Impact tool or breaker bar?

I need to remove the bed on my 2007 Silverado Classic to replace the fuel sender. The bolts are very rusted, three have been broken in the past, before I bought it.

Last year, I sprayed down the bolts with SeaFoam and after several days of testing with a breaker bar, I eventually got them all to loosen up but did not remove them, only retightened. I decided to put off the job for awhile.

I sprayed down the bolts last weekend with PB Blaster and tried with the breaker bar again. The first bolt did not feel good, like I might be breaking it, so I stopped and sprayed all the bolts with Breakfree.

I was watching one of the PowerNationTV shows a couple of weeks ago and one of the mechanics mentioned that he was using an impact tool on some rusted bolts because it was less likely to break a bolt.

So, opinions. Breaker bar or impact tool. BTW, he was using a battery powered (20V) Matco impact wrench.

So what if they break , it seems that you would want new rust free ones anyway.


Agreed. You should replace them all even if you don’t break them getting them off.

To answer your question, an impact gun is just as likely to snap the bolts as a breaker bar.

The best thing to do is heat up the area the bolt screws into if possible.

Then use a breaker bar so you can feel if it’s coming loose.


It does seem that using an impact lessens the probability of breaking bolts and it certainly reduces the aggravation in getting on with the job.

A would be customer once commented on a seeing a mechanic quickly get the wheels off a car with an impact that using a power tool instead of a wrench took all the work out of the job. I was flabbergasted. Some people don’t recognize that mechanics are paid to repair cars, not sweat and strain.

So just spin them out and replace them. You’ll be much happier with the job when completed and possibly save a few trip$$$ to the chiropractor.

1 Like

American attitudes toward work and value-of-labor are wholly screwed up. People tend to not consider anything work unless the worker is tired at the end of the job. They don’t think about the fact that they’re paying for the mechanic’s expertise, not the mechanic’s exercise. If all they want is to see someone get sweaty, they can go watch a jogging track for free. :wink:


If they break, you have significantly more work in extracting the broken off piece that’s left. If the part they are left in is one I’m saving, I try to avoid breaking them off if I can.

1 Like

I’ve heard this before. The idea being the rattling loosens the rust. Never been my experience. I prefer penetrant and heat then hand tools with leverage sometimes going back and forth to ease them out. If you feel twisting of the bolt, it’s over anyway. But I have rarely had a break where I can get the nut or threaded boss cherry red. They squeal like a banshee sometimes but they come out intact.

I watched a woman’s Pilates class once. The woman women didn’t seem to be exerting too much…but for some reason my heart was racing.


The only thing with a battery impact is that you can’t feel what is going on with the bolt. I would prefer a ratchet rather than a breaker bar just for that reason, but seems like if they are gonna break they are gonna break.

An impact is a bit better but with some fittings they are going to break anyway no matter what steps are taken to prevent it. At times I prefer to just cut them off and be done with it; followed by replacing with stainless.

I just spent 2 full days replacing the optional engine oil cooler lines on my Sonoma and was going to replace the radiator connects also. No amount of PB Blaster or finesse would budge them due to rust. Finally the entire fittings were ripped out of the radiator with said Sonoma now fitted with a new radiator also.
And another 3 hours trying to fit the transmission cooler lines which fought me every step of the way while trying to insert them into the radiator connects on the opposite side.

1/2" drive pneumatic impact wrench is the way to go

And not harbor fake

Ingersoll Rand titanium is just fine . . . and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Cut an access hole in the bed and skip the trouble?

How about just removing the tank and avoiding broken bed bolts . . . ?!

I’ve got both but with an impact wrench you still can’t feel when you have reached the point where the bolt will break like you can with a ratchet. There is enough power with an impact to shear the bolt off but if the idea is to try and salvage the bolt, I’d take it a little easier.

This approach might be your best solution. Then just pop rivet a cover plate back on.

I promise not to show that to your wife. :wink:

1 Like

I plan on replacing all the bolts. Still soaking them. I think I will try to extract the three that have already been broken before trying to remove the others.

Dropping the tank is not recommended because accessing the wiring and hoses before dropping is all but impossible and they do not have enough slack to drop the tank a little, accessing them and finish dropping the tank the rest of the way, according to several sources on the internet and YouTube videos.

Someone on the Lincoln Mark VIII site presented a pattern some years ago for cutting a hole to access the fuel pump under the passenger side of the rear seat. I drew the pattern off for future use. At some point the pump began to fail and the pattern came in quite handy.

Before the hole was cut changing the pump required dropping the full exhaust, trailer hitch, and tank; which was a wrestling match because of the short wiring harness and fuel lines.
After the hole was cut, changing the pump is a 15 minute job including R & R of the rear seat.

Maybe someone on the net has come up with a pattern for your truck. The main issue to to prevent cutting through any nearby fuel lines or wiring. With a little care no problem at all.

Impact. Start lower power and increase to max. The shocking vibration effect is similar to an air hammer. A breaker bar is more likely to snap it. But as a last resort, go for it.