Driving very short distance on loose top strut mount nuts


#1

Hello folks,

I know you guys are going to crucify me, still, I need some wisdom.

Against all advice, to save $350, I decided to install ReadyMount suspension assemblies on the car. 3 installs went without any issue and I was pretty happy to be able to do it. Then sh*t happened. While trying to torque front passenger side assembly strut at 20ft lb, the bolt broke off.

I decided to reinstall the old suspension assembly and while aligning the bolt and the hole, due to the weight I pushed it a little harder (and was also tired due to the heat). I didn’t notice that the old assembly’s mount nut has come off. When I tried to torque it, 2 out of 3 just kept spinning. I tried to use the pliers to hold the bolt so that I could tighten it using an open wrench but that area is pretty tight and couldn’t get pliers fit in there.

So currently, it looks like this. The arrowed nuts are the ones those are loose and keep spinning when I try to tighten it.

The mechanic has agreed to fix the broken bolt of the new assembly and put it on the car. The issue, I need to drive abt half a mile to his place. My question is, do I tow it or I can drive slowly to his place?
or
should I install the new assembly with 2 nuts well secured so that he can pull it off to fix the third one?

What is easiest for him to work with and safe for me to drive to his place?

Thanks in advance.


#2

Tow it.
Problems of this sort can only cause bigger issues if you try to drive with them. It’s worth the extra few bucks to prevent them.

Oh, and stripped bolts and broken studs suggest that it’s time to buy a torque wrench.


#3

Go ahead and drive it to the mechanic. Drive carefully.

I would not worry about it.


#4

You don’t think installing the newer assembly with 2 bolts would be better? I will still be driving slowly.


#5

half a mile? Drive it slowly.


#6

Either way is OK. The car’s weight will hold it down as long as you aren’t doing any Dukes of Hazzard stuff. I’d just drive over with the old strut so the mech can start off fixing the bolt on the new strut assembly without having to remove it.


#7

The way I understand this…the bolt broke off in the new assembly.

Why not just use an easy-out or similar tool to remove the broken bolt. Or drill out that old broken bolt.
This should be easy as you can do it on a bench.

Then you can buy one new hardened bolt and reinstall the new strut.

yosemite


#8

Sounds like he WAS using a torque wrench


#9

I have to wonder than why he was stripping bolts.
Perhaps he was in the wrong range? 20ft-lbs isn’t much at all. It’s typical spark plug torque for Toyota plugs (flat base, compressible metal gasket, as opposed to manufacturers that use conical base no-gasket plugs).


#10

What would I do to make me feel a little safer? I would leave the old strut in the vehicle and use a Dremel tool to cut slots in the top of the two studs. I would then use a large screw driver to hold the studs while I tightened the nuts. We are only talking about 20 ft lbs. This strut will be tossed after a 1/2 mile drive.

Then carefully drive to the shop.


#11

I tried that. As a matter of fact, I managed to get the bolts off the old assembly just by one hammer (and hence they are loose now), but the new one, they are press fit and darn, they won’t budge. I tried drilling but not a tiniest change. I tried hammering, still nothing. I am so surprised that this broke off at 20ft lbs. And I actually tightened the other ones with the same setting (this was the last assembly to install). So if my setting was not correct or anything else, the first ones I tightened should have broken off, but they didn’t.
I don’t have any other equipment to take this broken bolt off, hence not trying any further.

Gabriel won’t replace it because it broke while installing. I was like, I managed to tighten the others with the same torque but this one broke, doesn’t this show manufacturing defect? And they claimed lifetime warranty, my a*s. I am not going to recommend these to anyone.

I am confused. I didn’t strip any bolt, if you mean the same way as one can strip the nut. This bolt came loose because I took it off with the thought that I would remove the broken bolt and put this old one there. While I managed to get these old bolts off without any hassle, the broken one won’t budge, may be because I don’t have enough leverage there. Hence, all drama of putting the old assembly back in place with the loose bolt.

I have asked the mechanic to stop by sometimes next week. Will ask him to take a look first and then drive it to him.

One more question, when he removes the broken bolt and puts the new one, can that new bolt be fixed with epoxy or instant glue so that it stays in place to tighten it. I am not too sure if he can slide vice grips in that really small space. May be he has some other trick up his sleeve but asking just for my info.


#12

No surprise there.


#13

Buy a new strut mount, take the new strut to your mechanic and have the strut mount replaced. This will be easier than fooling around with broken studs.


#14

I checked that too. The strut mount is $46+shipping, as opposed to $110+free shipping for the whole assembly. If it comes to that, I would just buy the whole assembly and install it myself.


#15

I would think that after this experience you would have decided to just have the mechanic do it and be done with it. You are asking questions that show you might be in over your head. We all have are limitations due to experience.


#16

I kinda disagree with this. OP got 3 struts in just fine, then got a crappy part, that through no apparent fault of the installer- broke. It happens. Not sure I’d want to give up the self-repair at this point either.

But, I’d probably have my wife call the manufacturer or the store the strut came from. She can be a whole lot more forceful than I when it comes to getting good customer service :wink:


#17

Were I in that situation I’d see if I could put the existing bolts back into service enough to make it reasonbly safe to drive slowly to the shop. Maybe the threads could be repaired using a small triangle file, thread chaser. Then buy some new nuts and give it a go. If the new nuts still spin, you could try a smaller nut, a nut with a different pitch, or a metric nut that’s slightly smaller. You just need it clamped down for a short, slow drive is all. And you don’t care if the threads get damaged beyond what they already are, you aren’t going to be using them except for the short ride, right? If you try to drive with that much play as shown in the photo, besides the wheel getting wobbly and damaging a suspension component etc, you’d also risk damaging the mounting surface or elongating the bolt holes in the fender. Not saying it isn’t possible to do a short drive like that, but I’d try the thread renewing and smaller bolt idea first.


#18

A final post on this thread.

I called up the guy again and he asked me to drive slowly. Drove to him slowly, even went to 30mph as I was close to him just to try what sh*t can happen. Nothing happened. Actually, didn’t even feel like something was wrong. He removed the broken bolt, welded a new one.

Asked him to check the rest 3 because my confidence was a little shaken. Even he was surprised. All 3 were installed properly and even he thought, I should have gotten a replacement.

Everything is fixed now. The car is working well. I must say, not much impressed with these assemblies, not because of sour grapes but I was expecting the performance to be better than what I am getting.


#19

Sincere thanks for taking the time to let us know the results. We rarely hear, and it’s always good to hear of a positive result.

Happy motoring.
TSM