Tech tip for ya's! In most instances, your standard split ring lock washer will be sufficient, but every once in a while you come across an application where your fastener keeps loosening regardless of what you do shy of Locktite or a welder. Try a Nord Lock Washer or Wedge Washer. There not for every application as you will need a little elbow room to get them out. My headers kept loosening up regardless of what I threw on them. Having used these on chiller rebuilds, I decided to give them a try.
They are more expensive than your standard washer and a lot of people don't like them because they almost feel like you've snapped the fastener when you loosen it. The washer is actually a pair of washers and your feeling them breaking free. Due to their design, you're only supposed to use them once, so keep that in mind if it something your constantly in an out of. A box of twenty will run you around twenty bucks and be careful when ordering them, some places will count each half as a whole washer.
Oh they work wonders, but like I said, you'll think you're snapping bolts when you loosen them. I'm just not sure how they'll hold up under the expansion and contraction, but I'll let y'all know. I figure chillers will vary from about 39 degrees to about 155, keeping fingers crossed.
Bad news, ain't that great on headers. Gransted, they were in for 3 months before loosening, but this past week, I could hear my passenger side blowing past the header, so I replaced the gasket this morning. The bolts were so loose, I decided to check driver side, it's amazing they weren't blowing by like on the passenger. Lesson learned: don't expect miracles when trying to keep headers tight.
I realize this is a little late for the discussion, but I'm having a hard time seeing the advantage of those split washers. Won't the top/bottom (especially the top, with a smaller contact area) be where slippage most likely occurs anyway?
FWIW, I think you can still get bolts with lock-wedges on the head.
When properly torqued, the ridges on top and bottom bite into the base metal, the ramps are directed so that pushes against the bolt head and base metal so that the breaking torque increases for about a 10 degree turn in the fastener. Hence, a fastener that is torqued to about 25 ft-lbs, might have a 35 ft-lb break away torque with a split ring lock washer may require up to a 50 ft-lb break away (depending on base and fastener material) with these washers. Oh, and after 3 torques under heat cycles, my header bolts have stayed torqued. I was torquing down my header bolts on a weekly basis with split rings.
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