And Then Came The Rain

I have been outside all damn day trying to get those broken bolts out of the heads on the Bronco.

What a pain in the ass!

Tried heat, tried cold, tried heat and wax. been soaking the fuckers in penetrating oil.


Just everything I can think of plus one you have probably never heard of, that I can’t even find a Youtube for.

This is a trick an old guy at work showed me and I kid you not, I have gotten 16 Millimeter bolts to back out doing this.

It only works as long as the damn thing isn’t seized but when it does work it’s amazing.

Use an engraver to vibrate the thing out.


Fire the thing up, stick the point out on an edge and push slightly as if you were unscrewing it.

If it’s not overly tight the vibration will allow you to just push it around in a circle. This works great for bolts and screws that are broken off flush so there isn’t anything to grab.

Unfortunately it didn’t seem to do me much good but I would have to think the vibration would also help the penetrating oil work it’s way in.

I did finally manage to get the one in front out but I’m here to tell ya, it was a fucking nightmare. I tried drilling it and nothing I had would touch it. Not even an old carbide drill bit I had. I even tried a 3 millimeter carbide end mill in a Dremel and it barely touched it.

Damned if I know what the combination was but I tried grabbing it with a dinky pair of pliers I have and I saw it move, much to my disbelief.

It came right out too.


That little hole was all I could get with the end mill before it shit the bed.


My buddy Grizz sent me an email and then called me to tell me about a 96 Bronco for sale about 50 miles away for $1500.

Thanks but no.

If I ever get this bastard back together it is going away.

Enough is enough, I’ll admit I fucked myself by buying the damn thing and take my lumps.

While I was still out there fighting the other two bolts the old guy across the street stopped by to give me a bunch of shit as is his usual style.

That got cut short when all of a sudden the skies opened up and it started pouring rain

He fled back across the street, I started grabbing tools and shit, throwing them inside the garage, got everything inside and closed the hood on the old bastard.

It is raining cats and dogs, there are thunder storm alerts and it is late enough in the afternoon that it will be getting dark soon. I still managed to get soaked in under two minutes

When it rains around here it doesn’t fuck around.

I may run out there and douche those bolts with some more penetrating oil just for good measure but other than that I am done for the day.

Hopefully it doesn’t rain tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “And Then Came The Rain

  1. Try oil of wintergreen (METHYL SALICYLATE). You can get it some drug stores. We used it to free up rusted/corroded bolts on naval aircraft. Works well, smells like Ben Gay. Don’t get it in your eyes and be sure to wash it off your hands before you take a piss.


  2. Had the overly hard bolts on my old ‘pervert-style’ Ford Econoline. The bolts for the alternator broke off, screwing up the whole unibelt thing up majorly.

    Got quoted a standard book shop rate for repair. I waited until I left and was around the corner before I broke out laughing. Took a full shop about twice as long with all the proper equipment to fix the broke bolts.

    Hates to work on Fords, I do.


    • I broke an alternator mount bolt in the parking lot of a parts store once about 5 minutes after the Ford dealership 30 seconds down the road closed. I had a cordless angle grinder so I went back inside and bought some predrilled angle iron and a assorted bolt kit and built a new bracket in the parking lot. Drove on it for about 2 weeks with no issues. That was pre-serpentine belt.


  3. Phil
    I have had good luck with heating the bolt or stud with a propane or oxy torch to near red heat, then letting it cool a bit and dousing it with penetrant (PB Blast is what I have). Then after it smokes and cools completely, another dose of penetrant overnight. Then step 3 (or is it 3 and 4) a 2 lb sledge or large peen hammer on good hit square on the bolt/stud. Only then try the vice grips or other torque application. Can’t imagine why Fords are any worse than Jaguars (oh yeah, Ford did own them for a bit). It is probably the older steel which rusts easily in the casting. It is worse oft times with aluminum blocks. I hate working on aluminum block engines.with steel piston sleeve inserts.

    Extractors have always been a pain, I invariably twist or snap them off on at least one bolt out of the lot. The busted knuckles club is quite robust and growing in America.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heating bolts to red hot with a torch is just the ticket for Ford suspension and differential bolts on a 20 year old Ranger. I suspected it was loctite on the bolts I was burning off, as the only bolt I could remove without the torch showed signs of loctite. I didn’t twist any heads off, only cause I’ve done it before and knew to stop in time.


    • I mixed up some Acetone and Marvel’s Mystery Oil yesterday and tried that.
      PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, WD-40 and some Freeze-It penetrating oil too.
      I’m going to just keep heating them up and drowning them i penetrating oil for now.


  4. Hey Phil, Retired gm tech here. My favorite rusted/broken bolt potion is 88862628 gm heat valve lube,been around at least from the 70″s.How do I know? Anyway 17.50 from amazon probably more at the dealers. Spray it and let it soak. These extractors work well,ABN type kit from amazon or other places. Under amazon search broken bolt extractor tool,about 5 rows down right after the 222.00 dollar Irwin kit,23.00. New cobalt drill bit is a must. GM gen 3 engines always broke the back bolt in the exhaust manafold,hardest spot to get to. I’d suggest patience but we know that left a long time ago (mine did). Good luck,Al.


  5. A very odd – and difficult – thing to find, and much spendy when you do, but I have 2 sets of left-hand drill bits, one numbered (1-60) and one fractional (1/16-1/4 in 64ths). Hint: start with German tool company web sites and make sure there’s plenty of room on the credit card.

    I use them hardly at all, they’re only for stuck or broken bolts and studs, but they’re pretty handy for that. The pressure and tension of drilling the stud or bolt is imparted in the direction you’re trying to remove it; in all but a few cases, where it’s really stuck hard or corroded in, part way through the drilling process the bolt starts unscrewing and comes out.

    Pro Tips: 1) Keep them separate and far, far away from your regular (right-hand twist) drill bits AND prominently label the container(s) – if you don’t you’ll grab the LH set in a moment of fatigue or mental confusion and cook the bit trying to drive it clockwise, and; 2) Never, ever, ever allow ANYONE else to access, or maybe even know, you have them. First, they won’t believe there is such a thing, second, they won’t have any idea how to properly use them.


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