Cross Nut

Crossnut-Heading-1920-px

Cross Nut

Cross Nut: we don’t like drilling holes in our van. You shouldn’t either!

 

It could
  1. attract rust on bare edges
  2. spread metal chips all over (almost impossible to remove and will attract rust)
  3. 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:
Cross Nut, Pre-Bulbed
Cross Nut, Pre-Bulbed. Buy on Amazon.
What is a Cross Nut?

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:

crossnut-simulation

 

How does it look when installed in a van:

cross nut

Cross Nut:
  1. will not create galvanic corrosion (if your van panels are also made of steel, most likely they are…)
  2. have impressive pullout strength: 1215lbs (for .030″ thick steel)
  3. covers a wide grip range (grip = van panel thickness) (for example, the 1/4-20 Cross Nut grip range is .020″ to .280″)
  4. are quite easy to install with specific tool or DIY tools
  5. blind installation (no need to have access to both sides of the panel)
  6. can be installed in plastic or wood as well

 




 

 

How to install a Cross Nut

Method A

Use a tool such as this one:

cross nut-tool
Buy from Amazon.
Method DIY

After installing 80+ Cross Nuts 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!

Tools required:

  1. Carriage bolt (same type as your Cross Nut. 1/4-20 Cross Nut = 1/4-20 bolt. Buy from Amazon)
  2. 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)
  3. Box Wrench (or any drilled plate would do. This is just to prevent the Cross Nut from rotating when upsetting)
  4. Vise Grip (Buy from Amazon)
  5. Wrench (for turning the K-Nut)

 

Procedure:

cross nut-demo-step-1

1- Insert the Cross Nut in the hole

cross nut-demo-step-2

 

3- Insert the box wrench, k-nut, carriage bolt and secure the vise-grip to the carriage bolt.

cross nut stackup

 

4- Upset

cross nut-upset

 

5- Remove the box wrench, k-nut and carriage bolt. That’s it!

cross nut-front-view

 

6- Fasten your bolt!

cross nut-example
These 4 bolts are fastened into Cross Nut!



 

What type of Cross Nut 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 SizeGrip RangeHole Size Amazon Link
Min.Max.
10-320.020-0.1750.3120.317BUY
10-320.175-0.3200.3120.317BUY
1/4-20*0.020-0.2800.3860.391BUY
1/4-200.280-0.5000.3860.391BUY
5/16-180.020-0.2800.4840.489BUY
5/16-180.280-0.5000.4840.489BUY
3/8-160.020-0.2800.5620.569BUY

 

*For the Ford Transit, you want the 1/4-20, 0.020″-0.280″ grip range. They fit perfectly in the existing holes!

 

 

Tip #1

How to locate accurately the holes to be drilled in the cabinet (or else) to get a perfect fit with the Cross Nut pattern?

this-cabinet-must-be-fastened-to-the-van-wall

 

1- We used hanger bolts (same thread type as the Cross Nut):
hanger-bolt
Buy it on Amazon.com
2- We installed a hanger bolt in each Cross Nut, sharp end pointing out

hanger-bolts-installed

 

3- Then we pressed the cabinet’s panel against the hanger bolts sharp end; this transferred the Cross Nut 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 Cross Nut. Voilà!

cabinet-cross nut

 

Conclusion

Cross Nut 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!

 

 

WANT MORE?

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

64 thoughts on “Cross Nut”

  1. Hi Antoine,

    Can you please link to the type of bolts and length you used for this plus nut? (I have a Ram Promaster 1500)

    Thank you!

  2. Just starting my van build. Want to attach plywood using rivnuts to existing holes in floor. But REALLY struggled. Took all my strength yet never could never get one to seat properly. Do cross nuts require the same amount of force to attach? Thanks in advance for any help.

    • They require a “reasonable” amount of force… it’s fairly easy to do with the tool or the DIY way. Some people use a little bit of lubricant on the threads to make it easier.

      Have a good one!

  3. Just out of curiosity, did you look into using rivet nuts instead of cross nuts? It seems like rivet nuts would be easier to install?

  4. Hi Antoine,

    Two things:

    1. Another way to mark hole locations that I have used often in the past and now as well is to cover the end of any bolt with dry erase marker ink and push your board/cabinet/plywood against it. That ink transfers nicely. If you think you messed up, you can rub the ink off the wood and do it again.

    One nice thing is that you can get closer to the wall and if a bolt is not marking because you need a shim, you can screw the bolt out a bit, and get the shim thickness.

    2. I actually had to drill a few holes in the van to accept some cross nuts. Is that ironic or something? Idid paint but didn’t sand first.

    Cheers, Don

  5. Antoine,

    I haven’t read read all of the comments, but a word to the wise:

    Make sure you test the cross nut before putting your bolt in and having the cross nut rotate with the bolt. Unless you can get a pliers on the back of the cross nut, which sometimes you can, you are not getting that bolt out!!! (Sometimes you can get a knife between the van metal and the inside edge of the cross nut to stop its movement.)

    One easy test is use the vise grip to rotate the setting device out of the crosscut while it is under full tension (after setting the cross nut). If it rotates, you are not done. Tighten some more!!

    Cheers, Don

  6. Thank you for your hard work producing this step by step problem solver website. You have inspired me to get back on the DIY build out of my 2010 Sprinter

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