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Discussion Starter #1
can i drill a hole in my frame and use an aluminum rivnut to use as a ground point for the engine?

i would much rather use a riv nut then just screwing into the frame. will it cause contact issues?

thanks
 

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I would think it would work if you also have a serrated washer between the ground cable terminal and the frame.

Roger
 

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Contrary to popular belief a star washer is not the best for grounds. Read MAD Electric take on it

Mark says no to star washers as they actually decrease contact area. He told me to remove paint and polish the steel to a mirror finish and use 1 drop of motor oil to inhibit corrosion.

The rivnut will work if you’re not relying on the contact of the rivnut to frame for the ground. Clean the paint off and rely on the rivnut to hold the ground tight to the contact surface on the frame
 

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Keep in mind a riv nut is not flush. Your cable connector will be 1/16 raised from surface. Just making a point here, not sure of exact dimension (thickness) of riv nut head.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the replies

i will have them counter sunck so they are flush with the frame. im going with steel rivnuts as the aluminum ones are too thin.

i am also gonna use them for fuel and brake line clips as my speedtech frame has no mounting holes for such things and it gives me free will to route fuel line and secure it anywhere
 

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I use rivnuts a lot. Better than a sheet metal or self taper screw.
 

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You need to use stainless bolts and screws because if you use steel or even galvanized they could rust and then could be hard to remove later.

Roger
 

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The OEMs use ground lugs with integrated star washers. I follow the OEMs lead when I can since they have invested a ton in R&D and reliability testing, salt fog testing etc.

Don
 
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The OEMs use ground lugs with integrated star washers. I follow the OEMs lead when I can since they have invested a ton in R&D and reliability testing, salt fog testing etc.

Don
So do I. Lol. I was just quoted what Mark at MAD thinks. He’s good but a little over the top at times.

Although keep in mind OEM doesn’t always use the best solution. They factor in the cost. It’s all about the bottom line to the manufactures.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just out of curiosity of your wiring design, why are you wanting to ground the engine to the frame (and I'm guessing the front subframe) ?.

Jim
If the engine doesnt have a solid ground using somewhat heavy gauge wire (battery cable) to the body or frame you will fry every electrical component under the hood when you turn the key
 

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You are proposing the following scenario: You are joining a steel frame that has an aluminum rivnut, using an electrical lug that is made of nickel plated copper. All of this is fastened with a stainless steel bolt or a zinc plated steel bolt. This connection will be exposed to the elements.

There are a lot of dissimilar metals in contact with each other. Galvanic corrosion is likely to occur. I know if you use the stainless bolt and run over a mud puddle, the aluminum will corrode. The zinc plating on the steel bolt will eventually go away and the bolt will rust. Trying to remove that rusted bolt will cause the rivnut to spin. Your idea of a steel rivnut will eliminate one of the dissimilar metals.

Counter sinking the rivnut is a great idea. Think about how the rivnut collapses. The rivnut comes in contact with the subframe in very small areas. This is not a good electrical connection. Flush mounting the rivnut will allow the lug to directly contact the steel subframe therefore providing more surface area for the electrical connection.

On my car, I welded a little 3/8" thick tab to the subframe. I drilled and tapped a hole in the tab. I used a zinc plated steel bolt, lock washer, flat washer to hold the lug to the frame. I coated the electrical connection with Penetrox to prevent electrical corrosion. I originally thought about using a silicon bronze bolt. This was not one of my better ideas. It would have been the sacrificial element if galvanic corrosion occurs.

Look for a spot on your subframe where you have access to both sides of the frame. Use a bolt and nut for the connection.

A star washer cuts through the paint. It scratches the surface as it is tightened. I would not use one for a high current application since the electrical contact is on the tips of the star.
 

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Just out of curiosity of your wiring design, why are you wanting to ground the engine to the frame (and I'm guessing the front subframe) ?.

Jim
You can never have to many grounds. The stock configuration has three or four grounds. The primary ground cable comes from the battery to the front of the engine. There are one or two copper ground straps comeing from the valve cover bolts going to the firewall. Down by the starter there is a copper ground strap going from the body to the subframe.

There is also a small ground wire, not more than 12 gauge or 6 inches long, coming from the battery terminal to the passenger side fender.


Roger
 

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^^^ this is how my grounds are. One to each valve cover from fire wall, - BATT to engine and to PS fender. IDK if the one by starter from body to chassis is there but I will look

Several ways to do this but I would keep dissimilar metals for the connections to a minimum
 

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im using same metals
steel rivnut with steel bolt into steel frame
You will be ok. A nickel plated copper lug placed next to zinc coated steel or bare steel is corrosion resistant. :smile2: Bare copper next to steel, not so good. :frown2:

I had a lot of rusty bolts on my car. So your question got me all stirred up. I had a lot of J nut or cage nuts that would spin when I tried to loosen the bolts. A rivnut could do the same thing.
 

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So do I. Lol. I was just quoted what Mark at MAD thinks. He’s good but a little over the top at times.

Although keep in mind OEM doesn’t always use the best solution. They factor in the cost. It’s all about the bottom line to the manufactures.
This, plus the idea that when these cars were built new, no one at engineering department figured they'd be around 50+ years later.

I've noted that on my 2003 Chevy Silverado, no star washers are used on ground coneections. So somewhere along the way from 67 to present, they figured these washers are not needed, or they could save a penny or two per vehicle not using them. It adds up.
 
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