Pickup truck owners that focus on power know that quality head studs are the best performance modification for any truck. The increased cylinder compression in diesel engines, combined with the engine’s natural tendency to expand and contract under heat can cause various failures.
Improving the truck’s performance will cause even more stress to the engine, causing the stock head bolts to stretch, ultimately leading to a blown head gasket or even worse failures. So, when are head studs needed?
We pride ourselves on building the strongest head studs in the world, so if you consistently push your truck to its limits, we recommend giving us a call and ordering a few head studs for your engine before doing any other modifications. Also, aftermarket head studs are a great way to increase your engine’s reliability, and since the stock bolts shouldn’t be reused anyways, purchase quality head studs and you won’t have to take the engine apart again. But what are head studs, and why are they so much better?
Engines are extremely sensitive, and the slightest miscalculations can easily ruin a perfectly healthy engine.
Torquing a bolt through the cylinder head into the engine block causes clamping force as the bolt threads in and pulls tighter against the cylinder head. However, you’re also causing a twisting force onto the bolt by torquing it, which can sometimes lead to false torque numbers, and over time that can lead to engine warpage. The issue will not be noticeable at first, but as the cylinder head rests unevenly on the engine block and then heats up and cools down through regular driving, the damage will become more severe, and unfixable.
A cylinder head stud is already screwed into the engine block, eliminating any twisting force. That force is instead applied to the nut at the top, which is, in turn, applying force along the entire stud. This means that you won’t get false torque readings. You will be able to torque the studs evenly, to the recommended specs, and you’re much less likely to see problems like a blown head gasket.
What are head studs? A head stud has two sides. The side that screws into the engine has a coarse thread while the other side has a fine threat. Head studs are made out of incredibly strong materials that are able to withstand even 200,000 PSI. TrackTech® head studs, in particular, are made out of the strongest alloy on the planet, and at 240,000 PSI our studs are the strongest in class.
The reason why head studs provide better clamping force is because of the fine thread which allows for the decreased angle of the fine thread pitch. More importantly, head bolts are twisted into the engine block through the cylinder head, while head studs aren’t twisted in at all. Instead, the head stud nut that is attached to the top is torqued down onto the stud, which results in linear clamping force throughout the stud. This is not only stronger, but it’s also more reliable.
Although head bolts and studs would be torqued down to the same spec, the studs’ material structure would be able to withstand much more abuse than a bolt can. Also, the pressure put on the head stud would be properly distributed throughout the axis of the stud.
Head studs have a few other performance application advantages besides the superior clamping force.
You shouldn’t reuse head bolts because the bolts themselves could’ve early become warped/stretched, and in addition, they won’t hold the tension as well as they did before. So, if you’re taking the engine apart often, you’ll have to purchase brand new head bolts every time, and the entire process of removal and installation will take longer. Even a brand-new set of bolts isn’t as safe as head studs because manufacturers often utilize various tests to make sure that the bolts are properly torqued. Some people do believe that you can indeed reuse the stock head bolts, but we’ve heard countless stories of how it went wrong, so we recommend against it.
Head studs, on the other hand, can be reused three to four times without having to worry about any damages to the studs themselves. Additionally, taking the engine apart to inspect the valvetrain and the cylinders will be much easier, and you’ll save yourself 30 to 60 minutes.
Head studs are also easier to install since you won’t have to worry about the head gasket and cylinder head alignment because both simply slide onto the studs. Overall, studs are more accurate, easier to install, and you’re less likely to cause harm to your engine. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to install head studs.
Engine inspections and failures are much more common in high-end performance applications than they are in regular applications, making head studs the only viable option.
Head studs are needed in performance applications, primarily if you’re turbocharging or supercharging your vehicle. Let’s break it down.
When you add a bigger turbo or more boost to your truck you’re forcing more air into the engine, which will also require more fuel per stroke, and the new mixture will cause combustions that are more powerful than intended by the manufacturer. Since the manufacturer did not plan for the engine to run under such stress, they simply used head bolts which are cheaper but still do the job well enough.
The same applies for supercharging your engine or tremendously increasing the power that it produces in any kind of way.
Because of the head studs’ clamping force, they’ll be able to essentially keep your engine together reliably and prevent it from blowing up under a lot of pressure. The amount of pressure that the head studs can reliably sustain depends on a lot of factors, but you should be able to get to 1,000 horsepower without them becoming an issue.
Head studs are the backbone of incredible performance trucks like this awesome 6.0 Powerstroke, but if you have just a regular truck with the engine parts in solid conditions, installing aftermarket head studs will make your truck’s engine almost bulletproof.
Head bolts are built with the cost to performance ratio in mind. Since automakers have to cut down on the production costs in order for their vehicles to be competitive, head bolts are perfect. They’re relatively cheap but you’re still getting decent reliability and durability.
Head studs are built with only performance in mind. They’re carefully shaped and heat-treated at extreme pressures in order to achieve structural strength. Head studs are more expensive than head bolts, but they can withstand much more stress than bolts. Even for non-performance-oriented cars, head studs are a great option; Replacing the stock bolts with brand new studs will make your engine that much more reliable and durable. However, the downside is that they aren’t that cheap.
TrackTech® prioritizes quality over everything else. We want our TrackTech® Fasteners® to be the clear choice for heavy-duty head studs. We work every day to create the strongest heavy-duty fasteners for diesel trucks like the Ford Powerstroke, Chevy Duramax, Dodge Cummins, and others. Our fasteners are tested under the harshest conditions, so you can be sure that if you’re buying from TrackTech®, you’re getting the best.
We understand that some of our customers have businesses to run, while others need to use their trucks to commute. That’s why we don’t wait for bulk orders before shipping. Even if it’s not the most efficient for us, we want you to have your order shipped immediately and delivered to you as soon as possible.
Even though we place such a high priority on quality, we still aim to cut down on unnecessary costs as much as possible in order to deliver an affordable product. We want everyone to be able to afford the best fasteners on the market. Additionally, we offer lower-level dealer discounts.
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We will continue to improve upon and deliver the best fasteners on the market so that you can create reliable and powerful engines.
The bolts might be cheaper, but head studs are a one-time investment that will prevent the engine from ever breaking down. You need head studs to better support your engine if you want to make it more powerful. Replacing the stock bolts with aftermarket head studs if you’re disassembling the engine will dramatically reduce the odds you’ll ever have to disassemble the engine again. And if you do, it’ll be much easier the next time.
At TrackTech®, we aim to create the highest quality fasteners possible and help shops, as well as truck owners, improve diesel engines. Our fasteners are shipped immediately when you order, direct from the USA, so you get your parts fast. Keep up with us by signing up for our newsletter.