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Old 03-03-2015, 02:32 AM   #1
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Broken valve cover bolt

I was torqueing my valve cover bolts on my 98 gt and snapped one. What do i do now?? Is it safe to drive to the autoparts store tomorrow? That bolt snapped like a twig. Im wondering if my torque wrench isnt functioning correctly. Thanks. All help is much appreciated
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:49 AM   #2
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Just noticed my torque wrench was set for foot pounds not inch pounds. So how do i get the broken stud out? Hopefully i dont have to remove valve cover
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:04 AM   #3
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Are there any threads left in the whole? If so you might be able to just get a shorter bolt sense it's under no strain really. Or you can get a pick and see if you can turn it out that way. Or if all those fail you'd have to drill out the old hole run a tap down it and put a Hilo coil in it or a fix a thread? They have them at the parts stores. Just need to know the size of the bolt. Also you should be fine to drive a little. It's probably going to leak a little though
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:10 AM   #4
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Thank u. I will try to get it out with a pick first
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
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They sell "reverse" drill bits at most auto parts stores. These bits run I reverse, and they will frequently back the broken bolt out of the hole, as you are drilling into the bolt. Then it is just a matter of finding a suitable bolt as a replacement.

I rarely find it necessary to use a torque wrench on bolts that are a small diameter like that. In fact, I don't even own an inch/lb torque wrench. I just snug them up good with a 3/8 ratchet.
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:50 PM   #6
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You can also buy a "Grab It" bit from a hardware store for about $7 & that will take it out.
Used one to remove broken Water Pump & Timing Cover Bolts.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:49 PM   #7
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I wish you luck with the pick method.
I suggest you get familiar with "Broken Bolt Extractors". The "Grab It" is one type.
You can count on youtube to have some demo's on how it works.
If the pick method doesn't work, chances are you will end up having to drill a small hole in the end of the bolt to allow the use of an extractor. Be sure you use a center punch to indent the center of the bolt before trying to drill it. A reverse drill bit is a good idea. With any kind of luck that may be all you need. The drill size must be chosen based on the extractor you will be using.
DO NOT drill out the entire bolt with the idea of re-tapping it or inserting a hilo coil. That's only if everything else fails, and it won't.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:00 PM   #8
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Get an easy out kit. It may smoke a little under the hood if you drive it due to the valve cover leaking on the headers and running down the heads. Just check you oil frequently and no harm will be done.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:06 PM   #9
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I got a screw extractor set today. But should i take off the valve cover? It seems like more work than needed if i use the screw extractor. On the other hand, if i take off valve cover i can just twist it out with pliers. And then do i need to get new gasket? Or re use the old one?
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:28 PM   #10
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I would get a new gasket so you don't have to worry about that as well. Their not too expensive anyway

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Old 03-03-2015, 11:49 PM   #11
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If you think that you can get the bolt out by removing the valve cover and using a pair of vice-grips, or something, to remove the bolt, I highly recommend that you try that first.
Drilling or using an extractor of some sort can sometimes make matters worse and should be used as a last resort. Especially in the case of breaking an extractor off inside of the broken bolt that you are trying to remove. The extractor is made of very hard steel and when they break inside of a bolt, they are very difficult to drill out again.
The bolt that you are trying to remove is a very small diameter. You will only be able to use a very small, thin extractor. Those are the ones that break the easiest!

And yes, I would replace the valve cover gasket.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:00 AM   #12
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I'd leave the valve cover on if you can that way it'll help from little metal shavings get into your engine. And I forgot about the little speed outs and yes drill and tap is a last resort. But sometime the only option. And I can attest to the do not break and easy out. From past experience if that were to happen the way I got mine out I had to use a dremel and a Diamond tipped file and grind a slit in the top of it and turn it with a screw driver to knock it out
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstyle408 View Post
I got a screw extractor set today. But should i take off the valve cover? It seems like more work than needed if i use the screw extractor. On the other hand, if i take off valve cover i can just twist it out with pliers. And then do i need to get new gasket? Or re use the old one?
I always try the easiest route first. You got a screw extractor set, why not try using it? It may come out easy. If still a problem, go for the valve cover removal.
Do it!
Edit: It almost looks like you may not have any of the broken bolt above the head. If that's so, removing the valve cover won't help that much if you can't grab the end of the bolt.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:33 AM   #14
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I've never torqued valve covers...hand tight always worked fine. Does spec call for torqueing them? Crap, now I gotta google

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Old 03-04-2015, 11:37 AM   #15
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I've never torqued valve covers...hand tight always worked fine. Does spec call for torqueing them? Crap, now I gotta google

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Hers some torque info...guess valve covers are supposed to be @ 10ft lbs.... http://www.boxwrench.net/specs/ford_289_302-5.0.htm

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Old 03-04-2015, 12:05 PM   #16
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Just a quick FYI.
Those specs that Fomoco just gave are for a small block Ford pushrod engine.

The correct torque specifications for the valve cover bolts on a 4.6 are 71-106 INCH/lbs.
It is recommended to torque the bolts in two steps, waiting a few minutes in between the steps.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by straybullitt View Post
Just a quick FYI.
Those specs that Fomoco just gave are for a small block Ford pushrod engine.

The correct torque specifications for the valve cover bolts on a 4.6 are 71-106 INCH/lbs.
It is recommended to torque the bolts in two steps, waiting a few minutes in between the steps.
My bad, thanks for clarification. Hand tight is the way I'll always go anyhoo, lol

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Old 03-05-2015, 03:42 PM   #18
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No, use a torque wrench. And follow the correct torque sequence for the bolts. You need a torque wrench for the spark plugs anyway so if you don't have one that can to this range you should go get one regardless.

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Old 03-05-2015, 05:23 PM   #19
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I was waiting for ^^^ that haha a torque wrench is really important. I got an digital one from craftsmen that does ft/lbs in/lbs and Newton meters all in one
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:28 AM   #20
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That bolt literally does not matter.. Forget about it, honestly. If it comes out with a reverse thread drill bit, then that's good. Otherwise its really no big deal. In dirt bikes, we will straight up take the valve cover off and run the engine while inspecting the valve train. Overhead cam engines that are a lot more finicky than these bastards are. They make Valve covers with plugs in them that you can remove if you want to stick a camera in there to watch valve float.


As long as its not leaking oil, or letting stuff in, you're good. Its not a damn space ship guys.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:09 AM   #21
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That bolt literally does not matter.. Forget about it, honestly.
Then why is that bolt there in the first place? Seems to me that Ford wouldn't go around putting random nuts and bolts on something unless they actually needed to be there... stupid statements like this are the reason bad tech runs rampant on this forum.

OP get a set of regular drill bits and reverse drill bits. Drill a snall pilot hole with the regular bit and then run it out with the reverse bit. Drilling the pilot hole will give the reverse bit something more to grab onto and should make it a bit easier to pull out. The good news is you broke it off in an easy location to reach with a drill.
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:46 PM   #22
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Then why is that bolt there in the first place? Seems to me that Ford wouldn't go around putting random nuts and bolts on something unless they actually needed to be there... stupid statements like this are the reason bad tech runs rampant on this forum.

OP get a set of regular drill bits and reverse drill bits. Drill a snall pilot hole with the regular bit and then run it out with the reverse bit. Drilling the pilot hole will give the reverse bit something more to grab onto and should make it a bit easier to pull out. The good news is you broke it off in an easy location to reach with a drill.
Ford put that there because if they pumped out a million of those things missing bolts, there would eventually be a leaky one that caused problems.

What do you think is going to happen in the absence of that bolt? Its just a damn valve cover. And if it was soooo important, why didn't they use a little beefier bolt for it?

As long as the 2 on either side of that bolt are fine, you have about a 10% chance of anything ever even leaking out of that valve cover. Let alone enough of it to cause engine damage.


Oh and just so you know, they DID make the 4.6 without that bolt. The god damn Windsor blocks and Romeo 4.6 blocks are made in different plants. One has an 13 bolt valve cover, the other has 11. So, if each bolt is SOO integral, then why did they get away with making valve covers that had 2 or 3 fewer bolts in the other blcoks?
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:21 PM   #23
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Ford put that there because if they pumped out a million of those things missing bolts, there would eventually be a leaky one that caused problems.

What do you think is going to happen in the absence of that bolt? Its just a damn valve cover. And if it was soooo important, why didn't they use a little beefier bolt for it?

As long as the 2 on either side of that bolt are fine, you have about a 10% chance of anything ever even leaking out of that valve cover. Let alone enough of it to cause engine damage.


Oh and just so you know, they DID make the 4.6 without that bolt. The god damn Windsor blocks and Romeo 4.6 blocks are made in different plants. One has an 13 bolt valve cover, the other has 11. So, if each bolt is SOO integral, then why did they get away with making valve covers that had 2 or 3 fewer bolts in the other blcoks?

It broke because he was torquing it to foot pounds and not inch pounds so what 12 times the rating for the bolt? I wonder why it broke. And if the bolts are spread out differently then yeah you can get buy with lesser bolts. I mean a 390 only has 5 bolts just put five in and call good. They make 4 lug hubs does that mean your going to leave off a lug nut because they make 4 lug hubs? No.
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:09 PM   #24
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It broke because he was torquing it to foot pounds and not inch pounds so what 12 times the rating for the bolt? I wonder why it broke. And if the bolts are spread out differently then yeah you can get buy with lesser bolts. I mean a 390 only has 5 bolts just put five in and call good. They make 4 lug hubs does that mean your going to leave off a lug nut because they make 4 lug hubs? No.
You're not seeing this for what it is. Its a damn valve cover.. It takes NO load from anything. Its only job is to keep dirt off the valve train and also keep oil from splashing out..

"oh well they made it that way so don't even question it everything will explode if you don't do it all perfectly!!!".

I am going to go pull a bolt out of my valve cover right now and drive around just fine. Just to prove a point. The absolute worst that's going to happen is a little bit drips out of it after a few months


Its not like you're taking a head bolt out where it takes a lot of load and deals with thermal expansion and things.. its just a cap on top of the valves to contain oil from splashing out and to keep dirt out. ANd this is only 1 of like 11 or 13 bolts.


I like how nobody has explained to me what bad is going to come of not having that bolt in there.. Just leave it the way it is, because trying to fix it is just going to make it worse for him. Think about it. Drilling that out is going to be hard considering how tiny the bolt is, and then using a reverse thread bit only works about 30% of the time anyways if you're lucky. You know that bolt is jammed the F in there, so when you run a revers thread bit through the middle, the bolt gets wider and just gets jammed in even fricken harder until the thing just tears through the bolt all together


You have a bigger chance of screwing things up if you try and take it out of there by drilling all kinds of holes and **** into it. Somebody too inexperienced to set a torque wrench correctly is going to probably have a tough time drilling a pilot hole through a tiny little bolt and then using a reverse thread bit to get it out. Its garunteed to **** up the threads in that hole. And then what are you guys gonna say? GO at it with a tap? Think that's gonna work out well for him too?
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:22 PM   #25
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Remove most of the bolts Panther... A big block Ford only uses 4 bolts to hold the valve cover on.

The pictured valve cover is made of aluminum. I think that the reason for so many bolts on the modular engines is because the valve covers are constructed from plastic. There is probably a chance of them warping over time.
And some of us don't like having broken bolts on our engines.

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Old 03-07-2015, 04:24 PM   #26
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Remove most of the bolts Panther... A big block Ford only uses 4 bolts to hold the valve cover on.

The pictured valve cover is made of aluminum. I think that the reason for so many bolts on the modular engines is because the valve covers are constructed from plastic. There is probably a chance of them warping over time.
And some of us don't like having broken bolts on our engines.

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Yeah well hes gonna just break more ****. Better off just leaving it alone. And really, how big of a deal is this **** if they were making them from plastic in the first place.. I have a feeling its not rocket science. Whatever "screw" this "thread" about "bolts" lol. Lame!!!!
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:37 PM   #27
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Yeah well hes gonna just break more ****. Better off just leaving it alone. And really, how big of a deal is this **** if they were making them from plastic in the first place.. I have a feeling its not rocket science. Whatever "screw" this "thread" about "bolts" lol. Lame!!!!
Some of us don't like half-assing a job....
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:37 PM   #28
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I do agree with Panther the OP is better off leaving it alone. Keep an eye on it if it becomes a problem then address it.


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Old 03-07-2015, 04:42 PM   #29
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Some of us don't like half-assing a job....
Okay well this guy goes after this problem himself, has an 80% chance of making things worse, a 10% chance of the situation not getting worse or better, and a 10% chance of the bolt coming out with the threads in the head being in tact.

ANd then he will come back on here and you guys will tell him about using a tap to re thread the bolt hole.. and then theres a 99% chance of something expensive happening there..

Sometimes you have to just pick your battles.
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:47 PM   #30
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Seams to me that if you can grab ahold of it with pliers by removing the valve cover then that would be the best way to take it out.


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Old 03-07-2015, 04:49 PM   #31
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Okay well this guy goes after this problem himself, has an 80% chance of making things worse, a 10% chance of the situation not getting worse or better, and a 10% chance of the bolt coming out with the threads in the head being in tact.

ANd then he will come back on here and you guys will tell him about using a tap to re thread the bolt hole.. and then theres a 99% chance of something expensive happening there..

Sometimes you have to just pick your battles.
This is assuming an awful lot though.

Cstyle408 might be AMAZING at extracting broken bolts!

I wonder if he has made any progress?
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:01 PM   #32
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You need to remove the valve cover or your chances are slim at getting that out. You could leave it but it will leak. At least it's not a back bolt which would make it more difficult and would drip out on the headers. If you don't know how to do this yourself you might want to just pay someone who can get it done. I personally would not leave it like that though. Good luck man.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:04 PM   #33
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Seams to me that if you can grab ahold of it with pliers by removing the valve cover then that would be the best way to take it out.


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THat would be very nice. I hope it works that way for him.

Do you guys have any advice in the case of this? I know just putting a death grip on it with some pliers might work... but you could also treat it like a stud and use stud removal techniques.

You know? The 2 nut method on the end of a stud that acts like the head of a bolt. Im not a master at it though and I have only got that to work well a handful of times on motorcycles.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:19 PM   #34
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THat would be very nice. I hope it works that way for him.

Do you guys have any advice in the case of this? I know just putting a death grip on it with some pliers might work... but you could also treat it like a stud and use stud removal techniques.

You know? The 2 nut method on the end of a stud that acts like the head of a bolt. Im not a master at it though and I have only got that to work well a handful of times on motorcycles.
There's a couple different ways. You can get some vice grips on it, there's some pliers made by Knipex that are designed to grip tighter the more force you put on it, or you can get a screw extractor socket.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:21 PM   #35
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There's a couple different ways. You can get some vice grips on it, there's some pliers made by Knipex that are designed to grip tighter the more force you put on it, or you can get a screw extractor socket.
I like the sounds of that screw extractor socket. Glad I asked about it because that sounds like a really useful tool just based on the mental image I have in my head of how it probably works.
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