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Front suspension - spring plate bolt stuck

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Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
Hi all
I'm still in the process of dismantling my BJ8 for a ground up resto and i never cease to be amazed at how much components in this car can sieze up.

I am trying to remove the bolts that hold the coil spring retaining plate, and one of them is super stuck. No socket wrench in my arsenal will release it. I also purchased an irwin rounded not remover with no luck... I have put a spare nut on top of the bolt and tried to "coax" it out with a mallet, but no good. I have heated it up with a blow torch, no luck. Loads of wd-40 every day, no luck. I am thinking my only option is to cut the retaining plate around the bolt, and buy a new plate ( and bolt ). I figure i should be able to work on the wishbone a lot more easily once i have it in the vise.

The spring is still in place so i have to be very careful ! At this stage I have the spring secured with some wire so that if it does release accidentally I am safe.

Once i remove this bolt i can then take out the spring safely and entire wishbone assembly.


thanks
t

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rusty1c Avatar
rusty1c Peter D
Antioch, CA, USA   USA
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 "RUBY"
1963 Chevrolet C10 "Rusty"
Tim,
You made mention that you are using a "blow Torch". Is it one of those small propane torches that you purchase at the local hardware store? If so it won't put out enough heat quickly enough. You need to use an oxy-acetylene torch. You have to heat the lower wishbone bone right where the bolt goes through it. It has to be heated quickly until it turns red without melting the metal on the wishbone. The metal surrounding the bolt has to expand quickly before the heat transfers to the bolt and it expands as well. If it is heated to slowly as is the case with a propane torch the heat transfers to the bolt and it will stay stuck. Heat it until it is red hot in that specific area and then try to turn the bolt using a 6-point box-end (ring) wrench. Move the bolt slowly from side to side a little at a time and it should come loose. As it cools spray a good rust penetrating oil on the upper portion of the bolt. As the bolt cools it will suck the oil into the space between the bolt and the lower wishbone. You may have to do this a couple of times but you will get it to move. I was an industrial mechanic, millwright, for many years and this is the process that worked almost 100% of the time.

The other way you can do it is to replace the other 3 bolts with 3/8" threaded rod about 6" long each with nuts on each end. Tighten the nuts up until they are snug ob both the surface of the spring retaining plate and the top of the wishbone. Then you can cut the head off of the stuck bolt. You then slowly unscrew the 3 nuts on the rods and it will lower the retaining plate to the point that there is no more tension on the spring and it can be removed safely. You should also start spraying the lower wishbone pivot bolts and the rear leaf spring mounting bolts with a good penetrating oil and let them soak as these can also be a real problem area as well.

WD40 is a good light lubricant and rust preventative but it doesn't have good rust dissolving qualities. I'm not sure what you have in Australia so I can't offer any suggestions. In Industry we used "KROIL" or "Rust Blaster".

Pete

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
Thanks Pete
Yep, i’m using a propane torch - on the nut itself, not the arm. I do see your point though - heating the bolt would be an exercise in futility if not done right.

Will also try and get some decent penetrating oil / rust blaster.

I have also replaced the first 3 bolts with very long ones so will be trying your release technique this weekend.
Thanks kindly.
T

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CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
Look up nut cracker tool, has a cutting blade and you tighten it onto the nut.

rusty1c Avatar
rusty1c Peter D
Antioch, CA, USA   USA
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 "RUBY"
1963 Chevrolet C10 "Rusty"
Tim,

If you have the three other bolts replaced with longer ones the best ting to do is put a 6 point box end (ring) spanner on the nut and tighten it until it sheers off. This will leave the rest of the bolt in the hole and you can drive it out with a hammer and a punch. You need to use a 6 point wrench. If you use a 12 point it will probably round off the corners of the nut. The way you initially described it I thought the bolt was stuck. If it's just the nut grind it off or tighten it until it shears off.
Pete

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
I'm trying to visualize the problem...It sounds like the nut has already been removed. Has the bolt "welded" itself to the hole in the wishbone arm? Is the hole in the wishbone arm threaded, too? (I've never taken one apart.) If not, it might be possible to use a drill press to drill the bolt out. Also, it might be possible to drive out the bolt with a hydraulic press or mallet-and-punch if the arm is supported properly.

For what it's worth, two of my favorite tools are the six point flank-drive wrench or socket (with long breaker bar) and the "nut cracker" fastener splitter if there isn't enough room to use a hacksaw or grinder/cutoff disc. Flank-drive tools are becoming more available these days.

Texas57 Silver Member Robert C
Stephenville, TX, USA   USA
Heat the nut and melt some candle wax into the threads.. I have had good luck with sticky bolts that way.


~R

rusty1c Avatar
rusty1c Peter D
Antioch, CA, USA   USA
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 "RUBY"
1963 Chevrolet C10 "Rusty"
Tim,
Did you ever get the bolt-nut out of the spring pan?
Peter

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
In reply to # 207978 by rusty1c Tim,
Did you ever get the bolt-nut out of the spring pan?
Peter

Nope - not yet. Thanks for asking Peter.

I’m away on vacation at the moment so i’ve left it all behind for now. Only surf and cold beer to worry about this week.
I did get my brother to take a swing at it but your suggestion is next. I’m back home around the 12th.
T

cpcooper Craig Cooper
Chico, CA, USA   USA
I’m curious why no one has suggested using a pneumatic or electric impact wrench here. Like Peter D, I am a big fan of the oxygen/acetylene torch (Flaming Wrench) for heating stubborn parts red hot to help remove them. In this particular case, I would first try it cold from the bottom with a 3/8 air impact, then, if that didn’t get it, graduate to a 1/2 impact. My guess is, since it is only a 3/8” bolt, it would either come off or break. If that didn’t work, I would heat the nut on the bottom red hot and try loosening with a ratchet while holding the bolt on the top with an end wrench.

By now somebody is going to point out that I have probably rounded out the nut with either the 3/8 or 1/2 impact, which hasn’t been my experience with these particular fasteners, but could well happen. Plan B would be to attack it from the top, using a 3” abrasive cutting wheel in a die grinder to cut off the top of the bolt WHILE THE SPRING PAN IS SECURED WITH THREADED RODS PER ABOVE. (i’ve always used two, diagonally across from each other, but three couldn’t hurt)

I am agnostic on penetrating oils. I’ve tried a lot of them, including some mentioned above, and I never actually see any penetration once I finally get whatever it is apart. I have friends who swear by them, and I would love to try one that actually worked. One article I read comparing various products suggested you could do as well with a 50-50 mixture ATF (automatic transmission fluid) and acetone. I’ve tried this, achieving somewhat lackluster results. Nothing beats the flaming wrench!

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
Tim,

Are you trying to get Part 22 in the diagram https://mossmotors.com/austin-healey-100-100-6-3000/suspension-steering/front-suspension/front-suspension-50 out? If the torch doesn't work, it sounds like you'd have a lot more options if the A-arm pan were removed from the car.

You'd have to remove the wheel, disconnect the brake caliper from the axle assembly, remove the sway bar, compress the spring by putting a jack under the pan, then disconnect the swivel pin at the shock arm, put a jack or jack stand under the frame, lower the A-arm, and remove the spring and A-arm. It's a much easier problem to deal with if it's off the car.

If you are going to do a full ground-up restoration, you'll probably want to check the wear on the swivel pins anyway. Funny how a simple operation can quickly become much more complicated...

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
In reply to # 208013 by zayante Tim,

Are you trying to get Part 22 in the diagram https://mossmotors.com/austin-healey-100-100-6-3000/suspension-steering/front-suspension/front-suspension-50 out? If the torch doesn't work, it sounds like you'd have a lot more options if the A-arm pan were removed from the car.

You'd have to remove the wheel, disconnect the brake caliper from the axle assembly, remove the sway bar, compress the spring by putting a jack under the pan, then disconnect the swivel pin at the shock arm, put a jack or jack stand under the frame, lower the A-arm, and remove the spring and A-arm. It's a much easier problem to deal with if it's off the car.

If you are going to do a full ground-up restoration, you'll probably want to check the wear on the swivel pins anyway. Funny how a simple operation can quickly become much more complicated...
Yep - that’s the one I’m after. I have pretty much taken everything off the front end already, and the engine is out etc... I would be happy to remove the lower arm, but the spring itself is still in there. Even with a jack I would imagine it is risky to remove an A-arm with the coil spring still there...?
T

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
In reply to # 208007 by cpcooper I’m curious why no one has suggested using a pneumatic or electric impact wrench here. Like Peter D, I am a big fan of the oxygen/acetylene torch (Flaming Wrench) for heating stubborn parts red hot to help remove them. In this particular case, I would first try it cold from the bottom with a 3/8 air impact, then, if that didn’t get it, graduate to a 1/2 impact. My guess is, since it is only a 3/8” bolt, it would either come off or break. If that didn’t work, I would heat the nut on the bottom red hot and try loosening with a ratchet while holding the bolt on the top with an end wrench.

By now somebody is going to point out that I have probably rounded out the nut with either the 3/8 or 1/2 impact, which hasn’t been my experience with these particular fasteners, but could well happen. Plan B would be to attack it from the top, using a 3” abrasive cutting wheel in a die grinder to cut off the top of the bolt WHILE THE SPRING PAN IS SECURED WITH THREADED RODS PER ABOVE. (i’ve always used two, diagonally across from each other, but three couldn’t hurt)

I am agnostic on penetrating oils. I’ve tried a lot of them, including some mentioned above, and I never actually see any penetration once I finally get whatever it is apart. I have friends who swear by them, and I would love to try one that actually worked. One article I read comparing various products suggested you could do as well with a 50-50 mixture ATF (automatic transmission fluid) and acetone. I’ve tried this, achieving somewhat lackluster results. Nothing beats the flaming wrench!

Thanks Craig. I dont have an impact wrench but would be happy to try... will see if I can find one while I am away...

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
I think the weight of the engine is sufficient to compress the spring enough to give you some play with the shock, remove the fulcrum pin to disconnect the swivel from the shock, and then lower the A-arm down as the frame come to rest on a jack stand under the frame. A trolley/floor jack would provide the most control. You have to get the front corner high enough on the jack stand or another jack to lower the A-arm sufficiently to get the spring out.

Alternatively, you could use the appropriate coil spring compressor, but as many videos on You Tube illustrate, it's something that may be a little more hazardous if not done carefully.

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
Well I finally succeeded. With the help of an angle grinder. Unfortunate, but time to cut my losses after more than 12 hours at it.

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