There is nothing worse than trying to get a job done on your truck and you can’t get something undone. One of the worst jobs is having a stripped bolt that is in a tight spot and not knowing what you can do to get it out without pulling half your 4WD apart.
We are going to show you seven tricks that can be used to make your repairs easier and give you less stress while doing it.
From draining your oil to removing a seized crankshaft pulley, we will let you in on six tricks mechanics use to get the job done. These are all tricks you can use at home with minimal tools as anything more really needs to be taken to a qualified mechanic.
OIL AND FILTER CHANGES
As basic as this sounds, this can be one of the dirtiest jobs around as on some 4WDs there is a diff in the way of where you want to put your drain tin. Take a TD42 for example. The oil filters are on the driver’s side of the motor. When you undo them, oil covers the front diff pinion, making it impossible to catch with a normal drain tin.
A simple fix for jobs like this is to grab an empty cereal box and make a funnel that directs the oil into your drain tin. Super simple and super effective. No more mess on the driveway and no more nagging from the missus.
STRIPPED BOLT HEAD
We have all that issue of a stripped head on a bolt. Whether it be an 8mm or a 24mm it is always a painful exercise to remove it. One trick is to knock on a slightly smaller socket, such as an imperial socket on metric bolts or a metric socket on imperial bolts. So use a 5/8 socket on a 16mm head. This is because they are usually a half size smaller not a full size so they will grip the bolt head tight. You will probably have to hit them on with a hammer, but 9/10 times it’ll give you enough purchase to finish the job.
Here’s another trick for tight bolts. Tight bolts are a pain to undo especially if you can’t get in to soak them in penetrating spray. A trick that may help in the cases is shocking the bolt by tapping it with a hammer. Get a ballpein hammer and hit the centre of the bolt head, while you have a spanner on the head at the same time holding tension. This will usually free up any corrosion in the threads, making it easier to undo.
DRAINING YOUR COOLING SYSTEM
Like oil, coolant can be messy to drain. A good trick to remember is to leave the radiator cap on, then undo the bottom hose and slide a screwdriver in-between the hose and the bottom outlet. This will let it run out into your container in a controlled flow and reduce the mess you leave under your 4WD. This will take a bit longer than dumping it out, but it is a lot better than rolling around in coolant for the rest of the day.
If you have ever had a bolt break when it is halfway out it can turn into a major headache. A trick to getting them out is quenching what’s left. What you have to do is put a pair of vice-grips on the bolt then using your plumber mate’s oxy torch to heat around the outside of bolt to get it to expand the thread. When it is hot enough, spray the broken bolt only with some penetrating spray or ice spray. Once you spray it start working the bolt back and forth to see if it will loosen. This process will create extra clearance between the threads, making it easier to undo. This is not good practice on steering or suspension components.
BROKEN BOLTS #2
This is one that can go pear shaped quickly if not done correctly, so take your time. If you have broken off a bolt and you can’t undo it by gripping it, you may have to drill it and use an easy out to remove it. When doing this it is always best to start with a flat surface on top of the bolt, then mark the centre of the bolt with a centre punch so the drill bit doesn’t walk. All easy out kits come with the drill bit to suit each size stud remover. Drill the stud then screw in the remover, remembering that these are left hand thread, give the easy out a tap with a hammer and then wind the broken bolt out. If this doesn’t work, you can use a bit of heat around it to loosen it up.
STRONGER 12V SOLDERING
While solder introduces a whole lot of strength and rigidity into a join, it’s how you make that join before you solder it that determines how strong it is. You need the wiring to have a mechanical connection first. That means twisting it in a way that it resists being pulled apart – like the way your sister plats her hair. Make sure it’s neatly done, and then feed the solder into the join once you’ve heated the exposed wiring with a soldering iron. When the join is full of solder, move the iron away and wait up to five seconds for the solder to harden and go a dull grey. You’ll be left with a seriously strong join.
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