The SL-C is a very fast car indeed, and the consequences of fastener failure at speed can be severe. Exercise caution when installing any fastener, and analyze it to be sure it is the optimum solution for the task, that it is genuine, and that it is installed in accordance with good practices.

The topic of fasteners could fill a book. Actually, it has already filled several books, starting with the classic tome on the subject, Carroll Smith's Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook,.  This is a great start, and has a wealth of information about when to use what grades (no, you don't always use grade 8 everywhere), how to use them, and their failure modes. Some of that information is duplicated here, but every builder should have this book (and possibly the others he has written) on their bookshelf.

Here's a great article from Grassroots Motorsports Magazine on different kinds of devices to keep fasteners fastened.

Here's an interesting link on the different types of lock nuts.

Bolt Grades 

SAE Grade  Socket Head Cap Screw 
I.D. marks on bolt head  No markings  3 lines 5 lines 6 lines   Allen head  
Material  Low carbon  Medium carbon, tempered   Medium carbon, quenched & tempered   Medium carbon, quenched & tempered  High carbon, quenched, & tempered 
Tensile strength (minimum)  74,000 psi  120,000 psi  133,000 psi  150,000 psi  160,000 psi 

Bolt Torque Values

All fasteners need to be torqued correctly in order for them to function as engineered.  Use the chart below as a guide, and take into consideration local conditions (e.g., coatings, dry vs lubricated, etc).  The best case is to follow the manufacturers instructions for torquing specific fasteners, but often that data is missing or unavailable.  In those cases, here is a chart for common bolts and their suggested torque values.


Here's another link for those who want more detail on torque values from the Engineer's Handbook: http://www.engineershandbook.com/Tables/torque.htm

Using a Crowsfoot

 Sometimes you can't get a torque wrench on a bolt or nut because of tight clearances.  The castle nut in the front suspension is an example of an area with a tight fit, In those cases, you can use a crowsfoot as shown below, using the spreadsheet here to calculate the correct torque setting on your wrench to compensate for the difference between using a regular socket and the crowsfoot.  

To calculate the correct torque wrench setting for a given required torque, measure the distance between the center of the crowsfoot opening and the square opening for the torque wrench.  The formula is: Torque setting on the torque wrench = (torque desired/ (1 + (distance / 12))).  Or, just measure as shown,

 and use the spreadsheet above.  The spreadsheet assumes distances in inches and thousandths of an inch, so convert fractions to decimals (for example, 1 1/8" = 1.125).  As with all uses of a torque wrench, make sure the body or handle of the torque wrench is parallel to the head of the bolt or nut being torqued, as putting it on any other angle changes the effective torque values.

(Thanks to Eric Teeter for the info on calculating torque values when using a crowsfoot!)

Bolt Thread Treatments

Use nylon lock nuts on all bolts except where they may be exposed to extreme heat (as near exhaust components) to reduce the risk of self-disassembly due to vibration and movement.  Nylon lock nuts are not suitable in high temperature applications; use jet nuts, or safety-wired nuts in that case. 

In cases where a nylon lock nut cannot be fitted,  another form of thread lock, such as Loctite, shake proof washers etc. should be used.  There are several suppliers of locking nuts and washers including Stage 8, and Nord Lock. For certain critical fasteners, use safety wire.  This is covered later under Safety wiring.

To prevent bolts from galling and seizing use an appropriate anti-seize compound on all threads into aluminum and stainless. Stainless fasteners in aluminum without anti-seize will invariably gall, usually with a bad result.  Where appropriate, use rivnuts (available at McMaster Carr and other places) to permit a steel thread in the chassis.  Aluminum rivets will also work, where they are a fit.

Fraud & Counterfeit fasteners

Good quality fasteners are expensive, and unsurprisingly, there are counterfeit fasteners in the supply stream. These represent a real safety problem, and are thought to have been responsible for aircraft crashes like Partnair Flight 394. 

Using counterfeit fasteners in the SL-C is clearly not desirable, so how can we tell which ones are real, and which are the despicable fakes? You can't be sure unless you are buying direct from a known, reputable supplier, but that isn't possible for most of us -- we don't have that kind of volume, so we get our parts from resellers.  Even they are fooled sometimes, but there are some things we can do to minimize the risk. There is a federal government document on the issue, including suspect bolt head markings: SCI Awareness Training Manual l062007 published by the Department of Energy.   The SL-C is a very fast car indeed, and the consequences of fastener failure at speed can be severe. Exercise caution when installing any fastener, and analyze it to be sure it is the optimum solution for the task, that it is genuine, and that it is installed in accordance with good practices.

If you are unsure as to how to evaluate fasteners, including proper torque settings and application of torque-checking tools, consult a professional before you proceed.

Fastener Errors

Sometimes a manufacturer will make mistakes, and ship fasteners that are incorrectly heat treated, or even have the wrong mix of nut-and-bolt threads.  For example, the Ford GT had an early problem with axle retaining bolts that had an incorrect heat treatment, and there have been reports of other parts from vendors that were shipped with mis-matched nuts and bolts.  Occasionally assembly errors in other parts of the supply chain introduce problems into parts or assemblies.

It is your responsibility to be sure that your car has the correct fasteners for the task.  You should approach every fastener on every critical use with skepticism, and validate that they don't appear on known fraudulent lists, that they have matched threads on the bolt and nuts, and that they are the correct length for the task. Don't assume that because it came on the car, that it is right. 

It is also important to verify correct shank length.  For example, do not assemble with all-thread bolts in places where the threads can cut moving parts, as in a suspension bushing.  If necessary, trim bolts with a hacksaw to obtain the correct overall length and shank length.  Also, verify adequate thread penetration in all bolts and nuts. Do not re-use one-time fasteners, as are used in some engine assemblies like rod bolts, or other critical areas.  These are designed to stretch on proper installation, and cannot be safely reused.  When removing these, it is best to destroy their threads by hammering, and immediately dispose of them to reduce the risk of accidental re-use. 

If a fastener won't hold torque (and every fastener should be torqued to spec, not just tightened by hand), there is always a reason, and it always means you should remove the fastener for inspection, and likely replacement.  Every fastener should be verified for the correct nut and bolt thread match.  An easy way to do this is to acquire a nut-and-bolt checking tool like the  Rockler Standard Thread Detective Screw Gauge  These are available in standard and metric and are invaluable for checking fasteners.  Just because a nut seems to screw on to a bolt does not mean the threads are matched.  Certain metric and SAE threads are very close (3/8-24 and M10-1.0 are one example), but will not reliably hold a torque setting and will quickly fail. Check with a known tool like the one referenced above.

With very high performance comes and obligation for great rigor in fasteners, and failures can have a greater effect than they might in a slower car.  As a builder, you have an obligation to check every fastener as if your life, and the lives of your loved ones, depends on it.

Every fastener, especially suspension and brake-related ones should be verified before you drive the car. 

Safety Wiring

Every critical fastener on the car should be safety wired.  This process is well understood in aircraft maintenance, and in the race car fabrication trade.   If you are new to the idea, check Wikipedia, then begin with more detailed texts on the topic. Safety wiring is easy, and requires only an inexpensive safety wiring tool (safety wiring twisting pliers), the appropriate wire, and a lot of drill bits (unless you can find pre-drilled fasteners for your application- seel below). There are many ways to wire a fastener so it will resist loosening, and the chart below shows some recommended ways to accomplish that.

You can find safety wire, and the appropriate twisting pliers at most aircraft supply stores, and most racing equipment vendors. One source for drilled head bolts is here. They also sell safety wire.

Wire Diameter Twists per Inch  Recommended Hole Diameter 
0.020"  9-12  0.037-0.057
0.025  9-12  0.060-0.080 
0.032  7-10  0.060-0.080 

Washers and Their Use

Always use washers under the heads of all bolts and nuts, especially when the bolts or nuts contact the aluminum parts of the chassis.  The factory may not have assembled the car for shipping purposes with these washers, but it is your responsibility to use washers to spread the load at the end of the fastener, and to prevent gouging, loosening and other problems that can lead to fastener failure.

Grade 8 hardware is available at some farm supply stores by the pound, and in boxes from popular suppliers like McMaster Carr.  Get lots of washers and use them liberally, as they are an inexpensive way to improve safety, as well as adding a more professional appearance to your car.  In some cases, you may elect to make your own washers from sheet steel of the right thickness, especially when you have a specific shape to accommodate, and where typical round washers wouldn't fit or be as functional.  Sometimes builders have used a stack of washers to raise the nut to a desired height, as in the case of Castle nuts.  This is acceptable in some cases, but a better solution is to make spacers of the desired height instead of washers because it is easy to lose one or more from a stack of washers and thus replace them with the wrong height.  Some pictures in this manual may have been taken before the required washers were installed.  Your car should always use washers properly.

Marking Fasteners

After a fastener has been torqued to final specs, it is good practice to mark the end with a paint slash over the end of the bolt head or nut, and crossing to the adjacent part.  This serves two purposes: one, to show that the final torque has been applied (only apply the mark when final torque has been set), and two, to show when a fastener has begun to loosen due to vibration or other cause.

This is standard race car practice, and is a great idea for the SL-C builder.  Use a paint stick or a bottle of fingernail polish for this (a nice bold, red from one of your more, ahem, popular female friends at work will suffice).

Riv Nuts

 Excellent write up on Riv nuts on the LoCost forum here.

Discussion thread on Riv nuts and fasteners on the GT40s site here.

What Do I Need to Buy?

New builders often ask for a list of all of the fasteners that they need to buy for the whole car.  The challenge is that every build is different, so everyone's experience will be different.  That said, it seems everyone uses a lot of stainless steel button heads to fasten brackets, fuseboxes, the InfinityWire boxes, the radiator fans to a fabricated shroud, horns and sirens to the chassis, etc.  The following is a good starting point. You can purchase from any reputable supplier but the McMaster-Carr part numbers are supplied for convenience. 

Qty.  Size  Length Description  McMaster-Carr 
100  1/4"-20 1/2"  Flanged stainless steel button-head socket cap screw 90909A527
100  1/4"-20  3/4"  Flanged stainless steel button-head socket cap screw  90909A529
100  1/4"-20 1"  Flanged stainless steel button-head socket cap screw  90909A530
100  1/4"-20 1 1/2"  Flanged stainless steel button-head socket cap screw  97654A355
50 10-32 1/2" Stainless steel button-head socket cap screw  98164A178
50 10-32 3/4" Stainless steel button-head socket cap screw 92949A269
50  1/4" n/a  Stainless steel washer 96659A106 
50  10-32  n/a  Stainless steel washer ??? 
50  1/4" n/a  Stainless steel nylon-insert hex locknut 91831A029 
50 10-32 n/a Stainless steel nylon-insert hex locknut 91831A009
50 10-32  n/a Stainless steel hex nut ??? 
      grade 8 washers  
      Stainless steel wire  
      Anti sieze  

To make it easy to create an order, you can go to this link and paste the following (you want the bulk mode, not the line item mode):

10 90909A527
10 90909A529
10 90909A530
10 97654A355

You'll also need miscellaneous bolts that will only become obvious when you need them.  For example, longer stainless bolts you'll need to actually fit the fuel filler to the car (the Sparco ones are too short- you need 10-32 X 1.25", in a flathead allen config, and don't forget the nylocks and washers). 

Lastly you'll also need the right size drill bit for each size, and a couple of 1/4-20 and 10-32 taps, if you don't already have them. Sears offers a nice complete tap set