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WillBilly53

Cant Remove Rear Coil Spring Upper Retainer Bolt

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Noticed she was sagging on one side in the rear, so I decided to go ahead and replace the original rear coil springs with some newly ordered ones. Everything was going dandy but then the last retainer bolt I was trying to remove (the upper on drivers side) wouldn't come out. It felt like it was loosening for about 4 full turns and the retainer and spring dropped a little. Then the bolt started getting really hard to turn. I pulled out my breaker bar and now it just turns and turns and still requires a lot of force. I can still feel the pointy tip of the bolt on the top side of the chassis. Should I figure out a way to just cut this bolt head off and drill it out? Then retap and replace with a grade 8 bolt? Thoughts, recommendations, condolences?

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Jack up the rear end and place a stand under the axle. Sounds like you are fighting spring tension. Hopefully it isn't stripped...that'd be a bummer.

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That assembly should consist of a bolt hanging down through the frame, and then the spring clamp and a washer ( maybe a lock washer too) and the nut, which in my mind sounds like the nut you put the breaker bar on.

It will be tight but chances are you can slip a box wrench on top of that frame cross member and catch the hex head of the bolt. If you can, then swing the wrench till it's wedged against some thing strong ( like the floor pan behind the rear seat) and then put the breaker bar on that nut again. You may find you can also get a socket wrench up there on top, and if so the key would be to use six point sockets. Six point sockets have a contour that matches the six points on the head of the bolt. That will hold better than the conventional 12 point sockets when you get to heavy wrenching.

If you can get that wrench up there, use the longest wrench you have, and make sure it won't hit anything that could break up there ( like a fuel line). Then spray the nut with some penetrant ( I do think the hot trans fluid is the best) but PB blaster will work in this case. And once sprayed, try rocking the nut on the bolt. Loosen a little, spray again, then tighten. Then loosen again and spray again and then tighten. The idea is to try to loosen a little more each time. The tightening allows the rust you are grinding off the threads to loosen, and drop out of the way. The spray will help flush that rust and dirt.

Obviously the wrench on top of the cross member will be turning a little each time too, and then wedging against the floor pans. So it pays to make sure that wrench is fully engaged with the head of the bolt frequently.

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Noticed she was sagging on one side in the rear, so I decided to go ahead and replace the original rear coil springs with some newly ordered ones. Everything was going dandy but then the last retainer bolt I was trying to remove (the upper on drivers side) wouldn't come out. It felt like it was loosening for about 4 full turns and the retainer and spring dropped a little. Then the bolt started getting really hard to turn. I pulled out my breaker bar and now it just turns and turns and still requires a lot of force. I can still feel the pointy tip of the bolt on the top side of the chassis. Should I figure out a way to just cut this bolt head off and drill it out? Then retap and replace with a grade 8 bolt? Thoughts, recommendations, condolences?

I totally understand what you're saying and that you can feel the pointed end tip of the OEM bolt on the top side of the frame, but can you feel the nut that's supposed to be welded to the top side of the frame spinning when you try to turn the bolt (from below the frame) in either direction?

post-41556-14314309259_thumb.jpg

If the nut is not spinning, it has to be stripped threads (from rust?) on the bolt. Time to light up your hot wrench?

Let us know what you find out.

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

Edited by 1953mack (see edit history)

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Al's picture shows that I was incorrect. Good thing too as my advice would have raised more frustration. If that welded nut did break free it looks to me like it still could be grabbed with a open end wrench or better yet, large vice grips.. Reattachment is going to be tough though.

Good Luck

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If push comes to shove in getting the once welded nut free from the bolt use a saws-all. It is such a tight fit there that using a torch may not be the best idea. There should be enough room to reach in with a nut between your fingers and threading the new bolt up through the chassis.

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im am sure you are, but being it is upside down... righty tighty- lefty loosy.

Never a dumb answer.

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Don't try to break the welded nut loose, pry or wedge under the head of the bolt while loosening it. Loosening the bolt while prying out on it will make the threads bite into the nut so it will finish screwing out. This might require 3 hands. After the bolt is out, run a tap thru the nut and install a new bolt with maybe another nut on top of the old one as a lock nut.

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Great points- the nut that is welded to the frame doesn't seem to be spinning, so I guess I stripped it. Very strange as it definitely loosened everything when I first started, but then the bolt itself got tighter with the retainer and spring dangling (I detached the bottom first) I'm definitely turning the correct, that is a great suggestion and has gotten me in trouble once before years ago. I'll keep messing with it...

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I think I'm gonna have to saws-all the nut, folks. I've blasted it with PB and torched it. I can't get a wedge up in there to apply force the threads of the bolt to bite the nut either. Grrrrrr....

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Is the spring still attached? Maybe you can just pull down on the spring to simulate the prying action?

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Well that is the strangest thing... John, I think we were reading each other's minds. I reattached the bottom and tightened it down something fierce so that when I eased the axle down it would create some real tension to hopefully pull down as you suggested on the top and allow the threads to engage again. At least this is what I thought was happening. I started on the bolt again and I would periodically check the tip of it on the top of the frame and I could feel it slowly going down! Hooray! I got the bolt out and I was expecting to find and a few rows of stripped threads. But no. The bolt looked all good. Totally confused. I looked up underneath to check out the nut and it too was all fine. Weirdest thing. Am I that dense that I just wasn't making enough turns? I know it's a fine thread, but the bolt isn't that long! Whatever, I'll take it. I got the spring out and I installed the new ones without any problem! All is good, thanks for the help everyone. Now on to the shock links!

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I know that the rear springs of a '50 Buick have left hand threads at the lower attachment.

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I put silver anti-seize compound (about $10 for a ten year supply} on most everything so that an older weaker me can get it apart.

Pat

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Thanks Airy Cat, yes the lower ones are left-hand threaded on the '53 as well. Great idea, 53 Roady!

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On the 53 Special, the lower coil spring retainer bolts are right hand threaded. Go figure!

Joe, BCA 33493

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