I was changing out the timing belt on my early 90’s Corolla a while back, and the biggest problem I had was a bolt (part of the front engine mount ass’y) that was on there so tight it was impossible for me to loosen. This bolt didn’t appear to be rusted. I tried some Liquid Wrench and heat, but it had no effect. This bolt was just put on really tight when the car was built. My thinking has always been that if a bolt won’t budge, just use a longer breaker bar. So I tried that, got out the big-beast breaker bar, all the effort I could muster … ummmphhh … and all it did was round over the corners of the bolt. And ruined the socket.
On this particular job, I was able to figure out a work-a-round; I discovered I could just remove a couple of different bolts and accomplish the same thing, which was to figure out a way to route the new timing belt through the engine mount ass’y and into the place where it goes. (Maybe one day the manufacturer’s will figure out a way to route the timing belt so it doesn’t require removing the engine mount??? I’m not holding my breath … lol … )
Anyway, I was wondering if I should have used an impact wrench? The reason I ask is because the access to this bolt was really tight. The only way to get to at it was using a ratchet and socket. The impact wrenches I’ve seen (like used for tires) wouldn’t have fit, because they look more like big drills. To use an impact wrench I’d have needed one that looked like a ratchet, not a drill. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen on like that.
So what’s the best way to loosen a stuck bolt when the impact wrench won’t fit in the space available? Are there ratchet shaped impact wrenches? Are there 90 degree adapters available for the normal drill-shaped impact wrenches? It seems like a 90 degree (or variable degree) adapter would have to use some kind of hardened gears or something, as the forces are too large for a normal 90 degree socket adapter.
Or maybe my problem was the socket. The ratchet held up fine, even with the big breaker bar. But the socket failed and rounded over the bolt in the process. I was using a twelve point regular-type (Craftsman) socket. Should I have been using a 6 point impact socket I wonder?
I was also thinking at the time if I had some kind of air-driven impact-hammer device, I could have held that up to the breaker bar to use it to hammer (vibrate) away on the breaker bar, hoping to vibrate the bolt loose without rounding over the bolt or ruining the socket.
Anyway, any ideas out there?