03' VW Golf GTi...SNAPPED BOLTS!


#1

Never in all my days have I seen or heard of this happening. Im cruising down the highway…and BANG!!! Followed by HORRIFIC noises from my front left wheel… I thought I snapped an axle or cv joint and it was flopping around or my brake caliper was loose and trying to seize my front wheel…but gently applying accelerator told me I was wrong about CV/Axle snapping because the car would actually accelerate and would not be able to do so with either joint or axle missing. Anyway the Terrible noises continued to get worse as the inner CV joint and its bolts were hammering off the lower control arm. I was about 2 miles from home and gently limped it to a ball field… where I had to figure out just WTF happened.

I open my hood and my entire engine and trans are at a Severe downward angle … My Transmission bolts simply SNAPPED ! No event preceded this, no big bump in road or anything of the sort. So…In my clean jeans and button down shirt…I proceed to jack up the car…look under and the engine n trans are inches from the street… LOVELY…

After jacking up the front drivers side…I put my second small bottle jack under trans…removed my air box…lowered car which raised the tranny back up to its mount and used one of my heavy but thin ratchet straps to “hang” my drivetrain up long enough to limp home… So i limped the 1/2 mile from the ball park to the safety of my driveway.

Now I need to extract the remnants of the bolts out of my transmission…or I need a new 6 sp manual trans…which will be rare as hens teeth on a vehicle they only made 3500 of… Lordy have mercy…

What is the moral of the story ? Boy Howdy I don’t really know…Ive never had this happen…nor even heard of it happening before. Only thing I can think of is that someone over-torqued those bolts and near snapped them…and then they just let go. Nothing I could have done nor any Preventive maintenance would have revealed… I mean how many times do 8mm shank grade 8 bolts SNAP IN HALF on us?

I’m glad I had the skills to get myself out of this… Small consolation…now I need to get these bolts OUT… Man… Anyone wanna help…haha?

Or at least provide me with similar stories so I don’t feel like I broke too many mirrors in my day?

I feel like I fit that old saying…about the Shoemaker with ratty shoes. Most if not all my time goes toward helping others mechanically or outright repairs…and now my own equipment is in dire need of my skills. Now where is my Oxy / Acetylene torch and the easy outs ? CRIKEY !!!

Blackbird


#2

The problem is not with the bolts…the problem is with the ham-fisted mechanic that installed the transmission with a breaker bar or air wrench.


#3

Indeed… That really is the only explanation I can come up with. Has to be that…

Blackbird


#4

I’m lost for a guess. A loose gorilla on the assembly line would be my first guess, but the wrong grade bolts is a possibility too.


#5
I mean how many times do 8mm shank grade 8 bolts SNAP IN HALF on us?

Possibly counterfeit bolts from China.


#6

It sounds more like the bolts weren’t tightened correctly after the clutch was replaced.

Tester


#7

@Tester +1. If they were loose the tranny would move around and stress the bolts until they snapped. Over tightened and they could snap due to metal fatigue. I’m betting they were loose though.


#8

I agree with all of you guys basically… I haven’t done my clutch yet…but at 147K it is due because I can get her to slip if I try.

I believe these were over tightened as there was no indication of looseness at all…and I am conscious of all things on my vehicles. Its not hard to imagine the use of a big air hammer to install those… I do everything like that by hand and havent touched those bolts prior…so who knows

Oh well…I guess this will prompt a bunch of preventive maintenance…which isnt a bad thing. Maybe my VW is asking me to do this…no big deal. I just hope they come out in a nice manner.

Blackbird


#9

Well… A PB Blaster soak of the bolt fragments in the transmission overnight…one right hand drill bit…and one left hand drill bit… 3 minutes later…both bolts are out…and new OEM bolts installed and torqued to spec.

This could’ve gotten ugly…Love it when a plan comes together.

Blackbird


#10

The life of a mechanic. The fun never stops… :wink:


#11

Don’t you feel like you are losing money when you work on your own car?

I know that when I went from being an hourly paid city driver to a mileage paid road driver, it just didn’t seem right that I no longer got paid for my coffee breaks. Just took a little of the joy out of them. Didn’t stop me from taking them though.


#12

A mechanic working on flat rate gets tagged a 1000 times a day it seems with no pay. Waiting for dispatch to send out a job, waiting for a customer to make up their mind on a repair, waiting at the parts counter for signs of intelligent life and often not finding it, wandering around the lot looking for a car that can’t be found, held up because of that oddball factory service tool that cannot be found anywhere, yet another warranty claim denied for a free fix, etc, etc, etc, etc.

All the while the clock is ticking and the paycheck has died at the moment any of the above begins… :frowning:


#13

I found out that those bolt are Torque to yield bolts and while looking up the proper torque specs on the net, I noticed scores of guys in forums scrambling to remove and replace their bolts…due to them snapping like bubble wrap on the floor of a square dance… Ha…I made that up… The bubble wrap part. The bolts are commonly snapping however…lovely

Apparently this is a known issue… Now I know

In fact after I used the correct bolts to replace these TTY bolts…I removed and re-replaced them with nice strong Grade 8 stuff I had in my bolt trays and buckets. I think they came off a Honda or Toyota…you could hear the difference in ring tone when you dropped the bolts…as well as heft.

Bet I never see this happen again…you can keep your exploding bolts VW

Blackbird


#14

I sort of get what you are saying Oldtimer I get mixed feelings sometimes but I try to remember that i do enjoy working on, modifying my own vehicle or just maintaining her and if she falls ill, I feel I owe her. Making sure my Mechanical Mistresses are safe and sound are basically my sworn duty. So I think Ive made peace with all that.

The ONLY mechanical item I ever lost money on or feel like a loss was my Boat…and that is actually up for debate. I had enormous fun…Boatloads to be exact. It cost an arm and a leg and kept on costing…now I think i may have to sell her and it feels like a loss…but was it? I dunno…its an ethereal concept. Never had nor spread so much joy in those 5 or 6 years in my life. Smiles per nautical mile? It was without measure.

Blackbird


#15
In fact after I used the correct bolts to replace these TTY bolts....I removed and re-replaced them with nice strong Grade 8 stuff I had in my bolt trays and buckets.

You can bet they specified TTY fasteners for a reason. It’s obvious by the frequency of failure that they missed the mark on the bolt specifications but to say you installed the correct hardware by subbing in a grade 8 bolt is a stretch (get it?). There’s every possibility you will get away with that substitution. But that doesn’t make it the correct part. I suspect the correct part would still be a TTY fastener with slightly higher loading capability. The application probably dictates a TTY fastener as the correct approach mechanically…just hoping that you’re not the victim of some unintended consequence of using a fastener that does not provide the intended fatigue related performance.

Naturally, you would be hostage to the OEM for a new bolt to be specified so you basically have to substitute something else in there or use the original spec’d bolts knowing they might fail again at some point. Not a good scenario for sure.

Side note- stronger/harder is not always better. Some bolts you want to be somewhat elastic to be able to absorb the stresses. Seen plenty of smart people substitute grade 8 bolts into applications that called for lesser grade hardware because the type of forces in the application dictated it. They figured harder was better…


#16

I hear you for sure TT…but EFF those stock bolts…new or used. I never had any vehicle where you couldn’t rely on the fasteners…ever. This is a first and last situation.

My guess is this is for some crash safety concern? Perhaps to dump the engine down and out instead of thru the firewall in the event of a crash? Maybe? I dunno…Whatev…those replaced bolts aren’t going anywhere and there are a flood of like minded individuals who don’t appreciate their engine and trans dropping out suddenly whilst driving down a smooth road none too much.

I don’t care what the reasons were…at all…I am geared to deal with whatever the consequences are…and I severely doubt there will be any. I mean the mounts are both rubber isolated as well so its not a too rigid of bolt issue…there is plenty of give if you will. If this were a hard mount of some kind i might agree on a lower bolt strength…maybe. All I know is this has never happened before on any vehicle I have ever even heard of…and I will bet the farm that it wont happen to mine again.

This isnt the first time I’ve had to re-engineer something Stoopit

Blackbird


#17

Twin Turbo is correct and his thinking is sound as a pound I am not arguing about this at all. But sometimes I don’t get too too tied up in the “correct part” scenario… I understand it has its place…maybe in space or underwater… but in a rubber engine and trans mount? I can figure my way round that…

Ive been in so many emergency situations where I feel my life was on the line…If I couldnt come up with something to work…out in the middle of literally nowhere I’d have been long gone by now. I have a lot of Burt Munroe in me for sure…sometimes I enjoy the challenge. If you haven’t seen “Worlds Fastest Indian” I highly recommend the DVD…it has special sections about the real life character Burt… Anywho…

The Allen wrench in the tow hitch isn’t the correct tool but the boat is out of the water and parked in the yard just the same. The pen tip I stabbed into my knee to drain the blood and fluid after a motorcycle wreck wasn’t the correct part either…but it was suitable and got the job done in the ditch I was pitched into.

Trust me I do know where you are coming from when you say…“don’t use anything but explosive bolts on that submarine hatch” or “don’t use super strong bolts on that break away section of that support”…I get it… but the bolts holding your engine and transmission into the vehicle whilst being supported by a rubber isolated mount? Naw…I’m cool with my substitution. VW should have never gone there…

Now I need to go outside and tune up/fix the neighbors sons bicycle… I said I would help…and I am a man of my word… LOL…it never stops

Blackbird


#18

Karma. Fixing kid’s bikes for free earns you Karma to prevent future bolt snapping.


#19

BADA BING!! I will take that brother, thank you… I donate my services as often as I can… I believe it helps them as much as it does me…with no money involved.


#20

Yeah, having restored, rebuilt and restified quite a few vehicles over the years, I have made many substitutions myself. You do assume some risk if you don’t know all of the parameters/conditions/design constraints etc. Like I said, most of the time you can get away with it. You’re d@mn right I would do what you did to prevent the parts separating on me again. I just make sure I go in with my eyes open :slight_smile:

I did have an acquaintance that got burned big time. He used a grade 8 bolt in a situation where the hardness bit him. He was using it as a pin for his plow. I showed him where my similar part was actually slightly bent from the stresses on it and why it should be a more malleable fastener. Not hearing of it! Some time later, he had that bolt as a pin break while going down the expressway and the plow dropped to the pavement at speed. I hear there were streaks on the road and in his pants…

Man, kudos to you for helping out the youngster!!! Opportunity to make a lasting impression on him.