How-To: Quarter Turn Fasteners And Panel Installation

We have all seen them and when they are done can completely change the look of a truck inside and out. Quarter turn fasteners make removing a panel quick and easy with a turn of a button.

Holley and its line of Earl’s Plumbing quarter turn fasteners make the installation of panels on any project quick and easy. We put them to the test on Project Storm Trooper with the creation of the dash. Understanding the layout of the day will make this an easy project.

There are three main components of using a quarter turn fastener: the tab, spring, and button. The tab usually gets welded to a tube on a roll cage or in our case our dash structure. The spring is riveted into the back side of the tab, and the button is the piece that goes through the panel and attaches to the spring. The button has a locking area on the bottom to keep it in place.

We spoke with Jeff Teel from Holley to find out more about quarter turn fasteners. “The main purpose of the fasteners is to help racers with quick removal of body panels,” Teel explained. “This is to ease the transition time from running to repairs or tuning. Additionally, most quarter turn fasteners save on weight. Which is always a hunt when you are looking of the best power to weight ratio.”

Quarter Turn Installation

Placing the quarter turn tabs, especially in our case, we had to be cautious of what was going to be on our panel. We had gauges, dash cutouts, radio, and intercoms we had to look at. Most times you should be able to work around where the quarter turn tabs are mounted, but in our case, working in a small area, we had to be mindful.

We placed our panel over the quarter turn tabs and held it in place with masking tape.

With the tabs welded in place, the rivets and springs can then be added. One thing we made sure of while installing the springs was to make sure they all went the same direction. This would ensure that the buttons would be installed and removed the same.

Once the tabs were welded in place we went ahead and painted the area. This would keep the springs from being painted.

Now the tricky part, transferring the holes to the panel. Holley has a set of transfer stud punches which helped a ton during this step. These punches are the same size as the button you will use but have a point on the end. We placed one in each of the quarter turn tabs and then placed our panel over them as it would be when it was fully installed. A quick tap of a hammer and the transfer stud punches place a center hole for drilling.

The transfer stud punches make it easy to find the center and start drilling the holes.

Once the holes are all drilled the panel is ready for installation depending on what button head was chosen. We used flush head buttons that are tapered under the head. To get the buttons to sit flush we used a dimple die to create the pocket they would sit in.

A quick reference guide for measuring to finding the right button.

When choosing a button for the panel the chart shown above can be used to find the correct length, but there are also two different diameters. “The difference in the button sizes is simply holding area,” Teel said. “Think of this the same way you would using different sized bolts. Bigger panels will require slightly bigger fasteners. Smaller panels will not need as much to do the job, so you can scale back and save weight.”

“There are also captured or self-ejecting fasteners,” Teel continued. “These are great additions for the hard to reach areas. Personally, I would use these in all locations. However, the main purpose is for a highly trafficked area where you do not want to worry about the likelihood of dropping a button. When you are pulling a panel over and over, you don’t want to worry about fumbling of dropping a button somewhere.”

Two simple and basic tools that make installing and removing quarter turn fasteners a piece of cake. The quarter turn fastener tool (left) is used to turn the buttons during installation or removal While the spring adjustment tool (right) helps fine-tune the tension on the panel.

With the process repeated we were able to finish the rest of the front dash panels. We still have plenty more panels and quarter turn fasteners to place on the truck. “These fasteners are a simple piece of hardware that most people don’t set out to think about when they are building their rigs,” Teel said. “Typically they are an afterthought or addition when they go out and start seeing how easy they are and how many other people are using them.”

We used the spring adjustment tool to fine tune our springs and tension on the buttons. With the springs set perfectly, the panel was installed for final fitment.

In the end, any good build has a plan and a part like this needs to be thought of before had. It can make life a lot easier on the trail or in the middle of the desert. For more information on Holley and its products be sure to check out their website.

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About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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