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Caliper Bolts from Hell

Discussion in 'Brakes' started by Reprise, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

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    (I had posted this just before the update, so if you saw it - or saw a 'blank' post, as I did - that's why. Thankfully, I was able to 'edit' my post, and get all the text from the original post - no way was I typing all of this again!) Also - I now have the shock yoke and tie rod bolts off - *everything* except the caliper bolts) :Banghead:

    In the middle of doing front suspension pieces (pretty much everything except tie rods).

    At first, I attempted to drop the top of the knuckle out of the wheel well using a method I saw 'ChrisFix' use on the Tube with a TB - he hammered the outer axle end inward / loose in order to free it from the hub/rotor, and swing the knuckle out farther w/o pulling out the axle.

    That didn't work well - I don't see the outer end of my axle moving back at all (yes, I have the axle bolt loosened, and the nut at the outer edge of the axle...lol). So I decided to take the other approach - remove the caliper assy, followed by the rotor / hub, then remove the shock mount bolt / tie rod end, and remove the knuckle entirely from the vehicle, where I'd then press out the upper BJ, and give myself more room for pulling the coilovers as well (I've got new HD Bilsteins that have been patiently waiting for their chance to be installed).

    However (and thus, the title of this post)...the caliper bolts aren't moving - not with liberal PB sprayings, not with three different impact guns (none of which are rated > 250/lb torque, unfortunately), nor with heat from a torch, nor with the BFH striking a box end attached to the nut (18mm, btw). My 1/2 breaker is really too long to work within the wheel well, as well (unless I turn the steering out - I suppose I'll try that next).

    If I didn't know better, I'd think perhaps the bolts have *never* been removed in 14 years - I know pads don't last that long, but starting to wonder if the previous owners / mechanics just removed the slide bolts & replaced the pads as needed. Rotors are OK - some minor grooving, and a bit 'thin', but definitely usable. Pads aren't down to the wear indicators, but aren't too far away - to be honest, I was probably going to put new rotors / pads on, after I finished the suspension work.

    So...I started looking at HF's website to see what better options existed in 1/2" impact guns - while I hate to throw even more $ at this project, I'm willing to go get a 'stronger' gun if I have a good chance of not breaking the bolt head off (I do *not* want to get into an 'easy out' situation (who named those things that, anyway?)).

    Looks like I have two choices in 1/2" from HF - a '750 lb max loosening torque' (500lb nominal), or a '1150 lb max loosening torque' (1000lb nominal). Some of the 3/4" guns have even more - but I'm not interested in acquiring yet another set of impacts, in 3/4" size, nor am I interested in spending $300 for the gun itself, for the little that I'd use it.

    I figure someone else here has to have fought this same fight before me. What got your caliper bolts off? If you used a gun, what kind of torque did it have?

    Some more info that may be helpful - I'm planning on replacing the lower arms/ brackets outright - and I can see from documentation that at least one of those bolts gets tightened down to 197 ft/lb (so I'm imagining I may revisit this same issue removing those bolts - provided I ever get the caliper off!)

    And, yes - I need to replace the upper ball joint - I have it out of the arm and can see the boot is split open, etc. - and I have new Moogs ready to put in (but I have to press the old ones out, of course).

    Anyway...thanks for reading (& any info / suggestions) :tiphat: :hail:
     
  2. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Definitely turn the wheel to use your breaker bar. Does it have a swivel head so it can be bent in even more? Use a cheater bar on it.

    When you used the torches, were they Oxy/Acetylene or just propane? Did you heat the knuckle or the bolt? Should heat the knuckle around the bolt threads to expand it.

    And you are turning it in the proper direction? (Lefty loosey). Sorry, I have to ask.
     
    Redbeard and Reprise like this.
  3. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

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    Thx, Mooseman - appreciate :smile:
    To answer your questions:
    - Breaker bar has swivel head. Unfortunately, it's not in the garage with me; I need to retrieve it from where it's at, or I'd have used it already.

    I only have propane - one of those Benz-o-matic kits. Bought it years ago and finally have something to use it on! I did heat the knuckle as well as the bolt head - I know the threads are what need to break. Was a little tentative with the propane at first (one of my guitarists burned his house down using one a couple of years ago - long story).

    I did see a vid on the Tube today with Scotty TooHottie (whatever his name is; I know he's not well regarded) demo'ing an Oxy/Acetylene rig - learned something today, I guess - although I'm not wanting to spend that kind of $ right now, being between jobs. My space in the garage is a little limited as well - I'd *really* worry about burning my own house down, like my friend did!

    Yep - I've got the right direction. I even bumped the bolts a little in the 'tighten' direction with the impact - but I know I had the direction set correctly (I always double check by spinning the anvil, especially when working with a bolt 'opposite' me).
     
  4. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    It's also possible that Loctite red was used but the heat would have made it let go. I'd say the breaker bar is your best bet.
     
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  5. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

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    Doubt I'd be able to tell, once I finally get the bolts out - but if someone was idiotic enough to use Red Loctite and I see evidence of same, I'll definitely let you know, as I'll be in rant mode.

    Got the idea to perhaps rent an oxy rig - there's a rental place just down the road from me. Unfortunately, they list welders (including MIG) and cutting torches - but no oxy/acetylene. But I bet someone nearby does rent them. Hopefully, I can fit one in the trunk of the Accord...lol.
     
  6. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Although I usually recommend Loctite blue when reassembling as I have had a bad experience in the past. Red would be excessive but should be that much of a hassle. I also torque the crap out of those bolts for the same reason.
     
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  7. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

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    I understand on the Blue - I've seen references to using it for caliper bolts, so no worries there. But using the Red on these kind of bolts, as you said - is overkill, given that calipers need to be removed on a regular basis when doing brake maintenance.

    I'll post an update once I get the bolts off. Thx again for the info! :tiphat:
    ____________________

    Edited to add: Retrieved my 1/2" breaker, and with one good pull...both bolts broke loose. Yay me :smile: That'll teach me to leave tools behind. :duh:

    Regarding the bolts - one only had rust on the bottom 1 1/2 threads (!) The other had rust on the last four - which I though was very strange, since those bolts thread into blind holes - you'd think that rust would go top to bottom.

    In any case... all is well again. About to pull out the front springs now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
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  8. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    @Reprise updated his post instead of posting an update, misunderstood the multi-posting rule.

    If you look carefully, they are not blind but when fully seated, are flush with the knuckle surface inside of the rotor.
     
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  9. gmcman

    gmcman Well-Known Member

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    I see you were able to get the caliper bolts off...I'm just curious If you were trying an impact on a loose assembly or was it still mounted on the vehicle?

    I have learned in the past that using even 1 extension if it's about 8" or more, can eat up alot of torque you use to remove a fastener, same goes for something not rigidly mounted as the impact can move the part.
     
  10. itsatruck

    itsatruck New Member

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    I see you have already solved the problem. These are probably the worst bolts on the TB. I broke three ratchets last year trying to remove them before finally buying a proper breaker bar. One of the bolts is marred up and will only accept a 19mm socket now, vs the 18mm, lol.

    Congratulations on conquering those bolts.
     
  11. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

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    Apologies for not replying sooner to the first quoted post...didn't realize it was there. Anyway...
    When I was doing this, the caliper / rotor was still on the vehicle. And no extensions (I *was* using a swivel impact, however, as my deep ones were a bit too long with the gun, clearance-wise.)

    I've seen (once) a reference that any extension will jack up the torque accuracy when tightening a bolt; for that reason, I try never to use them for that. Didn't know about the loosening scenario; for those, I use what's easiest to get the gun in with, but will take that into account in the future - thanks :smile:


    First, welcome to our community! I find it hard to believe that you joined just to answer my post, but hey, I've seen stranger things...lol.

    Thankfully, the lessons learned from the one side paid benefits on the other - while I did try a quick shot with the gun (figuring it couldn't hurt & might help), I quickly put the 1/2" breaker on the other side and made short work of it. Makes me wonder what 'torque' the average person has (yes, I remember the lesson of Archimedes re: leverage!)
     
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  12. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Of all the bolts, those two are those I really torque because I've had them back off on another vehicle. Not fun. Also use blue Loctite.
     

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