Saturday, July 13, 2013

Drilling out and extracting a seized manifold bolt on a 5.4L Ford F150

        I had one seized stud to remove to complete the exhaust manifold removal on a 2000 5.4L Ford F150 truck. Careful preparation is the key. Each situation is a little different.
       1) Exhaust all methods of removing the stud intact first. Use a dental pick to remove rust at the point where the stud enters the threaded hole. Often this is where the rust has taken hold. Spray some PB blaster of other penetrating lubricant into the joint. Try to turn it out by whatever means possible with whatever tool you can get on the bad fastener. Put torque on it in both directions. It may seem illogical, but try to tighten it as well. Use jarring force, not continuous or excessive force. That will only break something off. When all efforts have failed, get out the cutting tools. Its going to have to be drilled and extracted.    
      2) First cut the stud or bolt down to just above the threaded hole with a tool such as a Dremel with a reinforced cutting wheel.
      3) Now file it super flat with a hand file. The filed surface should be parallel with the hole. Take great care to mark dead center on the stud with the sharpest finest point marker you can find.
      4) Center punch the stud. The center punching process is absolutely critical. It must be drilled dead in the center. I use a spring loaded punch at the lightest setting. If your punch mark is off center at all, file it back down and try to hit center again. It took me three tries to get it just right. Once it's nicely centered you can punch it again to go a bit deeper.
It took three tries, but I hit it close enough to center. 
     5) Drill the stud. Get a new drill bit for the initial hole. Buy American made. Yes, they are still made here. That's going to greatly increase your chances of getting a bit made of quality materials and craftsmanship. I used a Montana Brand 7/64" bit for the initial cut.
     The drilled hole has to be started at the exact right angle. I threaded in one of the intact studs and  measured the correct angle by using an angle finder. In this case it was 44 degrees.
    Then I cut a small block of pine in a miter box at to 45 degrees and filed it until it was 44 degrees. I attached an RV level to the block of wood. I used double sided adhesive tape to attach it to my drill. I felt I needed this to get the angle right for the first half inch or so. After that the bit will follow the hole the rest of the way.
     I was lucky in one sense. This particular stud was accessible with a regular drill. Any other would have required a right angle attachment. I found that my bit needed frequent sharpening. I used a Black and Decker bit sharpener every so often to touch it up for more effective cutting.
    Finally I it came out the other end of the 7/8" long stud.
    6) Extract the stud. Now the hole must be increased to 5/32" to use a #2 Triumph extractor. I increased the hole all the way through, 1/64" at a time, until it was 5/32" wide. Still the stud would not come out.
        I decided to remove the part of the stud that was still in the top 1/8" of the female threads. This was probably where the stud was rusted to the head. I did this by very carefully drilling just the top of the hole with a succession of larger bits, up to 1/4". I didn't want to drill the threads themselves and ruin them. I also used  a Dremel tool with a tiny cutting tip as well as a small cylindrical grinding tip to carefully remove material to a hair from the threads.
 Finally my thrill moment came. It broke free.The key was removing the part of the stud at the top of the threads. I actually let out a whoop and did a fist pump.
    It came out clean. I can use the original threads. I'm celebrating with a beer. I don't care if it is 10:00am.

                 If you like a video version,  here's a video of the extraction of the stud:

    Quality drill bits                                            a good punch  


  1. Previously I used low quality drills to save money. One day one of my friends told me about an accident that had happened with him in which he lost his finger due to a similar low quality drill. Now I use only the high quality HSS drills, purchased from the best sources.

  2. Thank you for your video Mr. Hartke. I have to to say that was very impressive and i know im not as skilled as you but id like to pull this job off. I have a 1998 Triton 5.4 that is ticking and im thinking its the exhaust manifold. The ticking has progressively gotten worse over the past 3 months so im hoping this is all it is. Any advice or other things to look for would be much appreciated.

  3. First of all make sure it is the manifold by removing the wheel well cover and running the truck. Look for the telltale black smudge by the exhaust ports or feel for exhaust. If it is the manifold, the whole job is getting the studs and nuts off. Leave yourself plenty of time to carefully remove those parts. I wouldn't try it if you have to have the truck in a few days. Work carefully and methodically and they will come out. I'm not going to kid you though, this is one tough job.

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  8. I didn't know that how to Drilling out and extracting a seized manifold bolt. But now I am clear how to do it perfectly. This is possible for your great article .You give us great information step by step very clearly. Thank you so much. Actually I have few jeep. Now I can solve bolt problem in my jeep.And i am collecting more information about tools , bolt , jeep from here Its also helpful all of us.

  9. Insanely comprehensive :)

    Thank you so much,
    Now I have something to read during the holidays. This will take a while but well worth it like always
    You can read another one here DiYsBest