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Drop-link bolt is stuck

 
Old 03-14-2019, 01:40 PM
  #1  
Christopher28
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Default Drop-link bolt is stuck

I was snooping around under my right wheel well and notice that my drop-link was broken off - the link itself, (the bar), and it's been busted for months because the shorn-off ends were rusty. (I bought this car about two months ago) (It was inspected in December) (They missed/ignored a boatload of stuff) Anyway, the nut came off easily, on the big through-bolt, but I CANNOT get the bolt out. I hammered on the end of it about 150 times - maybe more. Plenty of liquid wretch, some WD-40, a heavy helping of swear words...I hammered on the BOOT end, hammered SIDEWAYS, top, bottom.... the END of the bolt is now flattened, considerably.... NOTHING! WTF? How do I get this thing out? (I don't have an oxy-acetylene torch) It's SUPPOSED to slide out, isn't it? There's no way to unscrew it... Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:06 PM
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dporto
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Ha! Yes, it's supposed to slide out. The problem is dissimilar metals (steel bolt through aluminum) which when they oxidize they sort of "weld" themselves together. In my case, I got the bolt to turn long before I got it to come out of the carrier. It took me close to a week of hammering, heating, solvents (a bunch of different ones) etc... and that was with the wheel carrier off the car. If you can remove the wheel carrier it will be easier. Be careful with the heat on the aluminum - it doesn't take much - if you can use a heat gun instead of a torch that's good. My best advice is to just take your time - you don't want to bend the bolt. If worse comes to worse you can always cut the flattened end of the bolt off so you can get a nut back on it. You shouldn't be hammering directly on the end of the bolt either - use a large pin punch. Good luck
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:23 PM
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808Bill
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Can you cut the mushroom off and get two bolts on it? If so you may be able to get it to turn and break loose. If not you may have to drill it out. Got a pic?
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:00 PM
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dporto
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Originally Posted by 808Bill View Post
Can you cut the mushroom off and get two bolts on it? If so you may be able to get it to turn and break loose. If not you may have to drill it out. Got a pic?
As I said above, it'll turn long before it comes out. It's a "shoulder bolt" so there are no threads where it passes through the wheel carrier (or very few at least)...
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:37 PM
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808Bill
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Originally Posted by dporto View Post
As I said above, it'll turn long before it comes out. It's a "shoulder bolt" so there are no threads where it passes through the wheel carrier (or very few at least)...
Got it. Not looking forward to going through this!
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:40 PM
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Imo000
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Put some heat to it. Even if it's just propane. Aluminium expands a lot with minimal heat.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:42 PM
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Christopher28
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won't be able to take a picture for a couple days, probably. I'm not sure what you mean by "two bolts" on it. Is Liquid wrench the best solvent/loosener?
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:05 PM
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808Bill
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Originally Posted by Christopher28 View Post
won't be able to take a picture for a couple days, probably. I'm not sure what you mean by "two bolts" on it. Is Liquid wrench the best solvent/loosener?
Sorry, I was visualizing something different than what you are dealing with. Dp educated me above.
PB Blaster is my go to solvent.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:59 PM
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Azraely
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I've copied a post from a thread I made last summer dealing with the exact same issue.

I applied heat for 30 seconds on the bolt, then hit it with the hammer, after doing that for about 15 minutes the bolt came away from the face on the other side by a fraction of a mm. So at least I knew it was moving. Rinse repeat for the next hour or so and I had moved the bolt about half an inch. The problem then was I ran out of bolt protruding through the carrier so my hammer strikes were mostly hitting the wheel carrier. I then tried to use a punch but the length of it and holding it made it impossible to get any decent force onto the bolt.

The trick was to drill the end of the bolt with say an 1/8 inch bit, maybe an 1/8 inch deep, just enough to fit the chisel point of my air hammer. This allowed me to get the air hammer directly in line with the bolt without it slipping off. Once I had this setup the bolt was out in 5 seconds.

So for those who experience a stuck drop link that won't budge using the conventional non destructive ways, I'd definitely start with drilling the bolt end and trying the air hammer with a chisel point.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:30 PM
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Christopher28
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will try .... thanks
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:49 AM
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Dremel
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:26 AM
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sweet victory
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Heat n beat.

During reinstall, you'll definitely want to use some antiseize on the shank of the drop link bolt.
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