How to Install "Automotive Hood Pins" to a Factory Steel Hood




About: Called a renaissance man more times than I can count, I am the type of person who believes you can do anything you put your mind to. As a veteran I've seen some awful acts committed, and I guess my wanting t...

The other day my wife was going down the highway and the hood latch to my old Dodge Ram broke while she was driving my truck the hood flew back and smashed the windshield bending up the hood hinges and tearing to latch free. Luckily she was able to pull over to the side quickly, however it scared her so bad that she could hardly breathe.  Now I could simply go to a junk yard and replace the latch however knowing she will need to drive this truck she will always be scared this might happen again, I decided to install a couple of hood pins.

For those of you who are unaware of what these are? They are simply what they sound like, two pins that slightly protrude through the hood of your vehicle and are primarily used for racing parts for quick removal of a hood. However I have made good use of these in the past for securing a hood to prevent something like what my wife had experienced (not to mention they lend a little more toughness to look of that big old Dodge)

Total time to install about 37 minutes, barring the smoke breaks and running to the workshop to get the Dremel.

"How to install "Automotive Hood Pins" to a factory steel hood"

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: No Time to Get It Done Lets Get Moving!

I've got at eight o'clock appointment with a windshield replacement company this morning, so to get the truck there I've got to get these installed, it's 1am, so let's get moving!


Hood pin kit ( I picked these up at pep boys for about $10)
3 drill bits (one pilot bit, 1/4" bit, and one step drill bit a good investment from harbor freight $7.99)
Socket set ( the ones pictured, are shallow however I've found that I needed to use my deep well sockets for this project)
Wrench ( the 19 mm wrench is not pictured but it is helpful to have when adjusting your pins)

Optional tools:
Dremel with cutting discs ( If you have any stuck bolts that you will need to drill out it helps to Dremel them off and drill them out)
Floodlight (This will help if you're working after dark, or in the early morning hours like me )

Step 2: Locate and Drill Your Flat Spots

**********IMPORTANT: CAUTION******************
First thing you need to do is to find flat spots in your hood that touches flat spots on your frame when the hood is closed (in my case the Dodge Ram hood has two rubber stoppers that meet the hood and it just so happens they were the flattest parts of the hood) in any case you need to find these flat spots and then make sure that those flat spots meet a part of the frame or unibody that can be accessed easily from the bottom of the frame. This is extremely important that plan this out thoroughly before you drill, Nothing is worse than misjudging or guessing at where the hole should be. Not to mention the look of misaligned hood pins


Once you have located their spots take your drill and your quarter inch bit, and drill to pilot holes all the way through though hood.

Now follow that pilot hole through with your step drill bit until you have bored a hole just large enough to accommodate the hood pin

Hood pins are basically just big bolts with two nuts holding them in place and a hole drilled through the side. So the installation is very similar to a bolt. the most difficult part about the installation is lining up the holes in the hood to the pins below. If your drilling new holes in the frame simply close your hood and stick an un-capped sharpie through the hole to mark the frame.

Step 3: Removing Those Stubborn Bolts Can Be a Pain

Unfortunately one bolts came out very easily the other not so much, I attempted to use an impact driver and then vice grips neither of which worked. I was only left with one option and that is to simply cut and drill out the bolt head.

If your unlucky enough for this to happen, its no big deal just take your Dremel (or hacksaw) and cut the bolt as flush as you can to the frame then start drilling till its gone.

Step 4: Install and Finish! Yes It Really Is That Easy!!!

Okay now that we have done all the drilling and prep all the holes it's time to unpack the pin kit and get them installed
"""""""Check your pin kit to make sure you have two hood pins, two cotter pins, two trim plates, and four nuts (this should be standard for any kit)""""""""

Next place one nut each on each of the pins, and run the nut all the way to the top of the threads (this gives your pin a stopping point and keeps it from falling through the whole you've drilled)

Then feed the pin into the holes in the frame you drilled, take the second nut and place it on the pin beneath it, and then hand tightened the nuts together. You should notice that the smooth part of the pin should be sticking out and will go through the hood.

Now that pins are hand tightened close the hood to test the height and the alignment. Make adjustments to the nuts by working them down the threads until enough of the pin is sticking out of the hood till the cotter pin can slide smoothly into the whole drilled into the smooth side of the pin once the hood is closed. When you have the right height then simply use a deep well socket and a wrench to tighten the nuts very tight.

Finally, now you have the right alignment the right height it's time to add the trim plates, these are very simple lay the trim plates over the pins on top of the hood, then pilot drill the holes needed to drive the screws and to the hoods sheet metal. Once you have the screws installed then you're done.

This was so easy I'm considering putting a couple on my Miata as well just for looks.

Hack It! Challenge

Participated in the
Hack It! Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest

    12 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 4

    I need to install these on my dodge as well I just want to know how long the pin needs to be all the universal kits I found have 4 inch pins are these long enough thank u for ur time

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    Yeah I'm pretty sure the 4" universal kit was what I bought at Pep Boys I think, might have AutoZone. Either way they worked great, the only thing I would recommend that isn't included is to paint the drill holes with a cheap ePoxy paint or something before covering them with the plates, just to help prevent any possible rust.

    I put a set of hood pins into my son's Plymouth Lazer after the hood latch let go (while driving!). It was too easy. First, I pulled out a pair of the rubber feet at the top of the radiator mount to locate two correct-sized holes. I then screwed the pins firmly into the holes. I gently closed the hood to make sure that where the pins would come through would work. Then I slammed the hood as hard as I could against the pins a few times to 'mark' the location for the holes. I drilled up from the newly-made dents in the bottom of the hood, jammed the hood down onto the pins to size the holes and then screwed on the discs. The whole operation took less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

    1 reply

    Wow, I have been working late into the night the last few nights, and when I woke up blurry eyed I check the mail on my phone, and this one made me sit bolt upright, when I got to the part about slamming the hood down on the pins, I've never seen anyone do that before. Hey I always say if it works do it! It's a good way to test the pins strength out of the box. I my case the rubber stoppers bolts where way to tiny for these 1/2 inch pins to screw into, so drilling them out was my only option. Luckily the rubber stoppers had an indention's stamped already on the corresponding hood making it line up easily, But I did have concerns on the write up how someone could line them up with out them, thanks for the input. The biggest problem I had with the time was going and getting the tools back and forth. Thanks again for sharing an interesting twist from your experience and for the reply.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i think id either put a small tether cable on the pins so you couldn't lose them but otherwise looks nice and is practical

    that and if it was mine id use some slightly different pins
    something like McMaster carr pn# 90170A650

    the previous owner of my car had the same thing happen but i think he forgot to latch it as all the latch stuff still works solid just slightly bent at this point

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I looked at the tethers they were selling for 8.00 I think I can make a couple for this but haven't got that far yet, and I can probably make them for a cheaper cost too.

    Actually I was looking at these for the miata:

    LifeWarriorPhil B

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the praise, Phil. I appreciate the comment for someone with your instructables experience. Your wood projects have been very educational, I've been a learning wood worker for years and of all the people that I know no one has ever had a proven method for finding centers on round logs or dowels for a wood lathe, your center finder helped my work ten-fold. Thanks Again for the reply

    Phil BLifeWarrior

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I am glad you can use the center finder and that it helped what you do. I made one, but have used it only a few times. My wood projects are supposed to be perfect when they are finished, but there is always some little inaccuracy or mistake. I talked to a very good woodworker who taught industrial arts many years in a high school. He said there are always little mistakes in every project. I have learned to photograph my projects so the mistakes do not show.

    LifeWarriorPhil B

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Actually I use it all the time now, I working on a pool cue with a lions head which was my third try the other two were so warped I couldn't use them, then I found your circle center and now it's coming along


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice, practical I'ble, as Phil said. The narrative part is great, and really makes it work. Not being a car guy, a big thing I missed was having a series of photos on that last step showing the progress of the installation.

    Doing the job at 1 am, to have it finished before the glass crew arrives, probably precluded you spending a lot of time on documentation :-) If you do decide to put a set on your Miata, could you take some pictures as you go through the install and add them here?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment Kelsey, Yeah now that I look back at the pics I did miss a couple of pics when it comes to putting the nut on the bottom, and maybe the adjusting process. As it is my wife has the truck right now and I will attempt to get out in the morning and update the pics with those. The kit didn't come with lock washers and I'm one of those kinds that worries about every little possible detail like one of the nuts working loose (I know the way these are designed makes it unlikely but still an added precaution that I would always suggest at the very least thread sealer). It's really straight forward though if your thinking about trying it. I considered making my own (and I might still for the Miata) but for as cheap as the kits are, this is one of car hacks or mods that it would cost more to make a set than buying it already made is.

    Though like I said the installation after the drilling is really just put on the bottom nut and keep opening and closing the hood and adjusting the two nuts on the pin till the pin's hole is just above the top of the hood, then tighten. Then install the trim plates and slide the cotter pins through the holes to lock the hood down.

    If you try it message me, I'll be glad to help however I can, thanks again for the reply.