XR4Ti Archived Tech Articles

    CV Joint Torx Bolt Removal - here is a collection of my posts about various methods for removing Torx bolts.


Post Date:    Sat, 23 May 1998
Subject:      Torx bolt trouble, need help from experienced people - XR4Ti

List members,

My Torx is giving me trouble.  I bought a K-Mart T-40.  Couldn't find 'True
Craft' any where, all they had was 'Bench Top'... whatever...  I imagine that
it has just been relabled, as the Craftsman bit isn't as beefy as the K-Mart
bit.

(for the record, K-Mart carries "Bench Top".  This, for me, is the brand to buy)

In case you are wondering, I am installing Rapido (too) lowering springs and
Spax adjustable shocks on the rear of my car.

Anyway, I got 11 of 12 CV joint bolts done.  Everytime I went to loosen the
bolt I cleaned the bit, cleaned out the bolt head, hammered the bit in to be
sure of enough engagement and broke it loose.  Did it like a surgeon, except
surgeons rarely grunt this much.

The bit slowly reshaped itself into a very minor helix.  The last bolt I got
to was it, I can't get it out.

I got a replacement from K-Mart and will try again tomorrow, but I fear that I
have reshaped the bolt enough to cause permanent problems.

To help the process along while I was having trouble, I added a pair of vise-
grips to the outside of the bolt to add some torque.  Still no luck.  My wife
was getting a kick out of the "little girl noises" I was making while
loosening the bolts.  Wanna wear yourself out?  Try loosening 12 CV joint
bolts.

So what can I do to get this one out if the new bit doesn't work?  Should I
apply heat?  Should I apply a dremel cutting bit?  Should I apply some plastic
explosive?  Please help!!!  >groveling<  What is the final "last ditch"
technique I should use?

If it just won't budge, should I loosen the bolts at the differential (instead
of the hub) to get the required movement at the trailing arm?

Please help!!!  >pleading and begging<

I only have two weeks til Carlisle!  And even more important, two DAYS until I
have to drive to work...

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Post Date:    Sun, 24 May 1998
Subject:      Torx bolt trouble - XR4Ti - The Replies

List members and others with stubborn Torx bits,

First a big thank you to those experience folk who took the time to send their
info.  I got several replies that had good techniques in them.

Here is the summary of the posts:

Catagory #1, Finesse:

>You know, if you have 11 out of 12 out, then there's nothing that would
>prevent you from rotating the whole joint around that one last bolt,
>because the thing should be flat, and it should then pivot around that one
>bolt.  That might help break it loose enough for you to get it off with
>normal methods.

>Anyway if you get the bolt head good and clean you should
>be able to spot damage if any has been done.  If
>the bolt looks OK, the new bit should do the trick.

(blue text is the method that worked best for me)

>Under each pair of bolts there is an oval plate. Depending on
>whether the stuck bolt in question is the 'left' or the 'right' bolt
>of the pair, rotating the plate will also rotate the bolt.  Difficult
>to explain, but if the stuck bolt is in the left-most hole of the
>plate, loosen the rubber boot clip and then using a big
>screwdriver, or small crow bar, lever up on the right hand side
>of the plate.  In my case the stuck bolt rotated with the plate
>(to my surprise!).  I only needed to move it 10-20 degrees and
>that was enough for a new Torx bit to provide enough grip inside
>the rounded hole and the bolt came out. Note it will only work if
>it is the left-most bolt of the pair.  If it is the right-most, rotating
>the plate will tighten the bolt.  Yes, the plate got a little bent up
>in the process, but a little pounding with a hammer flattened it
>and I reused it.

Catagory #2, Power:

>I broke two bits before getting the first bolt out, then
>my father came to help.He gave the bolt head three
>firm raps using a large brass punch (to keep from
>damaging the bolt) and a medium sledge hammer.
>every bolt came out with minimal effort after that.

>One thing I was tempted to do was to get a grinding wheel
>and cut a slot across the head so I could use a big screwdriver
>sideways, but I ended up getting it.

>All I can say is keep swinging and continue to use a good Vise
>Grip plier along with the torx.  You can try the torch.

>I also got all but one out. It had looked like it had nearly been stripped.
>I got out the hammer to loosen it and by banging on it pushed the
>metal down enough that the bit caught it and took it out.

Catagory #3, Cockyness:

>I borrowed an air compressor and impact wrench which made the
>job a breeze - EXCEPT for one bolt.  I think I got too cocky with
>how easy it was going with the impact wrench and before I knew
>it, the inside of the Torx bolt was rounded out.

Catagory #4, Pain:

>I was pretty upset with my crappy Craftsman bits
>and broke all of them for spite.  That was stupid because I could
>have ruined my bolts and I did get a knuckle buster (in cold weather
>which made it hurt more) when the last one finally broke and sent my
>hand flying into cold, hard, immovable metal.  Not smart.

Catagory #5, Last Ditch:

>You could take the wheel, brake caliper and rotor off (Scorpio)
>so you get access to the other side, and then drill it out, problem
>is that this will probably mess up the threads.

>Last ditch effort could be to use a dremel to just cut the
>head off flush with the plate;  I used a muffler cutter which would be much
>faster, but the dremel with the cutoff wheel should also work, though it'd
>be slow going.  Then the joint should just lift away, and with no stress on
>the remaining stud, you should be able to just take a vise grip to it to
>remove it, with nothing lost except your time.

>If this doesn't get it out maybe do
>the ol drill and easy-out method as you will probably need to find a
>replacement bolt anyway.  Also, if you resort to the easy-out method
>make sure you have a good quality easy-out.

Catagory #6, For the Record Books:

>I broke 6 torx bits while changing mine.  I used a home type propane
>torch and a brass drift with a 4 pound hammer.  All told, it took 4 hours
>to get the 12 out.

Final Info:

>Just for the record: New Ford Torx bolts for the CV joints - E804339S
>60 cents each at HP Smith Ford.  Cheaper than the $1.10 I was
>quoted for the VW Jetta part!

(for what it's worth, the VW Jetta part is an Allen head, not Torx, making
it stronger and easier to remove, in theory)

All of the info came from various respondants.  Thanks again for their helpful
information!  Once again, IMON comes to the rescue.  The bolt isn't out yet (I
picked up a cold) but I can't see that using a combination of these techniques
it can stay in!!!

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Post Date:    Tue, 26 May 1998
Subject:      Torx Bolt Trouble - XR4Ti - The CURE!!!

List Members and those of you having trouble with your Torx,

Eureka!  I've conquered it!!!

Instead of being depressed and moping for six months about a terminal CV joint
bolt, I removed it and finished the job!  But let me make this clear.  I could
NOT have completed the job without the experience and quick replies of those
helpful members who have Been There and Done That.

Here is the method that worked for me:

The stuck bolt was luckily the counter clockwise (or anti-clockwise for those
on the other side of the pond) of the two bolts per locking plate.  Once I
finally got the plate to budge (it was a bear) I observed that the bolt moved
right with the plate.  In fact, I was able to move it far enough that I had to
apply NO FORCE to the bolt.

I took nearly every bit of advice that was given, from brass drift punch and
hammer to shock the bolt into submission, to using a NEW T40 bit.

The theory about rotating the entire CV assembly around the stuck bolt (same
principle as rotating the locking plate) should work also, as it will rotate
as long as the bolt is in the correct position, i.e. upward, as long as all
the other bolts are free.

Well, now that the job is done, I fall into the BTDT catagory.  Among the
firsts done this weekend, I also discovered why you have to drop the
differential to get the springs out.  One spring came out without dropping the
diff, but tug-o-war with a coil spring ain't fun.  Can you say, "torn rotator
cuff?" BTDT.  So I dropped the diff.  Made life a bunch easier.  I bled the
rear brakes.  Never opened a brake system before, that I planned on closing
and driving with.  Now, BTDT.  My ride height in the rear with Rapido (too)
lowering springs is about 11 7/8 th's.  Yikes!  Lost a tail pipe from my Borla
coming up the driveway.  Oh well, don't really need it.  BTDT.  I like them so
far.

Also, when I installed my rear brace a while back, I figured that stiffer
shocks would be helped more by the rear brace.  Now I can test my theory.  I
have removed the rear brace until I get used to the new setup.  Then it'll go
back in.  We'll see what happens.  Then I'll say BTDT to that one too!

I'm happy now, with a warm fuzzy, IMON feeling inside.

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Published by Chris Anglin.