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#758589 - 10/30/06 04:25 PM stuck bolt problem
greenjp Offline


Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 1025
Loc: Germantown, MD
I was replacing the distributor cap and rotor on my '00 Civic EX last night. There's three bolts than hold the cap to the distributor - 2 of them sheared off, leaving the threaded portion in the distributor. It is flush, nothing to grab with pliers. Apparently this is a common problem, the two mechanics I spoke to this morning both guessed it before I was finished the story.

The third came off ok, and the new cap is in, being held on by one good bolt and two vice grips (!). Of course this can only be temporary so I need to figure out how to get those bolt remnants out of the distributor.

I have a couple ideas. Thoughts, tips?

- drill a small pilot hole and use a screw extractor to twist the bolt out. I have not ever had much luck with extractors, so I'm not sure about this one.

- try to drill out all or most of the bolt, clean through. Replace with a longer (and possibly thinner) bolt, use a nut on the end to hold it in place.

- use a dremel to cut a slot in the bolt and try to use a screwdriver to twist it out.

The vice grips seemed to hold quite nicely during my commute this morning.

Mainly I'm trying to avoid having to replace the entire distributor. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

jeff

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#758590 - 10/30/06 06:38 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: greenjp]
Drew99GT Online   happy


Registered: 10/11/02
Posts: 20879
Loc: Colorado Springs
If the bolts is large enough in diameter and you truly can get a drill bit in it, and easy out would be the best solution. It's essentially a drill bit with reverse threads that screws into the drilled hole and will start moving the stuck bolt.

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#758591 - 10/30/06 06:39 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Drew99GT]
Drew99GT Online   happy


Registered: 10/11/02
Posts: 20879
Loc: Colorado Springs
Oh, and give it a tiny shot of penetrating oil before you do anything to loosen the stuck bolt.

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#758592 - 10/30/06 09:36 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Drew99GT]
alreadygone Offline


Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 3161
Loc: North Arkansas
When bolt is so seized that the head twists off, eze outs are usually worthless. drilling all the way through is usually pretty hard because dist. body is going to be aluminum, fastener is steel. Hand held drill is going to "walk" into softer metal. Still, that's the best method. If you can get redrilled reasonably close check on using helicoil inserts, if not drill all the way through and use nuts on bottom.

Tough break!

Bob
_________________________
To which version of reality would you like to convert me?

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#758593 - 10/30/06 10:28 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: alreadygone]
MN Driver Offline


Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Minnesota
I'll have to send a link to this to my neighbor, he used one of the flexible-type gasket adhesives to hold his distributer cap on after having the same thing happen to him. I've had the same thing happen to me in places where the previous owner let the bolts that held on the plastic 'gravel/salt sheild' on the bottom of my car.

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#758594 - 10/30/06 10:46 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: MN Driver]
Quest Offline


Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 6544
Loc: beaver land EH?
IMHO although this happens occasionally, this is not a common problem, however.

Truth of the matter is, if you leave any screws/bolts on cars that performs in snowbelt area or high humidity for too long, anything happens.

I regularly service Honda cars/engines and while I must say that some of the Dee-cap's screw is somewhat tight/squeaky when undone, I would ended up putting on some light lube such as coating it with some synthetic ATF fluid or similar. Works like a charm afterwards.

You now have no choice but to remove the distributor unit off of the engine block, put it on a huge vise and to either drill the broken portion out (it's easy, just some soft metal screws) or use plenty of lubricants and maybe a bit of heat if you want to preserve the screw threads (I would, for I don't think you can get helicoils that small) and then put on a new set the comes with OEM Honda distributor caps.

And if you think snapping Dee-cap's holddown screws are bad, try cross-threading/stripping spark plugs on alu alloy cylinder heads simply because the owner never service the engine for 10+ yrs!
_________________________
"Internet discussion boards act as echo chambers for conspiracy dittoheads" A.Allen

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#758595 - 10/30/06 10:51 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: MN Driver]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46739
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Honda!!

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE AN EASY-OUT. It will shear and you will be screwed.

Best bet is to bore a tiny center hole with a diamond bit, then drill it with a LEFT hand drill bit (cobalt if you can find it - smaller than the drill and tap size you'll need in a 1/2" chuck or greater drill set on R, of course)

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#758596 - 10/31/06 12:32 AM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Pablo]
Papa Bear Online   content


Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 6159
Loc: Leamington, ON, Canada ..... r...
"Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

jeff"

Take it to a mechanic and have it repaired while you still can.
Your $10 repair has turned into a $50 repair in front of your eyes. Don't turn it into a $250 repair.

Knowing when to STOP ... priceless.
_________________________
"Over 6,000 posts... about 30 of them good ones" coffee


2007 Uplander LS RWB .. ST dino, NAPA Pro-Select filter (quite sufficient)


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#758597 - 10/31/06 05:58 AM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Papa Bear]
gulledge Offline


Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 106
Loc: Helena, AL
I work as a mechanic on railroad cars and when this happens, we will usually weld a much smaller bolt to the sheared off one. Then we will turn the smaller bolt to get the old one out. I had to do this one a 2001 Honda Civic on a bolt that sheared off at the exhaust manifold. I would suggest taking the car to a muffler shop (usually has some decent welders) and see if they can do this for you. Even if the bolt in question is very small, a good mig welder will get it out using this method. Good luck.
_________________________
James Gulledge

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#758598 - 10/31/06 07:03 AM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: gulledge]
TexasHonda Offline


Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 108
Loc: Katy, TX
In this case, I suspect you can purchase a used distributor at lower cost than the uncertain bolt removal opions. Try car-part.com to search for used part near your location.

If you decide to drill out, there are some special "drill out" bits from Sears that can drill out a bolt to about 3/16" diameter. If its a M6, I'm sure a drill out is available.

The "weld a nut" trick is probably the best removal method but does require someone w/ welding skills. They have even been successful at connecting a nut to a bolt sheared off below flush.

good luck
_________________________
See you down the ROW.

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#758599 - 10/31/06 06:13 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: TexasHonda]
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 1497
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Quote:

drill it with a LEFT hand drill bit (cobalt if you can find it - smaller than the drill and tap size you'll need in a 1/2" chuck or greater drill set on R, of course)



I am puzzled as to how a LH drill bit is any better at drilling thru the centre of the bolt than a RH one. The torque involved in drilling is much less than the torque necessary to turn the seized bolt
_________________________
2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 locker rear, Formula Shell Synthetic 5W30, Wix 51036, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80

Staying out of the right lane a lot.

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#758600 - 10/31/06 06:51 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: George7941]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46739
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
It's no better at finding a center, however as you drill into the screw with a left hand bit, the force and the removal of material will be in your favor. As this material is removed the easier it will be to turn the screw in the correct direction and when you near the end the remainder of the screw - it will just spin out. A simple tap clean-up is all that remains, if desired. I have done this in situ many times.

Now if removal of the assembly is easily done and the offender can be chucked up in a mill, that works slick as well. I have also used the welding option which is great for screw and bolts with stripped heads.

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#758601 - 10/31/06 07:24 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Pablo]
Quest Offline


Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 6544
Loc: beaver land EH?
With a little bit of bolt protruding from the other end of the distributor housing, one shall be able to weld a small bolt/screw from that protruding end and then carefully unscrew it.

That being said, however, one cannot help buy question why the screw/bolt is seized inside the aluminium thread right from the beginning. Spare me those electromigration thingy but I bet ya it's seized up so bad between the threads of 2 dissimular metal that welding a smaller dia bolt to undo it may not work very well.

Suggestions:

(1)use a bit of heat. With the distributor housing unit off the car, you shall be able to use a pencil type butane torch to heat up the tread/bolt area and do something about it.

(2)use lubricant. I would seriously consider using some lubricant to break free of the seizure.

(3) combination of (1) and (2). It works for me!
_________________________
"Internet discussion boards act as echo chambers for conspiracy dittoheads" A.Allen

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#758602 - 10/31/06 07:47 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Quest]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46739
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I agree with the heat cycle and lube comment as well. I have found that small, LIGHT, sharp tapping with a very small ball peen hammer will also help (between the heating-cooling cycles).

For larger screws the wax method works pretty good as well.

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#758603 - 10/31/06 10:25 PM Re: stuck bolt problem [Re: Pablo]
alreadygone Offline


Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 3161
Loc: North Arkansas
Actually I'm a excellent welder in my own muffler shop. Use the welded on nut,or bolt trick almost daily. Wouldn't even consider it on something that small though. Plus surrounding metal would need to be heated near red before it'd ever unscrew instead of simply breaking back off. All things considered, the used dist from salvage yard(best idea) or silicone adhesive& cable ties (second best) would be my guess.

Bob
_________________________
To which version of reality would you like to convert me?

Bob

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