Earlier this year, we started a long-term test of Steel Camel's Thread N Post, putting it through a battery of tests to see how it stacked up as an all-in-one automotive anti-seize. During the summer, we did an interim test and found that Thread N Post did a far better job of protecting exposed steel from water compared to its off the shelf competition.
And now we are back, after 8 months of uninterrupted testing, to see how Thread N Post fared against its popular off the shelf counterparts.
Test 1 Results - The Torque Test
At the beginning of our long-term test, we had bolted four M12 bolts through a pair of brake rotors, applied our various anti-seize compounds to them, and torqued them down to an even 80 lbs-ft of torque using our digital torque meter. We then buried the rotors in dirt and left them in an uncovered container to corrode naturally.
A few days ago, we dug up our brake rotors to see how they handled being buried in dirt and left to rot in the elements. As expected, record breaking rainfall and on-and-off heat waves were not kind to our testbeds. Both rotors were so dirty and rusty that we could barely tell which bolts had which anti-seize on them.
Undeterred, we broke out our digital torque meter and measured just how much torque we needed to remove each of the bolts. Here are the results:
Breakaway Torque Test Results (Lower is better)
|Control (No Anti-Seize)||Aluminum Anti-Seize||Nickel Anti-Seize||Steel Camel Thread N Post|
|Bolt 1||65.3 lbs-ft||61.0 lbs-ft||53.1 lbs-ft||57.7 lbs-ft|
|Bolt 2||75.8 lbs-ft||55.6 lbs-ft||54.2 lbs-ft||54.4 lbs-ft|
|Average||70.55 lbs-ft||58.3 lbs-ft||53.65 lbs-ft||56.05 lbs-ft|
Surprisingly, all eight bolts required significantly less than the original 80 lbs-ft of torque to break them loose. So before we even started our analysis, we consulted a fastener expert to find out why.
As with many of the other experts that we consult, he asked to remain anonymous due to his position and his current employer. So we are going to call him "Mr. Bolt". Mr. Bolt pointed out that our region had gone through some very sudden and very extreme temperature fluctuations during the early spring and fall months. His theory is that repeatedly going from near-freezing temperatures to 90 degree F (32 deg C) ambient temperatures in a matter of hours caused the fasteners to lose some of their initial fastening torque.
Mr. Bolt also thinks that fact that we had placed our test samples in a bucket rather than putting them directly into the ground may have contributed to this. Temperatures tend to be much more stable a few inches underground compared to being a few inches in the air. If we had buried our samples directly into the ground, the breakaway torque values may have been higher across the board. Thankfully, the temperature fluctuations affected all eight bolts evenly, so we could still see the differences between each anti-seize.
As expected, the Control bolts (without anti-seize) took significantly more torque to break loose compared to the bolts coated in anti-seize - an average of 25% more. Even after they were loose, the control bolts took significant effort to fully unthread from their nuts. The corroded bolts and the dirt caked onto the threads meant that, even with a long 1/2" drive ratchet, we still had to put a fair bit of force into the handle to get the nuts off.
The aluminum anti-seize made it significantly easier to break the 12mm bolts loose. But like the Control, the nuts and bolts covered in the common Permatex anti-seize proved difficult to fully disassemble. The unusually heavy rainfall had washed the silvery grease off of the exposed threads, allowing them to rust and pit the same way as the untreated Control bolts.
The nickel-based anti-seize fared much better than the others. Without even looking at the readings on the torque meter, we could tell that the bolts coated in the more expensive nickel-based compound were the easiest to break loose. And no wonder. If you look closely at the clean thread under the nut, you can tell that the anti-seize was still wet:
Close up of the two top performers in our test. The top bolt was coated in Nickel anti-seize. The bottom bolt was Steel Camel Thread N Post.
It was also much easier to fully disassemble the nickel-coated bolts, even when compared to the control or the aluminum sample. A small 3/8" drive ratchet would have provided more than enough torque to pull the nickel-coated nuts and bolts apart.
The Thread N Post coated bolts were also among the easiest to break loose. Through the metal handle of our breaker bar, we could feel the nuts loosen gently as opposed to the hard, sudden clunk that you usually get when you break a rusted fastener free. The torque meter showed that we had to use slightly more force on these bolts compared to the nickel-coated bolts, and the tactile feedback through the breaker bar reflected this difference.
However, when it came to fully disassembling the work pieces, it became quite a different story. The Thread N Post coated fasteners came off easily once loosened. In fact, yours truly was able to remove both of the Thread N Post covered nuts by hand, without the use of a wrench. It seems the grease in the Steel Camel product didn't stick to the surrounding dirt as much as the other two anti-seize compounds, and this in turn helped keep the dirt from clogging the threads.
This is an important quality for us automotive enthusiasts, as we tend to use anti-seize products on the suspension and brake systems, where they usually get covered in dirt and road grime. While the 3M Nickel anti-seize did offer lower breakaway torque numbers, the Thread N Post proved to be the better product for protecting fasteners in extremely dirty environments.
Verdict: Thread N Post came a close second to Nickel-based anti-seize in the torque test, but won in dirt resistance
Test 2 Results - Water Resistance & Wash Test
During our preliminary test report, we declared Thread N Post as the early winner in our real-life water resistance test. However, we wanted to see what would happen if we kept the experiment going. So in the name of science, we left our anti-seize coated steel plate out to be beaten down by the sun, rain, and elements for another few months.
Here's how it looked. As a reminder, the top left is the Steel Camel Thread N Post. Top right is 3M Copper anti-seize. Bottom left is an untreated "control" square. Bottom right is Permatex Aluminum anti-seize
After 3 Months
After 7 Months
By the 7-month mark, the grease in all three anti-seize compounds had dried up, leaving a layer of dust on the metal surface. The Steel Camel Thread N Post had turned brown at that point, and small specks of rust started to form around the edge closest to the divider tape. However, compared to the larger rust spots under the aluminum and copper samples and the horrible, ugly pitting in the untreated control square, we would say this was a good result.
Unfortunately, shortly after the last photo was taken a careless mechanic (yours truly) fell on top of the test sample and wiped off most of the anti-seize. Fortunately, we still had enough data at this point to declare Steel Camel Thread N Post as the winner of this test.
Verdict: Still the Winner. Thread N Post has better water resistance than off-the-shelf automotive anti-seize.
Test 3 Results - Road Grime Resistance Test
During our interim test report, we noticed that Thread N Post was slightly better at resisting road grime compared to the copper-based anti-seize you would normally use on suspension and brake components. We continued our testing to see what would happen when we racked up a few thousand more miles.
As a reminder, Steel Camel Thread N Post is on your left. 3M Copper Anti-Seize is on your right.
After 3 Months and 3000 miles
After 8 Months and 8000 miles
Both anti-seize samples had dried after 8000 street miles, allowing us to clearly see the dirt and rocks embedded in the test plate.
If you're having trouble telling which plate has more dirt embedded in it, you aren't alone. Even when we put the car in the air and illuminated the area with a bright LED work light, we couldn't tell which side had picked up more rocks and road grime.
There didn't seem to be a discernable difference in rust formation either. While there were some small patches of rust forming where the copper anti-seize had been scraped away, there were similar spots of surface rust in the Steel Camel covered panel as well.
With no discernable differences between the performance of Thread N Post and copper anti-seize, we have to call this one a tie.
Verdict: Tie. Resists road grime as well as Copper anti-seize
Test 4 Results - Extreme Heat Test
The original idea for this test was to apply Thread N Post to the engine and axles on our racecar, where they would be exposed to the hottest components for the most amount of time. Unfortunately, we had to change a front wheel bearing and both front driveshafts partway through, so we lost the ability to do continued testing there.
Thankfully, the Thread N Post that we applied to the engine was still intact through the entire ordeal, so we were able to see what sustained 500+ degree F temperatures would do to Steel Camel Thread N Post.
After 3 months and 1 track event:
After 8 months and 4 track events:
The good news is that the Thread N Post seems to be completely unaffected by the 300 deg F to 500+ deg F heat generated from the engine of your average street, track, or race car. This alone makes it a much better choice than common aluminum anti-seize for spark plugs and exhaust manifold bolts.
The fact that it doesn't react with stainless steel (like copper anti-seize) and that it won't cause skin irritation (like nickel anti-seize) make Thread N Post the best overall choice for high-temperature automotive applications.
Verdict: Winner. Thread N Post is as heat resistant as Copper or Nickel based anti-seize, without any of the downsides
Test 5 Results - Battery Oxidation Test
During our preliminary test results, we discovered that one of the ingredients in Thread N Post dissolves the caky white oxidation that forms on battery terminals. We also noticed that the grease had dried up on the positive terminal. We wanted to see what would happen if we just left it just as it was.
Would the battery-killing white oxidation come back now that the Thread N Post had dried?
After 3 Months:
After 8 Months:
As you can see, the answer was no. Some of the pieces that were peeling off of the positive terminal had flaked off during the course of normal driving. But otherwise, it looked exactly as it had at the 3-month mark.
Steel Camel later confirmed that the anti-corrosion ingredients in Thread N Post are just suspended in the grease and remain in place even after it evaporates. Part of us wish we knew that before we waited 5 months for absolutely nothing to happen. But part of us also knew that we would have done this experiment anyway to test the manufacturer's claim.
In either case, Steel Camel Thread N Post is still the only anti-seize compound (or terminal protector) out there that prevents the battery-killing oxidation from forming on car batteries.
Verdict: In a class of its own
Conclusion & Recommendations
Let's be honest. Mechanics are lazy. If we can get our greasy mitts on one tool that can do five things, we will always grab it before the five tools that were designed for the job.
Well, we have good news. Steel Camel Thread N Post is one of those tools that lets mechanics be lazy. It works so well that it can replace all three bottles of anti-seize occupying space on your shop shelf: It stops rust about as well as Nickel anti-seize, resists high temperatures like Copper anti-seize, and is as safe to use as regular old Aluminum anti-seize. Plus it has the added bonus of protecting battery terminals, so you can also get rid of that tub of petroleum jelly that's taking up space on your chemicals shelf.
During the course of our testing, we discovered that there are some automotive applications in which Thread N Post works particularly well. Here are our recommendations on where to use Thread N Post and where to use something else:
What it's good for:
- Suspension nuts and bolts
- Ball joint & tie rod tapers
- CV joint ends / stub axle ends
- Spark plugs
- Exhaust bolts for non-turbo applications
- Exhaust and intake manifold bolts
- Coilover threads and spring seats (this is one spot where it works REALLY well)
- Strut top mounts and camber plates
- Electrical grounds, particularly in the engine bay
- Larger electrical connectors
- Small bolts in the engine bay, particularly ones that are exposed to rain and road grime
- Trailer wiring and plugs
Where to use something else:
- Brake caliper pins and CV joint boots. Thread N Post contains a very good grease, but it is not a replacement for ceramic fortified greases. You want a grease that will handle upwards of 1500 deg F for these applications.
- Anti-rust coating on external surfaces. Although Thread N Post did very well in our water resistance test, there are easier and cheaper ways of protecting large, exposed metal surfaces (e.g. paint)
- Circuit boards and sensitive electronics. Steel Camel sells desiccant packs and a light spray specifically for circuit boards. According to the manufacturer, the spray uses the same active ingredients as Thread N Post. Use one of those instead.
Where to buy:
If there is any downside to Steel Camel's Thread N Post, it's that you can't walk into an auto parts store and buy individual bottles (yet). This is one of those consequences of buying industrial-grade products - They are packaged and designed for sale in large quantities.
That said, it is possible for average Joe or Jane mechanic to get our hands on a bottle, either through the Steel Camel Online Shop or by contacting them directly:
3347 S. West Shore Blvd. #8
Tampa, FL 33629
That's all we have for today. Thank you again to Dan Jenkins at Steel Camel for sending us that first sample bottle of Thread N Post, and for being such a good sport when we told him that we couldn't share our test methods or results before they were published.
See you at the track.
For the first time in the history of StudioVRM, we received this bottle of Thread N Post from Dan Jenkins at Steel Camel specifically for this test. That said, neither StudioVRM nor Roger Maeda are affiliated with or sponsored by Steel Camel. These tests were created and are being conducted independently and without input from the manufacturer or any of its dealers.