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My cylinder four misfire diagnostic project got waylaid this weekend, since my rear passenger struts (which contain clamp on spring compressors from the previous owner) were sounding pretty bad and I feared popping a tire with a broken coil. So, I moved up my plans to replace the rear strut assemblies. I quickly read through the threads on this project and became afeared of snapping the dreaded pinch bolt which secures the spindle to the bottom of the strut. I called Sears for a quote to do the two struts, which was $680. I quickly swallowed my fear and decided to go forward, expecting a strong possibility of breaking the pinch bolt and having to drill it out.

Of course, I snapped it and then screwed things up when I attempted to drill out the nut and the drill bit came out ****-eyed, underneath the threaded end of the bolt, pretty much making the spindle dangerous to use. I had to limp to a shop and (ouch!) pay to have another spindle attached. Learn from my mistakes: 1. Don’t do things in a rush. 2. Follow ALL of the excellent instructions on the threads. Here, I applied PB Blaster two to three hours before the removal and then used too much torque on a breaker bar, leading to the snap. I screwed up by not using heat.

So, I’m going to try the process the right way next weekend. If I understand correctly, I should:

1. Repeatedly marinate the bolts in PB Blaster, or better yet, a 50/50 solution of acetone and automatic transmission fluid during the week.

2. Apply heat, preferably MAP, not propane, as it burns hotter. As I understand, the heat melts the thread locker that Ford applies to the screw. Here is what I’m not sure on. I saw a thread which recommended that before attempting to remove the bolt, that I apply heat until the bolt is red hot, then allow it to cool, and then start to gently tease the bolt out. Other threads instruct to heat the spindle. Other threads say to heat the thread side of the bolt. Other threads recommend having someone heat the other side of the spindle as I remove it. Which is the best way? Also, should I be concerned about using a flame in the vicinity of the fumes of the bolt which has been slathered with the above?

3. Gently tease it out, turning the bolt left and right, as well as applying impacts.

4. Question: since the bolt itself supports part of the weight of the strut assembly since the bolt runs through the slot in the strut assembly, would it help to support the weight of the strut while unscrewing the bolt? Also, someone posted about holding the assembly shut around the strut with a C clamp while removing the bolt. Sounds reasonable.

5. Patience, patience, patience.

6. If all else fails, drill, starting with a 1/4" cobalt bit then moving up to a 7/16 bit. Use a low speed drill, applying force and cutting oil. I was drilling while crouched alongside the wheel well. If I have to drill, it looks like I’ll have a better shot of drilling straight while lying under the car, where I can better see the angle in which I’m drilling. It would probably be easier to dis-attach the spindle to drill it, but that looks like a lot of work too. Are there any other surprise connections in the assembly to be concerned about if I go that route?

7. When all is complete, replace the bolt with a 2.5 to 3 inch long 7/16" bolt, of grade # 8 hardness, with a ny-loc (plastic insert) bolt. Slather generously with anti seize. Question: does that thread through the hole, or does it merely pass through? Do I have to drill the hole to accommodate the 7/16 bolt?

Am I missing anything? Many thanks to the collective wisdom of the posters.
 

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My cylinder four misfire diagnostic project got waylaid this weekend, since my rear passenger struts (which contain clamp on spring compressors from the previous owner) were sounding pretty bad and I feared popping a tire with a broken coil. So, I moved up my plans to replace the rear strut assemblies. I quickly read through the threads on this project and became afeared of snapping the dreaded pinch bolt which secures the spindle to the bottom of the strut. I called Sears for a quote to do the two struts, which was $680. I quickly swallowed my fear and decided to go forward, expecting a strong possibility of breaking the pinch bolt and having to drill it out.

Of course, I snapped it and then screwed things up when I attempted to drill out the nut and the drill bit came out ****-eyed, underneath the threaded end of the bolt, pretty much making the spindle dangerous to use. I had to limp to a shop and (ouch!) pay to have another spindle attached. Learn from my mistakes: 1. Don’t do things in a rush. 2. Follow ALL of the excellent instructions on the threads. Here, I applied PB Blaster two to three hours before the removal and then used too much torque on a breaker bar, leading to the snap. I screwed up by not using heat.

So, I’m going to try the process the right way next weekend. If I understand correctly, I should:

1. Repeatedly marinate the bolts in PB Blaster, or better yet, a 50/50 solution of acetone and automatic transmission fluid during the week.

2. Apply heat, preferably MAP, not propane, as it burns hotter. As I understand, the heat melts the thread locker that Ford applies to the screw. Here is what I’m not sure on. I saw a thread which recommended that before attempting to remove the bolt, that I apply heat until the bolt is red hot, then allow it to cool, and then start to gently tease the bolt out. Other threads instruct to heat the spindle. Other threads say to heat the thread side of the bolt. Other threads recommend having someone heat the other side of the spindle as I remove it. Which is the best way? Also, should I be concerned about using a flame in the vicinity of the fumes of the bolt which has been slathered with the above?

3. Gently tease it out, turning the bolt left and right, as well as applying impacts.

4. Question: since the bolt itself supports part of the weight of the strut assembly since the bolt runs through the slot in the strut assembly, would it help to support the weight of the strut while unscrewing the bolt? Also, someone posted about holding the assembly shut around the strut with a C clamp while removing the bolt. Sounds reasonable.

5. Patience, patience, patience.

6. If all else fails, drill, starting with a 1/4" cobalt bit then moving up to a 7/16 bit. Use a low speed drill, applying force and cutting oil. I was drilling while crouched alongside the wheel well. If I have to drill, it looks like I’ll have a better shot of drilling straight while lying under the car, where I can better see the angle in which I’m drilling. It would probably be easier to dis-attach the spindle to drill it, but that looks like a lot of work too. Are there any other surprise connections in the assembly to be concerned about if I go that route?

7. When all is complete, replace the bolt with a 2.5 to 3 inch long 7/16" bolt, of grade # 8 hardness, with a ny-loc (plastic insert) bolt. Slather generously with anti seize. Question: does that thread through the hole, or does it merely pass through? Do I have to drill the hole to accommodate the 7/16 bolt?

Am I missing anything? Many thanks to the collective wisdom of the posters.
Yes you are missing something. The bolt is locking up in the clearance hole, not the threads. I have removed quite a number from '87 through '03 which was done a couple of months ago. I got them all with impact wrench. Really tiresome job but I worked back and forth for a while, then hit the head with a big hammer. Have to worry the rust out of the clearance hole so the threads can pass through.

As for drilling out the remains for a drill out, prefer drill the threaded side the same as the cleearance hole and put in the largest bolt that passes through. I would locktite and use a standard nut. No way will it ever come loose.

It could be worse. I did a '95 Dodge Intrepid where the spring plate on the strut rusted off and the car fell down. The pinch bolt was rusted partly through and no chance of removal. I drilled out the threaded end and punched the head out with a punch and large hammer. The spring plate on the Dodge was bout half as thick as Taurus. Never heard of a Taurus falling down.

Have heard of using heat, but should only be on the clearnace hole side, not the threaded part.

-chart-
 
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