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Removing cylinder head studs

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pfw565 John Dickinson
Vancouver/Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada   CAN
I have been unable so far to remove two head studs - the rear two on the RHS of the block. All the others came out without much drama. The last two won't budge. I've tried cold packs and penetrating oil around the base. I've also had my son apply more muscle than I am able to muster.

I am concerned about using any more force in case they break, which would pose an entirely new set of challenges. Anyone have any suggestions? I've considered applying heat, the theory being that a little bit of expansion and contraction might break whatever is binding them in place. Has anyone else had the same problem with these two studs?

I was hoping to install ARP studs but if I can't get the last two out I may have to resort to new nuts and washers and reuse the old studs. The car has a history of head gasket problems (with the previous owner), most of which I suspect are due to a recently discovered cracked head, which is now being replaced. I do, however, suspect that the studs may have stretched a little. It is a rebuilt engine of unknown provenance and a few things give me cause for concern about the quality of workmanship.

Any and all ideas are welcome. Thanks.


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Perdido Avatar
Perdido Gold Member Rut Rutledge
Tuscaloosa, AL, USA   USA
Head studs in general can cause a lot of grief on removal when rusted in place as you well know. I've had better luck with Kroil than anything else, even the 50:50 mix of acetone/ATF. I'm guessing you're using a pipe wrench and two suggestions, one is to hit the stud on the top pretty hard, protecting the threads with a couple of old nuts. Sometimes driving it down will break the bond of corrosion. Two is to tighten the stud to try to break the bond, alternating between tightening and loosening while hitting the stud on the top. Heat can really help if you have enough of it, but be careful!
Good luck, Rut

trrdster Avatar
trrdster Wayne Tate
Spencer, NC, USA   USA
The two nuts on the threads, locked together and the monkey wrench on the very bottom of the stud. Use a heavy piece of cardboard under it, so not to scratch the block. Put at 180 degrees apart and crank it loose. A couple of bangs on top would be a good idea as Rut suggest.

1970 TR6
2000 Jaguar XK8
1949 Triumph Roadster 2000
1978 Spitfire (rust victim)
1971 GT6 (tarp covered for 12 years, rusted inside out)
1980 Spitfire (getting all the good GT6 parts, all poly suspension and Spax shocks)

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ducbsa Bruce Metcalf
Berryville, VA, USA   USA
One other trick is to heat it up, then melt beeswax at the joint. It seems to penetrate well.

ArtL Avatar
ArtL Art Liefke
Kings Park, NY, USA   USA
I had this problem years ago with two of the long studs that go deep into the block. I called Ken Gillanders at British Frame & Engine and he said just soak them in a good penetrant (I used PB Blaster) for a couple of days and then just use a big pipe wrench. I asked him if he has ever seen on break using this method...he said once...but he's taken out hundreds like that without a problem. I followed instructions, soaked the recalcitrant studs, and put the pipe wrench to the first one. As I was applying force, I noticed the stud twisting quite a bit. Then I heard a big pop. The stud was still in one piece. I continued with the pipe wrench and a series of pop, pop, pop as the stud was now starting to turn out. The other stud did the same thing with the pops. They can be a bit disconcerting, but all ended well.


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Geko Avatar
Geko Stef SG
Kuala Lumpur, WP, Malaysia   MYS
Heat works every time.

pfw565 John Dickinson
Vancouver/Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada   CAN
Thanks for all the suggestions - and encouragement. I will keep trying.

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tapkaJohnD Avatar
tapkaJohnD John Davies
Lancaster, Lancashire, UK   GBR
Double nutting isn't a strong way of removing a stuck stud. And It ruins the stud, but you're going to fit new ones, yes?
A better way to get a grip is to weld a nut to the top of the stud converting it to a bolt. The weld should be done with high heat, for good penetration but also as this is the best way to heat the stud as an aid to release.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-14 01:54 PM by tapkaJohnD.

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