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Thread: "How To:" Install Dzus Fasteners for the Radiator Cover

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Name: Allen

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    Feb 2007
    San Diego
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    "How To:" Install Dzus Fasteners for the Radiator Cover

    Years ago I posted this how-to on the Lightning forums, I installed Dzus fasteners on my HD yesterday and realized that it was never made available to NHTOC members.

    For as long as I have owned my truck the OEM plastic retainers that secure the radiator have bothered me. Aesthetically they are cheap and often they are a headache to remove. I decided that Dzus fasteners (quarter-turn fasteners) were ideal for the task. For anyone unfamiliar with Dzus fasteners, they are used to quickly and easily fasten/release body panels, etc. and are common (but not limited) to use on aircraft, competition motorcycles and race cars. Install of the Dzus fastners is quite simple and can be done in only a couple of hours depending on your work pace and how meticulous you are. You will need:

    - Drill
    - 1/2" drill bit
    - 1/8" drill bit
    - Flat head screw driver
    - Rivet gun
    - Exacto knife (required only if modifying the OEM retainers to be used with the Dzus fasteners)

    - 7/16" x .500" oval/button head Dzus fasteners, Qty. 6-7, depending on preference - I recommend the larger diameter, 1" button heads.
    - 7/16" x .550" oval/button head Dzus fastners may also be used but may require shimming for a tighter fit.
    - 1 3/8" length fastener springs (.325")
    - (12) 1/8" x 1/2" rivets
    - (12) 1/8" rivet washers

    - Shims if using .550" body Dzus fasteners - 3/8" x 1 1/4" x 1/16" rubber washers, 3/8" x 7/8" x 1/16" rubber washers or 1 x 13/32" x 1/16" nylon washers may be used.
    - OEM retainers - Can be used with the 11/16" button head fasteners to conceal the worn area on the radiator cover caused by the larger OEM fasteners. The OEM retainers are not necessary if larger diameter, 1" button head fastners are used.

    1) Remove the radiator shroud. With the cover is removed I prefer to trim the plastic at the rear of the radiator cover so it can be taken on and off without removing the rear-most plastic fastener or the IC reservoir.
    2) Using the 1/2" bit re-drill the existing holes for the OEM retainers.

    3) Position the spring in order to determine where the mounting holes will be drilled. Mark the spots and drill using the 1/8" bit. A jig can be made to simplify this step.
    4) Rivet the spring into place from the bottom-side of the mounitng surface. Be sure to place a rivet washer onto the shaft of the rivet before tightening the rivet.

    Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining fasteners. The two upper holes on the radiator shroud will need to be drilled using the 1/2" bit in order to allow the Dzus fastener to pass through easily.
    5) Re-install the radiator shroud.
    6) Secure using the new Dzus fasteners.

    If I have forgot any information I will edit the thread as necessary.


    * UPDATED PICTURES (Aug. 2015) - Big-head, 1" diameter button head fasteners *

    * OLD PICTURES - 11/16" diameter button head fasteners, note the slightly discolored area around the button head where the OEM fastners caused surface wear on the cover *

    * OLD PICTURES - 11/16" diameter button head fasteners and the modified OEM retainers used to conceal the worn surface of the cover *

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Name: Keith

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    Dec 2011
    Hinesville Ga
    Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts

  3. #3
    Name: iHarley

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    Jan 2011
    Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
    Great "How to" with photos!
    Thanks for taking the time to share, this will be on my list.

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