Not open for further replies.
Jun 14, 2003
I asked the following question a about a year ago and only recieved one response. Since that time, our forum has expanded considerably. So, I thought I would throw the question out one more time in hopes of getting a few more responses.


Does anyone have any experience using stainless steel head bolts on a 850 Commando?

Stainless steel generally has a lower minimum yield strength as compared to, say, the more common SAE Grade 5 bolt steel. Because of its lower yield strength, the stainless will stretch more than Grade 5 material, given the same make-up torque.

I purchased some stainless head bolts from Raber's Parts Mart and they appear to be of high quality but it's difficult to tell what the yield strength is. So, I am concerned about the bolts stretching, resulting in a leaky head gasket.

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

I installed a set that I purchased from Norvil.

It's been about 5,000 miles and no trouble yet.

I've check them several times and all seems ok.

Jason, you probably already know about this but I'll tell you anyway.

If your looking for stainless steel fasteners for general use, like fenders and brackets. There's a good place on 18th street and Ella (i think) in Houston. It's called Coastal Fasteners. I'm glad I loaded up before I left houston. Very reasonable prices and a good varitiy.
I have had both good and bad experience with stainless cylinder head bolts. I pulled the head off a buddy's "S" model a few years back and all four of the outers were badly stretched. These had come from a usually reputable supplier in England. I ran a tap through the holes in the cylinder and they seemed fine, so we replaced them with a set from Stan Smith (Rocky Point Cycles) and they are doing fine today. I have a set on my '68 Fastback motor with no sign of a problem either. However, I do not trust them enough to use on my hi-compression (milled head) 850.

If you use a torque wrench and stick to the factory torque specs you should not have a problem. Use good quality bolts. I can't recommend Stan highly enough and others on this list can tell you the same.

P.S. - I have heard of severe failure of stainless rear axles. These usually have cut threads rather than rolled and under high loads these fracture at the beginning of the threads.
Not open for further replies.