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Purchased a 2004 GTO and want to install headers The problem is steel bolts in aluminum heads. looking for any advise on removing the bolts without snapping them off in the head any advise on it being completed would be appreciated
Thanks
 

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Mine came out without any problems but if they are not coming out easily, heat is your friend. Do it with engine hot. Be careful not to burn yourself. Use thick gloves and socket extension. Go back and forth to loosen it up. Tighten just a little and loosen, it should go.
Heating up the bolt with blow torch is the next step if first step doesn’t work. Some people say to heat it up with blow torch and cool it of immediately with cold water. I would be afraid to do it on my car that way but just mentioning if it comes to desperate measures.
 

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Advise? Use a socket and ratchet. It’s not like it’s common for a bolt to get stuck in LS heads.
 

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Advise? Use a socket and ratchet. It’s not like it’s common for a bolt to get stuck in LS heads.
Guy planning to install the JBA headers I just sold said he has already broken off 2 or 3 manifold bolts trying to get the manifolds off. I think age is catching up with these cars.
 

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Guy planning to install the JBA headers I just sold said he has already broken off 2 or 3 manifold bolts trying to get the manifolds off. I think age is catching up with these cars.
Sounds more like alzheimers catching up with the bolt snapper. I've built dozens of bikes without breaking off a bolt.
 

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It's common with a lot of older 5.3l heads. Ton of older 243 casting heads out there with broken off exhaust bolt heads.

It's a common enough problem that special tools are made for their extraction.

Al + Fe + heat + corrosion = FU!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Like what do you recommend that will get the job done with out breaking bolts, I thought i was asking for help from those who have an expertise in getting it done.
 

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If you can get to it use a hand impact, the type you thump with a hammer, they rarely take no for an answer.
 

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Guy planning to install the JBA headers I just sold said he has already broken off 2 or 3 manifold bolts trying to get the manifolds off. I think age is catching up with these cars.
Yep, that was me, except I found them already broken off. :) I was able to pull them out by double-nutting them after spraying them with PB Blaster a couple times. The rest of the bolts came out without breaking any. For the manifold to mid-pipe bolts, I ended up twisting/breaking them off since I doubt they had ever been removed before.

Greg
 

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manifold to midpipe studs are the worst.

oddly enough when i did the y-pipe on my bravada, those things came off like butter with an impact and some pb=blaster even though the truck has like 200k+ on it. i was surprised. I was ready to swap manifolds on it.

now i have a spare set of 4.3L vortec manifolds that i just have sitting around.
 

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Yep, that was me, except I found them already broken off. :) I was able to pull them out by double-nutting them after spraying them with PB Blaster a couple times. The rest of the bolts came out without breaking any. For the manifold to mid-pipe bolts, I ended up twisting/breaking them off since I doubt they had ever been removed before.

Greg
That's right, sorry I misquoted you. Glad it all came apart okay and that you got your "new" JBA stuff installed. I was always VERY happy with it all.
 

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I always use anti seize on the header bolts
On the GTO Im using stainless studs in the heads with flange nuts
 

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i've never had to deal with this on an LS, but:

i think the key would have to be to take your time, and to loosen up the amount of friction between the threads as a result of the corrosion. if you put too much torque on any bolt, you will snap it. if the corrosion causes friction/binding higher than the torque that will make the bolt start to yeild, is where i think you run into issues.

i would try heat (MAP or maybe propane) and pblaster, or some other rust penetrant. heat will transfer through the aluminum head pretty quickly, though, so be careful and just focus on the bolt itself and heat it up quick for a few seconds, just enough to loosen it up. I would also not put too much torque on the bolt, you don't want to go past it's yield point. You may try also tightening as well as loosening to try to break the bolt threads free of the corrosion.

i really don't know what the heat will do to the head and whatever heat treatment the alloy may have. i would be careful to not to get the cylinder head very hot. a similar precation i think you would take to heating a suspension part to get a bolt out -- only slight heat, not enough to change the structure of the metal.
 
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