Cross Nut: 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 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:
- 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 Cross Nut 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 Cross Nut
Use a tool such as this one:
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!
- Carriage bolt (same type as your Cross Nut. 1/4-20 Cross Nut = 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 Cross Nut from rotating when upsetting)
- Vise Grip (Buy from Amazon)
- Wrench (for turning the K-Nut)
1- Insert the Cross Nut 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 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|
*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 Cross Nut pattern?
1- We used hanger bolts (same thread type as the Cross Nut):
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!
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!