Introduction: How to Install PlusNut With DIY Tool

We don’t like drilling holes in our van! It could:

  • attract rust on bare edges
  • spread metal chips all over (almost impossible to remove and will attract rust)
  • interfere with the van electronics (!) (follow your manual’s no-drill zones, such as the Ford Transit BEMM)

There is a way to avoid drilling holes... PLUSNUT!

What is a Plusnut?
It is an insert that you install permanently in an existing hole. Once installed, a bolt can be fastened (and removed) into it. Voilà!


  1. will not create galvanic corrosion (if your van panels are also made of steel, most likely they are…)
  2. have impressive pullout strength: 1215lbs (for .030″ thick steel)
  3. covers a wide grip range (grip = van panel thickness) (for example, the 1/4-20 Plusnut grip range is .020″ to .280″)
  4. are quite easy to install with specific tool or DIY tools
  5. blind installation (no need to have access to both sides of the panel)
  6. can be installed in plastic or wood as well

Step 1: Tools Required

  • Carriage bolt (same type as your Plusnut. 1/4-20 Plusnut = 1/4-20 bolt.)
  • K-Nut (it’s a nut with an attached, free spinning washer. ). We found this type of nut will last MUCH longer than a regular nut (a regular nut will last for 1-2 uses only as opposed to 10-15 uses for the K-Nut)
  • Box Wrench (or any drilled plate would do. This is just to prevent the Plusnut from rotating when upsetting)
  • Vise Grip
  • Wrench (for turning the K-Nut)

Feeling lazy? Head over here for clickable product links:

Step 2: This Fender Washer Is Used to Simulate the Van Panel in Our Demonstration...

Step 3: Insert the Plusnut in the Hole

Step 4: Insert the Box Wrench, K-nut, Carriage Bolt and Secure the Vise-grip to the Carriage Bolt.

Step 5: Upset!

Step 6: Remove the Box Wrench, K-nut and Carriage Bolt. That’s It!

Step 7: This Shows Our Bed Structure Installed Using Plusnut

(The Plusnuts are behind the wood structure)

Step 8: Want to Know More?

There is some more hints & tips on our site, such as:

  • What Plusnut size to buy
  • Where to buy
  • How to transfer to Plusnuts pattern into the structure to be installed (to get a perfect match)

Thanks for reading!


Goose made it!(author)2017-05-29

So let me guess you advertise your business on here. While you got interesting product to sell. Its wrong what you do.

atoine made it!(author)2017-05-30

Nop. We have no product to sell, so
no business, so no advertising.

Our Story:

We’ve been
converting a cargo van to a campervan during the last year, from scratch, with
basic tools and basic knowledge. We’re now selling our house to travel for a
year in the van across America. We detailed
everything from our experience in our “Build Journal”, so others can benefit
from our learnings and, maybe, be inspired for their own conversion. We
honestly believe the Build Journal is valuable information.

So here’s the deal:

you are building your own van and you lurk onto our website to get some
information, then you might end up buying a product by using any of the link on
our site. In that case, Amazon will give us a small commission. You pay the
same price as if you buy it directly from Amazon. That being said, I don’t feel
like I’m cheating or doing something wrong. In fact, Instructables is OK with
this practice (please read the rules).


ChefJohn1955 made it!(author)2017-05-22

Hi, what s the difference between Plusnuts and Rivnuts?

atoine made it!(author)2017-05-22

Plusnut are more tolerant to oversize or damaged holes, easier to install with DIY tools, greater pull-out strength & wider thickness range.

Rivnut holds by expanding around the edge of the hole, while the Plusnut holds with the "petals" behind the hole (see pictures in this instructable).

That's it! Hope that helps!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello! We're Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and ride more. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it ... More »
More by atoine:How to Install PlusNut With DIY ToolHow to Install a Webasto Air Top 2000 Heater in a Camper Van ConversionHow to Install Solar Panel(s) on a Camper Van Conversion
Add instructable to: