Everyone wants to make his or her mark, right? Edison did the lightbulb, Ford revolutionized ground transportation; more recently, there was Octomom. And in testing Stud Boy’s new Super Lite Backers last winter, I was the first customer to break the plates, according to Stud Boy Operations Manager Jeff Pattyn. My impact on society certainly pales in comparison to the lady and gentlemen listed above, but it’s an impact, nonetheless.

Here’s how it shook out: Soon after I installed 153 of the company’s studs and new polymer backer plates on our Arctic Cat F8 Sno Pro, I noticed that several were cracked and broken. I picked up the phone and told Pattyn the news. To make a long story short, it turns out that I over-tightened them — by about 35 foot-pounds!

You see, I’ve always tightened stud nuts until the stud base pulled in flush with the back side of the track carcass, never really being too concerned about meeting a specific torque setting. Needless to say, I learned a great lesson last winter about how to install studs: Follow the manufacturer’s torque recommendation.

Stud Boy’s spec for the Super Lite backers is only 44 inch-pounds, or about 4 foot-pounds; for comparison most stud nuts with metal backers should be tightened to roughly 15 foot-pounds. I removed all of the original backers and installed new ones, tightened them to the company’s specification and had no further trouble over about 1,000 testing miles. Even after running them hard for 200 miles on a trip last spring through deplorable conditions — mud, dirt, rocks, ruts — the surface showed virtually no wear and the colors were still bright and vibrant.

A 24-pack of single Super Lite Backer Plates retails for $12.99. Double plates are also available. Color options are black, red, white, yellow, blue, orange, pink or green.

— Andy Swanson

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