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2001 Legacy L Sedan, 2009 Impreza Sedan, 2013 Crosstrek, 2016 WRX
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134 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Was swapping the subframe on my 01 rust belt car. Previously I had drilled 2 small holes and soaked the tops of the front two bolts with 3 rounds of Kroil over the past 2 weeks. The two rears and one front bolt came out fine. But the last front bolt was about halfway out when SNAP. We had enough sticking out to get a nut welded on it, got it to turn some more, and then SNAP again just above the nut. Now we have enough meat left for one last try with a welded nut but I am bracing for the worse.


  • Assuming I move to bolt extraction what would you guys recommend? I've seen some say to drill and use a bolt extractor, and I've seen others say don't bother, you'll just snap the extractor too and have more of a mess to drill.
  • I've seen some say to drill, then use a dremel on slow with diamond bits to get the bolt out. After re-tap and the threads may be ok.
  • I've also seen some guys say given the age they'll just use 3 bolts and drive the car into the ground haha.
Any tips to help me through this? At the very least I want to clean the 3 other holes with a chaser but what thread size do I need?

As far as drill bits for these hardended bolts, is there a specific type / brand that you would recommend?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
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9,965 Posts
Why not just cut the section of sub frame if you're replacing the sub frame?

Then it will just slide off and you should have a lot more material exposed.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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25,426 Posts
@Lverano may have a suggestion.

and may link a pic of the "huge azz" drill that fixes or destroys everything in its path.
 

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2001 Legacy L Sedan, 2009 Impreza Sedan, 2013 Crosstrek, 2016 WRX
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134 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Why not just cut the section of sub frame if you're replacing the sub frame?

Then it will just slide off and you should have a lot more material exposed.
We have the old subframe off, the problem is the bolt snapped so it's the rest of the bolt that's hanging off the vehicle. I need to either remove the bolt or extract it.

In addition to the above, I've seen some say to try twisting right after welding while the bolt is hot, and others say to let it cool. I'd think cooler would be better for expansion reasons but what is everyone's thoughts here?
 

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while a course of action is being thought of,

penetrating oil can be being sprayed 2x a day.
 

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2001 Legacy L Sedan, 2009 Impreza Sedan, 2013 Crosstrek, 2016 WRX
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134 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
while a course of action is being thought of,

penetrating oil can be being sprayed 2x a day.
Trust me I'm already on that. Have been doing that since Saturday night and will continue until I get to the car again this weekend after my work week.

Looked online for diamond dremel bits and most look pretty small. Anyone in here use those?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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before you spray again I had a outside the box thought. and wonder if anyone has tried similar:

get a ice gel pack and hold it down on the bolt with a pair of needle nose pliers.

and then warm the surrounding metal with a small torch set on its mildest setting.

and see if you can get a little more penetrating oil onto the cold bolt.

(critique away :smile2: ).
 

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Premium Member
2019 Outback 3.6R Limited Magnelite Grey and loaded; '98 Legacy Outback Limited MT-53,150 miles!
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195 Posts
Heat is your friend.

I don't know the situation so I ask if this is a bolt that could be drilled through to open space on the side away from the head (was) ?

If it is a through hole and if you have an acetylene torch set you can blow the bolt out with the cutting torch. Just heat it red then give it a blast of oxygen - bingo, bolt disappeared! Then run the right tap through. If it isn't a through hole don't try this.
 

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85BRAT97SVX03Baja5mtHonda's
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just center punch for a small drill bit. Drill center ed, one size, then next size, then final size. Remaining threads of bolt will fall out, then clean chase with a tap. Then use antisieze on reassemble, don't oover torque, use common sense.

soemtimes, just buying a south/western car at auction and paying the shipping is just the better option when rust sets in anyway.
 

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2001 Legacy L Sedan, 2009 Impreza Sedan, 2013 Crosstrek, 2016 WRX
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Discussion Starter #12
So we got it out. Welded a nut on, got it to turn around completely maybe once digging the bolt out a little more and then SNAP, the bold broke in half right at the nut again. We welded a second time, and then a third time and each was the same. At first we thought it was our weld breaking but no, you could see the bolt remains still in the nut so it was just twisting and snapping. My guess is the extreme heat we had put the end sticking out of the car's body made it incredibly brittle.

Finally we center punched as best we could and started drilling with some Cobalt bits. I had a very cheap endoscope camera that attaches to my phone so I was able to stick it in the hole we drilled and see how things were looking each time, mostly making sure we were not scraping threads. After the hole was a little bigger than half the width of the bolt we hammered in a SQUARE (not those awful twisty ones that snap in half and don't grab anything) bolt extractor. We put a small wrench on the end and SURPRISE the bolt unscrewed right out. I think the extractor was able to grab up high enough where the bolt remains were farther away from the heat and not as brittle. After that we cleaned the threads with a M14-1.5 tap and moved on to re-assembly.

Hopefully this helps someone down the line.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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987 Posts
Easy fix

Easy fix. Heat is everything. Get yourself a Bernzomatic TS8000 torch (currently the most helpful tool I own) and these stud extractor sockets for next time and I'll bet you won't have as much trouble. Good luck, few are brave enough to remove that rear sub frame. I contemplated it on some other Subaru's I've had, but decided I never want to remove a rear sub frame from a Subaru for as long as I live.

 

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Easy fix. Heat is everything. Get yourself a Bernzo TS8000 torch, it'll be the best tool you own, and you can braze/weld bronze flux rods with it to work on exhaust if you need to. Then, get these sockets you see in the video link, and you are good to go. If you don't have these sockets (video) and the Bernzomatic ts8000 torch, your just screwing around. Penetrating oil isn't going to do much of anything by itself. Good luck. Sub frames are a monster PITA. I never actually did a whole sub frame replacement, and I never want to as long as I live.

in the project cars you got: getting at one earlier vs. later is a option. like deciding that you are going to swap one that is still functionally good but rusting, before it is a PITA.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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987 Posts
in the project cars you got: getting at one earlier vs. later is a option. like deciding that you are going to swap one that is still functionally good but rusting, before it is a PITA.
I will never swap a sub frame. If it's rusting, then I'd probably try to spend a Saturday on my back with some sand paper or whatever to clean it up. Both the Subaru's I have, have great clean sub frames, thank the lord. That 01 VDC I had was another story, which is why I abandoned it and parted it out after I broke the transmission.

Well, GTG, I am going to the garage today to finally remove the engine and trans on the 03, and maybe lower the new unit in before the day is done. I'll surely post it on "what I did with my subaru today" thread at some point.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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25,426 Posts
I will never swap a sub frame. If it's rusting, then I'd probably try to spend a Saturday on my back with some sand paper or whatever to clean it up. Both the Subaru's I have, have great clean sub frames, thank the lord. That 01 VDC I had was another story, which is why I abandoned it and parted it out after I broke the transmission.

Well, GTG, I am going to the garage today to finally remove the engine and trans on the 03, and maybe lower the new unit in before the day is done. I'll surely post it on "what I did with my subaru today" thread at some point.
ah that "what did you do today" threads just get lost in the shuffle or lost on tangents.

better to start a lverano's ez30d project car of the minute.
(but with yours its hard to remember what you got from day to day: a 03 champagne bean one, and a 04 black / black bean one...I think).
 

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134 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Easy fix. Heat is everything. Get yourself a Bernzomatic TS8000 torch (currently the most helpful tool I own) and these stud extractor sockets for next time and I'll bet you won't have as much trouble. Good luck, few are brave enough to remove that rear sub frame. I contemplated it on some other Subaru's I've had, but decided I never want to remove a rear sub frame from a Subaru for as long as I live.

https://youtu.be/nbTHr1wpiiU
Your old threads with junkyard pictures where you were debating doing the same job actually helped me with mine. I wouldn't want to do it again but it would probably go much faster the second time around if I had to knowing what I know now. Where did you get those stud extractor sockets? I can't find them online.

To anyone interested here is the final update after completing the job.
 
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