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Rounded Out Torx Head Bolt On Transmission


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#1 Tom9489

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:40 PM

I was trying to remove the shift cable bracket on the transmission of my 2002 Suburban (4L60E transmission) so I could remove the transmission pan and replace the filter. The rear bolt came out OK. While trying to remove the front bolt, my TORX socket broke and rounded out the bolt head.

Any suggestions as to how to remove the front bolt?

#2 Failanater

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:14 PM

can you get to it with vice grips? did you try other sizes of torx between metric and standard?
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You dont have a gf do you??? :lol:

may be on to something. :lol:


#3 Zembonez

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:40 PM

can you get to it with vice grips? did you try other sizes of torx between metric and standard?

First, I'd try vice grip pliers if it is accessible. If all else fails, take a die grinder and grind a slot in the head. Then using a large flat head screwdriver and a good pair of pliers, you should be able to get it out. :wtf:

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#4 MS03 2500

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:47 PM

If that does not work you may have to drill the head off then use vise grips on the rest of the bolt.

They also make special tools I think they call them drill out tool check at www.sears.com

#5 azswede1960

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 08:15 AM

If that does not work you may have to drill the head off then use vise grips on the rest of the bolt.

They also make special tools I think they call them drill out tool check at www.sears.com


Try all the above AND when you do get it out, replace with hex head bolts ....

#6 sillyazz

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:52 AM

Turbo socket .
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#7 00'Yukon

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:31 PM

what i did when we had to move the shift cable bracket was just bend it out of the way to be able to drop the tranny pan. We had torx bits but didn't have the right size so we jus bent it a bit with a wrench and it worked great. I know thats not advisable to do but when all else fails we really had no other choice.

#8 milehigh02

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:47 PM

The easiest way is with an easy out. You can get them at any auto parts store, usually in a kit with the right size drill bit. You just drill right in the center of the bolt about a 1/4" deep and then twist the easy out in with pliers (and remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey) if the easy out doesn't grip inside the hole just drill a little deeper. As an airplane mechanic I usually have to drill out a crapload of screws every time we take a panel off. It should only take about 10-15 seconds to get the bolt out. Good luck. I wouldn't reccomend the die grinder in tight places too much of a chance to hit something you don't really want to grind on! :confused: That would be bad!

Edited by milehigh02, 25 November 2007 - 05:51 PM.

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#9 Zembonez

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 06:41 PM

The easiest way is with an easy out. You can get them at any auto parts store, usually in a kit with the right size drill bit. You just drill right in the center of the bolt about a 1/4" deep and then twist the easy out in with pliers (and remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey) if the easy out doesn't grip inside the hole just drill a little deeper. As an airplane mechanic I usually have to drill out a crapload of screws every time we take a panel off. It should only take about 10-15 seconds to get the bolt out. Good luck. I wouldn't reccomend the die grinder in tight places too much of a chance to hit something you don't really want to grind on! :confused: That would be bad!

Yip. The die grinder can be your friend or your enemy. Better have a good grip on it and go easy but it can be done. It's a real friend at the track at times. I do think I would try extracting the bolt and use the grinder as a last resort.

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#10 klunkerbus

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 08:43 PM

I got LOL out of all these responses, obviously from people who haven't had to deal with removing the bracket. You don't have access for drills, grinders, vise grips, or anything else. This wonderfully placed bracket is basically on the top side of the transmission, and the bolts are on the top side of the bracket! You can't see what you're doing...

Bending the shift bracket out of the way is what I also ended up doing, but that just barely gave me enough clearance to drop the pan. Then, I found the filter seal a real bitch to remove.

#11 Zembonez

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 08:55 PM

I got LOL out of all these responses, obviously from people who haven't had to deal with removing the bracket. You don't have access for drills, grinders, vise grips, or anything else. This wonderfully placed bracket is basically on the top side of the transmission, and the bolts are on the top side of the bracket! You can't see what you're doing...

Bending the shift bracket out of the way is what I also ended up doing, but that just barely gave me enough clearance to drop the pan. Then, I found the filter seal a real bitch to remove.

That might be pretty funny actually. I admit I haven't had the pleasure of looking at one to see how accessible the bolts are.. but hey, we is all just tryin to help a po man out here. :cheers:

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#12 Tom9489

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 01:17 PM

Klunkerbus, you hit tha nail on the head! This TORX head bolt is such that you can't see the top of it without using a service mirror. This weekend, I'm going to have another go at it. I think if I remove the Neutral Safety switch, I just might be able to get a small pair of Vise-Grips on the head. In the meanwhile, I'm going to apply PB Blaster liberally to help break the steel-to-aluminum bond.

By the way, why did you resort to bending the bracket? Did the front bolt round out on you as well?

Thanks.

#13 klunkerbus

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 09:08 PM

Klunkerbus, you hit tha nail on the head! This TORX head bolt is such that you can't see the top of it without using a service mirror. This weekend, I'm going to have another go at it. I think if I remove the Neutral Safety switch, I just might be able to get a small pair of Vise-Grips on the head. In the meanwhile, I'm going to apply PB Blaster liberally to help break the steel-to-aluminum bond.

By the way, why did you resort to bending the bracket? Did the front bolt round out on you as well?

Thanks.


I had a Sunday afternoon free, and I figured I'd take an hour or two and change the transmission fluid and filter in my Tahoe. After all, I need that Tahoe to last me for many years to come. I had the new fluid and filter... I'd done this before on a few prior vehicles... No big deal...

Unbolted the pan with no problem, but gasket was destroyed in the process. No turning back now. Haynes was just a buttload of help - I quote: "remove the two bolts securing the shift cable bracket to the transmission". Duh! I spent around 2 hrs trying this and trying that to get the bolts out or the pan dropped with the bracket left as is. At the time, I didn't know they were Torx bolts. I tried using a service mirror to look at the bolts, but I couldn't get the combination of the mirror placement, the lighting, and my bifocal-limited eyes to cooperate. Thought it might be an allen head, so tried all the dozens of allen wrenches I had but none fit just right. Metric maybe? Trip to auto parts store to buy a metric set. Closer, but still no cigar. Torx crosses my mind, but what size? Take a break, pondering my options. Opt for digging out my largest C-clamp and using it to pull the bracket up tight against the driveshaft (with me getting more and more nervous about it as I tightened up the clamp. What might THIS be doing to the driveshaft? Or the transfer case? The seals?) Even then, the pan would drop only with considerable finesse. This is at about hour four. Another two hours of futzing with the filter seal and trying every kind of tool I have as a lever. Bent a few screwdriver tips at angles with the hope one of those would work. Nope. Trip to auto parts store to see if there is a magical seal removal tool that might work. None found. Take a break, pondering my options. Opt for attacking the lip of the seal with a long needle nose plier, basically wrapping the seal around the needle nose as I twisted it. Shazaam! Seal is removed. Oh-oh. Another 30 minutes gently working out a minor gouge on one side of the seal receptacle on the transmission. Almost done. Time to simply insert the seal. What? My new one doesn't seem to fit. Try this, try that. Start wondering, just how hard dare I tap on the seal to force it in? Finally find something to use as a block and quite forceably tap the seal in. A short while later all was back together, fluids were installed, and everything cleaned up. Ah. Bedtime. The job that has usually taken me an hour or so took about nine hours.

Maybe 1500 miles later, I'm just about at the point where I've stopped wondering when I'll feel a wrong vibration, hear an unusual noise, or see a new seal leak! I seriously doubt I'll try doing the fluid & filter on my Tahoe again.

Ok, there's another chapter that precedes this. About a month prior to this maintenance task, I tackled the intake manifold gasket replacement in the wife's '03 Malibu. All went well, except for the fact that I SOMEHOW exchanged one of the intake/exhaust push rod pairs in the process of putting the engine back together. They're about a quarter inch different in length, and this ended up doing obvious damage to one of the intake valves. Tow job and $1600 to recover from that mistake. "But now the Malibu has fresh head gaskets", I tell myself and the wife! Anyway, that episode with the DexCool coolant convinced me that I needed to step up my preventive maintenance work and ignore all the GM owner's manual stuff about leaving fluids in place for near eternity. The transmission fluid and filter replacement was the first in a series of maintenance things I wanted to do on the Tahoe...

Still more... transfer case and differential fluid replacements. Rear differential seems to have sizeable pieces of metal on the bottom. Hmm. Opt for just cleaning them out, putting the cover back on and filling it up. I'll check it again in the spring and see if there's more metal floating around. No mention of this one to the wife... Transfer case went just fine. Front differential... jeez. Right side axle seal is leaking! Refill the front differential with 10 oz of fluid that had been lost over who knows how long - now in the mode of just checking the fluid level and keeping an eye on it. Another thing to think about fixing for real in the spring.

Sorry for the long-winded story. I got a few chuckles out of putting it together for you.

#14 Tom9489

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:07 AM

Klunkerbus,

I thought I had the exclusive on car projects that take forever!

I bought my Suburban about 3 months ago and the more I dig into it, the more I get the feeling that the previous owner did not believe much in maintenance. I find that I am doing a lot of the maintenence items for the first time. Did I say that this big boy has 95,000 miles.

I don't care how long GM says DexCool will last, I don't trust any antifreeze much past two years.

I have a 2WD vehicle so I won't be able to use a c-clamp like you did to bend the bracket. I'm still hoping that I can get to that front screw by removing the neutral safety switch.

Speaking about the filter seal, the GM manual suggests using an "appropriate size socket" to drive the filter seal in. Nd yes, the GM manual does show a special tool to remove the filter seal!

#15 sillyazz

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 01:11 AM

Changing the fluid on any rear wheel drive GM product with the exhaust that runs under the transmission pan.

1. Take a 6 inch long 2X4 and slide it in between the the exhaust and the body, just behide the flange of the exhaust.

2. Take 15mm mounts nuts off and place a floor jack with a piece of wood and jack up on the tail housing of the transmission until it wont jack up anymore. This forces the exhaust down a little ways from the trans pan. Leave the jack where it is.

3. Pop the shift cable off the shift arm of the transmission with a screw driver (Be very careful)

4. Take a ratchect with 1 inch extenison and a T-40 torxs socket and take the shift cable bracket bolts out( Make sure your torxs socket is all the way down on the bolt holes or they will strip out , move cable and bracket out of the way. 4X4 are harder to get to these bolts but can still be done with the same tools .


5. Place pan or something to catch the fluid , under the pan. Pull the transmission pan 13mm bolts out starting at the front and work down both sides. Might need a 3 to 4 inch extension with a wobble socket to get the back pan bolts. Once all the bolts are out work the pan out. Being careful not to break the shift solenoids

6. Replace filter. The only time you need to replace the filter seal is if it falls out when removing the filter, other wise your in you will be in for a fight trying to remove it and a bigger fight trying to get it to go back in.

7. Clean the transmission pan and replace the gasket. Install the pan being careful to not break the shift solenoids.

8. Put everything else back on and remove the block of wood from the exhaust.

9. Fluid and filter change usuallly takes about 4 1/2 to 5 quarts of fluid on an 4L60E Transmission.

10. If you dont think you can handle it take it to the nearest transmission shop and let them do it. :sigh:

Edited by sillyazz, 29 November 2007 - 01:13 AM.

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