How do I remove these frozen bolts?

I’m trying to remove 2 bolts at the bottom of the engine (so the only way to access them is from under the car) but they’re completely stuck and one of them is stripped. I don’t have much leverage to try and cut them with a chisel and I’m not sure how else to do it. Any ideas/suggestions? Just to reiterate the car is very low to the ground so even with a jack (the one that I have anyway) there’s not much space.

PB blaster for both bolts and a pipe wrench might work on the stripped one.

Lots of PB spray, if you can heat them with a torch. As a person whos broken a few bolts my best advice if they are small (like tranny pan bolts, though any bolt in general) is loosen a bit and if they get tight turn them back in a ways then loosen again. Might take a while but well worth the time. If there is enough space for a socket wrench PVC pipe can add leverage.

There are sockets made that will work on rounded off heads of bolts. They make contact on the flat portion of the head instead of the corners that can get stripped. You might have to get some jack stands so you can get the car raised and get better access to the problem. You should be able to rent some.

Kuddos @Cougar, just about forgot about those. They are also sold at parts stores not to expensive to buy if I remember right., I received a set for xmas a few years ago.

DO NOT WORK UNDER THE CAR SUPPORTED ONLY BY THE JACK! Yes, all cap’s – I’m shouting. We want you to live and be able to post back about how you solved the problem. Get and use proper jackstands (and chock the wheels that are on the ground). After that, decide which approach to use on the bolts.

(If you are using jackstands, but the jack doesn’t go high enough, then slip some substantial support under the jack (e.g., some pieces of 2x10 lumber) or get a different jack (e.g., a bottle jack).)


2 thoughts:

  1. Yes, what Art said. Fully support the vehicle and make sure it is NOT going to fall off the jack stands. It is amazing how much force you can put on a wrench.

  2. I’ve tried several products over the years and PB Blaster seems to work the best - along with Patience. My 2 biggest weapons are PB and Patience - and a breaker bar. My 3 best weapons are …

A breaker bar and some penetrating oil have helped me get out stubborn bolts. When you shop for a breaker bar, the longer ones give you more leverage, but make sure the one you get isn’t so long that you don’t have room to use it.

One of those 4.5" angle grinders with a steel-cutting disc will make fast work of it…

NEVER work under a car supported by a jack…Buy some ramps and/or jack stands…

Sounds like this car needs to be put on a lift before any more damage is done…

I won’t get under a car even when supported by my 2.5 ton hydraulic floor jack. I ALWAYS use stands.

I think you’ll find you have far more leverage if you can SAFELY get under the vehicle.

just to clarify I AM and have been using stands.

Yeah, we tend to get off track sometimes.

What, exactly, are these bolts attaching onto the car?

And spraying pb blaster on a bolt head won’t do much, you have to get it to the threads. May need to use heat (if you safely can).

A torch will be dangerous in close quarters. I wouldn’t use one unless the car is in a lift and the bolts are not too close to stuff that burns, like oil or rubber.

Six point socket (Craftsman or better) and a good ratchet or breaker bar with a 4 foot piece of steel pipe over it will take out most bolts. Steel fence posts in concrete that have been discsrded are a good source.

First roll the car on ramps so you get conveniently get to the bolt with tools. That’s probably how you stripped one of them, not being dead square on the thing.
If the car is low, place the ramps onto some 2x16 lumber to raise it up further.

Besides gallons of PB blaster, get whitey’s breaker bar, a six point socket (not a twelve point) and whatever extension you need to get a good grip. Then get a dead blow rubber mallet and tap on the end of the breaker bar. You want to shock the bolt, coaxing it loose.

If you’re going to put a steel pipe over the end of the breaker bar, or you’re going to tap the end of the breaker bar with a rubber mallet, it would be a good idea to get a helper to hold the six point socket on the end of the bolt. If you try to do it all yourself, you might end up stripping it further.

Good point, @whitey: You do have to be square on that nut/bolt for it to make any difference.