For every hot rodder there are at least a dozen stories about fasteners that are stuck or that have broken off. The most common story has to be the result of the applied increase of torque until the fastener breaks loose or in half. All of us have been there!

Rather than spraying a little penetrating oil, such as SiliKroil sold by Eastwood, you upscale from 3/8- to 1/2-inch ratchet and apply just a bit more torque. And there you have it—the fastener is now in two pieces; half in your hand (yippee), and half broken off in the block (damn it!).

You were going to use new fasteners anyway and you were going to chase the threads with your handy-dandy Eastwood GearWrench tap and die set, so why couldn't you have just taken a few added minutes and been a little more careful? Duh, hot rodders always have a bigger wrench in the box and bigger will always work better, right? Hmm, rarely.

Personally, I think it's because we like new tools, and the chance to drive down to the hardware store in our hot rod is a chance that shouldn't be passed up. Our current shopping list now includes a can of penetrating oil, a screw extractor, a tap and die set, and, of course, fresh fasteners. Ah, a hot rodder's life is grand. You can also take a moment and go online to the Eastwood Tool Company site and gather everything you will need before disaster strikes—and if it does you are prepared.

Eastwood GearWrench Tap and Die Drive Tool

The Eastwood GearWrench 3885 SAE 40-Piece Tap and Die Drive Tool Set (PN 13936) is one of two tap and die sets you might want to have on hand. Remember that many of today's modular motors (and transmissions) use metric. In this article we are looking at the SAE version, but there is a twin but in metric, which I found out I needed when tinkering with my first LS motor!

Included in the GearWrench tap and die 40-piece kit is a T-wrench with a 5-degree ratcheting arc for tapping engine blocks or other tightly confined areas. There is also a reversing lever, just like your handy ratchet, that lets you quickly change from forward to reverse to eliminate hand-over turning. The T-wrench also features a patented twist-lock guide system that reduces "back walk" of the die guide.

The kit contains the T-wrench, small- and medium-sized tap adapter, die adapter, thread gauge for U.S. threads, 4mm hex key, and a full assortment of taper and plug end taps (25.45 (+0.1mm -0.1mm) hexagon die sizes: 4-40NC taper, 6-32 NC taper, 8-32 NC taper, 10-24 NC taper, 12-24 NC taper,1/4-20 NC taper, 5/16-18 NC taper, 3/8-16 NC plug, 7/16-14 NC plug,1/2-13 NC plug, 10-32 NF taper, 1/4-28 NF taper, 5/16-24 NF taper, 3/8-24 NF plug, 7/16-20 NF plug, 1/2-20 NF plug and 1/8-27 NPT pipe).

This sequence shows a 3/8-inch coarse die started on damaged bolt threads, and then the die adapter attached to the reversible, ratcheting T-wrench.

SiliKroil Penetrating Oil

SiliKroil (PN 43381) penetrating oil is sold by Eastwood Tool Company and this magic potion works wonders on loosening "frozen" hardware. SiliKroil contains silicone whereas the original Kroil blend does not. The silicone additive displaces water while helping to fight against corrosion, and it dissolves rust. It comes in a 16-1/5-ounce aerosol can or 1-gallon cans (PN 43380).

Universal Thread Repair Tool

Here's a handy thread repair tool all of us should have in our toolbox, and it's so portable that we should be throwing it into our travel tool kit. The Universal Thread Repair Tool (PN 13664) is ideal for quick repairs and especially in emergency situations—such as on the road traveling to your favorite rod run.

The 1-inch universal thread repair tool will restore damaged threads both in inch or metric and in right and left and threads. It's self-adjusting to any pitch and size within range—such as 5/32-inch to 11/16-inch SAE, 4 to 18mm metric, and up to 7/16-inch NPT (pipe thread). It also features a pair of hardened cutting blades that quickly and easily remove rust and burrs.

Screw Extractor Set

What do you do should you really go all gonzo on a fastener and break it off your freshly machined engine block or cylinder head? Well, you will be needing the Eastwood tap and die set, especially the dies, and fresh hardware but the Rennsteig three-piece screw extractor set (PN 30227) is very handy and is so small that it also should be not only in your garage toolbox but also in your tool travel bag when on the road.

The Rennsteig's screw extractor sold by Eastwood is a handy tool to remove broken-off threaded fasteners. The extractors can be used on both right- and lefthanded fasteners.

It's easy: mark the center of the broken fastener with a center punch, drill into the center of the broken fastener, hammer the extractor tool into the hole, and then back out the fastener with the tool.

Of course after this step you are going to run a tap down into the hold; remember if the hole is "blind" use a blunt end tap but if the hole is a "pass through" use a tapered tap. Of course, all of these handy tools should have also taught you a valuable lesson and that is to be a bit more patient and proceed slowly. But, what the heck, we are hot rodders and thoroughly enjoy using all sorts of new tools!

Eastwood Tech Tip:

Cordless drill batteries will lose their state of charge quickly in temps below 35 degrees F. Recharge more often to assure they are ready when you need them—beer, however, tastes a lot better at this temperature and can be used to kill time while batteries recharge.

Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Road
PA  19464