What kind of bolt is this?
August 12, 2016 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Corrosion worked its magic and I broke a couple of bolts while working on my car (FoMoCo). I cannot find replacements or even know the trade name of this type of bolt head. The threads are the same as a machine bolt/screw, but the head is narrow and long, flat, thin, and slides into a slot on the bottom of a plastic housing for a fuse/relay panel which then bolts through the fender liner.

Grainger and McMaster-Carr have nothing similar (which boggles my mind!). It looks like a T, but searching for "T-Bolt" turns up bolts that have a nut at the bottom of the head similar to a carriage bolt. This is just plain threads with a flat and elongated head.
posted by hwyengr to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Can you post a pic?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:52 AM on August 12, 2016

Have you tried getting information/the part from the manufacturer of the car? I think maybe special bolts should be like any car part... but I'm not an expert on this, just someone who occasionally looks for parts for my own car and is surprised at the variety available.
posted by amtho at 10:01 AM on August 12, 2016

What is your car's year and model number?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:03 AM on August 12, 2016

"t-head bolt" might get you closer to what you're looking for.
posted by drlith at 10:11 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

you want the OEM Service Manual. your local dealership (I mean the kind that actually services vehicles, not just any random sales lot) very probably has one, and if they're friendly will let you look through it (or you might be able to find the manual online) - also, once you know the part#, they can order it for you. (also also, it's quite likely that sort of bolt is not any sort of generic standard, but it *is* likely that it's a Ford standard that they use in a number of their vehicles, i.e. they may even have some on hand - you could just phone a service dealership and ask "hey do you have any bolts on hand for the fuse panel on model XYZ?")
posted by dorian at 10:23 AM on August 12, 2016

I'd take one to your local auto parts store. They will know what it is and either have one for you or direct you to the dealership if it is too specialized.
posted by ssg at 10:37 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Could be a Ford-specific bolt for all we know. Take it to the auto parts store and say "I need one like this." They should be able to track it down for you.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:09 AM on August 12, 2016

Response by poster: "t-head bolt" might get you closer to what you're looking for.

Of those, the Rockler T-Slot Bolt is the closest, but changing the search to "T-Slot" still just turns those up.

It's a '97, so I've generally had poor luck with odds-and-ends bits from the parts dept., but I guess that'll be the next stop.
posted by hwyengr at 11:13 AM on August 12, 2016

Toilet flange bolts are like what you describe.
posted by bdc34 at 11:36 AM on August 12, 2016

Junk Yard
posted by patnok at 12:46 PM on August 12, 2016

It sounds like it's going to have a Ford part number. The head of the fastener serves as a mounting point for the fuse block. Look around online, find a manual. I was able to find exploded parts diagrams for every section of my car. They're broken down by body, interior, drivetrain, etc. Find the under hood pic, look at the call out for that area. Then look up the part number, google it. I've ordered small stuff like plastic trim panel retainers several times with good luck.
posted by fixedgear at 1:01 PM on August 12, 2016

Go to the parts desk at your local Ford dealer, they should be able to tell you what it is called, and how/where to get a replacement - they may even sell you the replacements, probably more expensive than elsewhere but you will then have them. Or, as fixedgear suggests, look them up yourself online.

Junkyard can be a lottery, not only finding the part, but finding one in better shape that the ones you broke - but worth a try.
posted by GeeEmm at 3:09 PM on August 12, 2016

hwyengr: "It's a '97, so I've generally had poor luck with odds-and-ends bits from the parts dept., but I guess that'll be the next stop."

Ford doesn't actually make things like fuse blocks instead they are sourced from independent OEMs. Often for something like this a version of the same assembly will have been used pretty much across the board on all models for that year and also model years before and after. So although you need a weirdly specific part at first glance it might be easily available from either the manufacturer (Ford in this case) or in the aftermarket.
posted by Mitheral at 3:36 PM on August 12, 2016

Response by poster: Follow-up for the permanent record: no luck anywhere. I remember a time when the person at the parts counter knew more about cars than anyone at the dealership. Those days are done. These bolts don't have a part number and the guy couldn't tell me whether the whole assembly came with new bolts or not, but he'd be happy to order the several hundred dollar part for me to see if it did, if I paid up-front, of course.

I ended up grinding down the heads on round-head bolts. It was ugly, but it worked.
posted by hwyengr at 8:36 AM on January 4, 2017

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