Make Your Own Rivet Nut Tool
The first thing I wanted to do after picking up my new Ridgeline was install a set of side bars - but I didn't want to pay the hefty dealer price. So I found some cheap on Ebay with the intent to install myself. As many of you have found, it requires the installation of two 8MM rivet nuts. I didn't want to pay the dealer to put these in for me and I didn't want to rent the tool either - so I headed over to my local Ace Hardware and made a tool of my own. . .
Disclaimer: Though this home made tool worked great for me, I am in no way implying any kind of guarantee here. In short, if something goes wrong, it's not my fault. . .
Here is all you need to install the rivet nuts:
- A small piece of aluminum (to use as a handle)
- A Long bolt that will thread into the rivnut (will be your mandrel)
- A nut for the bolt (for compression)
- A large washer (just to ease the operation)
Drill a hole in the piece of metal the same diameter as the mounting bolt. This piece of metal will serve as the "anvil" against which the rivet nut will be compressed. The length will allow you to hold onto it with a wrench or socket to keep it from turning during installation.
The bolt will serve as the mandrel.
The nut will be used to compress the rivet nut. Mark the nut with a reference point so you can keep track of how many rotations you will turn it during installation (I went three, seems to be just right).
I squirted the washer with a bit of WD40. This lubrication will allow the tightening nut to spin a bit easier.
Assemble the tool for installation. . . The parts and assembled tool look like this:
To install the rivet nut, assemble the tool as shown. Make sure your bolt is completely threaded into the rivet nut. (The bolt I have here is probably too long, harder to keep a hold of, but I wanted plenty of room to tighten the compression bolt.) Hand tighten and place the rivet nut into the mounting hole.
When tightening, you will want to keep the bolt and anvil from turning. I positioned the anvil in a spot against the frame to keep it from turning and placed a wrench on the bolt (a socket would work too).
Making note of the reference mark you placed on the bolt, use a wrench to turn the nut clockwise to tighten the rivet nut. I went with 3 complete revolutions. Sorry I don't have a picture here - needed both hands to tighten the compression bolt.
To remove the tool, simply turn the bolt counter-clockwise to unthread it from the rivet nut.
That's it! It worked great and best of all, it only set me back $2.82!
Before posting, I searched to see if anybody else had this idea. I came across another tool on the forum that only used a washer - works too. I prefer the piece of aluminum because it is soft enough to not cause any damage to the rivet nut during compression. As you can see from the pictures above, it turned out very clean - no damage at all to the rivet nut.