Help! Broken bolt

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by henrymartin, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    Buddy of mine just paid too much money to a shop to do carb cleaning. Hmm...the thing did not run right. I told him I would look into it, as he was about to leave for a two week trip and was leaving the bike home.

    1986 Intruder 700.

    He parked it in my garage, I asked him when was the last time the valves were done, and it was at least 15k miles ago.

    So, I told him I would do his valves, oil change, air filter changes, synch his carbs...whatever should be done. Both his exhaust/cylinder and coupler gaskets were gone, plus the mid connector pipe had no clamp. I told him I'll look at it.

    Took the exhausts off (struggle - seized bolts). Replaced gaskets, fixed the mid pipe, put on a clamp...so far so good. The I started taking the chrome covers off to get to the valve covers. First bolt came out after some struggle. Second came out with some aluminum threads on it (was overtorqued). I started being more careful. Third bolt (front cylinder, right) I took my open-end wrench, pulled a little, and the bolt snapped. The last one came out okay.

    So, I had a broken bolt that broke without any effort. It was broken flat with the cylinder fin. I sprayed in some PB blaster, let sit overnight. No room for a good drill to get there, so I took a flexible shaft, drilled a 7/64 hole just deep enough, tapped in screw extractor (spiral), gave a little spin and the sucker broke inside.

    I tried taking it out with a diamond coated dremmel bit. and just got a little dimple (no room for the dremmel to be straight)

    Took it to a car shop today. We tried welding a nut on it. The easy out came out with the first weld. We welded up the broke bolt, welded a nut on top of that. Five times in a row the sucker broke off. The nuts were red hot from the welding, and it still did not move. But all this heating started to make the aluminum melt around the welds, (just a teeny bit), so I told the shop to stop. The easy out is out, but now the broken bolt has hardened by all the welding. Drill bit just slips on it.

    I'm ready to sacrifice the threads and just helicoil it afterwards, but I can't get the bolt out. Heat, PB Blaster, welding, tapping - nothing moves it.

    This is the bolt 6mm for the decorative covers, so nothing structural.

    What can be done?

    Oh, after this experience, I decided not to do the valves. The 6mm valve cocer bolts did not move even with 20ft/lb force, and I'm not comfortable applying any more as i'm afraid they, too, will snap. then the engine would have to come out.

    Whoever worked on this bike before really overtorqued stuff, and probably used some sealant.
    I tried doing his forks as well, and the bolts in the clamps don't move at all. Also, the shop where he took it for the carbs charged him for new plugs, but they were not replaced. The carb to carb cable is all messed up, and adjusting screws have stripped threads.

    Sorry, I guess I'm asking a question and venting at the same time.
    #1
  2. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    First, it's unlikely the broken, non-structural bolt has been hardened by the welding. Do you have a small air compressor? You can buy/rent a small right-angle air tool that will fit in very small places. They spin ~12k RPM. Put a carbide "point" in it and grind that bolt to chips and powder.
    #2
  3. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    Well you have learned the first rule that goes "no good deed goes unpunished". Next time you are doing a freebie, stop when the first effed up screw comes out. Also, in this particular situation there is a chance that a 3/8" impact might work (not a 1/2"!!!) so if you have access to one that next time.

    At this point, I'd suggest drilling and tapping a new hole. You can use the cover as a drill guide but be careful while you do it and you should be OK.
    #3
  4. CycleDoc59

    CycleDoc59 Wrench Rider

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    Quote: "This is the bolt 6mm for the decorative covers, so nothing structural."

    I've had similar problems, and I've simply glued the bolt head in place; provided
    that the remaining bolts hold the cover in place. If not a spot of velcro at a good
    spot may do the trick...... Too often, as you are finding, attempts at repair can
    wind up a lot worse than the original problem.

    One of my peeves with working on metric cruisers is all the fake stuff; someplace
    under all that is a bike.....
    #4
  5. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    I'll look for one tomorrow. My local mechanic who has a large body shop did not have one. Sears only had a cordless $90 piece that was too big. The problem I have is that all the local tool shops have been closed for years, leaving behind only Sears, Home Depot, and the like.

    That would be nice if I could get there without taking the engine out. I literary have about 2 1/2 inches before I hit the frame. above the hole in question

    Well, this particular cover has only two bolts. With one missing, the thing will rattle itself sideways.

    First time working on an Intruder, and the last time as well. There is no room to do anything on that bike. Even changing air filters requires moving half of the stuff aside.
    #5
  6. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    Here you go. Maybe your buddy will pay for it or split the cost.

    http://www.searsoutlet.com/1-4-in-R...tails.jsp?md=ct_md&pid=19022&mode=buyUsedOnly
    #6
  7. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    Thanks. I could probably use this anyway, so I'll look for something like this in the local car parts stores.

    Buddy is going to get hit with parts bill only since I did not do what I said I would. Still, those air filters and gaskets for the sucker are expensive.
    #7
  8. AustinJake

    AustinJake DR650 - Versys

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    The seized up nature of 25 year old fasteners is why our local bike mechanic will not work on bikes over 10-15 years old.
    #8
  9. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    I've worked on 30 years old bikes that sat in the rain for 20 years, and never, ever, had these issues. Now I have an exhaust flange bolt that feels like is about to give, and I'm afraid...very afraid.

    This is beyond seized bolts -- they usually give with heat and/or PB blaster. This thing was red hot and still did not move, soaked in PB, and heated, and still did not give.

    There is no amount of money someone could pay me to take the risk of braking every single bolt.

    Let's put it this way. A simple 3-4 hrs turned into 20 unpaid hours. I'm taking stripped brass adjuster bolts on carb synch cables, stripped screws on air filters, broken tabs on side covers, clear fuel line without any clamps resting on top of cylinder, flat from melting away, fork bolts that don't move with an impact wrench....

    As my body shop friend said yesterday: "I think this bike hates you." I'm beginning to feel the same way.
    #9
  10. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    Damn. After looking for a right angle air drill and not finding a small one, I came home with a $129 Milwaukee cordless electric right angle drill, as it was the smallest i could find. I still can't fit into the opening.

    I'm ready to blast the damn thing.

    I decided against the die grinder as it spins way too fast. I need slow, steady motion not to cause unwanted damage.
    #10
  11. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    Finally got it out after boring through the hardened (due to welding) part with a carbide cutter, then driving it through with a larger bit inserted at an angle (as there was no room to stand the flex shaft straight). Got lucky this time.

    ten minutes later, an exhaust flange bolt snapped. I drilled it through (there is a small room behind the bolt before you hit the head), sprayed with PB from behind (through the hole I made in the bolt), and have been trying to move it. No success yet. I'm going to try with a short left handed drill bit.
    #11
  12. Laromonster

    Laromonster Vesperado !

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    try the 50/50 ATF and acetone solution, wicks into threads much better than any spray on stuff
    #12
  13. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    The trick to removing broken bolts is to drill a large enough hole to get your largest extractor in there. Don't get the straight fluted ones, get the tapered ones. Drill hole dead center, use NEW Cobalt drill bits. Drill large enough hole, but not too much as when you use the extractor, it has a tendency to spread out the hole and wedge the broken bolt in tighter. Once the hole is the size you need, use largest extractor and hammer it into the hole, but don't wail on it. Use a cheapo adjustable wrench on the square of the extractor and start to back it out. If it doesn't move, it'll probably need to go to a machine shop or you may break the extractor and feel like hanging yourself by then.:hung

    Why the cheapo adjustable wrench? Because it's so cheap any excessive force on the adjustable wrench will cause it to break away. I have one just for this process because it isn't any damn good for anything else. Believe me, i've broken extractors in customer's cylinder head drilling out broken heat treated exhaust studs. Not fun. Why the tapered ones? Because those you can back out and save if the bolt isn't going to come out.
    #13
  14. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    I did use the tapered, spiral extractor in the first bolt, and that's where the extractor broke. High speed carbide cutter took care of that sucker :deal

    Anyway, I got the exhaust bolt out. Was not easy, but I managed to save the threads:clap As stated earlier, I drilled a hole through the bolt (there was less than 1/4" room behind the bolt in the cylinder), making sure I had a stop on my drill. Sprayed PB in there, tapped, sprayed again, let sit overnight. Well, the sucker did not move. Not ready to break another extractor in another bolt, I tried using 3/16 left-handed bit. Nope, bit went through and did not bite. Hole was ever so slightly off-center - scream. I took a little punch and started peeling the bolt where it was thinnest, away from the threads (towards the inside), Then, I put mu carbide cutter in the drill, and cut a small groove in the thick part of the bolt (off-center hole, unfortunately), blowing away any shavings with air so i would see where it all went. Just before I reached the aluminum, i stopped, cracked it with a punch, and continued peeling it away as deep as i could. By then, I had about 1/4" deep, clean hole. I put my left handed 1/4 bit in the chuck, and started, ever so slowly, to pull out little chunks of the bolt. Took a while, but it went okay. I did not even have to recut the threads. At first I thought I would have to, but all it took was running an oily bolt in and out twice.

    The first thing i did after, was to clean all threads, degrease them, and blow them out with compressed air, run to the hardware store to get some replacement, stainless bolts, cut them into length at home, applied some blue Loctite, and put the exhaust back on.
    #14
  15. GreaseGorilla

    GreaseGorilla Banned

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    Henrymartin, show your buddy this thread, if he has anything about him at all he will stump up some $$$ for ya........ a garage would have charged him the earth......:deal
    #15
  16. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    There are two things against me in this situation.

    First, i did not do the valve job, as I chickened out, envisioning broken valve cover bolts, having to take the engine out, and pull the heads, and head over to a machine shop. Not a good image in my mind, no matter how to look at it.

    Second, he is a good friend without too much disposable income, hence the 86 Intruder. If he was a stranger, i would charge him for the 30 hrs i spent on the bike, as essentially everything was almost impossible. (worn threads, seized bolts, tattered cable ends...)
    Never mix friends and business, I guess.

    I did, however, fix his seat tabs (epoxy and fiberglass mat), replaced some fasteners, changed his air filters, synched carb cable, replaced his exhaust gaskets, fixed holes in exhaust cross pipe, changed his oil and gear fluid, and replaced his side cover tabs.

    So, I'll charge him a couple of hours. :rofl
    #16
  17. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Good on you for being a friend. Someday he will return the favor.:thumb
    #17
  18. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

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    you took on the job as a favor to a good friend (i'm assuming here, so if i got this point wrong- just skip the following)--is charging hime a few hours work, all that important to you? i would skip the money, except for actual parts and oils. and would tell him about the "overly rich learning experence" you had. keep the friend- invite him out for a ride and get beyond the money. you entered into this ordeal that way-exit the same
    #18
  19. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide no more.

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    Not that this is an issue, but :

    I entered this ordeal with the understanding that I'll do valves and fix the exhaust issues, and charge him a couple of hours. I first offered to do it for free, with him, so he could learn and give me a hand. He did not feel like helping, and offered to pay me for the actual time instead.

    Now, I'll leave it up to him. As I said earlier, I did not complete the valve job, so, in good conscience, I can't charge him. But, if he throws a few dollars my way for all the other stuff I did, fine. If he does not, fine.

    Had this been a paid job (from the get-go), I would have called the customer after the first bolt broke and would have given him the choice to proceed or not (at a full rate).
    #19
  20. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    In my experience, I would not accept a penny for this job and here's why-

    From what you have written, it sounds like this bike might become quite the albatross. Sometimes when people buy an object and it turns to crap on them, they will look around to see who else they can blame for the problems. So when the tire goes flat, or the battery doesn't charge anymore, it will be suggested that it might have been caused by either something you did or something you screwed up.

    Believe me, most times it is not worth it.It is much better to turn down the $10 or $30 or $100 and just say "No my friend, thanks but you keep it and use it to pay someone else who has better talents than I to work on your bike."

    I know that sounds like a cop-out but if a person doesn't, headaches and strained friendships usually follow.
    #20