Every time I put clips on my pedals, I can't figure out if the washers should go next to the screw head or next to the nut. I usually put it next to the nut, but these MKS clips I just got have nuts with that sort of integrated washer, so I'm wondering if I should still put the washer next to the nut, esp. since the clip and head of the screw seem like they should have a washer.
And in general, can someone give a brief explanation/tutorial of washer function/utility. Is there a general rule about where washers go with respect to other mechanical parts?
Don't be afraid to walk me through stupid, basic technical info.
Washers generally do two things; spread the load over a wider area, and protect the finish of the part you're working on. Usually, they go under the nut, but in force-spreading applications, they could be under the bolt head as well. Spring-type locknuts will tear up aluminum, and you seldom see em' on bikes. Better than the cheesy little nuts that come with most clips would be a decent quality nylon-insert locknut.
Plastic clips often have fairly large slots relative to the sixe of the screw head. If this is what you have, then you would be well served to add a washer under the screw head. This will help prevent the clips from pulling ou from the screws. You should also use a washer between the nut and the pedal. Buy some small washers at a hardware store if necessary.
The clips are MKS steel clips. The nuts, I think, are pretty nice. The bolts themselves are small hex bolts and the clips even came with their own L-shaped hex wrench. So I'm going to assume that since the nuts have little integrated washers on one side, I can use the separate washers to put betw. the bolt and the clip. This also make sense in reference to an above statement, because they have wide holes to be able to adjust the side-to-side placement of the clips. I guess a washer would do well here to prevent the clip from pushing agains the bolt and loosening it.
But I also took apart my sidepull front brake yesterday for a cleaning, and there were these thin bronze or copper washers in between a LOT, but not ALL of the parts. There were even two washers between the two brake arms. I didn't get this--spacers? The washers seemed to be indiscriminately placed, but then again, I was paranoid that if I didn't put them back in the right places, the brakes wouldn't stay centered or something. They just seem to be very arbitrarily placed at times, I don't get it.