Removing broken bolt

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Bren, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    49,590
    Likes Received:
    23,838
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I broke the head off a bolt in the aluminum triple tree of my motorcycle and it is absolutely impossible to drill and tap. I spent days and a load of money wearing out drill bits that wouldn't even make a dent in it. Anybody got any miraculous suggestions for removing a broken bolt that I can't drill?

    I have drilled them and used an EZ out in cars before with no problems - just removed one from my truck engine - but this one is hard as diamond.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  2. harleyfx69

    harleyfx69

    Messages:
    5,463
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    in a desert
    might try welding a socket or something to it and back it out that way,
    also try heating it up a bit and gently tap it to break whatever holding it in loose
     

  3. Jay S.

    Jay S.

    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    753
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Have you tried a left handed bit? This will help loosen it as it drills. I also assume you center punched the broken bolt to make sure the bit does not walk. If you didn't and the surface is uneven, the bit will never actually bite into the material.
     
  4. Inyo Tim

    Inyo Tim Senior Moment

    Messages:
    2,938
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Location:
    Eastern Sierra Nevada, Calif.
    Bren, what diameter is the bolt? Was LocTite used when it was installed?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  5. Resqu2

    Resqu2

    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    2,152
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    SouthWest VA
    Try a carbide drill bit, not much you can't drill with them.
     
  6. harleyfx69

    harleyfx69

    Messages:
    5,463
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    in a desert
    he might have also hardened the surface of the sheared bolt my heating it up with the drill bit and running it over the surface so much,

    the center punch hole is needed,

    and then like said use the carbide drill bit,
     
  7. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Messages:
    26,623
    Likes Received:
    7,206
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Location:
    WA
    It wouldn't surprise me if it's loctite'd if in a triple clamp.
    If anything is sticking up, I might try cutting a slot in the head, soak with breakfree, heat and then try loosening with a good slotted screwdriver.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  8. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd

    Messages:
    1,582
    Likes Received:
    1,870
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    Make a slot with a small cutting disk and your dremmel. Be carefull.:cool:
     
  9. Mr Thundermaker

    Mr Thundermaker Delta Tau Chi

    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Delta House
    Try PB Blaster or a penetrating oil. Then use a center punch and a left handed drill bit after the PB Blaster has a chance to work its way into the threads, it should come out alot easier.
     
  10. rboatright

    rboatright

    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    the only way is, as you already know to drill it. The question is, how to drill it.

    As several have suggested, you need a starter hole, consider a tiny abrasive wheel on a dremel or a tiny diamond burr on a dremel. Cut an X with a wheel or cut a hole with a burr to get a place to drill.

    Then use the smallest carbide bit you can, so you can get more effective pressure and cut a leader hole, then enlarge with a drill large enough to get your ezout into.

    And, as they said, it's probably got locktite on it, and you'll need heat and or softeners.

    No magic tho.
     
  11. Inyo Tim

    Inyo Tim Senior Moment

    Messages:
    2,938
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Location:
    Eastern Sierra Nevada, Calif.
    If the bolt was installed using Loctite, then the Loctite will have to be dealt with before the bolt can be worried out. You might try holding a high wattage soldering iron against the bolt stub until the Loctite burns up and smokes. Then the penetrating oil stands a chance of reaching where it will do some good. Can the triple tree be completely disassembled to expose the stub to vise grips?
     
  12. Lethal Farce

    Lethal Farce

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2000
    Location:
    Upstate, SC, USA
    If all else fails, take the triple tree off the bike and to a local machine shop with a "Ram" type EDM. They can basically burn the broken bolt away w/o any damage to the aluminum. Plan on spending $50 - 100
    LF
     
  13. Jay S.

    Jay S.

    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    753
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    The Deep South
    This. Or if you can't find a larger shop with an EDM, the tree can be set up on a Bridgeport and milled out with a carbide end mill.
     
  14. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    49,590
    Likes Received:
    23,838
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    It is broken off too far down to slot with a dremel and I have already tried heating and soaking with Kroil. As far as the surface hardness, I have, after going through many carbide bits, managed to make a small hole in it, so I'm drill in the same place, but it will de3stroy 2 or 3 bits to drill a milimeter.
     
  15. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr CLM

    Messages:
    39,793
    Likes Received:
    5,031
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    east of East St Louis
    Wow,.......time for the machine shop.
     
  16. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    49,590
    Likes Received:
    23,838
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I could actually just replace the triple tree for a lot less than that. Actually, what I've spent on drill bits would have bought a used upper triple tree by now.

    This was the bolt holding the headlight visor on an older sportser. I'm thinking about just switching to a modern, bottom-mount headlight and shaving off the part with the mounting holes. I hate those lights anyhow.
     
  17. elsolo

    elsolo

    Messages:
    6,961
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    socal
    Don't let an inanimate little scrap of inferior steel beat you.

    Couple assumptions on my part:

    --Bolt is broken off below flush
    --Bolt material is harder than the part it is screwed into
    --Bolt is 1/4-20 or larger
    --You don't have a mill you could lock the part in, to set up for perfect drilling.

    If the tip of the drill bits are wandering around instead of starting in the hole that is perfectly concentric to the bore. You'll need to spot face the tip of the broken screw to make it flat with a 1/8" carbide cutter chucked in a Dremel.

    After cleaning up the mess that prevented you from getting the little drill bit started clean in the middle, you can take a NEW drill bit 1/3 the diameter of the hole, using ample cutting/tapping fluid and start the dimple. Let the rotary action of the drill do the work, no need to lean into the tool with impatience.

    If you have them, left hand carbide drill bits would be preferred; otherwise just use new HHS bits and go slow, and focus on keeping the bit aligned. Drill a hole small enough so your smallest extractor can just barely get tapped into it.
     
  18. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

    Messages:
    38,164
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Have you tried a left-hand drill bit?

    I've had those actually back bolts out as I drilled with them.
     
  19. Fixxer

    Fixxer Got ointment?

    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    2,565
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Weld a nut to whatever you have to work with- this will give you a way to get it with a wrench, and also burn off any loctite that may be in there.

    Put a nut over the broken stud, poke a wire feed welder into the nut, fill it with weld (it might take a try or two), and remove it with a wrench while it is hot. If the bolt is broken below grade, build it up with a little weld before trying to weld the nut on.

    You'll want to mask/cover everything else on the bike before welding.

    Make sure that you put the ground clamp on the tree itself, so you don't send welding current through any parts/wires that can't handle it.

    Good luck.
     
  20. BigMoneyGrip

    BigMoneyGrip

    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    216
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Oxford, MS
    As a machinist, and being on motorcycles my whole life...
    Chances are that the bolt has seized with the aluminum of the clamp. With dissimilar metals, this is very common. Your only chance to salvage it will be to go up to the next size. You can drill (minor diameter of threads) out the bolt but the threads will still be stuck to the aluminum. If you can replace the clamp for less than a $100, this is the way to go.
    Remember, antiseize is your friend!