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Valve Cover Gasket and Spark Plug Tube fix... help needed!

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I took on this job after discovering oil in the Spark Plug tubes and on the coils





I thoroughly examined numerous topics on this forum, watched some YouTube tutorials, and am currently elbow deep in the process that includes the following:


Change Spark Plugs

Change Valve Cover Gasket

Change Spark Plug Tube Seals

Clean Throttle Body

Clean MAF sensor

New Air Filter

Change Oil and Filter


This may seem somewhat everyday for some of you and normal maintenance especially for these cars, but I'm somewhat of a "wish I knew more" type of at home mechanic.


Here's my dilemma... I chose not to jack up the engine as recommended (knowing and accepting full well the increased difficulty it may cause removing the valve covers).i didn't do it as I was NOT confident in jacking up the engine without... well... jacking up the engine of ya catch my drift.


Tear down of induction system, battery, and a few other areas was no issue...



Removal of the passenger side valve Cover although I cursed and twisted and bashed a knuckle or two, came out just fine. Replacement process was simple enough, new seals, new gasket, new plugs. All went back together surprisingly easy, bolted up without worry.



Drivers side valve cover has very little room to work with and the bottom rear bolt was a pain to get to... very little room. well now comes my dilemma and I will almost let the pictures speak for themselves...


This is said bottom rear bolt.



Here is the rest of it...



... broken off.


Yes that whole story lead up to a busted off bolt, it was captivating enough and I wanted to express my feelings of utter dread when I felt it go...


I'm curious here as to what my options are. We have removed the drivers side wheel well guard to get better access to it.




Mind you, it really isn't much room to work with... maybe 2-2.5". A drill tap seems like the course of action, but how in the world do you get it in there?



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Really sorry to see this happened. Broken bolts are always a pain. You have two options. Drill it out with an angled drill or air die grinder. This will be pretty tricky with a lot of cursing, but will eventually work. Or, tow it to someone to have the work finished at a mechanic. I would opt for option one, but if you are not really comfortable with re tapping the hole then you may be best at a mechanic. Good luck
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There are alternative ways of getting that broken bolt out.


If you can get a left-handed drill bit, slightly smaller than the bolt diameter. Take a center punch, mark the center of the bolt where the tip of the drill needs to go. Set your drill to turn counterclockwise, this with luck will twist out the bolt once it bites into it.


There are tools called EZ-Outs used to extract screws and bolts in this situation. These are hardened steel left-handed thread tools. You center punch and drill out a hole through the center of the stuck bolt. Then, insert the EZ-Out by hand and slowly twist it counter-clockwise. With luck it will grab the bolt and twist it out.


Clearance will be an issue, you may need to jack the motor.

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I had one bolt on the passenger side in the same position break on me. It gave no warning just a clean break.


I was in the process of taking the heads off for the machine shop, so I just had them remove it. You may have better luck removing it if you can move the engine for clearance. I know you mentioned not being comfortable with this, but short of taking it to a shop it may be your best bet.

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Really appreciate all the comments! My father in law is helping me out with this so I wasn't necessarily going at it alone. I can share this information with him and we can see what route to take.


I remeasured and while it's tricky, there is about 3.5" of clearance between the bolt and what looks to be where the whole front axle is bolted onto the car.


(Remember I don't know technical names for things, but have a curious mind to learn, so if I need corrected on what that is, feel free to do so)


I did laugh in a demented Joker fashion as ANY OTHER BOLT could have broken off and I wouldn't be as bothered by it, removing the wheels gave us really good access to the other lower bolts, and upper bolts were never an issue, they all broke loose shockingly easy.


I will dig into these options with my FAther in law and see how to proceed.


I'll update if/when I know more. Any other comments are still welcome and appreciated. I wouldn't have done this job if it weren't for this forum, so I am grateful!

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