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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Sep 16 2006
    AZ Member #
    11529
    Location
    Calgary, Canada

    Not my first engine pull, but first major issue with one!

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    So I'm currently in the process of doing a 6 speed swap on my S4. This will be it's 4th engine out (all done by me) so I am no stranger to this. However, this time I have one completely f'ed axle bolt (bolt that holds the axle shaft to the tranny) on EACH side. I have tried everything I can think of to get the bolt out but it will not budge. The way it sits no there is no room to get a grinder or anything in there to even cut the head off the bolt. I've also tried drilling them out but can't seem to get very far...what the hell are these bolts made of?!?!

    I have always removed the engine/tranny without touching the subframe. I'm guessing I may be forced now as these two F#CKING bolts are the only thing holding me up from having the engine out and beginning the swap.

    Any suggestions? This is being done on jackstands (just like all my others) so no lift, but yes, this time I wish I had one...
    Current - 2000 Audi S4 - Porsche Grau Schwarz 6sp swap, BWK04's, RS4 IC's, RS4 airbox/MAF, 440cc injectors, Stuklr Stage 3 tune, SuperSprint exhaust, Piggy pipes
    Gone - 2002 Audi Allroad - Atlas Grey 6sp swap, BWK04's, RS4 IC's, RS4 airbox/MAF, EV14 52lb injectors, custom (Daz - RIP) tune, 17Z front BBK, 034 300mm rear BBK

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Feb 18 2013
    AZ Member #
    109811
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Items for Sale

    Assuming you are talking about the triple square bolts, I had a similar same issue. My issue was that the internal features of the bolt had stripped, and I couldn't back it out. What I ended up doing was getting a cheap-o bit from Autozone that fit into the bolt head, and welded it in there. Then used a breaker bar and a wrench, and it "came" right out.

    If you are having trouble with it BEFORE it is stripped, and the socket is gripping it fine, I'd say:

    1. Spray PB Blaster on it. Let sit for 15mins
    2. Heat bolt with an open flame torch for ~5mins
    3. Smack the bolt head with a hammer/socket from as many angles as you can
    4. Apply brakes and try to remove again with a breaker bar

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Jun 07 2005
    AZ Member #
    6784
    Location
    Shepherdstown, WV

    Works a little better with an Allen/hex but it will work with a triple square too (just not as well) if there's still some shape left and not totally stripped you can clamp down on the bolt head with vice grips which will tighen the bolt down onto the tool. Then try to loosen the boot like normal. If it turns you might need to reposition the vice grips a few times to get it looks enough without causing further damage.



    Or if it's f'd impact hammer/chisel if you can fit that first try to use it to turn it loose if that fails chisel the head off.


    Also putting the other bolts back in tight will often make that last stubborn bolt easier to get started.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Four Rings getslideways's Avatar
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    May 16 2008
    AZ Member #
    28851
    Location
    WA

    /\ I'm with chris.

    If there is enough room, clamp the head with quality vice grips. Then use a second pair to further tighten the adjuster on the first vice grip. Then give it a go. If the vice grips dont slip, but you cant turn it, slide a tube/pipe over one of the vice grip's "legs" to create a makeshift breaker bar. Also in my experience using a quick blow of force can help shock things free rather than applying smooth increasing force (the second often has resulted in twisted/snapped bolt heads for me.)

    Like Tumbler said, heat can be useful, but depending on the state and condition of your motor, trans, and surrounding area, there is a lot to catch fire. So have something on hand to extinguish any accidents if you go this route.

  5. #5
    Established Member Two Rings q20v's Avatar
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    Nov 12 2014
    AZ Member #
    294678
    Location
    Ottawa, ON

    Grab a 12 point socket that you can pound on the outside diameter of the cap screw. Removing the 12-point socket from the bolt afterwards is tricky but at least you get the axle out.

  6. #6
    Established Member Two Rings q20v's Avatar
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    Nov 12 2014
    AZ Member #
    294678
    Location
    Ottawa, ON

    Alternatively, get some good drill bits (ie cobalt) and starting with a small size (~3/16) work your way out to the OD of the bolt thread. The head should just fall off and you can extract the remaining threads with vice grips. Don't run the drill too fast, use good pressure and some cutting fluid if you have any.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Three Rings
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    Feb 18 2013
    AZ Member #
    109811
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Items for Sale

    Quote Originally Posted by q20v View Post
    Grab a 12 point socket that you can pound on the outside diameter of the cap screw. Removing the 12-point socket from the bolt afterwards is tricky but at least you get the axle out.
    Just remembered that I did this on one bolt that was stripped and stubborn. Worked like a charm, but you need some space to get a hammer in there. Otherwise you need about 2' of extensions to give yourself some space.

  8. #8
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Sep 16 2006
    AZ Member #
    11529
    Location
    Calgary, Canada

    Thanks for the replies, appreciate it. My issue seems to be more with leverage. I have the car as high as possible on jack stands but I just can't seem to get enough force on them to break them free, and when I did, they stripped. I'll give them another go with some more heat but I'm running out of options.

    If I did take the subframe off completely, am I right in assuming I can slide the whole works forward and out with the axles still attached? The worst part about all this is that everything surrounding the axle is garbage and could be completely hacked up if needed (6 speed swap and the axles and tranny are toast and only good for scrap)...I just can't find a way to hack them off! Most frustrated I've ever been on a vehicle and all be cause of 2 little bolts!
    Current - 2000 Audi S4 - Porsche Grau Schwarz 6sp swap, BWK04's, RS4 IC's, RS4 airbox/MAF, 440cc injectors, Stuklr Stage 3 tune, SuperSprint exhaust, Piggy pipes
    Gone - 2002 Audi Allroad - Atlas Grey 6sp swap, BWK04's, RS4 IC's, RS4 airbox/MAF, EV14 52lb injectors, custom (Daz - RIP) tune, 17Z front BBK, 034 300mm rear BBK

  9. #9
    Senior Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Feb 21 2016
    AZ Member #
    369083
    Location
    Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Smarty39 View Post
    If I did take the subframe off completely, am I right in assuming I can slide the whole works forward and out with the axles still attached? The worst part about all this is that everything surrounding the axle is garbage and could be completely hacked up if needed (6 speed swap and the axles and tranny are toast and only good for scrap)...I just can't find a way to hack them off! Most frustrated I've ever been on a vehicle and all be cause of 2 little bolts!
    In a word, yes. You can also remove the axle bolt on the outside and just slide the axle in and leave it attached to the transmission since you won't need it for the swap.

    Removing the subframe for the 6mt swap is recommended, based on my experience trying it both ways. Simply lower the whole engine/trans kit with a floor jack and pull it forward. Your choice whether or not to remove the calipers from the uprights and leave them hanging (by a wire of course, not by the hoses) or bleed them later.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Three Rings
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    Feb 18 2013
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    109811
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smarty39 View Post
    Thanks for the replies, appreciate it. My issue seems to be more with leverage. I have the car as high as possible on jack stands but I just can't seem to get enough force on them to break them free, and when I did, they stripped. I'll give them another go with some more heat but I'm running out of options.

    If I did take the subframe off completely, am I right in assuming I can slide the whole works forward and out with the axles still attached? The worst part about all this is that everything surrounding the axle is garbage and could be completely hacked up if needed (6 speed swap and the axles and tranny are toast and only good for scrap)...I just can't find a way to hack them off! Most frustrated I've ever been on a vehicle and all be cause of 2 little bolts!
    When I would do mine, I would remove the wheels, and add a few extensions so I could get some good leverage from the wheel well. If you put even more extensions, to get the wrench out of the body, you can use a cheater bar. But this may require a second set of hands to make sure the socket doesn't twist/strip out.

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings Zba's Avatar
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    Nov 05 2009
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    50303
    Location
    Denver
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    If the triple square teeth are rounded off hammer a larger torx bit in there. Then hammer some more. Then give it a quick jerk and I bet it will come out.

    Did I mention hammering the torx bit in there, a lot? The problem with using a socket on the outside is that is what a rounded off bolt looks like. Good luck getting any torque on that baby

  12. #12
    Senior Member Three Rings slowSfaux's Avatar
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    Apr 26 2015
    AZ Member #
    329604
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ

    I don't understand why you can't get at them with a grinder. You can rotate the axle until the offending bolt is at the bottom, and you have plenty of access to get an angle grinder in there. But with that said, I wouldn't go that route if I could avoid it, you'll still have to remove the bolt from the flange after you get the axle off. I would try hammering in a torx bit like Zba suggested, if that does not work, then use an old Allen socket and weld it in the bolt recess. That'll work 99/100 times.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Three Rings e30mclow's Avatar
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    Feb 08 2015
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    314258
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    An Irishman living in NC

    You poor bastard.
    Current: 2000 Black Stage III (BW-K04)
    1990 BMW E30 325i
    Previous Bad Idea: 2000 Imola Stage III (BW-K04) - Now a parts car - HERE
    Previous "Better" Ideas: Euro e30 m3, Euro e34 m5, Inca Orange 2002Tii, '89 325iS, '89 318i, '90 318iS, '91 318iS, 2 X '87 316, '89 320i, '81 316 and so on..

  14. #14
    Established Member Three Rings Teck09's Avatar
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    May 11 2017
    AZ Member #
    399307
    Location
    WA

    If you aren't interested in salvaging the axle, cut it in half and deal with it all out of the car. You shouldn't have an issue grinding the head off once its all removed from the vehicle. On REALLY stripped bolts I usually weld something onto the end in order to get them out, prob not the best idea in this situation however. Good luck, nothing more frustrating than something like this holding up the job.

  15. #15
    Registered Member Three Rings
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    Nov 12 2013
    AZ Member #
    129764
    My Garage
    '01 S4 Tip '91 200 20VTQA, '01 A6 2.7TA, VW Rabbit GTI truck.
    Location
    SanHo, CA

    I've done most of my engine/trans changes by dropping the subframe cuz the entire front suspension was being upgraded and it's way easier to drop the entire powertrain down and pull it out. If you do it that way, you can "probably" get it loose with a pair of quality vice grips and a deadblow hammer. If not, then the following will apply:

    The other way, and I've done this on many cars with this problem, is an air hammer and chisel. It helps to grind a little groove in the head but if you can't access the head (and I'd have to go look myself) with the grinder, you can just start wailing with the hammer and chisel. Essentially you're going to use the force of the chisel to turn the bolt. I've done this on axles bolts like these, wheel locks (when my bro-in-law lost the key, true story) and crankshaft front pulley bolts (Hondas are noted for the bolt getting seized). If I wasn't in California, I'm sure I'd get way more opportunity to exercise my Hammer Mechanic skilz...

    Forget about trying to cut or drill the head. Them bolts are hard. Welding to the head is a bit sketchy too but I've seen it work as a last resort. Way too much shit to catch on fire down there...

  16. #16
    Veteran Member Four Rings LINDW4LL's Avatar
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    Dec 10 2011
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    Stage 3 S4, E46 M3
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    WI ✈ NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by q20v View Post
    Grab a 12 point socket that you can pound on the outside diameter of the cap screw. Removing the 12-point socket from the bolt afterwards is tricky but at least you get the axle out.
    I've used this method for a few stripped trans to rear driveshaft bolts and it's always saved me. Give it a shot, OP!
    -Hayden


  17. #17
    Established Member Four Rings JustManson's Avatar
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    Oct 11 2016
    AZ Member #
    382924
    Location
    Connecticut

    Not my first engine pull, but first major issue with one!

    I used a craftsman easy out kit.

    Tool slides over a piece of the bolt head and then bites into the bolt head. Keep applying pressure and it will bite harder and loosen the bolt. Costs about $26 for the kit with multiple heads. Iíve used it on Triple squares, throttle body bolts, and valve cover so far... works like charm.

    Also smacking a 12p socket could do the trick to!

    Good luck.

    https://m.sears.com/craftsman-10-pc-...FYa7swodevUMdQ


    Sent from my iPhone using Audizine
    Last edited by JustManson; 03-13-2018 at 07:00 PM.

  18. #18
    Veteran Member Three Rings ruiz's Avatar
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    Apr 07 2009
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    Right there
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zba View Post
    If the triple square teeth are rounded off hammer a larger torx bit in there. Then hammer some more. Then give it a quick jerk and I bet it will come out.

    Did I mention hammering the torx bit in there, a lot? The problem with using a socket on the outside is that is what a rounded off bolt looks like. Good luck getting any torque on that baby
    What Zba is suggesting has worked for me many times. Also, as a few others have already suggested, vice grips work really well. If you have the strength, get it on there as tight as you can using all your might, then either pull by hand or give it a nice whack with a pretty fat hammer. One thing I would also do is to attempt to turn it the other way (yes, tightening direction) just a bit so that it kind of helps to loosen the bolt.



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