We don’t like drilling holes in our van. You shouldn’t either!
- attract rust on bare edges
- spread metal chips all over (almost impossible to remove and will attract rust)
- interfere with your van electronics (!) (follow your manual’s no-drill zones, such as the Ford Transit BEMM)
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There is a way to avoid drilling holes:
What is a Plusnut?
It is an insert that you install permanently in an existing hole. Once installed, a bolt can be fastened (and removed) into it. Voilà!
How does it hold into the van panel? This way:
How does it look when installed in a van:
- will not create galvanic corrosion (if your van panels are also made of steel, most likely they are…)
- have impressive pullout strength: 1215lbs (for .030″ thick steel)
- covers a wide grip range (grip = van panel thickness) (for example, the 1/4-20 Plusnut grip range is .020″ to .280″)
- are quite easy to install with specific tool or DIY tools
- blind installation (no need to have access to both sides of the panel)
- can be installed in plastic or wood as well
How to install a Plusnut
Use a tool such as this one:
After installing 80+ Plusnuts using the DIY method, we wish we bought the tool above… we probably spent as mush in bolts & K-Nuts than the cost of the tool itself! Unless you’re almost done with your conversion, make yourself a favor and get the tool!
- Carriage bolt (same type as your Plusnut. 1/4-20 Plusnut = 1/4-20 bolt. Buy from Amazon)
- K-Nut (it’s a nut with an attached, free spinning washer. Buy from Amazon). We found this type of nut will last MUCH longer than a regular nut (a regular nut will last for 1-2 uses only as opposed to 10-15 uses for the K-Nut)
- Box Wrench (or any drilled plate would do. This is just to prevent the Plusnut from rotating when upsetting)
- Vise Grip (Buy from Amazon)
- Wrench (for turning the K-Nut)
1- Insert the Plusnut in the hole
3- Insert the box wrench, k-nut, carriage bolt and secure the vise-grip to the carriage bolt.
5- Remove the box wrench, k-nut and carriage bolt. That’s it!
6- Fasten your bolt!
What type of Plusnut do I need? Where can I buy them?
Well, it depends on the “Grip Range” (panel thickness) and “Hole Size” (diameter). Use the table below to find the correct type and follow the “Amazon Link” to buy:
|Thread Size||Grip Range||Hole Size||Amazon Link|
*For the Ford Transit, you want the 1/4-20, 0.020″-0.280″ grip range. They fit perfectly in the existing holes!
How to locate accurately the holes to be drilled in the cabinet (or else) to get a perfect fit with the Plusnut pattern?
1- We used hanger bolts (same thread type as the Plusnut):
2- We installed a hanger bolt in each Plusnut, sharp end pointing out
3- Then we pressed the cabinet’s panel against the hanger bolts sharp end; this transferred the Plusnut pattern into the cabinet.
4- The cabinet was drill using the transferred pattern from step 3 (it is O.K. to slightly oversize the holes).
5- The bolts were fastened into the Plusnut. Voilà!
Plusnut are easy to get, easy to install, are very strong and will help protect the van in the long run. We highly recommend them for a van conversion!
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house, quit our jobs and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!