Retrieve part in cylinder



While attempting to change a spark plug in my 1994 2.2L S-10 I noticed that the threads were stripped. I tried to use a tap but it was apparently too small and dropped in the cylinder! Any ideas (other than removing the head) on how to get it out? I have put a magnet in and picked it up, but can’t seem to get it oriented right to pull it out. If I could just get the small end out first I think I could grap it with needle nose pliers and get the rest of the tap out.


Not all magnets were created equal. Get a super strong one and the tap should come out even if it has to shift its position. A weak magnet will just drop the tap.


If you have a strong shop vac and enough room to position the hose over the hole, that might work. Or with the combination of the suction and the magnet you can probably fish it out. Also, have you tried turning the engine a little to get the piston in a more favorable position?

Either way, it’s probably a good idea to suck out the dirt and metal shavings that might have fallen in.


look at sears. they sell a long 18 " or so. flexible spring loaded 4 prong grabber. you push the end plunger, and the prongs stick out so you can grab stuff (like a tap in a hole)

you can use this to get the tap back to the top to get maybe a string around it to fish it out of the hole.

make a loop of sewing thread. make a choker out of it so you can get it over the end of the tap. that way you can let the tap drop length wise so it can come out.


The vacuum cleaner suggestion reminded me of how I get small stuff through small openings sometimes in the lab. A small diameter tube with vacuum might be able to reach into the cylinder and grab the tap on the end that you want. You will need a good vacuum pump or maybe get it from the intake tract.


That’s going to be a tight fit!
Here’s what I would do-

I would first try the small tubing vacuum trick. Take a length of small diameter tubing. The ID should be just large enough to hold the tap end by suction. Place a few inches of it into your shop vac hose and stuff a rag around it to seal it up. That small tubing will have a monster vacuum on it when you turn on your shop vac. Practice on a loose tap on your bench to get the feel of it. Then fish it around in the hole and try to weasel the tap into position to be removed. It’s not going to be easy and patience will be the deciding factor.

If the tap is down too low, you may need to bring the piston up in the bore. Remove all the plugs and slowly rotate the engine by hand tools to get the tap closer to the plug hole. Repeat the vacuum trick OR use a small amount of duct tape wrapped backwards around a length of wire. It may help to wad it up as much as possible. This might be hard to explain but to insure it comes back out with the wire and tap, first wind it tightly around the wire with the glue side in. Then create a wad just large enough to pass through the hole such that the glue side is exposed as much as possible. GO FISH! and good luck.


Get a stronger magnet and keep trying. I’ve been there . . . done that . . . and it takes patience and time. Get comfortable and keep trying with a stronger magnet. Rocketman


Soft rubber or silicone tubing might work best for a good seal.


Thanks for all the help! I got one of those small magnets on the telescoping pen type stick (you can wear them in your pocket like a pen), put a wrench on the front pulley and slowly took the cylinder to the bottomn, and believe it or not I fished the thing out in about 20 minutes. I was willing to spend 4 or 5 hours trying before I even thought about taking the head off - so I feel like I won the lottery!


happy days!

you should play the tap size,you never know?