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"
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)
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
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.