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Helpdesk

We are often asked questions of a wide and varied nature - click on subject.

Anodised screws Anti seize compound
Chrome plated screws Coloured stainless
Discounts 'Inox'
Imperial Screws Ordering wrong sizes
Magnetism Shows
Re-plating steel screws Tightening screws
Strength Trade Accounts
CNC Manufacturing

If you have a question or issue that is not dealt with here or in the product information section, please email us. We aim to answer all emails concerning technical issues within 24hrs, but this can be longer at peak periods.


Why is it really that important to use copper anti seize and not something else?

When stainless steel is fastened ‘dry’ into Aluminium, galvanic corrosion can occur as the result of two different materials at opposite ends of the ‘metal nobility’ table being interfaced. In practical terms this means that alloy crankcases can oxidise around the fastener area very quickly. Copper based anti seize provides a third metal as the ‘sandwich’ and, as copper is placed in the centre of the ‘metal nobility’ table, it prevents Galvanic corrosion. Ordinary grease or oil will not work as they do not contain the vital element. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES use Aluminium grease of any sort - including aerosols - as it will probably seriously damage the castings.

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If Stainless isn’t as strong as high tensile steel is it going to be strong enough?

This is our MOST frequently asked question. Firstly it should be made clear that if for whatever reason you require high tensile (HT) bolts you should use original equipment. Secondly if we believed a bolt was not strong enough for a particular application we would not sell it to you. HT steel is used by factories because it is cheap, convenient and saves assembly time. We ran a motorcycle fitted with standard A2 bolts on discs and fork castings etc which were tested on a daily basis for many months and found no problems whatsoever. Not really a surprise when you consider both the hub and the yokes are low tensile cast alloy - the threads on the fastener are actually stronger than the threads in the material. If you need further reassurance - in the seven years we have been selling stainless we have not had a report of a single failure because the bolt wasn’t strong enough.

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How far do I tighten stainless screws?

This is directly related to the tensile issue. You don’t need to stretch stainless to get it to seat in the same way as you do with HT. As a rule of thumb use approx 2/3 of the original torque spec. Always refresh alloy threads with a ‘plug or ‘bottom’ tap first to remove oxide and other debris.

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Where does the name ‘Inox’ come from?

‘Inox’ is a generic term for stainless steel.

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Somebody told me that if metal is magnetic it definitely isn’t stainless steel….is this true?

No…. that’s an old wives tale or if you like, ‘pub talk’! All a magnet can do is tell whether an alloy belongs to the ‘austenitic’ group i.e non magnetic. Stainless from the other two groups i.e the ‘martensitic’ and ‘ferritic’ groups is magnetic.

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Do you sell coloured stainless?

No! Good quality stainless by definition is VERY difficult to plate or coat as it is the passive film you are trying to cover see product info section. We have seen examples of plating/coating which appeared to have ‘stuck’ but the slightest encouragement and it scratches off very easily - which is precisely what should happen. In practice stone chips would ruin the surface very quickly (if the allen key or wrench hadn’t when installing it!). If this happened to a non plated/coated item you would take it off the bike, re polish it and put it back on the bike.

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Why do you not sell chrome plated screws?

Chrome plating will always fail. How long the process takes depends not so much on the thickness of the plating but on the preparation of the metal and the pre-chrome copper plating. The vast majority of zinc and chrome platers do not strip and plate immediately after, leaving metal in a corrosive atmosphere allowing the oxidisation of the surface before plating on top of it. This creates 'bubbling' of the Chrome or Zinc and usually happens a short while after the guarantee the plater gave expired!

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Why can I not just strip the old screws and have them re-chromed or re-zinc plated?

Steel bolts rot because the original plate or paint coating has failed and allowed oxygen and if exposed to weather, acids to react with the surface of the steel creating the brown rust colour - all pretty obvious stuff. What you don't see are the tiny holes in the surface of the steel caused by acid and road salt eating away at carbon spikes close to the surface. The holes are so small and deep once the salt or acid gets in there it stays - you simply cannot re zinc plate used screws and expect any sort of lifespan from them. Exactly the same applies to re-chroming with one added extra feature - old chrome cannot be chemically removed without eating the substrate so it has to be mechanically removed. The faces of hexagons become ruined and preparation of internal sockets (allen & knurled heads etc) is impossible.

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Why do you not sell anodised screws?

Aluminium has many advantageous metallurgical qualities. That stated it is in our view an unsuitable material from which to make fasteners of any sort because it is generically 'soft'. The alloys used for making screws (2014, 7075 etc) tend to be the most unsuitable alloys to decoratively anodise and can bear little in the way of stress or load. Aluminium ‘aircraft grade’ alloys when exposed to air corrode more quickly than the more common, less machinable, softer alloys (the 6000 series) which tend to anodise more satisfactorily. Whenever you buy a coloured anodised ali item you are buying a component with an anodised layer pre programmed to fail very quickly (steel hex key or spanner on installation) simply because it cannot be made sufficiently thick and even. Stainless steel doesnt have this problem added to which an electropolished allen screw is usually less expensive than an equivalent ali item, is available in a greater range of lengths and wont need changing before you finished installing the set!

Authors note: You wouldn't expect any other type of answer to this question from somebody selling stainless screws! I spent ten years working in the stainless & aluminium alloy industries and a year with an anodising company.

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Why do I never see you at any of the motorcycle shows?

Because it involves a huge amount of direct and indirect cost and we couldn't give you the service we promise.

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Do you give ‘trade accounts'?

We do not provide credit to anybody under any circumstances. Our pricing policy is such that we do not expect our everyday customers to pay extra in order to discount to trade - sorry. However we are happy to consider discounting the price of our goods to anybody (not just trade) provided the volume of your order is sufficient to achieve a reduced price from our suppliers.

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Can you supply imperial stainless screws?

With effect from September 1st 2005 we will no longer supply small quantities of stainless imperial fasteners. We can still sometimes supply larger requirements by special order - prices on application - please email us.

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What if I order the wrong size?

We do our absolute best to provide all the information required in order for you to order the correct item. However we of course appreciate mistakes happen, particularly if you are ordering a lot of items. If you order an incorrect size we will of course replace it (postage chargeable) but we will not under any circumstances accept returns because the fastener isn't needed for whatever reason. If you are returning for a replacement then please phone/email first and be sure to obtain a certificate of posting from Royal Mail free of charge in case the parcel goes astray.

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What does CNC mean and what sets a CNC manufactured product apart?

CNC means ‘Computer Numerical Control’. In practice this means that the machine or machines producing the item are run by a computer program rather than a machine operator. This generally improves the product consistency, closer tolerances can be achieved and from an owners point of view more can be produced in a shorter timescale.

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