Hood Flip No More
You’ve bought a nice light carbon fiber hood but you would like to add a little extra something to keep it in place for peace of mind. Enter the Aerocatch hood pin install, made in England (not China), these hood pins look good and function good. Aerocatch hood pins come in a variety of different trims but all of them function the same.
We got a top mounted non locking set in black for our 350z. The prevalence of counterfeits is so bad that Aerocatch themselves had to make a page dedicated to warn people, so make sure your getting them from a credited source. We recommend buying from Drift Icon Shop and also recommend using the mounting plates which are now included with the kit as it will make the installation job easier and look more professional from underneath when the hood is up.
Tools we recommend having before starting:
- 1. Dremel with sanding drums and a cutting wheel
- 2. Drill Gun and Drill bits, 3/16″, 3/8″, and a 0.5″
- 3. Toothpaste
- 4. 2.5mm hex driver
- 5. 17mm open ended (box) wrench or adjustable pliers
- 6. Pencil, Pen or Permanent marker
- 7. Masking tape
- 8. Measuring tape
- 9. Vice
On the 350z there’s really only one logical mounting point which is on the same cross member as the stock hood latch in between the two bolts on both sides. Nissan conveniently put a hole there already and it only needs to be drilled out slightly for the studs to fit. The rubber sleeve is not needed and can be set aside for later when you may need it for a different purpose.
As you can see in the photo above we placed a bit of toothpaste on top to create a transfer when we drop the hood down. Ideally you should have the stud bolt threaded nearly all the way down, as that is more of where it is going to be permanently fixed. The height of the stud can make a difference on where the transfer point hits due to the sharp curve of the 350Z hood, so make sure it is as low as possible before making your mark.
Above is the permanent resting height for the Stud to engage with the locking pin and below is a shot from the backside where you can see how we cut the pin in half and locked the stud with a nylon nut from Home Depot.
Once the toothpaste transfer mark is made on the underside of your hood and your confident with the placement you can tape off the top of the hood to help prevent stress fractures.
Now you can drill your pilot hole up through the top of the hood from the bottom. Work your way up to the half inch drill bit and you should have a large enough hole for the stud to stick out. You want the top of the stud to sit 1/8″ above the hood before you tape down your template. Cut the template from the Aerocatch hood pin case and tape it center over the hole that you created. There are alignment lines on the template to give you a visual crosshair. You can angle the hood pin template any way you want but we chose to do it slightly angled to give it a flush look with the headlight.
With the Aerocatch hood pin template securely taped in place you can begin enlarging the hole by using a a cutting wheel and a dremel tool. You will want to avoid going all the way to the edge of the template as the wheel is not good at making round edges. Once you have cut out a little coffin shaped piece of your hood you can switch to a grinding barrel and begin working your way around the edges to make a nice smooth edge.
Be very careful not to Dremel much past the template because you will be losing surface area that you will need later to mount your screws through. With the top level completely sanded down to the shape of the template you can begin working on the lower level of the hood. You will need to remove at least as much as you did from the top level in order to drop the Aerocatch hood pin mechanism down into the hood so that it sits flush. Once this is complete drop the Aerocatch hood pin down into the hood and set the stud for the right height to accommodate the locking pin.
You will notice that the bottom of the Aerocatch hood pin comes into contact with the stud before you can engage the locking pin due to the sharp angle of the 350Z hood. Remove the hood pin and Dremel the bottom portion of the black plastic housing out at an angle until the hood pin sits flush on the hood and the locking pin can engage into the stud hole. Go slow and only remove as much of the plastic as you absolutely need to as to not weaken the casing of the hood pin.
We also had to put the aluminum stud into a vice grip and give the top portion a slight angle to accommodate the locking pin. Use the rubber sleeve around the stud so you do not damage any of the bolt threads when placing it in the vice. We were able to bend the top of the stud using a pair of heavy duty pliers. Thought this is not recommended by Aerocatch it was necessary for our install. You can also safely cut and discard the bottom half of the stud threads as you will only need about half the supplied length. This also makes threading the studs with the bolts easier and can accommodate after market cold air intakes such as Stillen and Injen.
Once the locking bolt aligns with the secured stud you can begin drilling for the six hex locking bolts that are going to keep the hood pin secured to the hood. Insert the mounting plates on the inside underneath portion of the hood and run the provided guiding threads bolts in from the top down into the mounting plate. You can then place the Aerocatch hood pin into place and fasten the remaining hex bolts down. As an extra you could also sandwich a thin layer of foam cut out from a sheet as a makeshift gasket in between the hood pin and the hood to help prevent water from getting in and for a more flush fitment.