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Old 10-27-2008, 07:32 PM   #1
fquan59
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Default Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Help. I broke off the center cam cover bolt and will need to go to Home Depot to buy an extractor. The gasket is only 2 years old and still in good shape. Question is, on the two points where I had to apply RTV, can I just do a really good job of scrapping it off and reusing the same gasket or will the gasket need to be replaced?

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:43 PM   #2
Crasoum
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

If it's good reuse it, clean it up really well first though.

I've redone mine 4 or five times now and don't have an issue, since the gasket itself is still solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fquan59 View Post
Help. I broke off the center cam cover bolt and will need to go to Home Depot to buy an extractor. The gasket is only 2 years old and still in good shape. Question is, on the two points where I had to apply RTV, can I just do a really good job of scrapping it off and reusing the same gasket or will the gasket need to be replaced?

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

I also broke 2 bolts when changing the gasket. Once I removed the bolts, I tried to re-use the newish gasket (it was about 2-3 weeks old) but it stretched when I took off the cover. I tried soaking it in ice water and freezing it, but that didn't work to shrink it. I ended up having to buy a new gasket. With the cost around $35, it was no big deal, but annoying nonetheless.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Guess I'm lucky that the gasket stayed in the cam cover groove for the gasket.

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Old 10-27-2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Just curious. Did you break the bolt while installing the new gasket? I have done many of these gaskets and at 89 in-lbs do not believe I have ever come close to breaking a bolt. Just wondering as I have seen this several times on the forum.

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Old 10-27-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

The torque spec is 7.42ft-lb and the bolt will usually fail at 12.5ft-lb or so. If you use a 3/8 drive wrench calibrated from 5ft-lb to 150ft-lb or so and try for a 7.5ft-lb the low end inaccuracy of the wrench cold put you at bolt break every so often. If you have a high dollar wrench you might get away with it. This is why I have said that if you do not have a 1/4 drive in-lb wrench the just use a nut driver and the 3 finger grip on the driver.

Drilling a steel bolt stub out of aluminum is not my idea of a fun afternoon.

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The torque spec is 7.42ft-lb and the bolt will usually fail at 12.5ft-lb or so. If you use a 3/8 drive wrench calibrated from 5ft-lb to 150ft-lb or so and try for a 7.5ft-lb the low end inaccuracy of the wrench cold put you at bolt break every so often. If you have a high dollar wrench you might get away with it. This is why I have said that if you do not have a 1/4 drive in-lb wrench the just use a nut driver and the 3 finger grip on the driver.

Drilling a steel bolt stub out of aluminum is not my idea of a fun afternoon.
Hi OldNuc...somehow I figured you'd show up.

Got the bolt out after 2.5 hours of struggling. Whew. Just out of curiosity, I took one of the non-broken bolts and placed it into the hole where the broken bolt was to check the threads. I get about half way on the bolt and meet resistance. Since I don't want to break another bolt, I stopped and pulled it out. What shall I do so the bolt goes through properly?

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyon View Post
Just curious. Did you break the bolt while installing the new gasket? I have done many of these gaskets and at 89 in-lbs do not believe I have ever come close to breaking a bolt. Just wondering as I have seen this several times on the forum.
Nope. I was leaking oil around the base of the cam cover and thought I'd be able to just tighten until I felt resistance instead of waiting for my friend to bring over his torque wrench. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB.

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Old 10-27-2008, 11:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

First, make sure there isn't something left down in the hole. If not, then run a tap down the hole. A standard tap will do fine, a bottoming tap works even better. I also have a rethread set I purchased at Sears that I have used to clean threads many times. It is really great.

I am surprised at the low torque the bolts break at. I see where just torquing them a little to try and stop a leak could break them. So now I understand how they get broken. I was just wondering if people were not comprehending the in-lbs and instead torquing them to ft-lbs.

I have several torque wrenches in various ranges. I never use them at the ends because that is where they are the least accurate. I did have to hunt around for a in-lbs torque wrench with a reasonable range as they are hard to find around here.

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Old 10-27-2008, 11:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by fquan59 View Post
Hi OldNuc...somehow I figured you'd show up.

Got the bolt out after 2.5 hours of struggling. Whew. Just out of curiosity, I took one of the non-broken bolts and placed it into the hole where the broken bolt was to check the threads. I get about half way on the bolt and meet resistance. Since I don't want to break another bolt, I stopped and pulled it out. What shall I do so the bolt goes through properly?

Re tap the hole with a bottoming tap is the best approach. Or, go to the local hardware store that has all of those little drawers of fasteners and buy a couple of plain metric bolts with the same thread diameter and pitch. Then take a file to one of them and cut a flat down through the threads on one side only just till you cut through to the root of the thread. Very carefully screw it into your damaged hole and when it gets slightly tight rock it back and forth till it progresses on down. lube with PB Blaster or WD-40. the lube does not make much difference here. Get a couple turns on it and if its not running easy back it out and blow out the hole. no compressed air? Stick the little red straw on the WD-40 or PB Blaster in the bottom of the hole and push the button. Cover with shop towel first. Now thread your other bolt into the hole and see if it threads in easier. When it binds then repeat with the cut bolt. You do want to measure the depth of the hole so you know when to quit.

I would just buy the tap myself but metric taps can be hard to find in some parts of the country. The cut bolt works but you have to be careful with it. same with the tap. When it starts to turn hard back up a half turn and every so often take it out and flush up the chips with the spray.

When you break a bolt off in aluminum you also distort the threads. The idea here is to get them bent back to usable. If this fails, which it very will do, then its helicoil time.

The good news is that it really does not take much torque to get a seal on a cam cover. The spec is actually the generic torque spec for that size bolt. considerably less is more than adequate for the cam cover.

The threads were distorted up in the hole by the high torque. So screw in the uncut bolt and tap lightly on the head while applying a light turning torque with a wrench. It just might screw right on in. Try this before trying any of the more involved and drastic measures above. Tap lightly.

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Old 10-28-2008, 06:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Thanks for the suggestion on the retapping. What size tap do I need to buy and how do I make sure the thread count is the same as the bolt? This is all brand new territory for me. Thanks

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

I'm not sure what kind of stores are available in your area.

If you have another bolt that is the same (or enough of the broken bolt) and take it into a good hardware store you should be able to find out what size it is.

If there is a industrial supplier that deals with "fasteners" in your area that would be ideal. Are you close to a retail outlet of "Fastenal" or a similar outfit?

Also any machine shop would tell you what thread/size it is, but you may not be able to purchase new bolts or a tap from them.

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Old 10-28-2008, 09:06 AM   #13
fquan59
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

I have Home Depot, Lowes, Autozone, Checker, and Pep Boys around my area. I have a non-broken bolt that I can bring to a store. Since I used a 10mm socket on the bolt head, is that the size tap I would need? I'm still concerned about thread count. My wife is going to the Saturn dealership today to buy a replacement bolt so I want to make sure I tap the hole correctly.

Thanks

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Old 10-28-2008, 09:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The threads were distorted up in the hole by the high torque. So screw in the uncut bolt and tap lightly on the head while applying a light turning torque with a wrench. It just might screw right on in. Try this before trying any of the more involved and drastic measures above. Tap lightly.
I'll give this a try, OldNuc. Appreciate the tip.

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Just Google "metric bolts" if you want to find more info.

Bolts are sized by the threaded part of the bolt and not the hex head on top.

Metric bolts are not too complicated once you get used to it

Bolt size is usually listed in this order: Diameter / Thread pitch / Length.

So as a metric example: M14-2x 40 is a 14mm bolt with 2mm between threads and is 40mm long. This is a big bolt and would probably have an 18 or 19mm head on it.

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:43 AM   #16
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillwater View Post
Just Google "metric bolts" if you want to find more info.

Bolts are sized by the threaded part of the bolt and not the hex head on top.

Metric bolts are not too complicated once you get used to it

Bolt size is usually listed in this order: Diameter / Thread pitch / Length.

So as a metric example: M14-2x 40 is a 14mm bolt with 2mm between threads and is 40mm long. This is a big bolt and would probably have an 18 or 19mm head on it.
Thanks for the lesson on reading metric bolts. Any way to find out what the thread pitch on the cam cover bolt might be? Maybe I should call the Saturn dealership and ask a mechanic?

I'm going to try OldNuc's suggestion about gently tapping the bolt before I do anything like buy a tap and die set, but I always like to have a backup plan in case Plan A doesn't work out.

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Take one of the cover bolts to the hardware store and match the thread pitch. You will be able to eyeball it. Cam cover bolt is 6mm 1.0mm pitch, or 6 X 1.0 metric. The actual cam cover bolt is probably a dealer item to get he odd washer.

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Take one of the cover bolts to the hardware store and match the thread pitch. You will be able to eyeball it. Cam cover bolt is 6mm 1.0mm pitch, or 6 X 1.0 metric. The actual cam cover bolt is probably a dealer item to get he odd washer.
Thank you very much. If I had to pay you every time you came to my rescue I'd need a government bailout.

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Yea.. i just replaced my gasket from autozone and for $35 it was the outer ring and each cylinder.

yea these bolds are torqued so little that you should be able to do it by hand.
and don't forget to do it in the right order..

Also.. another big tip is go to the local junk yard to get a new bolt or washer..
dealers gona reem you and you might have to buy all new ones..

EX. coolant reservoir that has the sensor in the bottom that tells you if you low cost $40 and you can only get it from the dealership. and you have to replace the entire thing.

i would have gladly broke a bolt than braking the hose that goes from the block to the intake after the TPS....i used a piece of hose i had. and that was fun tring to rape and force that on.

Later fella's! GM RULES!

Forum Quiz question for Rookies: what dose TPS stand for?

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:20 PM   #20
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Default Re: Broken Valve Cover Bolt

Throttle Position Sensor, or something like that.

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