One thing I have learned over the years of owning a Caterham, is sooner or later the rear wings will need to be removed. This could be because someone clips the rear wing in a car park (normally followed by “I didn’t see your car down there”, or as a result of clipping a cone on a track day, or of course just to get the paint refreshed.

The normal problem this poses is that the bolts like to corrode into the rive-nuts on the side skin, The rive-nuts turns in the aluminium skin instead of extorting the bolt from the rive-nuts. This makes removing the rear wings an ordeal.

The solution to this is to replace the bolts with nylon alternatives.

Replacement nylon rear wing bolts with stainless washers

The advantage of plastic bolts is that they won’t corrode into the rive-nuts over time, and they can provide a weak spot to protect the side skin in the event of a collision with the rear wing. Obviously, they won’t take as much weight, so don’t press on the rear wing, and make checking them a part of your regular maintenance procedures.

Even though they are weaker than the original kit bolts, it’s still worth promoting a weak point on the bolt for them to break if ever needed. I am not in the habit of exchanging rear wings at every corner, unlike Caterham racers, who cut the nylon bolts almost half way through, to protect (and reuse) the wing and side skin.

Caterham fit M5x25 plastic bolts, 5mm longer than the kit supplied M5x20 bolts. I was initially concerned that the extra 5mm length could cause contact with the inner panels, but I have never had a problem using the M5x25 plastic bolts to fit the rear wings.

I replaced them one at a time until they were all replaced. Obviously, you can’t go mad with the torque, the bolts are only plastic. Don’t forget the bolts behind the shock absorber have nuts (which are replaced with nylon nuts).

Tools Used

  • Knife
  • 1/4″ drive ratchet
  • 8mm semi deep 1/4″ drive socket
  • 8mm ratchet ring spanner