Temp sensor broke off and can't get it out

My friend was replacing the temp sensor on his 2000 Civic, and twisted too hard and it broke off leaving part of the screw still in the hole. I got him a screw extractor kit, and he tried it this morning, and it too broke off. Any thoughts how to get these things out? I’m including a photo.

Can’t see why a properly sized screw extractor would not get it out. Did you use a drill bit before you tried the screw extractor? Nice pic, though.

I didn’t do it, my friend did, so I don’t know exactly the steps he took. The thing now is how to fix the current problem?


It looks like you might have enough to get a vice grips on.

There are other people here with much more experience, knowledge & cleverness than I. But I think that at this point I’d be thinking about a reverse drill bit - although the screw extractor will likely keep that from being effective. But perhaps it could bite enough to give another whirl at getting it going.

But I’m grasping at straws there. I’m sure there’s a best way to go about this.

I would have drilled first, then used a reverse-threaded Easy-Out to try to grab the sensor. And I would have used an electric drill. What is that thing in the lower left of the pic?

That is going to be a beeoch to fix. See the offset conical void left when it broke? That is going to make drilling difficult. The bit is going to want to drift off center big time.

I would try grinding it flush. Then fabricate a simple collet that goes over the crankcase boss to keep the bit centered and straight. Buy the right drill bit and exercise a lot of patience by using very light pressure and plenty of oil. Once the bit is biting all they way around, you can start applying normal pressure.

Buzz it out oversize and use an insert.

There is always Heli-Coil

I can’t readily tell what is going on in that picture. The only thing I can see in that hole is the broken Easy-Out. I too wonder what is in the lower right of the picture. It’s been a long time since I have touched a 2000 Civic so I’m not entirely sure what I am looking at, but the sensor in the lower right of the picture looks an awful lot like a coolant temp sensor and the hole with the Easy-Out broken off in it looks too small to house a coolant temp sensor.

Screw extractors are a curse on humanity and usually cause more problems than they solve. The odds of drilling an extractor out are close to zero. I’ve attempted it with a titanium tipped drill bit and went nowhere.

Unless there’s enough of a nub sticking out there to grab hold of with a pair of Vise-Grips and he’s able to gently wiggle the extractor out then he may be up the creek.
If the broken extractor does come out then what’s needed is an angle head drill to access and drill out what’s left of the sensor.

Failing all of that, this may involve removing the damaged part completely from the car and having a machine shop attempt a fix or locate another used part. The latter may be the easiest and cheapest option.
Throw the screw extractors away.

That’s tool steel. And as mentioned a drill, even a hardened drill isn’t going to do squat. What you will need is somebody experienced with a mini torch that can produce enough heat to burn out the tool leaving the brass core. Then re drill using a reverse sharpened bit. That is if you have enough room to get a drill in there.

There are guys with a lot of experience with an acetylene cutting torch who can blow that mess out of there and not damage the treads in the aluminum head…But it will be no guarantee, a 50-50 deal…Trying to drill a broken EZ-out is almost impossible. They are just too hard to drill… Call around to all the automotive machine shops in the area and maybe you can find someone who will attempt it…But you are only a step away from needing a replacement head…It’s a combination of luck and skill now…

I guess before junking the head, if you can’t work the easy out loose with needle nose vice grips etc., I’d be trying to very carefully use a wire feed welder to weld a nut onto the easy out. If you can position the nut and hold it over the bit, then you can weld through the center of the nut. Shouldn’t need much to extract it, then go at removing the sensor again like maybe jamming a faucet seat wrench in there.

Thanks guys. I’ll pass this info along. But if you have more ideas, keep ‘em comin’.

Can’t drill tool hardened steel? Nonsense. Use a carbide drill, plenty of lubricant and be patient. Pretty much what i said before. Let me know if it can’t be done because i want to apply for some kind of recognition for accomplishing it a number of times already. Unfortunately i know it’s not news to most machinists…