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ChumpusRex

Diy Car Repair Gone Wrong

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For some reason, of which I'm not quite sure, I decided to change the spark plugs on my car - they were well overdue, as this was something that had been neglected, despite regular service (they should have been done 2 services ago, but somehow got missed, so the plugs have about 130k miles on them); but I seem to have had an overwhelming bout of confidence in thinking that I could attempt this moderately difficult job.

Half went in fine. The other half needed removing the intake manifold, and during the process of trying to remove this, I sheared off the tip of an Allen socket in the head of a seized bolt down a narrow tunnel. The bit is lodged solid, and as the stuck bit is hardened, even a cobalt drill won't touch it, and the access is too narrow to get my trusty Bolt Grip sockets onto it, and too deep to get a dremel with a diamond burr in.

Going to have to overcome my embarrassment and go ringing garages to see if they can shift this bolt. I'd be interested to see how they do it. Hopefully it can be done without destroying the manifold, as that's a £200 part (on the grey market - £500 direct from a dealer). I think the only way of doing this is going to be to weld a nut onto the bolt, and hope that it doesn't melt the plastic manifold (it's what I'd try next, if I had a welder). If that doesn't work....

Mind you the dealer were quoting £150 for the plugs and £350 labour. I got the plugs for £75 on ebay, so even if I'm out a new manifold, it won't end up being that expensive of a lesson overall (or at least, that's what I'm telling myself).

Next time I'll just go straight to an independent garage.

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For some reason, of which I'm not quite sure, I decided to change the spark plugs on my car - I seem to have had an overwhelming bout of confidence in thinking that I could attempt this moderately difficult job.

'kin 'ell I've had diesel motors for 20 years, but when I had a petrol I didn't consider changing spark plugs as anything more than a 'simple 10 minute job' - have things changed for the worse that much ?

So, you have an allen key head stuck in a bolt - is this correct ?

Would superglueing something to the allen key head, or a rare earth magnet on a stick, retrieve it from its 'nest' or is it jammed in ?

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'kin 'ell I've had diesel motors for 20 years, but when I had a petrol I didn't consider changing spark plugs as anything more than a 'simple 10 minute job' - have things changed for the worse that much ?

So, you have an allen key head stuck in a bolt - is this correct ?

Would superglueing something to the allen key head, or a rare earth magnet on a stick, retrieve it from its 'nest' or is it jammed in ?

Correct. It's an Allen key head, sheared off flush with the top of the bolt, and firmly embedded (as it had torn up the bolt head a bit). I'd already tried epoxy resin, magnets, etc. Couldn't budge it. Tried to drill it out, but ended up wrecking an expensive cobalt drill, while simultaneously making it worse.

This car is certainly a lot more difficult than my first. No space anywhere. But removing the manifold to get at the plugs is not a uniquely modern thing on V engines, I know some old Jags are like that. The main difficulty with this job was accessing some of the manifold bolts (which are very difficult). The service manual states you have to remove the windscreen wiper mechanism, and all the cowling around windscreen (which can only be done after removing a couple of body trim panels); but I was able to get to those bolts with a flexible ratchet without too much difficulty, without disassembling any of that.

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"Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light

Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!

It is the business of the wealthy man

To give employment to the artisan"

Hilaire Belloc

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Good grief, what car is it?

Yes, I would like to know that too!

Chumpus says a V engine, clearly petrol, Ford Mondeo V6?

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Hilaire Belloc

The microbe is so very small, you can hardly see it at all.

Anyway, have you tried an impact driver on some screw extractors?

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Can you insert a small screwdriver and give it a few bashes with a hammer ? Do it at an angle against the force you tried to tighten it up with. Not too hard either or you will just embed it the other way.

Failing that get a shitload of n2 or freezer spray and spray it in. Freezer spray normally has one of those long tubes like an air duster, so you should be able to direct it onto the right spot. Hopefully it will shrink enough to loosen it and you may be able to get it out.

'kin 'ell I've had diesel motors for 20 years, but when I had a petrol I didn't consider changing spark plugs as anything more than a 'simple 10 minute job' - have things changed for the worse that much ?

So, you have an allen key head stuck in a bolt - is this correct ?

Would superglueing something to the allen key head, or a rare earth magnet on a stick, retrieve it from its 'nest' or is it jammed in ?

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I've just asked my dad (living with the parents has its benefits!). He said cobalt drill, I said you've tried that! He said a bushing of some sort to keep it on the job would probably help?

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Yes, I would like to know that too!

Chumpus says a V engine, clearly petrol, Ford Mondeo V6?

If it is, someone else has done this:

"> 6. Now remove the 6 sky-facing IM bolts at the front of the manifold.

Just a couple of pointers to add - be careful when doing the vertical/sky facing bolts back up, not to overtighten them as i managed to snap one, but luckily I could remove it from the bottom of the manifold and also make sure the UIM gasket is seated properly before doing the bolts up"

http://www.stdrivers.co.uk/forum/topic/27944-st220-guide-to-a-spark-plug-change/

Edit: another page saying on a V6 Mondeo spark plugs can be changed with the manifold in place: http://fordwiki.co.uk/index.php/Changing_Spark_Plugs_With_UIM_In_Place

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How much clearance is there to get at it.

Try using a small deep socket, a bit on the tight size, tapped down onto the remains of the allen key head.

Most socket sets have them, the ones that never seem be useful for anything else, so not much of a sacrifice

if you break it. :lol:

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Can you insert a small screwdriver and give it a few bashes with a hammer ? Do it at an angle against the force you tried to tighten it up with. Not too hard either or you will just embed it the other way.

Yeah. I already tried that. It did break it loose, and it would shake about a bit, but it wouldn't come out. The some prising with a screwdriver wedged it completely, and hammering has just made it worse.

The cobalt drill did make some progress on the bolt itself, but didn't do much against the allen. With perhaps an hour of drilling, I might be able to decapitate the bolt, but because the Allen bit is almost totally impervious, the drill doesn't like to keep track.

Impact driver/screw extractor. I've tried an external extractor, but I can't get it onto the nut, even with some careful shaving of the manifold, and snapping off a small support. I can't imagine an internal extractor will do anything against the wedged allen key.

The car is a Lexus IS250 - great car, and I got it for a steal. But my local dealer really does take the mick with servicing costs. I naively took it to the local dealer shortly after I bought it for a "minor service". What did I get for £250? Oil and a filter, a quick once over, and a whole load of "safety critical" recommendations for stuff like "windscreen would benefit from water repellent application", "recommend fuel injector cleaner to ensure power maintained", etc. Similarly, the spark plug labour quote is a stock charge (it's listed in the service manual as a 3 hour job). In reality, it could be done a lot quicker than that. I had this estimated as a 1 hour job, until the bolt broke, as I was able to get my spanners into crevices where the designers hadn't anticipated, bypassing half the disassembly steps.

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How much clearance is there to get at it.

Try using a small deep socket, a bit on the tight size, tapped down onto the remains of the allen key head.

Most socket sets have them, the ones that never seem be useful for anything else, so not much of a sacrifice

if you break it. :lol:

Tried that. It's a 5mm allen bolt, which is 8mm in diameter. A 10 mm socket is too loose, even when stuffed with Alu foil or sand paper. A 9mm socket won't do anything no matter how hard I hammer it.

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This is where you need the recently discussed air wrench as the impact bits don't tend to shear and nor do the bolts.

The Loctite freeze and release spray already mentioned is a good shout. You can sometimes shatter hardened tool parts, maybe try smacking it with a centre punch - you'll need to really smack it. I would absolutely drown it in WD40, could you get a die grinder bit in an electric drill down and really push or similarly grind the middle part out of a flat wood drill bit so you're left with two small lugs each side to push against the softer steel outer rim of the allen head. Also along similar lines glue some abrasive paper to the end of a suitable size parallel punch and really push down on the drill. Assume you've already tried a regular drill bit anti-clockwise?

If you've got air tools just try the pointy bit in an air chisel on the broken bit it could rattle it loose. Can you remove all the other bolts and move the part even moving it a little might loosen the bolt a small amount. The impact driver with a flat-head piece is also a good idea it often only needs a small indentation to catch on and work something loose. I would be looking to accept having to sacrifice the bolt and buy a new one and maybe try chiselling into the softer steel of that and trying to slowly tap it round anticlockwise.

I'm sure you can get some special glue type stuff that you blob on and leave to set and then you can poke a screwdriver into the blob and get a lot of torque but can't remember what it's called.

Edit to add

Is it not this £45 on ebay?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lexus-is-250-2006-intake-manifold-/261236552239?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item3cd2e9722f

If so buy it and then try carefully chopping the plastic on yours and you might be able to rig up some long bolt and glued on repair washer affair to get an airtight seal then if happy with it just put this back on ebay again.

Looking at a few if these cars (Lexi - sounds too Alan Partridge) they do seem to be a bit of a bargain is there some known problem with them? Possible candidate for the high mileage thread maybe.

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The unhelpful bit:

- get decent tools. I've never had a hex key shatter - they've rounded off after serious abuse, but never, ever broken. Who made the key you were using?

The helpful bit:

- just hit it with a decent size drill. You say it is down a tunnel - get a drill the diameter of the tunnel, and start drilling. The tunnel will act as a guide, and it will come out. Don't expect it to be quick, but it will go in the end. A cheap bit of allen key is nothing like as hard as a stud extractor - they are bastards to drill out. If you make a mess of the plastic, then a bit of epoxy will fix it quickly.

Tip 2 - get a left handed drill. The moment it catches, the allen key will spin out. Magic.

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This is where you need the recently discussed air wrench as the impact bits don't tend to shear and nor do the bolts.

Is it not this £45 on ebay?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lexus-is-250-2006-intake-manifold-/261236552239?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item3cd2e9722f

If so buy it and then try carefully chopping the plastic on yours and you might be able to rig up some long bolt and glued on repair washer affair to get an airtight seal then if happy with it just put this back on ebay again.

Looking at a few if these cars (Lexi - sounds too Alan Partridge) they do seem to be a bit of a bargain is there some known problem with them? Possible candidate for the high mileage thread maybe.

Yeah. I know. If I had an impact driver, I bet the thing would have come off in 2 seconds. Trouble is that while it would be nice to have one, I'd never previously justified the price.

The problem I think is cheap tools. I used the Allen bit I had in my tool box, which is of unknown provenance. It may have been a gift many years ago, or I may have bought it from Aldi/Lidl.

Thanks for the ebay link. That is the right bit (actually the air surge tank, rather than the manifold), but interestingly, that is the US part, not the Euro/UK/Jap part. It would need modification to fit a UK model. However, I'll keep it in mind.

The problem with spray penetrants, is that the bolt head is clamped onto the plastic "surge tank" which it is holding on to the alloy "manifold" underneath. Spraying penetrant at the bolt head will not get to the threads, which are a long way down, with a wide clearance hole. Hasn't stopped me trying though.

I hadn't thought of using the tunnel as a drill guide bushing (although I had considered drawing up a bushing and getting one machined for the job; if I still had the old Colchester lathe, I'd have turned one up myself). Nice idea.

However, my enthusiasm for the job is fading at this point, and I don't want to go buying bigger and bigger drills. I'm going to take Harry's advice, and do my bit for the economy, having found a local small business who fancies a challenge.

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Get some of that loctite putty stuff and push that down the hole. hopefully it will adhere to the Allen key head and you may be able to extract it when the putty has hardened. Of course it'll probably weld itself to the bolt and the manifold as well.

As another poster said, you absolutely must buy decent tools. In all my years I have never snapped an Allen key. A 5mm Allen key wouldn't be used where much torque is needed so really what were you thinking of applying so much force? Unhelpful I know but this really is a valuable lesson that you have learned.

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If you are as tough as your Icon suggests simply turn the car upside down and shake it a bit, over a piece of plain white paper so you can see the offending item drop out.

I expect when you have acheived access, you will break the last spark plug in situ....happened on the wifes KA and is apparently common when plugs have been in a long time.

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Tried that. It's a 5mm allen bolt, which is 8mm in diameter. A 10 mm socket is too loose, even when stuffed with Alu foil or sand paper. A 9mm socket won't do anything no matter how hard I hammer it.

I like this idea best.

How about a 1BA six point socket (9.3mm A/F I think).

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OK, I worked at Lexus dealer in the 90s. Have you heard of "twist sockets", Snap-on do them but I expect they've been copied by now. They are sockets with cambered teeth inside designed for this kind of thing. When I was with the AA I carried a set to remove locking wheel nuts if the owner had lost the special socket. On an electric impact gun it would shift them in an instant. The alternative is just to forget it and chuck it back together and run it with the old plugs.

http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item.asp?P65=&tool=all&item_ID=642927&group_ID=681744&store=snapon-store&dir=catalog

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Those look like they might work. I've got some Irwinversions, but they are chunky and won't fit down the access tunnel. Those hex drive set ones look like they may work well.

I'm feeling happier, but I'm not going to be buying a set of those and an impact driver just yet. I'll see what the bloke I've hired to do the job says.

As it is, the car runs fine on 3 old, 3 new plugs; the occasionally missing cylinder (I have no idea how the ECU/techstream software can tell which cylinder is missing, but I'm grateful that it does) was on the side I could get to, and it's now a bit happier. The plugs are pretty badly worn, unsurprisingly after 130k miles. So, the car is perfectly usable, but as I intend to keep the car, I'd rather replace the remaining plugs before too long, so that I don't fry the ignition coils (which are also under the bloody awkward manifold).

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Ouch, this car sounds like a nightmare.

I was crapping myself changing the plugs in my gfs Yaris for the first time (dam thing was 7 years old and as my girlfriend thought an MOT was a service they had never been done), always wary of cracking them leaving bits in the engine. Why wouldn't the manufacturer make a regular service part accessible? Surly its better for their dealers if it isn't a potential nightmare job...

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  • 243 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
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      • up 5%



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