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Old 11-27-2019, 03:35 PM   #1
alordofchaos
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Default Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

So, I'm gonna try and fix my exhaust this weekend.

My question is, would it be OK to use steel and zinc bolts / nuts to bolt the flanges for the cat and the resonator / mid pipe together?

I stopped at Tractor Supply last night and could not find stainless hardware. They had a small selection and nothing that seemed like it would work.

My resonator broke off where it is welded to the flange, leaving the flange attached to the catalytic convert's flange. So the firs step is cutting off the rusted bolts or nuts and trying to get the old flange off.

So I can either use the steel/zinc hardware I bought or keep trying to find SS hardware. What say you?

I didn't have time to track down an OEM system from a rust free place, so I bought a resonator at the auto store. Already have POR15 high temp on the new flange and weld areas, including the metal hanger.

Rinsed it inside and out with soapy water. Gonna give it a few coats of high temp paint inside and out to try and slow down the inevitable rust.
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Old 11-27-2019, 06:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

If I lived in Michigan, I'd spend the extra time hunting down a decent full-service hardware store that has SS fasteners in stock. It seems stuff gets the crusties there PDQ, and repeating that job has got to be zero fun.

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Old 11-27-2019, 07:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Tried Home Depot, Lowes, NAPA, Autozone, Advance Auto? While looking for hardware in H/D, I discovered a good assortment of stainless hardware for my modified Saturn luggage rack to hold a set of ski racks. Stainless was the way to go to prevent yearly salt corrosion from eating away plain hardware. They may not have every metric size so you should be able to adapt SAE hardware in place of metric.

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Old 11-27-2019, 08:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

It depends.

Did you buy the bulk SAE - or did you go with their metric?

The SAE bulk stuff is pretty much bottom of the line - and it will break when you go to take it apart again.

I use a lot of TSC bolts - but only for low stress applications.

I believe the metric are from a different manufacturer and are a bit better grade. Those should be fine for exhaust application.

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Old 11-27-2019, 10:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Not all stainless steel is rust proof or even rust resistant.
It depends on the specific grade.
A whole lot of stainless is just that, that they just stain-LESS.

Even though I had machine shop experience, I was still surprised that a particular stainless steel gun that went through a house fire, was heavily encrusted with rust whenever it was recovered. Total junk.

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Old 11-28-2019, 11:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Not all stainless steel is rust proof or even rust resistant.
It depends on the specific grade.
A whole lot of stainless is just that, that they just stain-LESS.

Even though I had machine shop experience, I was still surprised that a particular stainless steel gun that went through a house fire, was heavily encrusted with rust whenever it was recovered. Total junk.
I worked at On Target gun shop in Kalamazoo - which years ago had a serious fire.

One of the owners and I discussed it - and he told me that he was surprised how poorly the stainless guns fared - but the nickel plated stuff did well for the most part.......

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Old 11-28-2019, 12:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

I'm not familiar with our exhausts... never worked on it. I have what looks like a old chainlink fence post in mine

Could you use hot dip galvanized bolts? Often carriage bolts are found to be hot dipped, but I think hex head are available too. Check Menard's?

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Old 11-28-2019, 01:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

When I bought a flex coupling to replace a damaged one, I chose stainless clamps and hardware. Plain clamps and hardware simply corrodes and rusts in the rust belt states. Nothing special, just paid a little more for them and expect them to hold up longer. I know the stainless braid of stainless flex couplers won't corrode but the corrugated tubing underneath isn't stainless - mine cracked and allowed exhaust noise out instead of being routed to the muffler. The stainless hardware used on my ski rack shows no signs of rusting. That was several years ago.

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Old 11-29-2019, 01:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Thanks for the replies
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlinebiker View Post
It depends.

Did you buy the bulk SAE - or did you go with their metric?

The SAE bulk stuff is pretty much bottom of the line - and it will break when you go to take it apart again.

I use a lot of TSC bolts - but only for low stress applications.

I believe the metric are from a different manufacturer and are a bit better grade. Those should be fine for exhaust application.
I went with the metric because I don't have much by SAE tools and didn't feel like converting to wee what metric I have is close

A lot of what they had in stock wasn't threaded for the first 1/2 inch or so. Wasnt sure I could make it tight enough as I didnt measure the thickness of the flange on the cat and the resonator's flange that was stuck on it.

I wasnt really looking forward to a 20~30 minute drive through Black Friday crowds to search, and I want to try and get this done Friday - so I think I will go ahead and put it together using what I have. Then if I find good sS parts in the next week or two, can replace the bolts and nuts.

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Old 11-29-2019, 02:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware all carry stainless nuts and bolts with the sizes you need. You absolutely want stainless unless you're getting rid of the car in a year.

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Old 11-30-2019, 01:44 AM   #11
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

The Cat--resonator flange joint gets the highest heat in the car. The 400series SS on the resonator tube side corrodes from the outside in, at fastest rate adjacent the flange, then gradually slower for 15" aft of the joint (so the tube parts the flange at minimum thickness/strength).
This joint has minimum strength requirements, so soft 316 SS is nice (but cold-worked better).

I know it deteriorates with road salt... and I suspect it might even if dry, in the elevated temperature.

The ExManifold-to-Downpipe flange has high heat, and pretty good mechanical stress as well. This might need high strength SS (maybe ARP) or other hard-to-find in metric. I've been trying to get some stuff for over ten years, no luck yet.

For the high heat applications, without SS, the next best material is high tensile strength, hardened alloy steel.
I'm not sure, but hardware-store-grade (2) is too soft for the mechanical stress at the ExMan/Downpipe. SAE Grade8 is good for that, it is about equal to the metric hardness grade M9.8-M10.9, but softer than M12.9.
At the temperature involved, the electrozinc plating, or possibly even hot-dipped galvanizing, will boil off (I think). Sooo the usually provide black phosphate coating, I think.... which is OK on the ExMan flange, but becomes a useless un-serviceable mess down at the Cat-resonator flange.

In Advanced Auto they stock sets of ExManifold studs that are M10.9 hardness, and M8X1.25 pitch, which fits the OEM flanges & head threads.
They are too long, need trimming.

Because the strength of steels decreases with increasing temperature, it is good to use high tensile stuff at the ExMan flange. Both the alloy composition, And the fine Grain of the hardened steels, resist the ravages of corrosion to some extent. And, as OldNuc suggests, some nickel- based NeverSeize increases the chances of servicing the joint.

If your local GM dealer is patient/cooperative, he might sell some studs suitable for the ExMan flange... but for the Cat-Resonator, 300 series SS is much better. On my '97 cold-worked SS316 showed No deterioration in roadsalt exposure.... but the flange got very thin !

Last edited by TomM96; 11-30-2019 at 01:57 AM.. Reason: fergat un

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Old 11-30-2019, 01:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Maybe these two places can help;

Belmetric.com - https://www.belmetric.com/12mm-coars...6_510_406.html

Bolt Depot - https://www.boltdepot.com/Metric_tap...m_x_1.5mm.aspx

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Old 11-30-2019, 07:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

I dont use stainless on flange bolts.


I simply cut the rusted old- and replace with new.


It saves time.

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Old 11-30-2019, 11:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Thanks for all the replies.

It took me longer than expected yesterday to cut off the old nuts and bolts (was working with a Dremel, laying on my back under the car.). Plus, I had a false start.

Earlier this year, I had a local place weld a new flex pipe in front of the cat. They used a U-clamp in the front to attach the flex to the down pipe from the pre-cat. I unclamped it but couldn't figure a good way to hammer the flex pipe back off the down pipe. So, I bolted the U clamp back on but while I was down there, put on a couple new rubber hangers/insulators on the cat. Also unplugged the downstream 02 sensor to deal with a code.

Since I didn't put it together last night and had some errands to run this morning, I stopped by the Autozone. They have a Needa Part rack of SS hardware and I found a package of flange bolts - they are M8-1.25 x 35mm SS, class 10.9. Package of 3, part # 006130. Oddly enough, no nuts that size on the rack. Found some on the next rack over, but only class 8.8. Got it all together earlier this evening.

Also bought some QuikSteel . . . as I was cutting one of the nuts off, I realized that from the outside, I could see sparks flying inside the tube to the cat. Turns out I have some rust through between the cat and its flange. Hopefully the Quiksteel will help . . supposed to be good up to 2,500F

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Old 12-04-2019, 10:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Wow, SS + 10.9 veddy good!
When plain alloy steel contacts SS in an electrolyte (saltwater), the plain alloy suffers accelerated dissolution, the SS remains intact. {I assume the SS is an austenitic alloy (302,303,304, 307)... etc}.

Frequently the differential in corrosion resistance allows the nut to be removed by twisting (rather than cutting) -- at least that is how things work if a bronze/brass nut is installed on a low alloy steel bolt/stud.

IFF the SS turns out to be a 400-series (that is 'ferritic'), the SS itself may also disappear pretty quickly.

OldNuc has routinely suggested that nickel Neverseize be used on stainless bolt/nut joints. That's because the stainless alloys, particularly the softer austenitic alloys (unless they've been coldworked/hardened) tend to 'fret/gall' stick together, due to soft surfaces.

I will ask our local AutoZone about those parts, Thanks.

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Old 12-05-2019, 12:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomM96 View Post
Wow, SS + 10.9 veddy good!
When plain alloy steel contacts SS in an electrolyte (saltwater), the plain alloy suffers accelerated dissolution, the SS remains intact. {I assume the SS is an austenitic alloy (302,303,304, 307)... etc}. . .

IFF the SS turns out to be a 400-series (that is 'ferritic'), the SS itself may also disappear pretty quickly.
I couldn't find any specifications other than what was on the packages (and which I posted above). The nuts were on the next rack over, which did not have a "stainless steel" tag above the panel like the bolts did, so I have no idea what the nuts are made of. Nothing online - I cant even find that 006130 part number on AutoZone's website or needapart.com.

unfortunately, I used my big bottle of Permatex anti-seize (aluminum-based) as that is what I had on the shelf.

I'll be happy if this setup lasts 5 years - I've read that the steel resonator / mid-pipe that I used will rust out in 3~4 years from the inside. I painted the outside; also tried spraying inside. But with the length of the tube and spray pattern, I don't think a lot of paint made its way down to the first bend, though, and that seems to be the trouble spot

I'll try and remember to get under there and take a pic after the salt season is over (around April) to see how the nuts, bolts, and Quik Steel have held up to a season's worth of salt

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Old 12-05-2019, 05:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

I wonder if FAA AN hardware would work.

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Old 12-05-2019, 05:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

It would, cad plating would be better than the Chinese hardware. Not sure it would be as good as stainless. Of course you can buy stainless AN/MS hardware. Aircraft Spruce is a good source.
https://www.aircraftspruce.com

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Old 12-05-2019, 05:52 PM   #19
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Marine Suppliers/Stores are a great source for SS nut, bolts, etc. All boats require SS fasteners to last. When I had my boat I bought all my SS stuff from West marine. They were way cheaper than places like Lowes.

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Old 12-05-2019, 05:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: Steel/zinc bolts and nuts OK for exhaust?

Thanks for the ideas. Never would have thought of aircraft suppliers or marine suppliers.

Which is weird because I'm pretty sure somebody mentioned getting a cable boot at a boat supply place (for a transmission cable under the hood), pretty sure it was West Marine. I checked and there is one not far from me . . . sure I have driven past or within a block of it, but never noticed.

I'll have to stop in some time and check out West. Thanks again!

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