Cross Nut


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:



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 (recommended)

Use a tool such as:

Astro 1450 Crossnut Rivet Plusnut Tool
Astro 1450 Crossnut Tool. Buy on 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)



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 Size Grip Range Hole Size  Amazon Link
Min. Max.
10-32 0.020-0.175 0.312 0.317 BUY
10-32 0.175-0.320 0.312 0.317 BUY
1/4-20* 0.020-0.280 0.386 0.391 BUY
1/4-20 0.280-0.500 0.386 0.391 BUY
5/16-18 0.020-0.280 0.484 0.489 BUY
5/16-18 0.280-0.500 0.484 0.489 BUY
3/8-16 0.020-0.280 0.562 0.569 BUY


*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?



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



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



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!




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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!






73 thoughts on “Cross Nut”

  1. I Use the new Astro 1450 to set cross nuts, also drill linked to extraction nob to speed up removal of mandrel from set cross nut …. installed a bag of 50 in less then 2 hours

  2. Thanks for the links to the plus nuts and the tool to install them. There were many reviews that said the tool seized up after installing just a few nuts so I was nervous about this
    . A helpful suggestion from a reader on the DIY Cargo Van Conversion Facebook page recommended using an anti-seize product. I bought Permatex and with a little practice, found the plus nuts easy to install.

  3. Question about the hanging bolts, did you buy 80+ for every crossnut , then remove them and use a separate bolt to hang the walls?

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. I refer folks to your site a lot on the various forums. I have used your ideas and links to build out my van. The DIY for the cross nuts can be done in a simpler manner using a star washer, closed end of a wrench, washer, bolt. You attach to the cross nut then collapse the nut using either a wrench, rachet or an impact driver. I have loaded the video to IG under jimmcneill1978 if you want to check it out.

  11. I have a T-350 Passenger van HR and I would like to run two Unistruts along the ceiling to support a suspended bed, but of course I cannot see the van structure because of the trim. I looked inside a cargo van at a local dealer and looked at the existing holes in the Transit ceiling supports. I want the unistruts to be about 20″ off center. Which holes in the existing trusses should I use – and with which cross nuts?

    Thank you for your extensive information.

    • We didn’t use the smaller holes, but you could measure the diameter and find the appropriate crossnut using the table in this page. Sorry we can’t measure ours because of our wood paneling 🙂


  12. Thanks for all the info. But I’m a bit confused about using the plusnuts. If the walls/ribs are covered with insulation and EZCool, how do you know where the holes or plusnuts are? Do you cut holes in the EZCool as you go along, to expose the plusnuts? Or do you install the plusnuts after you put up the EZCool? I also assumed the wall paneling would go up behind the cupboards, but that would also cover up the plusnuts. Do you just try to mark where the plusnuts are, so you can find them later when you mount the cupboards? Thanks for the help!

    • The Cross Nuts are installed first. When it’s time to add the insulation, we installed hanger bolts into the plusnut and we poked through the insulation, so you know where the Cross Nuts are (you can use a red sharpie to make it even more obvious, before removing the hanger bolts).

      Our wood paneling does not go behind the cupboards, but you could use the hanger bolts method if that’s what you want.

      Hope that make sense!

  13. Re: PlusNuts

    If you live in Canada, it’s very hard to find the prebulbed PlusNuts (or very costly), and the ones on your won’t deliver to Canada. Since it is 840km return to nowhere Montana, I ordered many 1/4-20 rivnuts at ahead of my van delivery. Just before starting on the bed frame, I tried inserting one, and much to my chagrin, it did not fit!

    Using a digital measuring device, I found that the hole size was 0.367″. Therefore, the PlusNuts shown in your chart would not fit either. Perhaps Ford has changed the hole size in the 2018 models. I ordered new rivnuts that are 0.348″, and they fit. Just wanted to make people aware to measure first, and order carefully.
    Not a big $$ deal – just a hassle.

    • Hi,
      Unfortunately I can’t confirm if the hole size have changed since 2016 🙁
      Have you read this thread here: FordTransitUSA Thread
      It’s about someone that has the same issue as you, then finally: “Yep, found I could ‘persuade’ the plusnuts into the (majority) slightly smaller holes. Just tapped them with a mallet or even my hand. Don’t believe the paint is damaged in these scenarios.”

      Have you try to “persuade” them with a hammer?


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