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Hub bolt, it won't come out.

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 70monte, May 16, 2009.

  1. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I'm in the process of trying to replace the front hubs, rotors, calipers, brake pads and brake lines on my 98 K3500. One of the passenger side hub bolts will not come out. The bolt head is now pretty much ruined. I've tried using one of those sockets that is made for taking out bolts that are damaged with no luck. I've tried heating up the area around where the bolt goes through the knuckle with no luck. I've tried heating up the bolt head to see If I could break it off and that didn't work. I tried using a 24" breaker bar when I first started and that didn't work. I've broke two sockets and a friend of mine broke one of his small extensions. Now the abs wire is ruined from the heat of the torch.

    I don't know what else to do or try. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do. I'm pretty fed up with the whole situation. I probably spent five hours trying to take this bolt out with no luck. I can't continue to run it like it is because the rotor is shot and needs to be replaced and you can't take the rotor off without taking the hub assembly off first. Thanks for any ideas.

    Wayne
     
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    First thing, you will need patience. I ended up with almost 8 hours doing my rear brakes, most of that time was just getting the drums off.

    Those things are in there unbelievably tight. Is the knuckle still in the truck? I'd take it out at this point so you can work on it a little easier. Any chance of grinding a couple of flat spots, or even a square head on the bolt? Probably going to have to try drilling it out and and an easy-out. I would get the bolt head red hot, and spray it down with whatever penetrant you like. I can't remember if you can see the other end of the bolt behind the rotor. If you can, spray there too. I would do this a few times. Then try the easyout. If that doesn't work, you could try to drill the whole bolt out and rethread.

    Some advice here:
    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=80800
    and here:
    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=80551

    It might be easier at this point to get a salvage knuckle, though you will probably still have to get the old hub out.

    Oh yeah, your ABS still works?
     
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Just thinking about this a little more. I think you could just grind or drill the head of the bolt off. At least then you can separate the hub from the knuckle.
     
  4. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Torch, drill or grind the head off and then you can drive what's left of the bolt out with the hub assembly. From there if you're going to reuse the hub you should be able to spin the rest of the bolt out with some vise grips, and maybe a little heat. Btdt.

    You'll probably have to go to a GM dealer to get new bolts.
     
  5. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    Thanks guys. The bolt that won't come off is kind of counter sunk into the knuckle so that you cannot get to the head of the bolt very easy. Those bolts are pretty hard and I don't know if I will be able to drill it out. Plus the bolt is about three inches long. The Knuckle is still in the truck and I may have to take it out to remove.

    I'm not reusing the hub so that is not an issue. You cannot see the other end of the bolt because its behind the rotor. I have to go but I will write more later. Thanks.

    Wayne
     
  6. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    Take a cut off wheel and cut that one ear off the hub. You'll then get the hub off and have more room to cut the ear/bolt flush with the spindle and whallah. Get a new bolt and you're set.
     
  7. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I can't access the ears on the hub because they are behind the rotor which I cannot take off until I get the hub off. The dust shield is also blocking access to everything.

    I think what has happened is that there is a hole in the knuckle that penetrates into the bore that this bolt is in. You can see the threads. I think over time, water entered and ran down into the threads of the hub and have basically locked the bolt in. With the rotor on, I cannot get to the threads that are in the hub so I can use the penetrant on it.

    I'm thinking of trying to drill down into this hole and see if I can drill a hole into the bolt so that it will break when I try to turn it out. I also have a pneumatic hammer which I thought maybe I could break the head of the bolt off but these bolts seem to be hardend pretty good and I don't know if this will work.

    Wayne
     
  8. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    Take the caliper off. With what your saying, you'd never be able to do brakes without removing the hub assy...........
     
  9. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    The caliper is off. Replacing brake pads on this truck is as easy as any other truck. Replacing the rotors are not the easy part. Are you familiar with how the front hub and rotor are mounted on a 98 1 ton truck? The hub assembly is slid through the front of the rotor and the front flange of the hub is up against the front part of the rotor. They are then held together with the lug studs. The hub is then bolted to the spindle. The rotor is behind the hub assembly and therefore you cannot take the rotor off without unbolting the hub assembly from the spindle and sliding the hub back out of the rotor. The rotor prevents you from seeing the ears on the hub assembly therefore I cannot cut the ear off because its back behind the rotor and you cannot access the ear from behind.

    I tried again today to get the bolt out without any luck. It looks like I'm probably going to have to take the spindle off and get a replacement spindle to put back on. Thanks.

    Wayne
     
  10. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    Sorry Wayne, did not consider that it was a DRW 3500........been so used to doing them on 2500's I wasn't thinking. Well, best of luck to you. If you were local I'd say to bring it on by and we'd get it figured out ;)
     
  11. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    No problem. Its a single rear wheel 3500 but I think the front hub/rotor assembly is pretty much the same as the DRW. I need all the luck I can get. This whole thing just reenforces why I don't enjoy working on vehicles that much anymore. I seem to run into these type of problems everytime I work on something. Thanks.

    Wayne
     
  12. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    All 8 lug 2500/2500 IFS OBS trucks are of the inboard rotor design regardless of SRW or DRW, which makes hub bolt removal an issue when the bolt head is damaged beyond repair. Been there before. :nod:

    Wayne if your good with a torch (or know someone who is) reach in there and melt the head off the damaged bolt, then just remove the hub and bolt shank together. If your not comfortable with using the torch in the somewhat confined space then yes pop the ball joints loose and pull the spindle assembly off the truck in order to work with it easier. A bit of a pain yes but its the only and best solution.
     
  13. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    B&B, thanks for the info. I'm not that good with a torch but a friend from work came over yesterday with his acetylene setup and tried to help me get the bolt out. He did get the head red hot but it didn't look like it was going to melt. He did melt the ABS wiring though. I was also a little worried about the rubber boot on the half shaft. It didn't melt but it got a little hard. I'll have him try again to melt the bolt head. I would rather avoid taking off the spindle if I can.

    Will it do any damage to the spindle to heat it up that hot? Thanks again.

    Wayne
     
  14. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    You won't damage the spindle with heat so no fears there, you of course don't want to accidentally cut into it :eek: which is where having a torch whiz comes into play.

    If your not too inclined on pulling the spindle assembly you can remove the half shaft from the truck in order to give yourself more working room (and likely save the CV boot from more heat damage in the process). Removing the sway bar end link and the tie rod will allow you to work the half shaft out without further disassembly.
     
  15. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    B&B, thanks again.

    Wayne
     
  16. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    Try a mix of acetone & trans fluid...I read that it is a good penatrant..... I tried it on some plow bolts that would not budge it worked ... Mix 1/4 acetone to 3/4 trans fluid , can be used fluid shake to mix spray and let sit for a few hours .... This might help !!!!
     
  17. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    If you aren't reusing the hub, start from the front, take a BFH and destroy enough of the rotor so you can get at the hub, then cut or grind the ear down to the knuckle. The rest of the bolt should drive out.
     
  18. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I might try this if I can't melt the head of the bolt off. My friend who owns the torch setup is supposed to come over and help me in the next day or so. He is alot better at using the torch than I am. Hopefully I can get the hub off in the next day or so. Thanks.

    Wayne
     
  19. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    Well, My friend and I finally got the hub off. Yesterday I had taken my dremel tool with some cut off wheels and and chisel and got most of the bolt head off. My friend came over today and used the torch to melt the rest of the bolt head off. We then used a large punch and a hub puller and got the hub off. By looking at the end of the bolt still left in the hub, I realized it would have never come out without doing what we did. It was rusted pretty bad where the threads went into the hub. Probably from the hole thats in the spindle that penetrates the bore that the bolt was in. Water getting into it eventually rusted the bolt in place.

    My friend did end up ruining the boot on the half shaft so I'm either going to put in a new half shaft or a boot. I also need to decide whether to get a used spindle or find a way to plug the hole in my current one so this doesn't happen again.

    Thanks for all of the help. I'm just glad this part is over.

    Wayne

    PS. How hard is it to replace one of these half shafts?
     
  20. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115


    Uh, yeah, you did the hard part LOL

    Just 6 or 8 bolts hold the other end to the axle shaft coming out of the front diff. As far as you've been, I would replace the shaft.

    Glad you got it apart. I don't quite follow you as to hole that caused the bolt to rust, but I would just clean out the bolt holes in the knuckle, and put it back together with plenty of never seize. At this point, it's unlikely you will need to take it apart again unless you get a defective new part.