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Twins Technical Talk Technical Talk for Hinckley Triumph Twins: Bonneville, T100, Speedmaster, America, Thruxton, and Scrambler.

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Old 02-25-2009, 10:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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HELP: anyone know how to get a screw with a broken head off?

soooo, i relocated the turn signals today that were mounted to my shocks...got that part all done nice and groovy. then i was retighting the bolts on the rear shock, and broke the head off so now the screw is stuck in there with no head and i can't get it out!!!! the haynes manual said to tighten it to 28Nm and right when i was at 24 *SNAP* so yeah...must've been a junk screw or something....

i'm assuming this is not safe to ride to my dealer to get further assistance, so does anyone know of any easy and cheap methods to get that screw out and replaced?


*i realize the pics are crappy (iphone) and i also realize they're GIGANTIC, but for some reason photobucket is acting up? i've used their resize feature to bring them to the smallest size, and saved both, but for some reason they're still huge? if anyone knows of something i'm doing wrong, please let me know. just bear with this post for now please! thanks guys

here's pics:


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Old 02-25-2009, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The pic size is fine.

Now onto the real issue.

One possibility is the easy out (EZ out?) They are a hardened steel bit with a coarse reverse thread. You have to drill a hole in the old screw, then insert the EZ out, then turn - it supposedly bites into the old screw to turn it out - but I have never had much luck with them, and that screw is in there tight.

Another possibility is to drill the screw out. Get a dremel, grind the surface of the broken bolt smooth, center punch a spot on the screw head, then start with small drills and work your way up, gradually, to the largest size possible without damaging the threads on the bike. Eventually the screw will lose all strength, and you will be able to pick it out. Then you can run a tap down the threads on the bike to clean them out.

Another method is to weld another bolt onto the existing broken screw. The heat generated in welding can help free it up. The person doing the welding needs to be good.

If it were me, I would do option 2 above, and take my time, but I have done it before all 3 ways.

Spark eroding is not a likely solution in this case.

I would not ride the bike like that - the shock is not very likely to come off - but if it does......big problems. Trailer it to the dealer.

I wonder if you used too long a bolt, and it bottomed out?
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Last edited by propforward; 02-25-2009 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would think that what's left in there is not under tension. If that's correct--you might be able to verify by checking the other side with a long bolt--it should back out if you can get an extractor into it, carefully and slowly. Drilling the hole will be a challenge.

I'd guess that that bolt was overtightened in the past.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the broken screw is in a blind hole - but bearing in mind what Balto said - you could try making a slot in the top of the broken off screw with a dremel. Then try turning it out with a regular flat bladed screwdriver. If it is not under tension - and Balto could well be right about that - then it should turn out easily.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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alright, think i may be best off somehow getting this into the dealer before i go messing around with stuff and mess up the threading in the actual frame of the bike.

the triumph dealer is about 9 miles away, so bit of a stretch of going there with the bike like this...

i have a ridenow dealer that is REALLY close to me....probably about 3/4 of a mile away, and i'd assume they'd have the same tools available to be able to get it out.

my bike is all i have right now, so trialering it is not an option at the momemt...might have to risk it and try to get into the ridenow tomorrow. realisitcally, what are teh chances of the shock coming off if i try to make it to the ridenow going no faster than 25MPH and really milking every turn??? or is this asking for trouble?
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i don't have a dremel...LOL.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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ok...don't panic. you can do this.

run down to the harware store and pick up an IRWIN screw extractor set. the set I have came with 5 spiral extractors, it should run you about $15. pick up a T-Handle as well, like the kind you use on a tap - should be near where the taps & dies are in the store.

you will also need a spring-loaded center punch and a GOOD drill bit set with 64th/inch graduations.

first, you will need to use the center punch to make a divot in the center of the damaged screw. (so the drill bit doesn't walk)

then, pick an extractor from the kit that looks about right. you want to make a hole that is about 1/2 the diameter of the screw. the kit should refer you to the appropriate sized hole to drill. be careful to drill the hole straight on and as close to the center as you can get. try not to damage the threads on the hole that the screw goes into. make sure you don't break the drill bit either, or you will have a large unsightly bruise from smacking yourself in the head.

once you have drilled out the center of the damaged screw,
insert the extractor and tap lightly with a hammer until it seats.
the spiraled head of the extractor should grab the hole you just made and hold firmly so you can back the screw out.

next, attach the t-handle to the extractor and make a prayer/offering to your favorite diety and turn anti-clockwise. with any luck it should come out.

*this does not always work, but if you are very careful and take your time it should do the trick. please don't blame me if it doesn't - I'm just trying to help

GOOD LUCK! That extractor set will come in very handy in the future. You'll be glad you bought it!
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Difficult to say - the shocks are on there tight, I was just working on mine, and they don't jump off easy even when the bike is on the center stand and I'm yanking sideways on them, but it's a risk. It has to be your call as to whether to ride or not I'm afraid.

Getting it to a bike mechanic is probably the best solution for you, if you're not comfortble with this kind of work.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well it's fairly obvious that the shock is going to have to be removed to get the rest of that bolt out.

You'll have to put the bike on the centre stand, or jack it if you don't have a centre stand, remove the lower shock mounting bolt and then remove the shock itself. I'd remove the seat as well to give you more working room.

Once you have the shock off you should spray the broken bolt with a penetrating oil (WD40 or similar) and leave for 10 minutes to soak in then latch on to the remains of that bolt with a pair of vice grips (locking pliers) and twist it out. Go gently to start with working the bolt backwards and forwards to free the threads and spray it again with penetrating oil before attempting to remove it completely.

The last thing you want is to snap that bolt off level with the frame because then you will be in deep ****. A really good penetrating oil for this purpose is a product called "Bolt Off", not sure if you can get it where you are.

Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Removing the shock will not give better access to the bolt. The black around the bolt (in the picture) is the nub on the frame that the shock slides onto. There's no way to grab the end of the bolt with vise-grips or anything else because it's inside that piece.

Having the shock out of the way might make access easier, but it's not essential in this situation.

I wouldn't use penetrating oil and an extractor. It might compromise the "bite" of the extractor, which is marginal at best.

The danger with the drill/extractor routine is breaking either of them off in the bolt. Then you really have a problem. Proceed slowly and carefully if you try it.
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