Hood Pin How-To

What the fuck is wrong with this piece of shit, the passenger side was perfect!

Mike Lowry, hood pin installer-in-chief, WFH
Moroso hood pin kit
Moroso hood pin kit part number 39005

If you race your car, you should really have hood pins. They are not a “ricer” mod, and they are not for looks, they are a critical piece of safety equipment. Your factory hood latch was most likely not meant to experience 175+ miles per hour. On some cars, the hood latches tend to wear out with time, meaning that was once a safe and secure thing, is now a good bump away from smashing your windshield. If you still don’t get why you need hood pins, just think about this. You’ve built your car, and for the 10th time this weekend, you’re going down the drag strip. Your burnout was perfect, your launch, perfect, that smug jerk in his bling’d out camaro doesn’t have a chance. Suddenly, in the final 200 feet of the track, your hood starts to shake as your speed exceeds 120 miles an hour. A tenth of a second after you notice this, the windshield has been smashed in, and if you’re lucky, the hood has broken free of the stock mounting hinges without hitting anyone else, and you’re left with a broken hood, angry tech guys, and a busted windshield.

Ah, and for the people like my coworkers, yes, the hoodpins do add a little weight, but since I got the moroso aluminum hood pin set, the heaviest component in the box is actually the torsion pins, which as you can imagine, aren’t very heavy. Weighing the full set, they come out to 5.3 ounces, a small price to pay for safety. Speaking of small price, as of this writing, they’re about 13-15 bucks for a set over at summit.

a set of moroso hood pins on a scale.
A small weight penalty for safety.

They’re also super easy to install! I promise. Having an SRT-8, my charger came from the factory with gas hood struts, rather than the metal hood prop that is present on some (most?) of the lower trim levels. This matters because it frees up space along the core support for hood pins to be installed. Because of this, I was able to use some pre-drilled holes as my source for the pin installation, rather than having to drill into the core-support. Be mindful if you do drill into the core support, look out for your ABS lines, which run along the engine-side edge, as well as the radiator, condenser, and power steering cooler that are all installed underneath it. Lastly, look out for any wires or cables that may be running along with it, particularly to your fans. Hood pins won’t keep your motor from overheating when you accidentally kill your rad fans. 😉

Hood pins is installed on the outside of the radiator support.
Hood pins is installed on the outside of the radiator support, about bottom dead-center. Passenger side hood pin is visible at the extreme left upper corner.

Alright, that was the easy part. Now for the less fun stuff. Start by using your fiances lip liner, eye liner, or whatever the brightest, most expensive makeup she has, and apply it to the top of the hood pins generously. Then gently lower the hood into position and press lightly above where the hood pins (probably) are. Once you lift the hood back up, you should have marks on the underside indicating where you need to drill. If your clearcoat is actually worth a damn (unlike mine) drill a super-duper-tiny pilot hole and cover the area that will be drilled with masking tape. This should help prevent the clearcoat from cracking. I went ahead and did this on mine, but I imagine the tape probably just peeled away some of my already cracked/chipping clear coat anyhow. Once you have some pilot holes drilled, I’d recommend stepping up to a not-quite-as-big-as-you-need drill bit (e.g. if your hood pins are 1/2 inch diameter, I’d do a 1/4 or so bit to start) and drilling out the holes. This should allow you to get a feel for any adjustments you need to make in the hood pin position, or the position of the hole. You will basically need to try to center the pin on the hole you’ve drilled, and then step up to your slightly-larger-than-hood-pin-diameter bit (e.g. if you have a 1/2 pin, perhaps a 9/16th drill bit) and drill it out. You may need to enlarge the hole a little more (and a few times) to get it to sit properly.

Hood pin with markings for scuff plate
Hood pin with markings for scuff plate.

Once you have your hood pins sticking through properly, you’ll want to doublecheck the height of the pins! This is uber important.

Make sure you account for the fact that you’re going to need to install the scuff plate, which will add a small amount of height to the hood. If you install your scuff plate and haven’t confirmed your alignment and height of the pin , you may have to reinstall it, which will be a gross process involving many holes in your hood. DO NOT BE THAT GUY.

Once you have confirmed you’re not the asshole who didn’t adjust things properly, it’s time to mark your scuff plate holes. My fiance once again donated her makeup, and we placed the scuff plates down around the hood pins, and rotated them to where we were happy with the scuff-plate-screw orientation. Use the makeup to mark the drilling sites, and then go for the gold! I would recommend going for the smallest holes possible.

Drilling the passenger side of the car for the scuff plates.

Once the holes are drilled for the scuff plates, I recommend grabbing the little screws they (maybe) gave you and putting them directly into the recycle bin, or your spare screw jar. I used 1/8 x 1/4 ALUMINUM rivits. Now, while there is a small possibility this will leave you with a sharp shank fragment sticking out, if you’re experienced with your rivits this should be pretty low risk. What it will give you instead is a nice clean install, and no risk of rust. If you haven’t used rivits before, I’d recommend doing some test-work with them, but I’d say the main trick is just to make sure that when you’re clamping the rivit gun handles together, make sure you are choked up on the shank as far as possible, e.g. the rivit gun is as close to the surface as possible.

Riviting down your scuff plates is easy!

What we did was line up all the rivits into their respective holes, so we could confirm we would be able to get them all in on the scuff plate. Once they were lined up and placed into the holes in the hood, we went ahead and installed them catty-corner, to prevent any issues from cropping up (think like counter-sinking). In this case, since we have no anchor wires, the last thing to do is to simply pop the torsion pins in place and enjoy a nice, safe, high speed drive.

Dodge charger front end with hood pins.
Doesn’t it look nice? (The hood pins, not the paint).
Up close, drivers side hood pin
Up close, drivers side hood pin
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