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Old 04-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

The title says it.

I was replacing my sway bar end link bushings, among other things, tonight and ran into trouble. One screw from each side of the front brackets decided to snap off flush to the frame with little more than a light turn of the ratchet. I started on the passenger side and drilled out the center of the screw with a small diameter cobalt drill but I didn't have any larger diameter drills that were sharp enough to go through and I didn't want to go to the hardware store to buy more. That was my first mistake. My second was to think that I could get the broken screw out with a screw extractor. I had the center hole open enough that I could get an extractor in the broken M8 screw and about half a turn later I had a broken extractor snapped off flush to the broken screw. In a very clouded move I decided to use my small, stil sharp, drills to try to poke holes around the extractor in an attempt to knock it out. When the first drill bit broke off inside, also flush to the broken screw, I knew I had no choice but to get to the hardware store. I bought $100 worth of cobalt bits and a couple of 3/32 carbide dremel side cutters to help with my botched extraction. I drilled the appropriate hole to start the carbide cutters but both snapped off within a second and were then $20 worth of trash. I then went back to drilling small holes around the broken extractor to the point where I could possibly use a chisel to smash to the hardened steel extractor to pieces and be on my way. Unfortunately, my first blow to the screw, on a sideways angle mind you, broke the weld on the nut that is buried inside the frame member.
Thats where I sit now. I installed the new bushings and the sway bar is now retained with only 3 of the 4 screws.

Is this going to be a problem in the short term until I figure out how to fix it right?

As far as I can see, there's NO way to get inside there to weld a new nut to so I'm going to be left with using some sort of expansion nut, cutting the frame away and having a new, thicker plate welded back in so I can drill & tap right into that, or ?

Any other suggestions on how to repair this without removing the engine?

edit: I did the drivers side right after all of the pain I had on the passenger side. I drilled it out, progressively bigger, and heli-coiled it back to M8-1.25. It's what I should have done first to both sides. God I wanted to beat my own *** for that stupid extractor idea.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

i'm not entirely sure how well a heli-coil will hold up to a sway bar mount. I have a similar issue.... One of my mounts ripped the bolt and threads out. Had someone who used to do body/frame repair (years ago) take a quick look at it....

He mentioned, the easiest, possibly only way to fix it is to cut a hole to access the area, weld a new nut inside the rail. Then re-weld the plug for the hole that was cut... to get in there. I just took out my rear sway bar....it handles like a bag of crap, but its better than beating against the fuel filler neck pipe when driving.



I've had my own idea of correcting it, improperly. I was thinking of drilling straight through into the trunk area (providing not obsticles in the way). Then using some kind of u-bolt like leaf springs use, and using plate steel as a brace for the bolts above and below where the u-bolt would go through the metal.

Good luck man
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

I'm not exactly sure what this is called - but an example would be like the one that comes with the NRG fender washers. You can drill out for one of these type "expansion nuts" or whatever they're called - and toss on a bolt.


Hopefully someone can chime in with some more details about the fastener/expansion nut with the proper name/term for it (because i'm honestly clueless)

They may/may not come in different sizes (if you find a retailer/hardware store with the size you need)

http://www.getnrg.com/products/under...kit/fw-100bk-0

^^ i don't mean the hex head screw, just the part it screws into that expands when put through a one sided area such as in the situation you're speaking of.


(hope this crude suggestion/explanation helps in a way lol)
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

/\ Those are just metal anchors. You could also use Rivnuts for more strength:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkze_2.3 View Post
/\ Those are just metal anchors. You could also use Rivnuts for more strength:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
That looks interesting. I don't think I'd want to counter-sink into such thin material but the standard flat head style might be good if I can "tweak" the frame in slightly to make the thickness of the flange flush with where the frame should be. A BFH could probably do that job just fine.


Thanks for some suggestions. I'm still going to get some estimates cutting & welding a new section of steel in with a new nut in place but at least now I have some good alternatives.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

Thanks again Hawkze!

I decided to try the rivet nuts before taking any drastic measures and cutting more into my frame than need be. I ordered the following from McMasterCarr on MOnday and had them on my doorstep Tuesday morning:

96349A815 - M8 rivet tool - $25
Manual rivet nut installer. It was cheap but it only does M8 rivet nuts.
95105A191 - Zinc coated M8 rivet nuts - $5 for a pack of 10
I thought about stainless but I decided to go with zinc coated to try them first.

I also replaced the M8 screws with stainless hex heads so as not to have as much of a problems getting them out down the road if need be.

The body of the rivet nut was bout 17/32" so I used my 1/2" cobalt drill bit to open the existing hole up and then slowly massaged the hole bigger with an aluminum oxide tapered piece in the die grinder.

I used the installing tool & mandrel to get the rivet nut in position and pull it down. I torqued it to about 30lb/ft before installing the sway arm bracket at 16lb/ft. It didn't budge one bit.

All-in-all it went very smooth. Time will tell how long they hold up or if I should have gone with stainless.

After sizing the hole. That boogar you see inside is actually the broken/bent nut that is still welded on one side. I just beat it up until it was out of the way for installing the rivet.
Click the image to open in full size.

Rivet installed.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

Awesome! Sounds like you measured and did everything the right way

The beauty of rivnuts is when you install your fastener and tighten it down, it just makes the rivnut grab harder.
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ruined sway bar bracket screw hole in frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by godslayer View Post
Thanks again Hawkze!

I decided to try the rivet nuts before taking any drastic measures and cutting more into my frame than need be. I ordered the following from McMasterCarr on MOnday and had them on my doorstep Tuesday morning:

96349A815 - M8 rivet tool - $25
Manual rivet nut installer. It was cheap but it only does M8 rivet nuts.
95105A191 - Zinc coated M8 rivet nuts - $5 for a pack of 10
I thought about stainless but I decided to go with zinc coated to try them first.

I also replaced the M8 screws with stainless hex heads so as not to have as much of a problems getting them out down the road if need be.

The body of the rivet nut was bout 17/32" so I used my 1/2" cobalt drill bit to open the existing hole up and then slowly massaged the hole bigger with an aluminum oxide tapered piece in the die grinder.

I used the installing tool & mandrel to get the rivet nut in position and pull it down. I torqued it to about 30lb/ft before installing the sway arm bracket at 16lb/ft. It didn't budge one bit.
Thanks for this info, I've been wanting to fix a trunk bracket that was in the same situation as your broken weld nuts.
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