Bolt out!

I spent a few hours drilling yesterday with my friend’s Dewalt battery powered drill and was pleased to note that progress was much better – I think I got a good half inch after quite a bit of work and a new Dewalt bit. I think that the old drill that I had gotten from a pawn shop for $20 was not aligned very well and probably the rotational movement was translated into a circular one, and this made it difficult to make progress drilling. The new bit was cobalt,dual tipped and hex-ended on the drive end so that I could use the extension bar which is needed for this project. After about 3-4 hours of drilling, I had about 1/2 an inch, and went to try the easy out (a reverse threaded triangular bit) with the drill. Unfortunately its square end (gives more torque) does not couple well with the extension bar. Still, I managed to get the easy out stuck twice, and I was very afraid that I would have to have the truck towed because the place where it was, wanted it moved. I tried yanking on it with vice grips and turning the vice grips with channel locks, but nothing would budge. I finally did get the easy out back out so that I could use the old short bolt to start the truck. The broken bolt was really stuck.

As I drove the truck to a mechanic who said that he could extract it in a couple of hours at $80/hour, I thought with all of the talk about heating and torching the block to get the bolt out (googling for more info on building a heatshield for the fuel line to try this option had yielded a lot of info on flame retardant clothing :), why not try just allowing the block to heat up by driving it around? It is afterall metallically connected to the engine – which can get pretty hot. Although possibly not as environmentally correct as a propane torch, it had to be safer with the fuel line passing right next to the bolt. So after a 5 minute chat with the mechanic who was pretty strapped for time and space and not keen on tackling the project immediately (seized bolts rank among their least favorite projects), I drove the truck around for a bit putting together a coupling that would work on the easy out. The amazing thing is that after I rigged something with an adapter from the hex driver to the square one (3/16th), the stuck part of the bolt slipped right out with the easy out and the drill (obviously the drill has to drill in the direction one is turning the bolt – that is reverse). It took less than one minute, and the hole wasn’t even completely or even really closely centered properly. Getting the block hot really was the trick.

A lot of elation (virtual cigar or champagne) – the prospect of handing the project over to someone else had really irked me after all this work. Now, the new problem is the truck’s neutral safety switch was activated when someone tried to help me to start it with the old bolt. I think it can be pretty easily activated if you put pressure on the gear selector while turning the key. I had done the work at the meter in front of the mechanics in case everything had failed. So, not yet mobile, the truck is probably where everyone wants it to be – at the mechanics, and after a long day, I will have to get up very early tomorrow to deal with this new problem. The meter starts at 6am.

Daily log:
starter bolt removal and changing rooms is urgent and can be solved today.
parking, housing, foot problems, other truck problems is urgent and will require priority time over the next few days.

1. You spent 30 minutes talking with family/friends before the day started.
2. You spent 29 minutes to take out compost, feed birds, do laundry, clean bathroom.
3. You spent 55 minutes to bike with spin and petey to the park and train down from a standing position with Petey. He used to only do it from a kneeling position, his attention focusses on me and not the treat when I stand up. We did about 25 downs and he eventually got it.
4. You spent 90 minutes to drill at starter bolt, remove stuck easy out, reassemble starter, and start truck.
5. You spent 10 minutes to play ball with host’s dogs.
6. You spent 2 hours to get groceries, and drive around, and put together a solution to the easy out/ extension bar coupling with help from various people at hardware and autoparts stores.
7. You spent 1 hour to take Petey and Spin out for off-leash activity at the dog park. All play and no training.
8. You spent 1 hour to remove starter bolt, and try to restart truck.
9. You spent 10 minutes to cook dinner.
10. You spent 20 minutes to talk to friends/family about day.
11. You spent 1 hour writing on the computer for the blog and researching neutral safety switches.
12. You spent 30 minutes walking Spin and Petey 15 blocks.

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