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Stuck head bolt


Jim Uhl

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Posted (edited)

I need some advise here. I have a very nice 1916 Model T Touring car and did something so downright STUPID I can’t even believe it did it, but to make a long story short. I had to pull #1 plug and to do so had to unscrew the top not of the plug to do so to remove the wire. I carefully put that nut in the recess of the head for #2 cylinder and when I was finished looked for the nut and could find it anywhere, naturally a magnet was worthless as the nut is nonmagnetic and I had tried everything else after a thorough search, so, the only thing I could do was remove the head which was the absolute last resort, but if that damned nut had somehow gotten in the engine it would have been disastrous to start and run the engine. Well, sure as can be there was the nut in the cylinder. The real problem here is not that I have to get a new head gasket, it is that the previous owner who was a known Model T expert in the field 20+ years back but has since past on used something on the head bolts that really secured them to the block as well as the head in two cases, I was able to carefully get the head off, but two of the head bolts will only unscrew so far and are stuck with whatever was used as a sealant as it must have worked it’s way up the bolts and bound the head to the bolts. They will turn and using a wood block on either the top or the bottom of the bolt, if I pound on the wood block I can eventually move the bolt in and out maybe 1/8” either way, but they are pretty well stuck and even KROIL hasn’t seemed to work although it does eventually sink in. So, not wanting to chance damaging the head I am asking for advise. I have no idea what the previous owner used to seemingly coat the head bolts with and possibly the head bolt holes in the block. All the holes on the block do seem to be intact and undamaged as to the threads, but seem a tad loose and although both bolts and block seem to be 13 TPI there is resistance when I try to just hand tighten a die on them so I am not even going to try to chase either with a tap or die to get the residue of whatever sealant was used and just wire wheeled the threads on the head bolts to clean them up. Admittedly I am frustrated and so damned mad at myself for somehow dropping that nut down into the cylinder I am not even thinking straight I can’t seem to find in any of my books on the Model T what the torque on the head bolts should be. One of the books so far looked at does give the sequence and goes up to 40 pounds torque, but that seems a bit less than I would think, but that may be all one should torque Model T head bolts to. However with a block and bolts 108 years old, I sure don’t want to take any chances or do anything else stupid.

 

So where to go from here without damaging the two head bolts to eventually get them to come lose from the head and what thread sealant, if any would I use and what should be the final torque once all is ready to put back together, I am in Alaska, so not many experts now left to turn to locally that I know of. Also any recommendations on the new head gasket or thread sealant I will need? I don’t have a new parts catalog but some older ones from Snyder’s and Mac’s and see at least a couple of choices and I assume the more expensive copper gasket with silicon incorporated would be the better choice even if the lesser might do the job.

 

Thanks for any help you can give this idiot. I still can’t believe I did what I did to start this nightmare.

Edited by Jim Uhl
put in make of vehicle (see edit history)
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I would try heating the bolts with a torch. Or, of not available a paint stripper heat gun may work. If it is just the goop on them it won't take a lot to loosten them.  If it's corrosion it will take more.  Don't heat the block any more than necessary. 

The 40 lb torque should be ok. Re check them a couple of times after running.  The old bolts weren't that great quality.  I like to coat a head gasket with spray on copper gasket stuff. 

Don't beat yourself too much over dropping the nut in the engine. Many mechanics have done similiar - or pulled heads on much more complex engines to find NOTHING!

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Posted (edited)

Just to make you feel worse, you could have got the nut out of the cylinder by blowing with compressed air until it flew out. I throw this in, in case anyone else has a similar problem later.

 

I agree with heat and working the bolt back and forth until it comes out. Whatever is on there, should wear off  eventually if you keep working it.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I had tried this trick several times over the years and it works.   Heat the bolt and head area and then place a candle on the block and let some of the wax melt into the area.   Bolt comes out easily.   40 pounds of torque on a model T head is not enough.  I always torque to 40 and then go to 55lbs.    That is what the model T Ford community recommends.  Use the circular sequence for torquing.

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