Tech Tips

'Bolters helping 'Bolters is a beautiful thing!


          I just twisted the head off the bolt and the rest of the bolt is still in the block!! What do I do now ???

          We've all done it. We've cussed our way through fumbling with an "easy out" that is anything but! And then we turn and look for the drill and the tap and die set ... Stop!! Get that broken bolt out without explosives! Dang!!!

Removing a broken bolt

(03 March 2008)

By Brad Allen
Bolter # 11958
1950 Chevrolet 3/4-Ton 3600
Salt Lake City, Utah

<< click on image for larger view >>

          I have put together a slide set for those who may not have used a welder to remove broken bolts, I have removed well over 30 bolts from my 1950 3600 in the last couple months using these steps. The photo's are on page 5 of this Webshots link.


Step 1:

These are all the tools required plus a welder. A simple buzz box or a Mig will work as well.

The bolts were 5/16" and these were both sides of the front fender under support pieces.


Step 2:

Wire brush the area. I turn them over and pull on the side where there is some bolt sticking out if possible.

It will work even if they are broken flush with the piece.

Find a flat washer with a hole size the same or just a little smaller than the broken off bolt. The washer needs to be close to the broken off bolt and if the bolt is broken off beneath the surface, a ball peen hammer can be used to "dish" the washer to make it fit close to the bolt.


Step 3:

Place washer over the broken bolt. (I use a heavy washer where possible.) Weld the washer to the bolt. Chip the slag and brush. I use Brutus-A 3/32” stick electrodes because I have a supply of them (about 80 amps on the setting). A 7018 will work as will alloys like 308, 309, 347 or similar.

I would not use deep penetrating rods like 6011 or 6010 since they will usually break when you try and remove them and could damage the piece you are working on.


Step 4:

In this case, I used 5/16” nuts since they were sized to the broken bolts. But you can use smaller or larger, depending on the ability to get a couple tacks on opposite sides of the nut to the washer.

I only weld on two sides so that when I use the adjustable wrench, there are unblemished surfaces to get a grip on. The bolt is for you to hold on to so you don’t burn your fingers.


Step 5:

This shows the steps for removing the bolts. I use a small wrench and work it back and forth slowly, as soon as the nut has gone off cherry red. This puts all the heat right in the broken bolt itself. If it should break off, just repeat the steps. Rarely do I have to do this more than twice per bolt.


Step 6:

Both bolts are out and now you just clean up and run a tap through the holes.


    I have used this technique to remove bolts as small as 10-32 with 3/32” electrodes. It does not take a lot of weld (as you can see) to remove these bolts. It took only about half of one electrode.

    I removed four bolts from both sides in about 15 minutes using these steps. It will also work in position on the truck. However, it is best to practice flat until you get a feel for it.


Be sure to check out our extensive Forums discussions -- from General Truck talk, Electrical Bay, Big Bolts, Panels and Burbs, Engine and Driveline, Paint and Body, Interiors, Tool Chest -- The Stovebolt Collective can help in your quest and walk you through the mire and magic of working with old iron!


Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop

No parts of this site, its contents, photos or graphics may be used without permission.

Copyright © 1995-2021
Leonardtown, Maryland