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DIY becomes D'OH! - brake rotors


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10 replies to this topic

#1 outback_97

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 10:39 AM

Well, this stinks, but of course it could be worse.

All set to replace my rotors. Parts? Check. Tools? Check. Service manual? Check. Penetrating oil applied to bolts two days before? Check. Knowledge of what to do when I shear the head off one of the caliper bracket bolts? Ooops. Ummmmm... call around for a shop that'll bail me out on a Saturday morning? :banghead:

At least I could put everything back together and still drive the thing. There goes all the money I was going to save. Bleh. This is just like plumbing... it's not that hard in theory, unless you're dealing with 50 year old corroded galvanized pipes.

What would the more savvy among you have done? How to deal with the broken bolt? Now I'm stuck at home (wife's at work) and have no good excuse not to do the yard work I've been putting off.

Steve

#2 brus brother

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 11:14 AM

First thing is to dump all the gas from any yard power tools and then wrap your wrist in an ace bandage so as to eliminate need to use hand tools.
Sheared off bolt... sorry, just bad luck.

Well, this stinks, but of course it could be worse.

All set to replace my rotors. Parts? Check. Tools? Check. Service manual? Check. Penetrating oil applied to bolts two days before? Check. Knowledge of what to do when I shear the head off one of the caliper bracket bolts? Ooops. Ummmmm... call around for a shop that'll bail me out on a Saturday morning? :banghead:

At least I could put everything back together and still drive the thing. There goes all the money I was going to save. Bleh. This is just like plumbing... it's not that hard in theory, unless you're dealing with 50 year old corroded galvanized pipes.

What would the more savvy among you have done? How to deal with the broken bolt? Now I'm stuck at home (wife's at work) and have no good excuse not to do the yard work I've been putting off.

Steve



#3 Subarunation 713

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 11:35 AM

(snip)What would the more savvy among you have done? How to deal with the broken bolt? Now I'm stuck at home (wife's at work) and have no good excuse not to do the yard work I've been putting off.

Steve

Steve,

Well not to say I am "savy" but if you have a drill I would get a "reverse drill bit" (this one drills but turns the opposite direction) and drill a hole in the bolt. There is a small chance (15% to 20%) the spinning/drilling action of the drill will back out the bolt. If it does, then fine. If it doesn't this leave you a whole in the bolt to use an "easy out". This is like a Chinese finger torture. The harder you turn the "easy out" it drills itself in and grips the broken off bolt more.

Don't beat yourself up. How could you have prepared any better than you did? Heck, I don't even squirt penatrating oil on 2 days before.

Good luck,
Greg

BTW-don't be afraid to call on a Higher Power!

#4 outback_97

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 11:48 AM

Thanks for the kind words :)

Here's what I did do:
Found a brake shop that was willing to do it, using the parts I already bought. They said they may have to heat it w/ a torch to get the stud out of there, if they can't drill it out. I chickened out on doing this myself. I don't have a reverse bit or bolt extractor, nor a torch, could get one, but kinda time consuming to keep putting on and taking off the wheels, lifting the car, putting on jack stands, etc. I don't have a garage (well, a single car one full of junk and not enough room for a car) and I'm doing this in the driveway. Supposed to be 90 today w/ chance of thunderstorms later. Not ideal conditions for spending all day wrenching on the car. Better luck next time.

Enough justifying, time to do do some work in the yard. At least I can't screw that up... :lol:

Steve

#5 grossgary

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 12:57 PM

sometimes with the brake caliper bolts, they are facing the opposite way and there's a tendency to turn the bolt the wrong way. i've never had one shear off on the many rusted and old subaru's i've come across, so i was wondering how it happened.

if anyone else ever reads this thread definitely use the reverse drill bit. do not use an easy out or bolt extractor. they suck. they don't work very well and when they shear off (they are very strong but also very brittle and shear off very easily under power tool usage)....but they are very hard to get out once imbedded. just look at my fuel pump bolt.....i used an extractor on it years ago and it's still there. twice i've tried aggressively beating it out...just tried again this past week ironically enough.....it's still there.

#6 outback_97

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 01:11 PM

Update:

Shop called me shortly after my last post, all done, $140 bucks. Rode my bike over there, threw it in the back of the car, back home. Not bad considering some alternatives. I was careful not to let the pads sit clamped on the rotor and took back streets to avoid excessive braking. Reading up now on the proper breakin procedure.

Grossgary: I assure you it was turned the right way, lefty loosey :) In fact I successfully got the top bolt out (turning same direction) and was thinking, hey this isn't too bad, before I popped the head off the bottom one. I was using a small breaker bar (less than 24") and I'm skinny so no big superhuman feats of strength there either :lol: My guess is that several winters of lots of salty roads and the bolt not being removed for a long time insured it was in there pretty good. Maybe it was torqued too much the last time (years ago) it was off. Dunno.

Well, time to get some other stuff done, I'm burning daylight!

Steve

EDIT: forgot to add a link to someone else that had a very similar problem:
http://forums.nasioc...ad.php?t=779329
Different vehicle and it was the top bolt that he broke, not the bottom. But otherwise really similar.

#7 gbhrps

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 04:35 PM

Outback_97,

You have no apologies to make on tackling the job. Sometimes stuff like this just happens, and you are best served by taking the problem to someplace where they have the expertise to correct it. You've learned a great deal for the next time, when it will be that much easier. Hint: everytime I do a brake inspection/cleaning/pad replacement, etc. I always remove the caliper mounts. They are easier to cleanup off the car, and then when remounting them, I always use antiseize compound on the threads of the bolts. Then there are no surprises like you had the next time they need to come off. Be proud of the fact that you had the gumption to try the job yourself. A lot of people are too lazy to try, and rationalize that they are too busy to do the job. Then there are the ones who know their limitations and shouldn't try the job at all. Then there is you and me...the backyard mechanics who have been in the backyard a little while, but recognize when we are facing a situation where we're in over our heads, and take the solution to the experts. Keep your head up!

#8 brus brother

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 05:01 PM

As a brain surgeon once told me, confidence lacking competence is very dangerous.
Knowing when to say when is an indicator of good judgement.

#9 jib

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 01:28 PM

Update:
I was using a small breaker bar (less than 24").


For future reference, put your socket on the bolt and tap the end of the ratchet with a hammer, kind of like a low tech impact driver. This type of load has a much better chance of loosening a stuck bolt than leaning on it with a breaker bar. Also, try tightening it just a tad first and/or smacking the bold head directly inward with a hammer to break the bolt's grip.

Jack

#10 outback_97

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 05:41 PM

Jack:

Thanks, that's a good idea. Hadn't seen that mentioned before. :) Concerns about the difficulty in removing stuck fasteners were 80% of the reason that I was hesitant to tackle this job in the first place.

Thanks to everyone for your support, USMB is my favorite Subaru forum, largely due to the positive attitude and helpfulness.

Steve

#11 Setright

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 02:12 AM

Outback97!

If you intend to keep the car for a long time, and replace brakes someday in the future, I would recommend that you loose the brake bolts and re-torque them with a good torque wrench. 75Nm on the caliper bracket bolts, and 45Nm on the slider bolts.

If you really wanna do it right, take the bolts right out and add some copper grease to the threads and sand down the area where the caliper bracket bolts heads contact the hub.

Next time, it'll be a snap to open up. The main reason bolts break is that lazy mechanics don't use torque wrenches. Instead they just hand-overtighten everything.




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