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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #1
I just installed a tow hitch, the bolts that secure the crossbar to the left and right flanges stick out almost an inch beyond the nuts. Can I cut these off with a sawsall or grinder without compromising the bolts' functionality? I've already torqued them.
 

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Cutting will heat them up a little, which should not be a problem. If you think you might unbolt it someday, then now would be the time to lightly file the rough edges after you cut the bolts.
 

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KOG
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Best way to cut them is with a cutoff wheel on an angle grinder, not a torch. That'll put very little heat into them and leave an edge smooth enough so that they can be unbolted. OTOH if they aren't sticking out where they'll ever get into the way of anything, leave them.
 

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Hacksaw is a little slow, but a sawsall works really well, won't heat up as much as the grinding cutting wheels. From there, take a file or sandpaper roll to the edge to remove the sharp. If you run a second nut onto the bolt before cutting, you can then run it off, back and forth a few times to straighten out that last thread edge that inevitably makes it difficult to rethread, then sandpaper roll the edge. This works the best for shortening long bolts.
 

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Once you are done shortening the bolts, put something on the cut off area as you have removed the plating or it will end up looking very rusty.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. They stick out from the crossbar toward the exhaust pipes and just look bad. the car is painted dark, the hitch is dark, the exhaust is even fairly dark, but the bolts are bright.

I plan to paint them or the like once the ends are cut off, so that they're black like the hitch.
 

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Use a tubing cutter. Makes a nice clean cut with no heat.
 

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If that's a thick, high-strength bolt, it will dull the tubing cutter long before you get through the bolt. Hacksaw, or Dremel tool cutoff disc. That's a great idea above, putting the 2nd nut on first and then forcing it off after cutting to clean up the threads.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, I don't think a tubing cutter will do it. I'm thinking that it's probably an SAE Grade 8.

What I might do is once I've cut off the longest part of the end, I may attempt to put on an acorn nut on the end. There are three on each side, but only two that hang down low enough to be visible. they're spline-bolts, so unfortunately I can't readily replace them with other bolts entirely (like black chrome moly bolts) because of the hitch alignment stuff, but we'll see.
 

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Not sure how many bolts your cutting, but if it was me, I would go to local hardware/farm store and buy the right length bolt. Then just replace one bolt at a time. Make sure you get the right grade bolt. This would be easier for me as trying to cut them off under the car would take longer than just replacing them. Usually they sell them by the lb.
Its your call.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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8,808 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
They're splined studs, sort of like wheel studs. They actually have no head on the end, the splines get pulled into the two pieces being fastened together and align them like a pin.

If I could find splined studs with the right length of spline and then with threads just long enough to retain the nut and lock washer that'd be swell, but I doubt that I will find that.
 

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Acorn nuts sound like a good idea if you can get the size. They should keep everything inside nice and clean.
 
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