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Srtipped Differential Drain/Fill plug..need advice

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by - S.A. -, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. - S.A. -

    - S.A. -

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    Ok.
    1996 w/117K. Bought @ 96K. PO never had diff fluid changed :(. Went to drain/fill today. drain plugs are frozen on :mad:. I pre-soaked w/BLASTER for past few days...and i used (without success) a breaker bar. I am using a 24mm socket. The hex bolt on the front fill/check plug started to strip..so i stopped. Basically, I need to get all new plugs before i go further..so i have time.

    However, how can i get these drain plugs free? I dont have air tools..and i am at a loss. I REALLY dont want to bring it into a shop..but, i am afraid it might come to that.

    any advice on how i get these loose would be appreciated.

    thanks..

    later,
    Joe
     
  2. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Joe,

    When you say "strip" are you refering to the head of the plug "rounding off"?

    Are you using a 6 point socket? (critical at this point).
     
  3. - S.A. -

    - S.A. -

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    C-dan.
    Yep, the head is starting to round off..
    also, (sorry is a lame question)..but, if you mean a "6 point" being a hex socket w/6 sides then Yes..that is what i used. I did not use the other socket type (with all the teeth looking edges).

    I only tried to remove the Front diff Drain/fill plug...that started to round off..so i stopped there. All the other plugs (front drain, rear drain/fill) all look to be in the same condition.

    joe.
     
  4. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Yes, 6 point is hex, the other is a 12 point.

    OK here goes. take a hammer and smack the head of the plug "smartly" to jar it and to compress the crush washer slightly. Make absolutely certain that the socket is perpendicular to the plug head and on all the way. use your longest breaker bar and apply pressure in a "jerk" as hard as you are able to without hitting yourself in the face. If it won't come out using this method, our guys get the air chisel out of the tool box.

    BTW, do work on the fill plugs first. If you get a drain plug out and can't get the fill plug out, you are hosed big time.
     
  5. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    You could drive it up to Groveland where a 6'6" tall HACK can take his air tools to it :D.
     
  6. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Now yer talkin' ;)

    That'd be a :banana: job for a tiny fella like you ::)
     
  7. DanKunz

    DanKunz

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    Weld nut, apply helper bar, CRANK IT! Have Cdan send you a new one for a smart shopper fee!
     
  8. Rich

    Rich

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    Try heating the bolt hot with a propane or mapp gas torch. This will help break lose the threads. You can alternate heat and spraying with penetrating oil, but beware of the obvious fire hazard. If you take this approach a buddy with a fire extingisher and a hose would be a great idea. Heating an oily part, or spraying oil on a hot part are both definitly risky operations. The safer approach is to only spray the oil on the bolt after is has cooled off, and to throughly clean off the oil before heating. If you patiently alternate heat and penetrating oil, it will eventually free up, presuming the bolt was not cross threaded when last installed.

    Now...dealing with the socket slipping and starting to round the bolt. Here is what I do, and it has always worked. I take some very fine sand, in my case sand used for cleaning spark plugs with a air operated cleaner, and apply it to the inside of the socket - just a little bit of sand. Valve grinding compound would also work well for this purpose. The grit enables the socket to really grab onto the bolt head. If you do this, take care afterwards to thouroghly clean the bolt head, the diff, and the socket. You don't want the sand to end up inside anywhere it will later cause trouble. This same trick also works great when a screwdriver wants to strip out a screw head.

    The other thing that will help is using a very long breaker bar. By using a longer breaker bar you need to use less effort on the bar, and will have more control over keeping the socket perpindicular to the bolt, which also helps prevent the bolt head from rounding over.

    And don't forget, before replacing the plugs, coat with antiseize.
     
  9. s79bj40

    s79bj40

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    be sure also that if you are going to be using any form of heat on it like torch or welders, you make sure beforehand that the diff breather is unblocked, or your oil seals will cop it.
     
  10. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Actually for me the first tool I reach for is the old tried and true hand impact. Cheap and effective.
     
  11. Junk

    Junk

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    SA - you do get a pat on the back for trying the fill plugs first. I've seen a few posts on the 80's list from guys that started with the drain plugs first. :eek: :D
     
  12. - S.A. -

    - S.A. -

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    Thanks for the advice guys..

    [glow=red,2,300]C-DAN:[/glow]
    I tried smacking it a few times to get it loose..didnt work. :(

    [glow=red,2,300]C-DAN:[/glow]
    I think I am gonna pass on the heating method. :-\ Me and fire dont mix very well.. :D That sand tip you mentioned is a great one! I didnt have time to try out.

    [glow=red,2,300]LT Rick:[/glow]
    You have air tools?? :D So what are you doing on the weekends? :D any free weekends where i can come up and bug you? :D

    [glow=green,2,300]Junk:[/glow]
    Thanks :)..my momma always said i was smart.. :D :flipoff2: :flipoff2: :D :banana: :flipoff2: :p :D



    I am going to toyota to price/get all new plugs..once i have those i will then try to tackle this project again.

    later,
    joe
     
  13. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Absolutely Joe. I'd like to see that radio/cb install up close and personal :D. Actually from now on my weekend work load is dropping off as the window replacement is coming to it's end and the gameroom's major construction is over. Do you shoot pool? As early as next weekend would be fine.
     
  14. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    I've always had good luck using a 6 point socket with a nice long ratchet, holding perpedicular, and then tapping the ratchet with a hammer. Apparently punctuated force is much better for removing old bolts than the gradual force generating by just pushing on the breaker bar. I've also found I'm less likely to round off a bolt using this method as well. PB is the shiz and I'm suprised it didn't loosen it right up. :-\
    Oh yeah, after you've rounded it off channel locks are the next best thing. Had great luck with these on destroyed diff fill bolts.
     
  15. Junk

    Junk

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    SA
    Just remember, air tools are cool, but they can also get you deep into trouble fast. :-\ Snapping crap off really sucks. :mad:
     
  16. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Joe,
    Good ideas given. Something else to try as a last measure before drilling and EZ-out is to use a dull chisel and a large hammer. Angle the chisel into the plug head about 30 degrees about 5/16 inch from one of the plug "ears" and strike it very hard with the hammer to turn the plug CCW. If you have a digital watch that's lefty loosey. It's like your trying to cut a corner of the plug head off. Important to strike hard. You will ruin the plug. Sometimes if you flare several places on the plug head you can drive a socket on and get a new bite or drive on a non metric socket.

    Just a couple of general comments on loosening bolts from my experience. If using a torch for heat don't bother with a propane torch. It takes an acetylene/oxygen or a propane/oxygen torch to generate enough heat quickly to do any good. Also, do not heat the bolt. Heat the area around the bolt. Heat causes metal to expand and you want the metal around the bolt to expand and loosen. If you heat the bolt red, yellow, or white hot it has expanded tighter in the threads and also softened making it easier to twist off.
    Also, if I am the least bit worried about stripping or breaking off a bolt the last thing I use is an air tool. If it's going to happen I would rather do it by trying to apply the right type and amount of force; not leave it up to some unthinking mechanical device with no feel for what is going on.
    Bill
     
  17. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    I got one off on my bro in law's 80 after the 6 point socket started to slip off. I bought a 6 point box end wrench (not so easy to find), then used the truck's bottle jack to push up on the wrench. I had him use a 2X4 against the plug/wrench to keep the box end from popping off - lots of force here. I swear the jack was exerting 300lbs on the foot long wrench (which flexed a LOT) before it let loose with a bang. Obviously, the jack and 6 point wrench are going to give you the force you need, so the key was the piece of wood jammed as hard as possible against the box end to keep it on the fill plug. Once we had this set up, there was no way it was not coming off and it was safe as I merely sat there and twirled the jack while he was out of harms way on the other end of the wood. No drama, no bruised knuckles and no hernia. A 3 ton jack vs that plug is a winning combo. Interestingly, I had to do the same thing with my Subaru's rear diffy last year. Be sure to get the crush washers before hand.

    Doug
     
  18. DanKunz

    DanKunz

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    in regard to heat...

    I heat the bolt first (to red) then the surrounding to even hotter.

    The outside stays hot (expanded)..the inside cools and shrinks...you get movement from both sides.

    Just used this same heating method with a straight MAPP gas torch on my steering stabilizer swap and it popped out with 4 hits once I got the hear right.

    Just 2 cents to throw on the pile.
     
  19. Jim_Chow

    Jim_Chow

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    SA,
    if you're anywhere near Tucson, you can use my impact wrench. I have those S&K 6 pt sockets that grip the sides of the bolt rather than the corners.
     
  20. Scamper

    Scamper

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    Not sure it would work here on the drain, but when I've had bolts/nuts that were...um...damaged by an overzealous mechanic, I can usually break them loose using a good-old-fashioned pipe wrench. Sometimes with a 3-foot lengh of steel pipe for leverage. Much better than a channel lock. And if you need more leverage, just use a longer pipe. The pipe wrench tends to stay on-task once you get some pressure on it, so you don't have to hold onto the business end once you apply a bit 'o pressure.

    Problem with the diff drain is that it's recessed into the diff, so you can't get anything but a socket on it--at least with my '97. No problemo with the fill though.