Any tips for loosening lower front shock bolts? - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
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Any tips for loosening lower front shock bolts?

It stopped raining long enough yesterday for me to put in my QuickStruts. Or so I thought. But not surprisingly the lower shock through bolts are completely welded into place. The nuts came off easy enough. The car has 155,000 miles. The original sport springs and struts. The lower arms were likely done at one point since they have zerk fittings.

I used some PB Blaster and 10 pound Ball Peen hammer along with a sledge. And a mild dose of MAPP gas. And they are not budging. The easiest way out would be new control arms and bolts. But the ball joints in the lower arms are actually fine. I've thrown enough money at the car that I'd really like to not destroy the lower control arms bushings by heating the bejesus out of them. I'm planning on replacing the rear tension arm bushings so taking it apart isn't horrible option. I'd just prefer not to have to spend the ~100.00 or so on new LCAs.

I have another option. Which would be to pull the parts car apart and salvage the LCAs and bolts. And move the drivers LCA and strut assemblies over, reinstall those in the parts car to keep it movable. That's a LOT of extra work. The parts cars LCAs are moog and it's likely they will come out. They probably have 2 years and. 30-40,000 miles on them. They are probably fine. But if your going to the trouble to swap the stuff it's debatable that it's worth bothering over new.

I do have the rear SRB bushings on hand. New camber adjusters. Quickstruts, sway bar links and outer tie rod ends. So at this point if I buy new LCAs the front will be all new except for one upper control arm and the front to frame bushings. I do have some OEM front to frame bushings on order but need some sleeves made up by 98LSC- which is a week or two at the soonest. It's tempting to just order the Craptastic Plastic front tension strut to frame bushings kit and just be done with it. And hold the OEM bushings in reserve for my other car. Replacing all this stuff while require an alignment. And when I get the rack done it will need yet another alignment. So simply getting the damn shock bolt at at this point would be a huge plus since I could retain the current LCAs. Replacing the rear tension strut bushings should not require an alignment as I recall. The other car didn't.

Option 3 would be to auction my pancreas off on eBay and just drop the car off with the rack and all the front end parts. Depending on how much time the mechanic has to spend hanging the new stuff and busting the bolts, sleeves and bushings loose this would probably add a couple hundred to the labor. But save 70.00 or so by only requiring it to be aligned once. Having said that I'd like to do what I can myself.

I'm going to give the lower shock bolts another try tonight or Tuesday. And if it's no go then I suppose I'll order LCAs and possibly bolts.

Any advice or tips is appreciated.

Last edited by 97CatMan; 09-14-2015 at 07:09 AM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 07:14 AM
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I did original front shock/coilover replacements on my bird back in ~2009, same boat as you. It took me two days to do one side, IIRC.

The problem stems from the fact that the bolts aren't the same diameter along their entire length - the 1/2" or 3/4" on the side nearest the head and the threaded section at the other end is about 1/32" larger in diameter than the section in the middle. On glorious northern cars, that creates a nice cavity of "empty space" inside the LCA-shock mount sleeve that is the perfect place for rust to brew... and lock in the bolt.

I was only able to get them out by first bending the flag back on the bolt and putting a socket on the head, then I used a massive breaker bar to break it free (of course after many a soak in PB Blaster). Once I was able to rotate it, more soaking in Blaster occurred as I rotated the head of the bolt in the direction to loosen it, which allowed the threads to "bite into" the rust sleeve that had been created around the thinner part of the center section of the bolt head. After some rotations of the bolt soaked in Blaster I would hit the end of the bolt to drive it through as I was turning the bolt to further enhance the "biting" action, and eventually - after several hours of this - I was able to get the head of the bolt out far enough that the "thin" section of the center of the bolt had been revealed between the LCA and mount of the shock. I sawed the bolt in half at that point and drove the remaining stuck portion out the back.

The next time I did front LCAs/front shocks on a car that had never had that bolt removed... I did them at the same time so I could skip it.

This is the thread I posted my method to most recently after I did it... http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=129099

Quote:
Originally Posted by theterminator93 View Post
The lower shock mounting bolt truly is a pain. The bolts themselves have a bit of a concave taper to them, and as time wears on the inside of the sleeve rusts away, causing it to kind of cave in on the bolt which holds it there.


Lots of PB-blaster, patience and a hacksaw is what I used. Load it up with blaster, let it sit for a few, then whack it out as far as you can. If you can, try to turn the head counter-clockwise to get the threads to help loosen up some of the rust to make it easier to get out. Repeat until you can see the inside end of the taper, then saw the head off. Knock it out from the other side, and voila.

You will need to re-open the bore of the inside of the sleeve somehow, more blaster and a pick (I used a flat-blade screwdriver) will help get it cleaned out.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Despite doing a quick google search yesterday for LCA strut mount bushings which came up zip I noticed when I started checking control arm prices at Rock Auto that the strut mount bushing IS serviced. So presumably I CAN heat this up to get it out. The Question now is. Are they pressed in or a slip fit? I'm guessing pressed. But they can probably be pressed in on the car by using C Clamps. So assuming I can get the bolts out of the parts car I should be able to blow these out. That should save the control arms. This might be a good job for a actual set of torches though.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 11:26 AM
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I did the same thing brandon did up until the hacksaw part, I use a drift to drive the bolt all the way out without cutting it, still have the factory OEM bolts on my car, just without the flag and very liberal coating of antisieze

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 01:05 PM
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You can try jacking the lower ball joint up a bit at a time to to take pressure off the bolt just have to find the right spot then turn while hitting it out.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 01:17 PM
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You may want to try a better penetrant than PB Blaster. A 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone is a killer combo.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 08:36 PM
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urambo Tauro View Post
You may want to try a better penetrant than PB Blaster. A 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone is a killer combo.
Don't remember where I read the data, but the torque values to break away bolts was significantly less than any of the commonly available penetrants. Now just need a good way to apply the mixture without getting it everywhere.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 10:41 PM
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In a test reported in Machinist's Workshop magazine, a bunch of similarly-rusted bolts were removed while measuring the required removal torque.

Quote:
Pentrating oil / Average load / Price per fluid ounce
None / 516 pounds /
WD-40 / 238 pounds / $0.25
PB Blaster / 214 pounds / $0.35
Liquid Wrench / 127 pounds / $0.21
Kano Kroil / 106 pounds / $0.75
ATF-Acetone mix / 53 pounds / $0.10
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=20131.0

The homemade mixture does have a tendency to separate. I was going to put it in a spray bottle, but I think that I would have to purge/bleed the straw each time before getting to the freshly shaken contents. So instead of that, I keep mine in a leftover friction modifier bottle (4oz), with the little nozzle on top. I have a larger 16oz bottle that I mix it in before pouring into the little bottle.

1996 Thunderbird LX (4.6), previous daily driver

1995 Mustang GT (5.0), daily driver
1995 GMC C2500 (5.7), alternate daily driver

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the advice. I had social event to attend last night and will hopefully be back under the the car tonite after work. One thing that did occur to me is that I assumed the arms had been replaced because they had greasable Zerks on the ball joints. The springs and shocks are the orginal Sport package fare. It's entirely possible that some one ran into the same issue and pressed in new ball joints with the arms on the car. I was getting a moderate amount of inner mounting bushing deflection when I was going all Thor on the bolt. If they are the original arms then that came with the car with newer ball ball joints pressed in than it might be a good reason to replace the lower arms. Anyone tell me if the OEM arm has a Ford Casting number on it? Weren't they made by TRW? Or was that the tie rod ends.

Regardless the bolts need to come out.

Good info on the penetrants. If there's anything I know it's that sometimes a stew of stuff works better than any single product at times. Also formulations change over the years. A example would be Liquid Wrench. Back in the eighties it simply stopped working and pretty much Everyone around switched en mass to PB Blaster. And some times nothing works. Other than heat and big hammer or just blowing the bolt and bushing out with a "hot wrench"

A friend with a shop and 3 decades of experience also suggested straight brake fluid. Which my dad used to use some times back when your choices were pretty much limited to to trans fluid, WD40 and Liquid Wrench and that was about it. Liquid Wrench back then came in a spout can. None of this fancy spray stuff

I'm curious about the acetone and trans fluid. I'm assuming straight full strength acetone and trans fluid. Can I use FLM, DexronIII or does it need to be MerconV?

I've also resigned myself to the fact that the fastest way to solve this may be to just bite the bullet and buy new LCAs.

It's been 2 years since I did the LCAs on the parts car. The shock mount does not seen to be under any significant load when the cars in the air. If I want to Sawzall the lower sheet metal portion of the mounting bracket off the strut body to gain some clearance that should be fine? I don't remember the parts cars strut violently unloading when I unbolted it from the parts car. They should be at full extension with the car in the air.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urambo Tauro View Post
In a test reported in Machinist's Workshop magazine, a bunch of similarly-rusted bolts were removed while measuring the required removal torque.


http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=20131.0

The homemade mixture does have a tendency to separate. I was going to put it in a spray bottle, but I think that I would have to purge/bleed the straw each time before getting to the freshly shaken contents. So instead of that, I keep mine in a leftover friction modifier bottle (4oz), with the little nozzle on top. I have a larger 16oz bottle that I mix it in before pouring into the little bottle.
While I beleive that this I'd be just as interested in how they determined the bolts were equally rusty. The scientist in me says you would probably need a pretty large control group and test samples before you could really draw some hard conclusions. Like 30-40 bolts minimum. I bet the articles a interesting read.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 10:51 AM
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From the April/May 2007 issue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97CatMan View Post
Good info on the penetrants. If there's anything I know it's that sometimes a stew of stuff works better than any single product at times. Also formulations change over the years. A example would be Liquid Wrench. Back in the eighties it simply stopped working and pretty much Everyone around switched en mass to PB Blaster. And some times nothing works. Other than heat and big hammer or just blowing the bolt and bushing out with a "hot wrench"

A friend with a shop and 3 decades of experience also suggested straight brake fluid. Which my dad used to use some times back when your choices were pretty much limited to to trans fluid, WD40 and Liquid Wrench and that was about it. Liquid Wrench back then came in a spout can. None of this fancy spray stuff

I'm curious about the acetone and trans fluid. I'm assuming straight full strength acetone and trans fluid. Can I use FLM, DexronIII or does it need to be MerconV?
LOL; I knew someone was going to ask that. I make mine from leftover Mercon V that I have sitting around. Acetone's easy to find at the hardware store.

You're right about changing formulas; something new could hit the shelves at any moment. It would be good for this 8-year old test to be performed again every few years to see if something better has come along. But for the time being, the homebrew kicks a$$, and even WD-40 is much better than nothing.

1996 Thunderbird LX (4.6), previous daily driver

1995 Mustang GT (5.0), daily driver
1995 GMC C2500 (5.7), alternate daily driver
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 08:09 PM
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That article should be stickied. Our "newest" car is now 17 years old.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 10:03 PM
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Cool

I literally did this labor day weekend. I feel better to hear that i wasn't the only one that it took me a full day to just do the one thing. {And I had to figure it out again today because that @$(@&# was still sort of stuck, even though i didn't tighten it. {I have to put everything back together and make the car "LOOK" drivable, or they will tow the car. I hate my apartment complex.

1. I put paracord through the upper frame/wheel well holes to try to take some of the weight off of the control arm/ball joint. Ended up doing it around the spindle too. Hang it with a square knot

Probably want to cover any rubber/bushings you aren't replacing. And PB blast the hell out of everything.

2. If you are replacing the swaybar links, then you probably want to get that out of the way now.

3. The trick is to get the weight off that bolt. It isn't really threaded through the LCA. The first time I bent that tab back as far as i could manage. And I even did some twisting and have lots of wonderful little scratches on my strut rod now.

Optional: (The first time i didn't have to take the strut rod off to get the bolt loose, but this time i did, go figure)

.) the first time i hit it with a milwakee electric impact wrench, it bent that tab and then i folded it back. And i tried to twist it out, even though there isn't a "thread" in the LCA. I should have known that because i had an extra one but oh well.

a) put pressure on/under the balljoint. Watch it sort of pivot. If you can get it compress just right (old springs), you can probably just drift punch that out or just sort of yank it out. Jimmy it with a screwdriver. Then fiddle more with the jack.

b) at a few different points i got a little desperate and put the pressure right on the little metal U for the shock. i think i had better results with the side towards the front. whichever side had more clearance i believe.

c) i think i had to go back and forth to see exactly where it went the 2nd time around [Post new spring install, working on LCA] That new spring had a lot more ummph to it i guess.

#####
i apologize about the extra i don't know what other items you are doing, but i will try to save you at least a day here with some other notes.

Link Stablilizer Replacement note:
I had to recycle the nut from the Link Stabalizers, the ones that came from moog wouldn't tighten, it would just spine mini joint.

UCA Replacement Note:
Put some paper or something in that little gap, so you don't drop one of those little <[]) bolt things in between.

I was able to use a 3/8 crow foot 18mm from napa to do most of the tightening (until i dropped that one, still have to fix it). It seems to bend/slip off right about where you want the torque to be.

I used the recommended 18mm box end wrench. (Mine was straight but i think it worked for the most part okay. For tightening i had to remove the violin case to get the extra clearance.

Strut Rod Reassembly Notes:
Be careful when you put the strut rod back in. Make sure your tie rods are in the right place first so you can save yourself some extra work.

LCA/Strut Rod Replacement Note:
If you happen to be replacing your Strut Rod Bushings, make sure you keep your old LCA. I had to tighten the "front" one on, because i couldn't get it to fit. The first one went in fine, the second one, not so much. Silicon, Press down with a wrench, even tried freezing the bar to make it get the little gap. In the end i just tightened it in the old control arm, and then untightened it. i had to have the holder wrench with my knees for the "temporary retighten" and stomp on it with the other foot to keep the LCA-OLD in place. Now that is some serious monkeying around.

//tool tip
Gear Wrench makes a nice open socket 6 point tool set.
Gearwrench 891226 25pc 1/2 drive passthrough

this thing really saved my bacon. I also have a similar non-swivel version from craftsman that helped.

I used deep impact sockets, wish i had regular impact sockets too, will be picking those up before i get to the other parts.


//ball joint
When separating the ball joint from the spindle. You might want to bang that in with a hammer, really really good. No grove left over, etc. It took me probably 2-3 hours of getting it into place, tightening it, hearing the gunshot as it shot off, but still no separating from the ball joint. This is the procedure from the "disappointing 10 minute" version. I hope you will be as disappointed as i was when it worked without a fight.

a) leave the caster adjusted bolt in
b) remove the shock/lca bolt
c) remove the strut rod, silicon not pb blaster on the strut rod side I used a 22mm wrench to support the strut, i would have prefered/wanted to find a 21mm but couldn't.
d) pb-blaster the knuckle to LCA (protect your bushings)
e) took the 30mm front/front item off strut rod bolt off
f) had the tie rod already off the knuckle so i could twist etc.
g) took the 24mm? bolt off the strut.
h) removed the inside/castor bolt
i) did some sort of weird twist, pivot towards the front of the car so i could sort of get around the strut rod.
j) pulled it out. you don't have to do any additional twisting. You might want to silicone it a few times.
k) slid out the strut rod.
L) put the LCA back in the castor bolt inside, did finger tight with maybe a light squeeze of a wrench.
M) hammer that thing in really good. Don't see any space in the little U for the ball joint puller/separator tool thing.
N) spin that wheel. 24mm i think for mine.
O) OH Boy, Pop!

//I replaced the LCA bushings, the front most bushings i did not. They sort of stayed there, and i already went way over my time. i did a quick feel and decided to just let them be. I didn't have pry bars and didn't feel like going to sears and running out my clock. So I left them.

Installation is sort of like that backwards. remember to watch that tie rod/strut rod on reassembly.

//Order
If you don't have a garage, I would recommend you leave lots of time. And after the fun i had with the LCA. I think it would be important to do one side of figuring out, and then just repeat the other side. I did UCA/spring Left, Right, reassemble, then break. Then starting again on the LCA/Strut Rod. Next time i will just do one side. [Well actually next time i am only going to fix exactly what is broken, but you get the idea]

//postcare
Reward + advil

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:16 AM
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I had a hell of a time finding replacement lower shock bolts.
What did you guys who broke the bolts use to reattach the shock??
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 05:19 PM
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They were still available when I replaced mine.

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 07:21 PM
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I guess we need to start a thread on Replacement bolts; I guess that's for the General Forum...

It's rough looking down the list of Discontinued parts in the catalog.

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 10:28 PM
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I guess we need to start a thread on Replacement bolts; I guess that's for the General Forum...

It's rough looking down the list of Discontinued parts in the catalog.
Try looking parts up for a 1988 Dodge Dakota sometimes, Grog *grins*

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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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The bolt should be NS808998-S436 sometimes listed as NS808998S436.

Monroe offered the bolt as a shock service part under AK68

I found a pair on eBay for around 20.00 shipped. So I bought them as insurance. Worse comes to worse I'll saw or torch these off. The car did have the lower ball joints replaced at some point. But given it had the original springs, the orginal shocks and I'm guessing the orginal lower arms and bushings. I was seeing a little more deflection than I liked when I was wailing on it with a ball peen trying to get the bolt out. So I'm making the educated guess that like everything else so far on the car they took the easy way out and just pressed in new bal joints. Since I already had new camber bolts sitting here along with the quick struts, sway bar links. Outer tie rod ends. Rear Strut rod. bushings. Etc I just decided to bite the bullet and grab two new LCAs. At that point the once the Racks in the entire front ends all new except for one Moog upper LCA that was already replaced when I bought the car.

I normally only have part Saturday and Sunday's to work on the car. So being able to saw, burn or torch the stuff out and just get the dang thing finished is the real priority. I wanted to save the LCAs but they are semi suspect.

I'm not sure I got the Best Moog LCAs but Summit Racing had them in stock. Ones a K800xx and ones a CK800xx. Both boxes are labeled made in the USA and they have the non greasable TRW style lower ball joint. So I think I got the desirable ones. I made them check the country of origin before I drove 120 round trip to get them. The arms are identical other than one being K and one being CK. The price was the same or very close to the R series which was all Advanced could get for me.

So one way or another this things hopefully coming apart Saturday and Sunday. And back together.

Summit listed a black rubber rear SRB kit that they didn't have in stock. I had the guy check the manufacturers info they have and it looks like they have solid steel sleeves. So I sprang the 15.00 and they are being drop shipped. I'm not holding out much hope but if they DO have solid sleeves it's worth the 15.00 to find that out. I'll report back on that. I'll probably wait till they show up to tear into things. I can't see tearing it apart twice.

Sure wish the OEM rear SRBs were still available. Rather than the Craptastic choices out there

So no update other than spending more money. And of course I still need to get the Shock bolts out along with the camber adjuster bolts.

I'm looking forward to getting done under the car. Once the front ends done and the JMods done hopefully I can move on to the bodywork stage. The rear springs, shocks,calipers, rotors and pads came out great. Sway bar mount bushings look OK front and back. But until all of the clunks and rattles are out of the front end its hard to tell.

EDiT: the SRB kits part AXT-AXK8659 and is showing that it should arrive today. I'll have a look after I get back from the Zappa show tonight.

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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 09:13 AM
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I guess it's a good sign that most stuff on my 1996 has been easy, the only bolt that was trouble was the inner LCA bolts on both sides.
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Just to note the AXT-AXK8659 Kit contains split sleeves
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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 06:37 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Yakima, WA
Posts: 478
Rust isn't too bad in my area. What my family has done is use the penetrating oil, remove the nut, return the nut to the bolt and thread it on the depth of the nut to protect the threads and pound the bolt out with a hammer against nut/bolt end.

1992 Tbird LX 5.0, 3.73 gears, 1995 Cobra intake, deleted air silencer, 2.5" mandrel bent dual exhaust, SCP shorty headers. Updated four-hole fuel injectors. SK shift kit in AOD. Vogtland 0.9" springs, Tokico and Bilstein shocks.
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