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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

well, I made a brilliantly blocked headed blunder yesterday. I think my torque wrench malfunctioned, because i was tightening the right hand upper triple clamp bolt and it seemed quite tight, but i heard/felt no click from the torque wrench. In my infinite wisdom, I just kept tightening, until, SNAP! I broke the bolt.

About half of the threaded portion of the bolt is still threaded into the clamp.

I tried drilling a pilot hole for a bolt extractor ("easy-out" type), but couldn't hardly get a hole going. My idea is to get a different drill bit better suited to drilling steel, and see if I can get a hole deep enough for the bolt extractor. However, I just don't know if the bolt extractor will work once I get the hole drilled.

Any other recommendations for removing the broken bolt? I'd like to avoid replacing the whole top triple!

grassyass,

SM
 

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Use a left handed drill bit. Sometimes you get lucky and the bit spins the bolt out. Use some cutting oil, and go slowly. Slowish speed on the drill.

And leave the damn torque wrench in the bottom of the tool box, where it belongs 99.9% of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yes I read somewhere else about the left hand drill bit trick, but haven't been able to find any locally in stock (checked lowes, advance auto, autozone). Where do you get them? do you think it's better to try this before trying the bolt extractor?

also, I wasn't able to get the pilot hole started exactly in the center. Is that going to be a huge problem?
 

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yes I read somewhere else about the left hand drill bit trick, but haven't been able to find any locally in stock (checked lowes, advance auto, autozone). Where do you get them? do you think it's better to try this before trying the bolt extractor?

also, I wasn't able to get the pilot hole started exactly in the center. Is that going to be a huge problem?
You might try a conventional drill bit from the back, CW rotation will screw it out the front if/when it comes free. Removing the triple tree and placing in a vice will help. Soak in Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster overnight, use brand new drill bits, start with the smallest diameter, go shallow, angle the next larger bit to correct for off center from previous drill. There is a good chance that will work. I rarely have had success with screw extractors, and if one breaks off in the bolt, you are screwed... If the hole is well centered, as Rich said, the drill may be all you need. If drilled off center, you are in trouble.

Or, if you remove the triple tree, take it to a machine shop, they will mill it out in 2 seconds, probably for cheap.
 

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You might try a conventional drill bit from the back, CW rotation will screw it out the front if/when it comes free. Removing the triple tree and placing in a vice will help. Soak in Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster overnight, use brand new drill bits, start with the smallest diameter, go shallow, angle the next larger bit to correct for off center from previous drill. There is a good chance that will work. I rarely have had success with screw extractors, and if one breaks off in the bolt, you are screwed... If the hole is well centered, as Rich said, the drill may be all you need. If drilled off center, you are in trouble.

Or, if you remove the triple tree, take it to a machine shop, they will mill it out in 2 seconds, probably for cheap.
Yeah, that's what I was gonna say...

First, use a smaller bit (bout 1/3rd of the diameter of the bolt and drill into it a bit, maybe smaller), then use a fairly larger bit to see if it'll bite into it and spin it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You might try a conventional drill bit from the back, CW rotation will screw it out the front if/when it comes free. Removing the triple tree and placing in a vice will help. Soak in Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster overnight, use brand new drill bits, start with the smallest diameter, go shallow, angle the next larger bit to correct for off center from previous drill. There is a good chance that will work. I rarely have had success with screw extractors, and if one breaks off in the bolt, you are screwed... If the hole is well centered, as Rich said, the drill may be all you need. If drilled off center, you are in trouble.

Or, if you remove the triple tree, take it to a machine shop, they will mill it out in 2 seconds, probably for cheap.
Thanks for the thoughts. I can't go in from the back, the clamp on the triple tree where this bolt goes in is closed on that end.

So if I take it to a machine shop and they "mill" it out, what is that doing? will a stock bolt thread in there right once they're done?
 

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The torque on those bolts is less than 20 ft/lbs I believe, about as tight as oil drain bolts.

I would pull the triple off and take it to have the stud removed. It'll be alot easier and might even be quicker.

Last thing you want to do is make it worse.
 

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... So if I take it to a machine shop and they "mill" it out, what is that doing? will a stock bolt thread in there right once they're done?
They will mount the tree in a milling machine which will allow perfect alignment and dead center material removal. Basically like a high precision drill press. This guarantees no damage and enough material removal to be sure the broken bolt comes out. No helicoil, same original thread hole.

If you want to try DIY, you can buy left hand drills here. Since this bolt snapped due to over-torque as opposed to corrosion, it may not be too difficult to get out. If you do try it yourself and things get crooked/off-center, you can always stop (BEFORE going too far) and get pro help at that point. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's an update (actually did this several days ago, but haven't been on the forum for a while).

So I can confirm what others suspected: once I got the hole drilled deep enough to get the bolt extractor firmly hammered into the bolt, it came out easily. the hardest part really was getting the hole drilled. I used a couple new cobalt drill bits, with some motor oil (couldn't find cutting oil). I was worried because the hole wasn't centered, and I threatened the triple tree that it would be taken off and taken to the machine shop if it didn't cooperate. So it did. once the got the easy-out tapped in, it was stick out at a weird angle, but I very carefully turned the bolt out with an adjustable wrench (it took slightly more torque than I could do with my fingers). Woohoo!

So I'm on the road again, after a completely bone headed mistake that took days to recify. at least I know more about extracting bolts now ;)
 
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