Tech Uses Platinum Drill Bits and Exhaust Manifold Repair Kit To Remove Broken Extractor and Fix Broken Bolts

Like most northern-climate repair shops, the service department at a busy Ford Dealership northwest of Detroit, frequently fixes diesel engines tasked with hauling heavy workloads in harsh weather conditions. These experienced techs often butt heads with broken bolts caused by Michigan’s dramatic seasonal swings.

Tom Easterwood is a diesel tech with more than 38 years of experience. He regularly repairs everything on a truck ranging from the front end to the back bumper.

“Up here, the weather affects engines in many ways.” Easterwood said. “We see lots of rusted studs due to corrosion caused by calcium chloride, which is put down on dirt roads to alleviate dust in the summer. Then, of course, we get the devastating rust buildup thanks to tons of winter road salt.”

Recently, diesel tech Joe Baker came across an exhaust leak on a 2008 Ford F250 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 diesel. He assessed the situation and deduced that it was due to a broken rear exhaust manifold stud.

“I began to drill the bolt so I could insert a square-tipped extractor,” Baker said. “But, once I got the extractor in, it snapped off when I turned it. I tried to use a torch to loosen it up a bit, but that didn’t help.”

Realizing this job just got a whole lot more complicated, Baker consulted with shop foreman Chris Lakso, who recommended he use the ProMAXX Tool Rocky II Exhaust Manifold Repair Kit, designed for Ford gas 4.6L, 5.4L and 6.8L engines as well as the Power Stroke diesel 6.0L and 6.4L engines.

“This kit is a time-saver. It helps reduce exhaust manifold repair costs for our customers. If we didn’t have a reliable tool to repair busted bolts right on the truck, we’d have to pull the cab and remove the cylinder head. That’s a huge, expensive, and time-consuming ordeal.”

This is when Easterwood, the more experienced of the technicians, took the job over.

“Joe was having trouble with the repair,” said Easterwood. “So, I fastened down the Rocky II jig and attempted to drill out the broken bolt. I spent hours drilling and all I had to show for it was five or six broken gold bits. I thought, what’s wrong with these things?”

Then, they decided to call ProMAXX Tool Specialist Bill Lieb, who sold them the original kit. Luckily, Lieb and ProMAXX Tool founder Jeff Del Rossa were already in Michigan conducting tool demonstrations at auto dealerships and independent shops. The pair reset their GPS and arrived at the Ford dealership in less than an hour.

As soon as they got to the shop, Del Rossa went right to work drilling out the bolt. However, Del Rossa stopped and questioned, “Was this repair previously done somewhere else?”  This is when Baker, the first tech to attempt the repair, mentioned the broken extractor, which the second repair team was completely unaware of.

“Once we realized that, Jeff from ProMAXX brought out his Platinum Tooling (Drill) Bits and cut through both the bolt and busted extractor in less than 15 minutes,” said Easterwood. “With the proper tooling, the kit easily completes a broken bolt repair and rescues a previously botched job.”

“The strength of Asian-made, tapered extractors is at best, unpredictable,” Del Rossa explained. “Free-hand drilling with no guide plate puts the repair attempt drastically off center. And, square-tipped extractors only turn left. This causes inferior tools to deform the stud, complicating the repair.”

Del Rossa, who grew up working at his father’s Ford dealership, talks the language of techs and develops precision specialty tools to help make shops more productive.

“When encountering a broken extractor, I always use our Premium Platinum Tooling. I include specialized bits and a ProCutter. The first step is to use the ProCutter to flatten the extractor and bolt remnants, removing any jagged edges,” he said.

Then, Del Rossa goes to work with his platinum tooling, that easily cuts through Rockwell 85 HRB steel, which is much harder than the extractor and broken stud. The combination of the kit’s precision guide plate, the end mill-flattened surface, and platinum tooling allows techs to quickly bore out both obstructions. Then, a ProMAXX Tool ProTap chases the threads and returns them to factory-new.

“When I talk to guys who work on a lot of diesels and EcoBoosts, I recommend they pick up a Broken Extractor EZ Out Removal Kit when they purchase an Exhaust Manifold Repair Kit,” said Lieb an experienced tool specialist.

“We engineered special USA-made Platinum tooling bits and end mills to remove broken extractors, cobalt drill bits and even taps. Lieb said. ”It’s always wiser and more expedient to have a backup plan on hand in case you come across a previously unsuccessful repair.”

Easterwood explained that when faced with broken exhaust manifold bolts, he used to just try and weld them out. “Welding worked most of the time, but not 100 percent. But, ProMAXX Tool’s Exhaust Manifold Repair (EMR) Kits are 100 percent effective, making repair times extremely predictable. The jigs fit exactly on the engine, and the holes come out dead-center,” Easterwood said.

“Now, the shop’s got both gold and platinum bits for our kits. Since we successfully used the kit to turn this repair around, I’ll be sure to go to it next time we get a broken bolt. With the weather here in Michigan, the next time is probably right around the corner.”