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Tool Time Discussions here pertain to the use of tools you use while fabbing and wrenching in the garage

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Old 06-09-2005, 07:05 AM   #1
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tips for removing a bolt with a rounded head

I need some tips for removing a bolt(oil pan drain plug) with a rounded head.

I have tried 6 point sockets metric and SAE. I have tried every open end wrench that comes close to fitting. I tried vise grips. I have even tried a pipe wrench.

I can't get the plug out.

Anything you can suggest would be great.

Thanks

Joel
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:10 AM   #2
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Have you tried using an "bolt extractor"??
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:11 AM   #3
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No I haven't tried a bolt extractor. There are several different bolt extractors. Is one better than the other?
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MOD's include High performance Head with bigger valves and cam, LC engineering Header and complete exhaust kit.
I have upgraded headlights with the wiring harrness and Hella H4 allweather bulbs.
lift shackels in the rear
3 inch BL
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck01
I need some tips for removing a bolt(oil pan drain plug) with a rounded head.

I have tried 6 point sockets metric and SAE. I have tried every open end wrench that comes close to fitting. I tried vise grips. I have even tried a pipe wrench.

I can't get the plug out.

Anything you can suggest would be great.

Thanks

Joel
wow. are you sure that you're turning it the correct direction? righty-tighty, lefty-loosey... if vise grips and an pip wrench aren't moving it, then you have something else going on besides just a rounded head...
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:16 AM   #5
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I am begining to thinks its welded on there : ) I have changed the oil several times on this truck and never had a problem. I had the head replaced a few months ago. They changed the oil at that time.

I am pretty sure I am turning the wrench the right way. : )
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MOD's include High performance Head with bigger valves and cam, LC engineering Header and complete exhaust kit.
I have upgraded headlights with the wiring harrness and Hella H4 allweather bulbs.
lift shackels in the rear
3 inch BL
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:24 AM   #6
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Ok this is going to sound dumb but try this:
underneath the truck looking up at the drain plug/turn the bolt to the left. TAP the bolt a few times w/ a hammer, then turn again. If you can't get a good enough purchase on the bolt, remove the skidplate so you have more room to work with. With this extra room you may beable to clamp a vice grip on it in a better position. Remember using some PB blaster or other penetrating agent may help.
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:27 AM   #7
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There are several varieties of extractors, but the general principle is virutally the same. Place the appropriately sized extractor over the damaged bolt head, give it a few good raps with a hammer to ensure a good 'bite', then use a rachet/wrench/breaker bar to break it loose. (A breaker bar/rachet with a pipe over the handle to extend handle will give better leverage.) Might want to soak the damaged bolt with some penetrating oil a few hours before attempting to use the extractor just in case its adhered to the exteral surface of the oil pan for some strange reason.

Just be certain the extractor has a good 'bite' before tried to remove the bolt. If extractor slips it can damage the bolt to the point where it may need drilled out.
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:33 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I will give these a try and see what happens. If all else fails I will take it to jibby lube or someplace like that. : )

I already have a replacement bolt.just need to get that one out of there.

Thanks again.
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MOD's include High performance Head with bigger valves and cam, LC engineering Header and complete exhaust kit.
I have upgraded headlights with the wiring harrness and Hella H4 allweather bulbs.
lift shackels in the rear
3 inch BL
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:34 PM   #9
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Just a thought, but the last individual to put the bolt in may have cross-threaded it. This may be causing the removal problem. If so, you may need more that a new drain plug bolt when you do get it out!!!
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Old 06-09-2005, 08:18 PM   #10
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If all else fails then drill it out. I drilled out 4 bolts tonight, then used a punch to extract them on a 97 F150 manifold. This was a long process and took almost an hour and a half to make sure it got done right. It sounds like this is what you'll have to do. Take a punch and set an indentation perfectly in the center of your drain plug....this will give your drill bit a "crater" to stay centered in. Then use small drill bits and work your way bigger as you drill through. Once the bolt looks to have a 1/16th of an inch of metal left on all sides, you may beable to thread it out, punch it out, twist it out etc etc......this is a last resort of course so make sure you've tried all the great ideas in the above posts.
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Old 06-09-2005, 09:13 PM   #11
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Weld and old wrench to it.
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Old 06-15-2005, 07:43 AM   #12
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Try cutting a horizontal notch in it directly through the center with a hack saw, RotoZip or Dremel to accomodate a LARGE flat blade screwdriver, or heavy torque drill with the appropriate sized bit in it, that you can then, with any luck & an abundant amount of "RUST EATER", use to remove the bolt ????
Does'nt hurt to try, especially with the bolt in the condition you've mentioned.
If your do have a hack saw, RotoZip or Dremel, you could also use either to cut two good flat sides onto the remaining bolt head that you could then use an adjustable/cresent wrench to remove it with.

Last edited by 94x4; 06-15-2005 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 06-15-2005, 08:57 AM   #13
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Hit that thing with some heat then go back to the vice grips. Go back and forth with it. You may need to loosen and tighten it back and forth a few times to get the rust out that can build up in the threads. While you are doing that, hit it with PBlaster to help it break down any rust or whatever is holding it up.
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Old 06-15-2005, 04:08 PM   #14
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HOLY crap dude i bet the guys who did the head used freaking air tools to put on that bolt. Here's one tip though:

grip onto the bolt as hard as possible using a vise or whatever. Then, take a hammer (be careful) and hit the handle of the vise to loosen it. Sometimes, that quick hit will break the bolt loose. Some plumbers I know taught me that trick to loosen rusty nuts and it's always worked. Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2005, 05:08 AM   #15
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Thanks for the tips guys.

I was afraid to use heat under my truck to greasy might catch fire.

I finally took it to a quick lube shop. The guy said it would take 10 minutes.
I gave him the new oil plug and said ok I will wait. He started banging and cursing.
A few minutes later he came over and said give me your number and I will call you when it's done.

He called. I went back to get it and the guy at the counter said 19 bucks for the oil change and 75 bucks for plug removal. We laughed. They told me it took 2 of them over an hour to get the plug out. I was kinda happy to hear it wasn't so simple after all.

They said it was hard to get a good grip on the bolt. One because it was so rounded. Two because the oil pan and drain plug are angled towards the differential and there just any room to get in there.

That's what I thought too when I was trying to get this bolt loose.

Anyway it's off and a new drain plug installed. Even though the mechanic came over and told me he lost the new plug but not to worry he put the old one back in with and air impact gun : )

Thanks again for all the tips.
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MOD's include High performance Head with bigger valves and cam, LC engineering Header and complete exhaust kit.
I have upgraded headlights with the wiring harrness and Hella H4 allweather bulbs.
lift shackels in the rear
3 inch BL
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Old 06-16-2005, 11:44 AM   #16
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If that ever happens again (ie someone puts it on with airtools or it is rusted on there) I use a cutoff wheel and grind a slot onto the top of the bolt (as someone mentioned) then I use an impact driver with the largest flat bit I have to get it out (they work very well in this instance......and also on the screws for dang Honda brake rotors).

Impact Driver:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:39 PM   #17
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sears' "bolt-out" has never failed me, at least on anything that i can get those things on...
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:22 AM   #18
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"...I use a cutoff wheel and grind a slot onto the top of the bolt '(as someone mentioned)'..."

I get no love, no love at all.(said witha "Dangerfield" accent)

Last edited by 94x4; 06-17-2005 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:32 AM   #19
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I have an impact driver like the one pictured above...but there is nooooo way to get it on the oild pan drain plug. Barely enough room to get a socket in there...

I am going to get the bolt extractor set from sears like the looks of it better than those screw extractors.
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I have upgraded headlights with the wiring harrness and Hella H4 allweather bulbs.
lift shackels in the rear
3 inch BL
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Old 06-17-2005, 11:20 AM   #20
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Holy cow that bolt was stuck! I've always had good luck with the pipe wrench routine. Reminds me of taking my wife's new Subaru in for a 'free' first oil change at the dealer. As I walked in to the service area I saw a 'technician' tighten the drain plug on an Outback's rear axle. Outback was on the lift and he was HANGING from the wrench and jerking his body to make the nut tight. I immediately turned around and did the oil change myself.
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Old 06-17-2005, 11:20 AM
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