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5.3 Exhaust Manifold Broken Bolts

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by t-sig, May 2, 2010.

  1. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    My truck has 85K on it. I noticed a little exhaust noise. I have 2 manifold bolts broken on the drivers side. One at the front of the engine and one at the back. I have read some threads on the subject. I will be happy to hear any pointers on removing the broken bolts. The intact bolts have reasonably solid heads. Should I try to get them out with a 3/8 drive air impact?

    Thanks
     
  2. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    I would not recommend using an air gun on any exhaust bolts. You will run a much much higher chance of breaking more of them. Take them out with a regular socket on a ratchet. A lil pb blaster and some heat will help get them right out. You will want to remove the entire exhaust manifold as getting the broken ones out will require it. Unbolting the 3 ypipe bolts you can use an impact gun. With the broken ones, if there is some bolt sticking out, you can weld a nut to the stud and simply turn it out. Do not quench them in water right after welding though. Let them cool naturally for about 20 minutes or so. Cold water could cause issues with the super heated areas from welding which would be bad. If they are broken flush with the head, plug weld a washer to the stud, then a nut on the washer. Turn the welder up nice and hot though so it gets good penetration. If you have any doubts on your welding abilities, please get someone who is good. Welding on engine parts do require a skilled hand and eye. Dont want to screw the pooch on the heads
     
  3. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    Thanks Sydenstricker,

    That is just the info I was looking for. It amazes me that these bolts have broken. I have had other vehicles with upwards of 200k miles on them and no such issues.
     
  4. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    Hey Sydenstricker,

    I noticed that your vehicles have Edlebrock headers. Are either of them a set of shorty type headers? Are they worth anything as far as increased performance goes?
     
  5. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    I have the same problem with a passenger side bolt on my 6.0L. Is it possible to just use vice grips on them or am I out of my mind.
     
  6. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    You could try. I lucked out with 2 on the passenger side coming out with vice grips.
    Both are shorty style. Not really much of a performance gain out of shorties. The stock truck manifolds on the 5.3/6.0 flow about the same as them. Save up and get a nice set of long tube headers. Then there will actually be some gain, coupled with a nice tune. I will be investing in a set of long tubes and ory (off road y pipe) to delete my cats since there is no emissions test for my truck. That with the cam I just got (.554 intake/.558 exhaust) will be sweet!!
     
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I don't remember seeing a poll to help you pick your cam :D
     
  8. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    LMAO:laughing:
     
  9. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    Well, I was cruising along nicely. All the manifold bolts that still had heads came out and the y pipe flange bolts came apart. I have two manifold bolts without heads. I put vice grips on the one at the front of the engine and it turned easy. My luck ran out. It turned easy right off in my hand. It broke about an 1/8" in the head. So, I am now trying to drill it and use an easy out. No luck yet. How bad is it to pull a head on these Gen3 engines?
     
  10. sidthss

    sidthss Senior Member
    from GR MI
    Messages: 182

    Find somebody who will weld a nut on the stud for you, way easier and a lot less work than taking half the motor apart. If you were close to me I would come out and do it for you. I have done the welding trick on my 6.0 for 3 studs and it works like a champ. Even if the bolt is set back in the head a little, an exprienced welder will be able to build the stud up enough to get a nut welded on.
     
  11. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    I appreciate the offer sidthss. Last night I step drilled the broken bolt out to the threads. I ran an 8mm tap in, but, the threads are shot. The good news is that I have a decent hole to drill and tap a helicoil into. Tonight I will be stopping at NAPA to get the helicoil kit and fix it up with that. All the bolts on the passenger side are intact, should I replace them now before the heads start popping off?

    T
     
  12. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Did you try an extractor?
     
  13. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    I tried an easy out. I am a little gun shy to put too much pressure on them though. I have snapped my share of them off and created bigger messes... I like the idea of welding a nut on the broken stud, but this one was recessed into the head and I didn't trust my welding ability.
     
  14. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    The job is done. I am not happy about 12) $1.50 bolts or the $40.00 helicoil, but, it is better than what the dealer would have charged me for the job. Thank you for all your help, I love this site!
     
  15. sidthss

    sidthss Senior Member
    from GR MI
    Messages: 182

    Well at least you have it done and hopefully it doesnt leak anytime soon, ya did what you had to do.
     
  16. KSikkema

    KSikkema Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    even if they are broken off below the surface of the head, because the head is aluminum, the weld won't stick to the head (you won't weld the bolt to the head). You can build up the bolt to the point where it is easy to weld a nut to it. Sometimes it takes several tries, but it usually works. My experience has been it's best not to let the head cool, but rather only let the weld cool slightly and then attempt to remove the broken stud. This has worked for me many times in the past, but different guys will have different methods. (btw, extracting broken bolts has probably given me the most number of "welder's eyes" than anything else. Be careful and good luck) I know this is a little late as the job is already done, but it may help next time or help someone else.
     
  17. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Can you weld a nut on the stud when its in a cast iron head? I have two broken manifold bolts on my dumptruck. Ford, 429ci. Not sure if the studs will be exposed once the manifold is off. Previous owner broke the bolts trying to replace the gasket. I guess he gave up after two.
     
  18. KSikkema

    KSikkema Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    you certainly can, but you just have to be a little more careful with the welder. Once the manifolds are off you can weld a nut to the broken bolt and if the heat from the welder has not already broken loose the rust and loosened the bolt, you can certainly heat the head with a torch to make it easier. This has worked many times for me as well.