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Yesterday I set out to install Petty's front/rear sway bars and front/rear strut tower bars. I was hoping to be able to post pictures with excitement but as luck would have it, this is not the case.

I installed the rear sway bar and was torquing the cradle bolts. I snugged all four down and used a torque wrench to torque them. I got to the final bolt (in the front) and the bolt snapped. I have never had such a good day go to shit so fast. I feel completely defeated and need advice on how to fix this. :SM002:

I have attached pictures of the broken bolt and the location of where it goes.

How would you recommend fixing this? I have fixed broken bolts before but never in a spot like this.

Is my car even drivable if I decide to take it to a dealer to fix?

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Might have to drop the cradle down again to gain access to what's left of the bolt. If there is enough left sticking out, you might be able to grab it with a good set of vice grips, or weld a nut on the end of it. If there isn't enough to grab on to, it's going to be a challenge. It may require an extractor set, or drilling a pilot hole in the center and hammering a torx socket into it to grab on. Then push it into it as you loosen. If that's something you're not comfortable doing, definitely take it to a shop.

At least you know it's not seized, and without the head of the bolt, there shouldn't be much torque on it.

Maybe consider replacing all of the cradle bolts.

Edit: Just looking at your picture, that looks like the diff mounting bolt location. Is that what you broke?
 
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Edit: Just looking at your picture, that looks like the diff mounting bolt location. Is that what you broke?
Thanks for the advice BlackHemi41... Yes it is the differential mounting bolt location that snapped. I dont believe there is any threads hanging out but will take a better look today. It broke at the end of the day Saturday after working on the car all day. I was demoralized and tired so I called it quits.

I found out what i did wrong. Dodge calls the two bolts on the front of the cradle (near the differential) the rear axle forward mount isolator bolts (see attached image). Their torque specifications for those bolts is only 52 lbs. I confused this with the rear crossmember bolts and over torqued them.

I am capable of dropping the cradle but my fear is that to extract this I would have to fully drop it and get it out of the way which may be more than I want to do on my garage floor. At this point I am going to reach out to the dealer as well in case it looks like I can't get to the threads. :SM002: I'm so disappointed in myself for making such a stupid mistake. Either way, life goes on.. Hopefully this will help others out.

If anyone has any additional advice feel free to let me know. Thanks!
 

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Looks like you will need to just drop the diff and use a left-hand drill with a screw extractor. If there is a little of the bolt sticking out I have had success welding a nut (need a nut with a larger i.d. than the bolt o.d.) to the bolt and backing it out. Good luck man!
 

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Yeah I was kinda wondering about that. Not just lower torque value but those diff isolator bolts are only one time use as well. It sucks but **** happens.
 
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I would definitely try a left hand screw extractor before dropping the craddle.
 
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I would definitely try a left hand screw extractor before dropping the craddle.
I did some research and dropping the rear diff doesnt seem so bad. Hopefully, the bolt plays nice and is easy to remove. I used my endoscope to get a better picture of the snapped bolt. It looks like a pretty clean snap. There is a small ridge so i may try to soak in pb blaster and use a punch to see if i can tap it at an angle to get it to spin back out. If not, I will try left handed drill bits.

Now if I can only find the bolts in time.. Steve white didnt have the "single use" driveshaft bolts in stock. I didnt even ask about the isolator bolts. :|
 

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I did some research and dropping the rear diff doesnt seem so bad. Hopefully, the bolt plays nice and is easy to remove. I used my endoscope to get a better picture of the snapped bolt. It looks like a pretty clean snap. There is a small ridge so i may try to soak in pb blaster and use a punch to see if i can tap it at an angle to get it to spin back out. If not, I will try left handed drill bits.

Now if I can only find the bolts in time.. Steve white didnt have the "single use" driveshaft bolts in stock. I didnt even ask about the isolator bolts. :|
Looks like a perfect candidate for a screw extractor. Although, I have only used the square type extractor.

 

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Looks like a perfect candidate for a screw extractor. Although, I have only used the square type extractor.

yeah I would use a left handed drill bit to set your pilot for the extractor. Based on the design of that bolt and how it snapped you may get lucky and have it come out just by using the left handed drill bit.
 

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Drill the hole for the extractor THEN soak the threads overnight with Kroil....... TAKE YOUR TIME and Hopefully it comes out easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just picked up the bolts from the dealer today. I purchased new drive shaft bolts as well since they are "one time use". Expensive little things!

I also purchased a really good set of reverse drill bits coming in today. I'm also going to purchase a cheap tranny jack from harbor freight today to make removing the differential easier.

Tonight I'm going to see if I can rig something up to get pb blaster in the top of the hole (above the cradle) so that it can work overnight with the help of gravity. I already own pb blaster else I would try kroil.

I was able to get my scope camera to the top of the hole so I'm thinking of getting a small hose to attach to the pb blaster straw and using a metal hangar with my endoscope to get it to the top of the hole.

I'm hoping since I already had the bolt out recently that it won't be hard to extract (being that the head isn't on it anymore). We shall see!

I'm going to start working on Saturday and will keep everyone posted. I sincerely appreciate everyone's advice.
 

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Good luck with it. This kind of thing is always either in the worst spot possible, or it happens between Sat afternoon and Sunday, so the dealer is closed and you have to wait until monday and then you find out you have to wait and order it because nobody stocks whatever you broke, or you do find it for a super high price and later on after you paid it, you find out you could have had it for free.

I had this happen on my '79 Trans Am when I finally had enough of the always cracking header problem and decided to yank them off and put the extrude honed 1970? manifolds on it. The supposedly difficult passenger side came right off, no problems, but when I started to remove the rear header bolt on the driver's side, it wouldn't turn. I went "gorilla" on it, and SNAP! The header came off, but the bolt was snapped off right at the head and the only solution was a screw extractor. Then we found out my drill, my friend's drill, his dad's drill, and two neighbor's drills wouldn't fit between the head and the fenderwell, so a bunch of stuff had to be removed and I had to buy a new smaller drill at Sears. It was just small enough, that after we ground off the bottom of the drill bit, it fit so we could drill straight into the broken bolt. We had sprayed a bunch of Liquid Wrench into the hole in the head, hoping it would help loosen up whatever made the bolt not want to turn. Nope, it refused to turn, and the extractor snapped off, but we were able to get what broke off out of the screw, go to the store, buy another set of extractors and this time we decided to fire up the car and see if warming up the head would make it expand enough to release the broken bolt. And it worked! Then we realized that we were short two manifold bolts as the ones I had were not all correct, a couple were way too long. After looking though my bolt collection, we found one bolt that would work. Oh, it was Saturday, and by this time, only two parts places were open and neither had a bolt that would work. So on Sunday morning, I started calling parts stores to see if they were open, and a lot of them were, until 1pm or until 4pm, one was open until 7pm. We went to about half of them before we found the right bolt. Problem was, it was part of an Olds (The 403 was an Olds engine) factory bolt kit and the price was crazy. I went ahead and bought them and we got everything back together and my friend and I went out to dinner, as I promised him for helping me. I went to the Olds dealer on Monday, and talked to the local Olds guru who worked there. If I had gone over there on Sat, he would have been there, and he would have given me the bolt for nothing. Oh well. Too late. At least neither of us were cut, burned, or had any pulled muscles or anything, the only thing hurt was my wallet. On Tuesday, I took the car to the exhaust place to get the manifolds hooked up to the made for headers exhaust. More hurt to my wallet, but not too bad.
 
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Don’t want to take this thread too far offline, but I currently have my 1978 Trans Am 400 motor on an engine stand. I had an exhaust leak due to a missing/broken manifold bolt ay cylinder #7 (rear, driver side). Instead of pulling the top of the motor off I decided to pull the motor. Long story short, 4 of the 12 manifold bolts are broken off in the heads. After a lot of trial and error, I have had to resort to helicoils. I’m suspecting the OPs bolt will extract easily because it was out just prior to breaking. The ones on the TA had 40+ years of hot/cold/hot/cold that have made them next to impossible to extract.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Success!!! :wiggle::smile::wiggle::smile:

I removed the exhaust and partially dropped the rear differential. I removed one of the axles going into the rear differential and kept the other one in. I used some bungee cables to hold the driveshaft up (to prevent it from resting on the joint) and to hold the disconnected axle to the rear cradle. I lowered and twisted the rear diff just enough to get it out of the way. Then...

I stopped and ate lunch.. took a break.. Normally I would have kept going but I wanted to have a fresh approach before drilling into the broken bolt.

Once I came back I grabbed a small bottle of oil and my fancy drill bits. I started with using a punch on the center of the broken bolt. Then I used a small right hand drill bit to get a centered hole going. I went slow and stopped frequently to add some more oil. Lastly, I used a larger left-hand drill bit. When I first started with the left-hand bit the bolt turned a little. That little movement gave me a huge morale boost! I went in a little more and the broken bolt started unscrewing enough for me to grab it with some pliers.

Tips that I learned (in case anyone else has to do this):

- Purchase or borrow a 13/16th rachet wrench. The rear two bolts on the rear diff are LONG and have minimal clearance. Using a regular wrench would be very tedious. I also read in a few places that people were saying to get a 21mm. I found a 13/16 fit perfectly. A 21mm would most likely work but would be slightly larger.

- Purchase a professional set of drill bits and not a cheap Home Depot/Lowes set. I always thought I had nice drill bits until I purchased Norseman drills. They literally cut through the hardened class 10.9 bolt like it was aluminum.

- Using the $80 tranny jack stand was a lifesaver. It held the differential very nicely and was very easy to operate. I used a small bosch battery impact gun with a half inch adaptor to make it go up and down.

- Bungee cables were very handy to hold the axle and driveshaft out of the way.

- I was able to add shrink tubing to the end of my PB Blaster straw and sprayed it on the top of the hole (top of the cradle). This allowed it to drain down to minimize friction during the extraction process.

- The front differential isolator bolts and driveshaft bolts are single use. If you are removing them then it's recommended to replace them. It's Dodge's little ponzy scheme ($60 to replace all). Dealers dont usually stock the driveshaft bolts (even Steve White's didnt have them and was going to have to ship from a warehouse). Plan accordingly.

Unique tools needed:

- T50 torqx bit for driveshaft bolts

- 13/16 ratchet wrench for rear diff bolts

Pictures (from left to right):

1. The broken bolt coming out!
2. Removing the driveshaft bolts
3. New driveshaft bolts
4. The two 13/16 bolt heads that you have to unscrew to remove the rear diff
5. A quick shot after getting the rear diff bolted back in
 

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Here are some picks of the drill bits that I purchased. They truly are bad @ss! Surprisingly, there was a vendor selling them through Walmart.com and I had them shipped to me in two days. Below are the part numbers in case anyone is in the market for some amazing drills. I've never experienced anything like them.

Norseman drill bits

Left-handed magnum super premium
Part number: 87652
Cost: $49

Magnum black and gold super premium
Part number: 44110
Cost: $18
 

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Congrats ;) Now it's just an interesting story to tell :)

A Guy
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice. everything back together?

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I got it all back together and drove it for the first time with my new front/rear Petty's sway bars. I also have the front strut brace but still need to install the rear strut brace.

At this point it made a great difference. I have the sway bars set on the softest setting and the car feels very good. Very little roll during the turns! This is by far the best mod I have done.
 
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