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Help! Broke bolts that hold washer fluid resevoir!


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 09:24 PM

The above was the one casualty during last Saturday's otherwise successful mission to change the spark plugs in my '98 OBW.

The washer fluid resevoir was held to the front of the driver's side strut tower by two small bolts. In removing the resevoir to gain better access to the #4 spark plug I snapped off both bolts with a 1/4 ratchet using very little effort!!:mad:

Any ideas on how to get the snapped off bolts out of the holes in the strut tower? I suppose I could pound them out with a hammer and punch, but that isn't my style and would destroy any thread in the holes.

I fear I would have to remove the front driver's side strut to have sufficient room to work on the snapped off bolts from the inside of the strut tower.:banghead:

I guess that's the price I had to pay for the rest of the job going so smoothly.:(

#2 myles

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 09:29 PM

In removing the resevoir to gain better access to the #4 spark plug I snapped off both bolts with a 1/4 ratchet using very little effort!!:mad:

Any ideas on how to get the snapped off bolts out of the holes in the strut tower?(


I haven't used one, but these look promising:

http://www.truebite.com/remove/

#3 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 09:55 PM

The Truebite cutting bits do look promising. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to further research them.

#4 THAWA

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 10:50 PM

If you play with it enough you can slide the bottle out with the bolts still attached. Mine gets like that if you tighten it too much

#5 tcspeer

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:12 AM

you should be able to buy ez out at local auto store or hardware store, just take the broken part with you and then you will be able to get right size. I done the same thing with my transmission pan bolts a few years back, (broke two)

#6 Setright

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 04:28 AM

Drill them, usually releases enough of the tension in the thread to allow you to pull/rotate them out.


Otherwise, drill them and turn them out with a bolt extractor thingy, a screw with a reverse thread on it.

#7 99obw

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 05:07 AM

I broke exactly the same bolt when doing the head gaskets on our '99. I did basically what Setright described, I carefully drilled until most of the bolt was gone, then I was able to get the remaining threads out. My drilling wasn't perfect however and the threads were slightly damaged. I did not remove the strut.

I find that extractors are nearly worthless in these instances, as the extractor usually can't exert as much torque as it took to break the head of the bolt off, especially with smaller bolts. I have yet to have an extractor remove a rusty bolt with a broken head, and I have tried probably a dozen times over the years. I have broken a lot of extractors. I have however successfully removed a broken spark plug from a head, and a couple of broken oil pump bolts from the block of my old '86 tercel.

The proper way to do it is to buy the heal-a-coil kit, drill it slightly oversized, and install the threaded insert. Works great.

EDIT: One thing that works, before you break the head of the bolt off, if it will turn at least a couple of turns out, grind the head off, drill into the remaining piece and turn a machine screw into the hole, then turn it IN until it falls out the other side. A "right-handed" extractor may work instead of a machine screw, but I have yet to see any of those.

#8 ron917

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:00 AM

Hi, first post on USMB. I'm new to Subarus, but not new to wrenching on my cars. I plan do the spark plugs in my '99 Outback Wagon this weekend, hopefully I can avoid a similar problem.

I've dealt with plenty of broken fasteners, here's a few hints to add to the others:

- Easy-Outs are evil! They break easily, and are harder than drill bits. A broken bolt containing a broken easy-out is a nightmare to remove. I've never had success with one.

- The Truebite bits probably work as advertised, but they seem a bit expensive for a carbide Dremel bit. If you're in the US, Home Depot and Wal-Mart sell Dremel brand carbide bits for about $5.00.

- Drill out the bolts with a LEFT HAND drill bit. No joke, they exist, industrial supply shops sell them (for example, www.mcmaster.com). You need a reversible drill, of course. Often, the drill will spin the bolt out.

- If you end up drilling them out, you can dill the next size larger and tap new threads. Alternatively, you can use Heli-Coil thread inserts or Loc-Tite Form-A-Thread to create new threads the same size (any auto parts shop should have them).

- Weld a nut to the remainder of the bolt. Hold the nut on top of the bolt with pliers and fill up the hole with a MIG or stick welder. The heat will loosen the bolt, and the nut allows you to put a wrench on it. Probably overkill for these small bolts, but it's a handy trick for bigger stuff.

Hope this helps!

-Ron

#9 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for the great advice. Hearing that a number of you have experience with broken bolts makes me feel less like an idiot. I still can't belive how easily the bolts broke off.

I'll research your various suggestions, see what tools are available locally (Sears, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. all are in the area), and probably tackle the broken bots next weekend.

Oh, by the way, does a Dremel tool have any advantage over a regular power drill for jobs like this? I have a sizeable electric drill that has lots of torque. Do I instead want something with high RPM?

#10 Nug

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:44 PM

They have a left hand drill/easy out combination tool at sears. The drill and extractor are one piece, and they come in a 4 pack, 4 different sizes. I have got a regular easy-out to work maybe three times in my entire life, and the two times I used the sears/craftsman tool, it worked.

#11 Commuter

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 11:02 PM

I haven't looked as to what sort of fastener this is (but I know mine are rusty), but I have often changed out little screws and fasteners like this with a stainless steel equivalent. It doesn't rust, and the disimilar metals help to keep them from 'bonding' to each other.

Mechanics usually compliment me that fasteners are rarely an issue with my cars since I have them sprayed annually with Rust Check. It does make a difference.

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#12 Setright

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 12:46 AM

Absolutely! It makes a world of difference.

I never assemble anything without filling a section of the threads with copper grease.

#13 kevinrogosch

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 01:49 AM

I got sick and tired of removing the bolt so I just left it off. The resevoir seems to be snug with out it. Never had any problems and its a snap to remove when I'm working on the engine.




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