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Make a rivet nut / rivnut / riv-nut tool to install your running boards.

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.

Kevin
 

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Re: Make Your Own Rivet Nut (RIV-NUT) Tool!

Nicely done!!

I was thinking about running boards on my RL. One less reason to say no...:rolleyes:
 

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Re: Make Your Own Rivet Nut (RIV-NUT) Tool!

Hey..cool website... about the rust thing... It's the same under my car too. I have the same rust... Anybody else?
 

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Re: Make Your Own Rivet Nut (RIV-NUT) Tool!

Hey..cool website... about the rust thing... It's the same under my car too. I have the same rust... Anybody else?
I think every RL has the same rust spots. Iron rusts. Honda could have put an extra coat of paint on the parts to avoid this but they figured that no one would ever have a reason to go under there. The rust won't hurt the parts any it's just on the surface.
 

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Re: Make Your Own Rivet Nut (RIV-NUT) Tool!

Kevin,

Welcome to the ROC.....

The heavily rusted items are cast iron.... Do not worry for you will be long gone before it would have a rusted apart. The rust coating actually will protect it from getting worse.
 

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Re: Make Your Own Rivet Nut (RIV-NUT) Tool!

Finally found your link. Great job and photos. Amazing what a little ingenuity can create!
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

You can do what Mike Kennedy did, or just pop out the black plastic plug.Put a nut on the tip of your finger and guide your finger with the nut on it under the hole where you want to insert the bolt. You might have to put something sticky on your finger tip to hold the nut in place until you get it attached. When you are finished just pop the plastic plug back in the hole.

Vinnie:D
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

This installation was the cat's pajamas, with a few modifications for me. I couldn't find a rubber-backed washer like Mike called for that fit the 8 mm bolt size, so I used a seperate rubber washer, and 2 steel ones. I put it all together and it started to work, but friction really became the enemy. I stripped the nut pretty much to the point that it became round, not the original hexagonal shape. Vice-grips were my friend to remove everything, but the rivnut was partially there.

After a few choice words for the system, I read further in the thread (should have done this sooner). One post talked about using grease on the bolt (I can't find which one so I can't give them credit). I greased the bolt, screwed the nut to 1/4" from the top of the bolt, backed it all the way off (becasue the top had extra grease on it), flipped the nut over, and then put it back on with the greased side facing the tip of the bolt. Then I put on the first washer which now had a seal of grease between it and the nut. I put on another steel washer with a seat of grease between both washers, and then a rubber washer. This worked so well, I felt like I didn't need much force at all to seat the rivnut. I wrenched it down and voila! It worked so well. Now if could have only used 20 ft/lbs of torque instead of 27 ft/lbs on the rest of the components....... I am a moron for that, but the rivnut tool worked incredibly well.

Mike, bravo to you.
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

I did mine last week. I used the $1.87 tool as described. (I drilled the thread out of the nuts) I found it helpful to get it started in a vice, then finish it in the car. Used a ratchet and a box wrench. No probs there.
TomJV
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

Mike,
I wanted to thank you and all of the ROC members that make this such a great site. I followed your $1.87 instructions and successfully installed my running boards on my 07 RTL. My 8 yr old son and I had a great weekend installing the boards, fender flares, trailer hitch, and moonroof deflector. Thanks again to all!
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

I too want to thak Mike and the others that helped make the install of my running boards possible. It worked very well and the tip about the vice helped me out. I also used alittle parafin wax to coat the threads of the bolt to keep the nut spinning and not bind. This was a great thread.
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

So I was going to try the $1.87 tool to install my new Side steps but then my Mtce minder came on. I have 5300 miles so it was my first. Called the two dealerships closest to me and asked if they could install the rivet nut for me.

First one said no due to liability and I was disappointed because they are the closest to me. 2nd one said they would (but did not state a charge). Went back to the 1st one again and told them another dealer would. She asked the Svc Mgr and he said they would, FOR $60!!!!! The excuse was its a special tool and they have to charge that amount to recoup the cost of the tool. (By charging one customer for the total cost of the tool I guess). I asked her if they would charge me the price of their alignment system when I got my wheels aligned.:D

So dealer #2 got my business today and all of my service business going forward. Its too bad dealer #1 was so short-sighted. If they had not tried to charge me $60 for 2 mins work, they would have all my business.

However, 2nd dealer was great. Fixed a few warranty items and installed the rivnut free of charge. Earned my continued business
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

Wait till it's time to change your cabin air filter... Having done it the first time myself, I think I'll let my 5 year old do the next one. I have no idea what they would charge for this service... :cool:
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

Thanks for all the great suggestions regarding this install. After reading several posts and not wanting to risk a spinning nutsert, I enhanced the 1.87 Rivet nut tool for easier use, with no loctite neeeded. Basically friction pushing on the nutsert is the enemy and some of you have had problems with it spinning. The solution below takes care of the friction issue and worked very easily (once the tool was together) Here is what you need to make this version of the tool:

This image is all the parts needed - 8 mm bolt, about 2" fully threaded, two thick washers, one large washer from 3/4" bolt, and one large washer that will fit the 8 mm bolt (I drilled the center hole to size), a flange nut from the 8mm nuts provided with the running boards, and 5 or 6 bearings (from old bike wheel or something)



The next image is the first step of assembly, Place large washer over the smaller and place bearings in a circle. The large washer will serve to retain the bearings.



Place the flange nut and bolt through the center hole



Lastly a picture of the otherside of the tool. Screw the nutsert tight to the washer and you will be ready to use the tool.



Once the nutsert is tight to the washer, insert into the proper hole on your ridge, hold the center bolt in place with socket and ratchet (do not turn) and begin tightening the flange bolt. This works like butter, very easy to draw the rivet tight.. no problems at all. Hope this helps!! Wear your safety glasses, as small bearings are under a little pressure.
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

I used the tips fron this thread to install the rivnuts. Worked 100% and was VERY easy to do. Took 3 hours to install the side steps. Most of the time was spent on adjusting my head angle for my torque wrench...:D I need to upgrade from the silly pointer version I have. :D :D
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

I used all the tips for installation of the rivnuts. The ball bearings worked like a champ. One spin around in the vice and the rivnut was expanded enough to catch hold almost immediately. Just a slight tap of the hammer to bring it up flush and then the wrenching.

Really appreciate all the help on this board.

Brad
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

I have been following/reading this thread for two weeks or so. I've dutifully printed all the great info...in preparation for getting under the truck and doing the job--beginning with the $1.87 idea.

BUT.

My RTL had to go in for fog lights installation, so I asked the service mgr if the mechanic could install the rivnuts (conveniently brought along in my pocket). "Of course!" And, no charge.

I guess I'll be going back to my local dealer for service in the future. What an easy, easy way to win a customer.... :D
 

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Re: $1.87 Rivet nut tool for step/running boards.

Thanks Mike...used the tool to install OEM running boards today and it worked fine....just a couple of things to remember:
Bring the rivet to the hardware store to make sure the threads are the same size
Don't be surprised that the rivet goes (almost) completely in the hole...I didn't know how it would work, but found out during the process
Good advice..use a long wrench for leverage...you'll need it

I'll let you know how my trailer hitch goes...next weekend

John Skyhawk474:)
 
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