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I want to remove the towbar from the van I've just bought to increase ground clearance. Done one side, and then discovered these on the other side. Not attempted to do anything with them yet - what's the score? How should they be removed?enter image description here

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Those are captive nuts, if they are not rusted then the shroud stops them turning.

If they are rusted or seized then the nuts can rotate in the shroud and you will need to hold them with pliers or mole-grips.

Just undo the bolts ftom the other side.

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  • Gotcha. When I've heard the term captive nuts I've assumed they'd be welded in place, not held in place like this. Purely for my curiosity, why would these two be captive when the other six aren't?
    – Codemonkey
    Jul 17 at 16:48
  • Probably the person who fitted it had that plate with two captive nuts laying around and it fitted... If it was part of the original kit then there would have been one on the other side. Or any one of several possibilities, like the otherside came loose and it was replaced - I’ll let you have fun imagining...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 17 at 16:54
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To your second question,

Generally, caged nuts would be used during assembly when the location of the Nut is difficult to work with, and especially if the 2 parts prefer to not stay together, which would lead to nuts being dropped. By attaching these first 2 in cages attached to the part, working the Bolt from the other would be much easier until some stability had been brought to the structure being assembled.

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