30 FASTENER TECH THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER ROD BOLT STRETCH/TORQUE… A rod bolt stretch gauge is one of the most important tools a serious engine builder can own. It’s valuable in properly setting up a rod for resizing, obtaining the proper clamp load when installed. See page 135 for more information. Rod Bolt Length Monitoring Chart Rod #1 Rod #2 Rod #3 Rod #4 Inside Bolt Inside Bolt Inside Bolt Inside Bolt In Out In Out In Out In Out Outside Bolt Outside Bolt Outside Bolt` Outside Bolt In Out In Out In Out In Out Rod #5 Rod #6 Rod #7 Rod #8 Inside Bolt Inside Bolt Inside Bolt Inside Bolt In Out In Out In Out In Out Outside Bolt Outside Bolt Outside Bolt Outside Bolt In Out In Out In Out In Out Whether measured by stretch or by torque, properly installing a rod bolt is essential for trouble-free performance. If a bolt is installed without sufficient clamp load, every revolution of the crankshaft will cause a separation between the connecting rod and rod cap. This imposes additional stretch in the bolt. The stretch disappears when the load is removed on each revolution, or cycle. Over time, this cycle stretching and relaxing can cause the bolt to fail due to fatigue, just like a paper clip that is bent back and forth by hand. To prevent this condition, the bolt’s clamp load must be greater than the load caused by rotating assembly reach- ing top dead center. A properly installed rod bolt remains stretched by its clamp load and is not subjected to the cyclic loads imposed on the connecting rod. A quality bolt will stay stretched this way for years without failing. The important thing is to prevent the bolt from failing due to fatigue by tightening it to a load greater than the demand of the engine. Protect your bolts – tighten them as recommended. You can measure the actual stretch of rod bolts through use of a stretch gauge, or a micrometer for that matter. Prior to installing the rod, measure the length of the bolt in an untorqued state. Write this length down. You can make a chart similar to the one shown on this page to keep track of the data. When you tear the engine down for maintenance, again measure the length of each rod bolt – being careful to keep everything in the proper order. If any of the rod bolts have taken a permanent set and have stretched by .001˝ or longer you should replace the fastener IMMEDIATELY! The stretching is a sure indicator that the bolt has been compromised and taken past its yield point. In other types of bolted joints, this careful attention to tightening is not as important. For example, flywheel bolts need only be tightened enough to prevent them from working loose. Flywheel loads are carried either by shear pins or by side loads in the bolts; they don’t cause cyclic tension loads in the bolts. Connecting rod bolts, on the other hand, support the primary tension loads caused by engine operation and must be protected from cyclic stretching. That’s why proper tightening of connect- ing rod bolts is so important. See pages 25-27 for recommended stretch and torque values. Friction is a challenging problem because it varies so much, and is extremely difficult to control with most commonly known lubricants. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of friction and the known variables associated with different lubricants is by using the stretch method. By using the stretch method and removing the friction variable, clamp load can be controlled and repeated. Each time a new bolt is torqued and loosened, the friction factor gets smaller. Eventually the friction levels out and becomes con- stant for all following repetitions, making it necessary to tighten and loosen a new bolt several times before final installation, when the stretch method cannot be used. The number of cycles depends on the lubricant. Most lubricants require, 5-7 tightening and loosening cycles to level out the friction before final installa- tion. However, with the introduction of ARP’s new Ultra-Torque fastener assembly lubricant, cycling a new fastener before final installation becomes a “thing of the past.” See page 134 for more information on ARP Ultra-Torque® fastener assembly lubricant.