs on racks in the store? I noted that a blister pack of 6 UNF ¼ inch nuts cost $2.50 [approximately 42 cents each] in a local retail store.
I recently started on the interior of the white MK 1 and found that there were a number of nuts and associated hardware missing from the wood dashboard panel areas. These nuts are typically ¼ UNF. I dropped into Queensland Fasteners in Robinson Road, Geebung and bought a hundred nuts for $6.40 [or 6.4 cents each.]. Compare the above prices and somebody is paying the 500% mark up in the blister pack.
While I was there I checked on the price of 5/16 UNF zinc plated nuts which hold the exhaust manifold on the XK engine head and they were more expensive due to the plating and worked out at $14.00 per hundred or [14 cents each]. Considering an XK engine exhaust manifold uses 16 of these nuts you would have an outlay of $2.24 to use new nuts when assembling it to the engine head. Pretty cheap isn’t it in the overall cost of engine repairs and overhauls? But you could cut costs by using non-plated nuts if you were really desperate as these are typically 8 cents each.
I also keep a couple of containers of 10-32 UNF nuts and appropriate washers on hand as they are commonly used on trim items in all Jaguars from the MK 7 onwards. The cost is around $3.00 a hundred for nuts and the washers come real cheap at about 1 cent each.
In the front-end department many of the early Jags used Nylock nuts to hold things together. That is a nut with a nylon insert which provides a friction hold to stop the nut from coming loose. I bought an entire set of nylock nuts for the front end of a MK 1 which is basically the same as a MK 2/S type /420 for under $20. In the aviation industry a nylock nut is a one-use device and I will always treat them the same in critical areas of a motor vehicle
Now before you all start phoning me and telling me I have got the prices wrong just do some basic homework and don’t – please don’t tell me the price you were charged in a miserable blister pack of nuts and bolts you obtained from your local automotive retail outlet. Go to a professional outfit and buy these parts at the right price and don’t get ripped off. Please note that the prices I have quoted are standard retail prices from Queensland Fasteners for small quantities and you have to be involved in the thousands of nuts and washers to get better [trade] prices.
If you are getting involved in an overhaul/restoration you may be pleasantly surprised to find out how little it costs to use new “hardware”.