How many early Corvettes do you see with the ignition shields installed? I don't mean the ones you see during judging, or the ones where only one or two pieces of the shielding are installed, I mean the ones you see at an NCRS member's house, or on the occasion where someone checking under the hood at a service station. If you're like me, you probably can't remember very many cars where the shields have been installed.

Similarly, how many Corvettes are purchased with the ignition shields installed, or, for that matter, with the car?

I believe one reason for this is the shields are generally quite troublesome. They are not only difficult to install, I have heard at least twenty reasons for leaving them off...

(1) The manifolds are too hot to work near right now

(2) I'll just have to take them off again next week

(3) I don't have time right now

(4) The engine runs cooler with them off

(5) The engine runs better with them off

(6) The radio works just as well with them off

(7) I get better mileage with them off

(8) The car is faster with them off

(9) I don't like the looks of them.

(10) If the engine quits, it will be more difficult to check it

(11) They could short out the plugs

(12) They may cause a rattle

(13) I don't have all the fasteners

(14) I'll put them on tomorrow

(15) I can't find them right now

(16) I loaned them to a friend

(17) I ran over them with the truck

(18) I am pretending that it's a radio delete car.

(19) Duntov never used them.

(20) I can't get the little wing nuts in place

Whatever the reason, I know they take time and effort to install, and sometimes, the little wing nuts are very difficult to get into place. There is no tool I know of to hold the wing nut. As a matter of fact, the wing nut is designed to be installed by hand, without the necessity for tools.

The problem is the human hand is larger than the space where some of these wing nuts need to go.

I was struggling to install the shields on a1966 with air conditioning recently when I realized I could barely see where the wing nut was supposed to go let alone put it there. My hand was too wide, and I had been trying to hold the wing nut between my index finger and my middle finger to start it. I probably dropped that wing nut ten times before I started to recite the list of twenty reasons not to install them at all.

I happened to have a short length of vinyl tubing in my toolbox, and it occurred to me it could possibly be just the right thing to hold that wing nut. I warmed the end of the tubing with a heat gun (similar to a hair dryer) and forced the wing nut into the tubing as you can see in the photo. This allowed me to hold the shield with one hand, aligning the hole in the shield with the bracket while I spun the wing nut into the threaded hole. After the wing nutis started, the tubing can be pulled off the nut. It really worked well.

The same piece of tubing can be used to hold a spark plug while starting it in the threaded opening. The tubing can be pulled off of the spark plug once it has been started. The vinyl tubing I used is a thin wall tube measuring 1/2" out-side diameter by 3/8" inside diameter. I don't think the thick wall type tube will work as well.

If you need one of these little wing nut tools, you can have one for free, just send a self-ad-dressed-stamped-envelope.

Click to download file