27 800-826-3045 FASTENER TECH The importance of tightening fasteners to their required pre- load cannot be emphasized enough. If a fastener is not tightened properly, the fastener will not apply the required preload on the application it is being used for and may become susceptible to failure. Conversely, if a fastener is overtightened and stretched too much, it becomes susceptible to failure by exceeding it’s max- imum yield point. There are three generally accepted methods employed to determine how much tension is exerted on a fastener: A. Using a torque wrench B. Measuring the amount of stretch C. Torque angle (rotating the fastener a predetermined amount) Of these methods, measuring the amount of stretch of a fas- tener has been proven to be the most accurate. However, since stretch can only be measured with the use of specialty type gauges or expensive ultra sonic measuring equipment, it is only practi- cal for measuring the stretch on connecting rod bolts and other fasteners, where it is possible to monitor the overall length of a fastener, as it is being tightened. Since most fasteners are installed blind and can’t be accessed from both ends to monitor stretch, one will most likely use a torque wrench or other torque angle monitoring device for the majority of assembly work. The Stretch Factor It is important to note that in order for a fasten- er to function properly it must be “stretched” a specific amount. The material’s ability to “rebound” like a spring is what provides the clamping force. If you were to simply “finger-tighten” a bolt there would be no pre- load. However, when you apply torque or rotate a fastener a specific amount and stretch it, you will be applying clamping force. The amount of force or preload you can achieve from any bolt or stud depends on the material being used and its ductility, the heat treat, and the diameter of the fastener. Of course, every fastener has a “yield” point! The yield point or yield strength of a fastener is the point at which the fas- tener has been overtightened and stretched too much, and will not return to its original manufactured length. As a rule of thumb, if you measure a fastener and it is .001˝ (or more) longer than its original length it has been compromised and must be replaced. Another factor that must be considered is heat! Heat, primar- ily in aluminum, is another problem area. Because the thermal expansion rate of aluminum is far greater than that of steel it is possible to stretch a fastener beyond yield as the aluminum expands under heat. An effective way of counteracting material expansion is through producing a more flexible bolt. The Stretch Gauge We highly recommend using a stretch gauge when installing rod bolts and other fasteners, where it is possible to measure the length of the fastener. It is the most accurate way of measuring preload of any bolt. Simply follow manufacturer’s instructions, or use the chart on pages 25-26 of this catalog for ARP rod bolts. When using a stretch gauge it’s best to measure the fastener prior to starting and monitor overall length during instal- lation. When the bolt has stretched a specified amount, the correct pre- load or clamping force has been applied. We recommend that you maintain a chart of all rod bolts and make a note of the fastener length prior to instal- lation and after any disassembly. If there is a permanent increase of .001˝ or more in length, there is a deformation and the bolt should be replaced. A sample stretch monitoring chart is located on page 29. Using A Torque Wrench There are a number of things to consider when using a torque wrench. The “friction factor” changes from one cycle to the next. That is, friction is at its highest value when the fastener is first tightened. Each subsequent time the fastener is torqued and loos- ened, the amount of friction lessens. Eventually the friction levels out and becomes fairly consistent for all following repetitions. Three basic elements that contribute to the friction factor: 1. Most importantly -The fastener assembly lubricant 2. The condition of the receiving threads 3. The surface finish of the fastener Because of these variables, a phenomenon known as “preload scatter” or preload error occurs. This is basically the difference between the amount of preload achieved on the first installation of the fastener and the amount of preload achieved on subsequent torque/loosen/re-torque cycles. It’s not uncommon to see “preload scatter” in the range of 4,000-8,000 pounds between the first and tenth pull on a new fastener depending on the lubricant used. PROPER FASTENER RETENTION To obtain the correct amount of clamping force a fastener should actually be stretched a measured amount. A properly used fastener works like a spring! This graph shows the direct relationship between stretch and preload on a typical 3/8˝ diameter 8740 chrome moly rod bolt. 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 Preload (lbs) Stretch vs. Preload 0 .001˝ .002˝ .003˝ .004˝ .005˝ .006˝ .007˝ .008˝ Stretch (in.) A stretch gauge is the best way to accurately determine the preload of a rod bolt.