If you have been in or around the performance automotive industry for any amount of time, then the acronym ARP should be a familiar one. After all, Automotive Racing Products (ARP) has been around since 1968 when Gary Holzapfel founded the company to alleviate fastener failures on his friend’s engines. Nearly five decades later, the company continues to hold a massive market share when it comes to locking down components inside the engine and out.
During the teardown of my own personal small-block, I was pleasantly surprised to see the three-letter abbreviation stamped on my crank main bolts and on the head and intake manifold studs. The top-end studs were outfitted with an Allen-head socket that allowed an easier tear down, but more importantly, these items all signified that the engine was built with quality parts, including its fasteners.
ARP Continues Outside The Engine
As my block clung to its stand void of pistons, rods, and camshaft while waiting on its next build phase, my mind began to wonder. What if a build was to utilize ARP hardware outside of the engine? Sure, we’ve all seen ARP wheel studs and the occasional SEMA build using ARP bolts for beadlocks or bedsides, but a complete build whose bolt and nut selection consists of the signature 12-point head? Now that would be a sight to see!
Apparently, car guys think alike and the significance of using ARP hardware to amplify a build’s quality has been seen in the show circuit for years, however, there was still more on my mind than the thought of winning trophies. You see, as much as I enjoy viewing show cars and trucks, I tend to sway towards enjoying my builds spiritedly, and rely on the products used to avoid downtime. Even in that previously mentioned toasted small-block, it was nice knowing that the hardware used internally was not at fault and was actually reusable.
ARP Provides The Strength Where Its Needed
There are several places in the chassis that I think we can all agree we would rather not revisit. The transmission is one location that I am constantly concerned about, as I’m not a fan of dropping the gearbox out of the chassis repeatedly. This rings especially true when it is because of something as simple as a failed flywheel or torque converter bolt. Safe to say, unless you’re a glutton for punishment and enjoy bench-pressing your slushbox in and out, make sure you use proper bolts from ARP to avoid this confrontation.
Since we’re already in the transmission, the next place you should consider using ARP is for your bellhousing bolts. Most manual transmissions hover just above the 100-pound mark, and automatics can quickly bump that number in the 200-pound range. That is a lot of weight to cling to an engine’s backside. Although a transmission crossmember supports the weight of the transmission from the bottom side, the thought of destroying a bellhousing or an engine block seems like a supporting case to replace these, as well.
It doesn’t matter if you’re utilizing an aftermarket rearend or the coveted Ford 9-inch, the third-member attaches through the use of studs with a knurled section at the base. In order to install these, you first have to thread the stud from the backside and pull the knurled section through. This is done by tightening a nut onto the washer that then pushes against the rearend and pulls the knurled section though. However, upon removing the nut, things can get tricky when using a subpar stud, especially when the nut manages to remove the majority of the threads!
The final point where traction fights horsepower is the wheel studs. It’s rare that enthusiasts keep a vehicle stock, as our goals are almost always to amplify horsepower far beyond the stock realm. Unfortunately, some overlook this point of tension when it should be one of first things addressed during a build.
We’re not the only ones who think this, as most racing organizations have started to require that the lug nut threads extend past the lug nut, something closed-ended factory studs do not allow. Not surprisingly, through the use of heat-treated 8740 nickel-chrome-molybdenum alloy steel with a nominal tensile strength of 190,000 psi — some 26-percent stronger than standard Grade 8 hardware — ARP has created a safe stud for your wheels. Not only that, but the studs are cadmium plated for extra durability, and the threads are rolled instead of cut, to provide 10 times better fatigue life.
Once you have your engine producing the power you want and the drivetrain transmitting that power to the pavement, you might want to consider how you plan on stopping. While most drag racers will shave weight with aftermarket calipers and lightweight rotors, road racing fans will typically upsize to fit the largest six-pot caliper on the market, paired with large rotors. Each serves its motorsport well, but these lightweight or big brake kits all require new hardware. Seeing as how brakes provide a critical safety measure, leaving this one to the professionals at ARP is a much wiser choice.
We all know how much a properly set up suspension package can enhance the performance of your ride. In both straight-line acceleration and high-g cornering, the use of chassis bracing throughout can create a platform, that has less flex and, in turn, handles better. However, the unfortunate truth is, these items are only as strong as what secures them to the chassis. Imagine the increased force against your new suspension, and then a bolt with a lower tensile strength trying to accommodate the new found stiffness – it’s obviously a recipe for disaster.
Ordering From ARP
If you’ve made it this far, I’m hoping you have started building a mental laundry list of your engine, transmission, and rearend combinations to seek replacement fasteners. You might have already started perusing the ARP site and noticed that not a lot of the products you seek are indexed to the degree you need them. No worries, ARP carries complete lines of fasteners and hardware, and the phone tech team only requires a few pieces of information to ensure you’re getting the right part the first time.
To the untrained eye a bolt might just be a bolt. To others, removing the hassles of having to redo work or the risk of facing trackside failure, is worth way more than the few extra dollars of a better bolt. So, if you’re looking to make sure your car is as safe as it is fast, check out what ARP has to offer.