Worst case scenario: Extractor broke off in bolt

Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:26 am

I've got a worst-case scenario situation here. The bolt extractor I was using snapped off in the bolt, and the bolt is flush with the axle housing.

None of the drill bits I have will even dimple this thing. What can I do?

Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:49 am

Is this around the battery box area on the axle housing?

Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:51 am

Matt. Sounds like a machine shop job now. They could use carbide tooling like end mills, drills or use Elox type electrical discharge machines to burn it out. You may damage the hole trying to get it out yourself.

Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:01 am

I have done that, and I have also broken taps chasing threads.This is how I got them out. I got my acetylene out,a bucket of ice cold water,a small cold chisel and hammer or centre punch. Heat up the bolt or extractor nice and red hot pour ice water on bolt and really fast use chisel tapping very lightly with hammer in the proper direction to unscrew the extractor.It will probably take more than one try.Sometimes the extractor will also break up in pieces.Patience is needed.Needless to say I do not use extractors anymore.Good luck :) :)

Mon Oct 11, 2004 3:38 pm

Yep, it's one of the battery box bolts. I'd prefer to not have to tear the tractor completely apart for one stupid bolt.

Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:33 pm

Those bolt extractors are made to remove bolts that are not stuck, but have been sheared off in the hole. The chance of removing one that is corroded in the hole is near zero.... especially if it is stuck badly enough to twist off.

This is a lesson we all have to learn some time so we will never forget.

Rotsa ruck!

Mon Oct 11, 2004 5:28 pm

The reason I asked is I've done the same thing. I just ordered another axle tube from TMTractorparts.com. I had several people look at it, it just seemed cheaper to get another one.

Mon Oct 11, 2004 5:57 pm

Matt wrote:
None of the drill bits I have will even dimple this thing. What can I do?

The reason for this is the extractor is very hard and brittle :!: Brittle in this case is a good thing. I would try using a small punch to break the extractor into tiny pieces. Use the punch in a clockwise direction and who knows you may get lucky and dislodge it. I used this method before with broken taps :oops: As Mr. Willer pointed out extractors do not work on stuck/rusted bolts.

If you can get the extractor out then drill out the rusted bolt and re-tap the casting or use an insert. 8)

Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:09 pm

matt i use a carbide burr in a die grinder to remove hard bolts ,have chipped easy outs out before not for sure if a burr will cut one out
snap-on tool man showed me a set of bits that would drill easy outs
saw him do it but boy was they expensive

Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:07 pm

Being a machinist I have removed literally several hundred bolts broken, rusted and gaulded, studs, taps and screw extractors, from almost every manageable material known. From number 4-40 to 12 inch nc bolts. (bigger they are usually the easier, more room to drill and/or to bore them out)

Now since there is already a broken extractor in it now, that creates a new challenge. Like Donny said, use a small punch and keep breaking the extractor off. This can be time consuming, but it will work, done that many many times in the past. BE PREPARED it will play heck on the punch, after all the extractor is a lot tougher material than the punch.

A carbide drill will often work also, BUT this is also an very hard brittle material and it WILL NOT take much impact, the best thing is if you can get your axel housing off and get it up on a milling table were everything is solid. A high speed drill will not touch the extractor, as you have already found out. If all else fails Ron's method using a electrical discharge machines EDM or as we call it at work "disintegrating machine" will definitely get it out.

NOW, for any future broken off bolts, I have had EXCELLENT luck using a straight type extractor. They have almost what looks to be like small multi splines and you drill the appropriate drill size for the extractor you are wanting to and drive these extractor straight in and then there is a hex headed adapter that fits over the top and then you use a box end wrench and unscrew the broken bolt out. I have had about a 90 percent success rate using these type of extractors. Since they are straight and the others are tapered or spiral, as you try to turn the taper ones out they have a tendency to swell out the bolt and cause it to become even tighter in the tapped hole. I think the new ones made by or for "Snap-on" may be a one piece design, but they still carry replacements and carry a lifetime warranty against breakage.

These straight type extractors (that I am referring to) are made by RIGID and I purchased my set 20 years ago under the "Snap-On" name. They are not cheap, but have really paid off for my line of work. I have removed some very stubborn broken bolts. OH, almost forgot use plenty of "KROIL" penetrating oil.

PLEASE, DON'T FORGET TO WEAR YOUR SAFTY GLASSES, all of the above methods can cause injury. These pieces breaking off are small and very sharpe.

John Niekamp

Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:39 am

While not for the faint of heart, there is a method I have used to remove broken bolts and I believe would take your extractor out. An ox/act cutting torch, and a 6pk of a cold malted, hopped beverage to steady the nerves and give curage. Being very careful burn the extractor and bolt out. The smallest I have done this to was on 3/8" exaust stud, stainless steel, there was a stub left but was harder than the vise-grips I was trying to clamp on with. When done the threads in the block were intact which I chased with a tap. The torch will melt to steel first but the cast iron stays, need to concentrate the flame on the steel. This is never the first method I would try, but the last and my luck has been good so far. Ted

Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:20 am

Ted. You must be good ! I wouldn't recommend that to a novice (like myself) :roll: Wow - I'd end up buying a new part if I tried it on a 3/8 bolt! Did the cast become more brittle after?

Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:43 am

Ron, No I didn't have a problem afterwords. It was on a 226 block in my 54 Willys pickup. Just was very cautious applying heat using a small flame and low pressure to blow the melted steel out. The block was a big heat sink and I was very carefull to not apply heat to the cast. Just be easy on it because it can go pretty fast. Ted

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:05 pm

Thanks. I'll live with it, broken off and stuck in the axle housing, before I would consider tearing the tractor apart. The other three seem to hold the battery box down just fine, and the platform doesn't seem to notice the lack of a bolt.

I don't know about you guys, but for me, 99% of the time when a bolt twists off, it's because it's stuck. If not an extractor, what else can you do to remove them? It's not humanly possible to punch and drill the broken-off stud accurately enough to not ruin the threads.

When I get a chance, I'm going to go after it with carbide and diamond burrs to see if I can't put a dent in it. If not, I'll poke some holes around it with some super-tiny drill bits I've got, and see if I can't extract it that way.

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:25 pm

It's not humanly possible to punch and drill the broken-off stud accurately enough to not ruin the threads.


Yes, of course it's possible... and in fact is done very often. In cases where it is more critical, you may try some special techniques... but it usually isn't necessare to use more than ordinary care.

The following would also work for that bolt if you aren't confident you can drill straight.

In any case... those mis-named Easy-outs should be banned from the shop.