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Tech Review—Push Button Latches

When you’ve moved on from original equipment body components to lightweight fiberglass or carbon fiber parts, chances are you will need a different style of fastener to keep them secured to your vehicle. Push Button Latches offers numerous fastening devices to make sure your panels stay put, yet make it very easy to remove them when needed.

For years, the most popular method of fastening lightweight body panels to cars has been the Dzus-style of fastener. While these feature a lightweight design, they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing things to look at, not to mention they require a tool or other implement to fasten and release them. Many a painted finish has no doubt been marred by an errant tool, screwdriver, or coin during the task of securing panels with these fasteners, but Push Button Latches removes all of that risky business by simply requiring one’s finger tip to activate it’s push-button latch mechanism.

Push Button Latches offers a number of sizes, finishes, and designs to suit myriad applications, and the company also offers a retrofit kit for enthusiasts who are looking to replace the Dzus fasteners. The push button latches are also robustly constructed, with the bodies machined from billet 6061 aircraft aluminum, the internal components made from 316 stainless steel, and all of the latches rated to hold 400 lbs or more.

Whether you just need a pair of hood latches, or you’re looking for a fastening solution to your one-piece, fiberglass front end, Push Button Latches likely has what you need. We followed the installation of a set of the company’s Pro Series Dzus latches at Spike’s Performance and Refinishing. Check out the photos and captions to see the installation process.

Sources

Push Button Latches

www.pushbuttonlatches.com

Spike’s Performance & Refinishing

(352) 207-1815

For those who already have Dzus-style fasteners, Push Button Latches Pro Series Dzus latches feature a bracket that will pop rivet right into existing Dzus brackets for an easy upgrade and installation. These also feature a very low-profile, lightweight design with the build quality and ease of use that comes from a push-button style latch.

Push Button Latches offers numerous sizes and finishes, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding latches for your application, no matter what it is.

One could arguably say that traditional hood pins look period correct on classic muscle cars, but they usually aren’t constructed of quality materials and their appearance doesn’t seem to hold up that will long-term as a result, not to mention plenty of people have slipped while inserting the clip through the pin. Push button latches, on the other hand, can be painted to match, and their low profile does not interrupt the beautiful lines of your classic muscle car. And if you have a modern machine, then their sleek profile fits right in.

The first step is to decide on the layout of the latches. This particular car previously had a bolt-on fiberglass hood with front hood pins, so Dean Santiago of Spike’s Performance & Refinishing first decided where the latches would go at the corners, and riveted the brackets to the inner fender aprons.

With the four corners set, Santiago then measured the space between the latches and marked the location of the inner two latch locations. He then installed the remaining brackets.

The pin locations marked on the fenders were carefully measured and transferred to the hood so that the holes could be drilled in the hood. If you’re drilling through an already painted surface, leaving the masking tape on can help prevent chip out.

If you’ve done your homework, then the pins should mount dead center of the holes in the hood. Santiago used a step drill bit to drill through the hood and increase the opening size to the desired diameter.

Depending on your particular vehicle and hood configuration, you may need to get creative. With this Fox-body Mustang subject vehicle, the brackets for the front edge of the hood were simple enough to install, but the flexible nature of the front fascia made it a bit difficult to lock the push buttons as the bracket would just flex backward from the forward pressure. Santiago’s solution to this was to use a custom metal plate underneath the surface. The bracket was riveted through the bumper cover and then into the metal bracket, which gave it the strength it needed.

Push Button Latches provides two sets of springs for you to optimize the tension beneath the hood. Which spring or combination of springs you use may depend on the weight of your hood and how you want it to pop up off the bracket when released.

With the brackets, posts, and holes all finalized, Santiago was able to rivet the tops of the latch assemblies to the hood. While he went for the angled approach, it was merely for cosmetic reasons.

With the job complete, it is now just a simple matter of pressing the buttons to remove the hood for any maintenance or work, and with Santiago’s Mustang clocking mid-to-low 9-second runs, there will likely be maintenance, and improvements!

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