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Discussion Starter #1
Man, today is not going as planned. First, the spacers in the Sector seat hardware kit are apparently undersized...the seat belt bolts won't go through them, and now this: I was doing the Stan/Sand shifter reinforcement mod, but the hole in the bracket wasn't aligned well with the threaded insert in the tub (the bracket was too far back and the insert was angled forward because of the washboard surface). I must have cross threaded it and broke the insert loose. Now it just spins and spins and I can't back the bolt out. How do these particular inserts work? Anyone have any tricks for getting out of this situation?

Thanks,
Tom
 

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You're in for some pain...

The inserts work precisely like a rivet works. They have a spec.'d grip range (material thickness) but instead of a post that binds and snaps off (like a rivet), you thread a post into it, set it like a rivet, and then thread the post back out. There's two primary types - a sleeve and insert that expands and one the deforms exactly like a rivet. See the google'd diagrams attached.

If you can hold it still and get a bolt into the nutsert, you can try to reset it the same way you'd install one normally.

If not, and the threads are munged, your options are going to be limited. You can attempt to grind/bend the flange and force it through, but that's going to leave the back side in some inaccessible place. You can also attempt to use a tapered punch (be careful on length and pounding against the aluminum floor/crossmember) to get it to bite or even drill it out, although you'll likely deform the hole and have to step up both an insert and fastener size afterward.

McMaster-Carr is a good source for inserts in smll quantities - avoid stainless as they're a @#$!! to set (aluminum is much easier).

Best of luck with it...
 

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the hole in the bracket wasn't aligned well with the threaded insert in the tub (the bracket was too far back and the insert was angled forward because of the washboard surface).Tom
If you do this part over, you can elongate the hole with a Dremel or similar.
 

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Yes, the inserts are like the illustrations in the above post. Since you have a cross threaded bolt stuck in the insert and the insert has loosened, you will need to tighten up the insert before you try to back out the cross threaded bolt. This is what I would try first before the more destructive methods mentioned above. This may take some finesse and time, but try cutting off the head of the cross threaded bolt just below the head where the threads on the bolt start in order to turn it into a stud using a Dremel Mototool with a reinforced cutting disc (heavier style) mounted. Try to cut it as cleanly and straight as possible so as not to damage the threads. If you get it right, you will have nice clean threads that will accept a nut with no problem but if not, clean up the top threads with a hand file until you can get a nut to thread on and then place a tight fitting flat washer or two over the stud against the insert and the floor. Now thread on a nut down to the washer by hand and then another two nuts to use a jamb nuts at the top of the stud. Use two wrenches and tighten the two top nuts together so they are jammed at the top of the stud and use a box ended wrench over the top nut to hold the stud/insert from spinning. Now use an open end wrench to tighten down the nut over the washer which will deform the insert again and hopefully lock it back in place. Use care not to rip the stud out of the insert and just tighten down the nut enough to deform the insert the right amount to lock it back in place. Once the insert is locked back in place loosen the nut over the washer and use an open end wrench on the second nut from the top to unscrew the stud from the insert. Chase the threads in the insert with a hand tap and you should be good to go. Even if you rip the stud out, but you managed to get the insert locked back in place, there should be enough good threads left over to chase with the tap and make the insert usable again. Take your time, be careful and you should be able to save the insert and a lot of grief trying to drill out the bolt which will just spin with the insert. Good Luck!
 

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Missed that the bolt was still in the insert... definitely try to reset the insert like tesprit said.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the pics codymac and thanks for the great writeup tesprit. Sounds like a great method. The trickiest part will be cutting the bolt...not much room to work with under the shifter bracket. Although, I suppose if I cut just the head off first, I can lift the bracket up a ways to give me more room.

The only thing that has me nervous is that it felt like the flange of the insert wasn't spinning with the bolt...it felt like the insert had actually sheared into two pieces. My fingertips were probably just not sensitive enough to feel it move, though, but I'll put a mark on it to make sure.

glb, I was able to line things up better by removing all the shifter bracket bolts, releasing the hand brake, and shifting the bracket forward slightly.

Thanks everyone for the help...I'll try it out right after work.

Tom
 

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The only thing that has me nervous is that it felt like the flange of the insert wasn't spinning with the bolt...it felt like the insert had actually sheared into two pieces. My fingertips were probably just not sensitive enough to feel it move, though, but I'll put a mark on it to make sure.

Tom
About the flange not moving when you turn the bolt..... If this is the case, the threaded part of the insert has sheared from the upper flange which is possible. If using your marks confirms the upper flange is still held tight, you should be able to push the bolt down further into the hole which means the threaded part is indeed sheared off the upper insert flange. If this is the case, follow my directions in the previous post and when you get to the part about tightening down the nut over the washers, just keep tightening it until you strip the stud out of the insert. The threaded part of the insert will just fall down and be laying on the floor under the extrusion and you will have to drill out the upper flange. Once you have drilled out the upper flange you will need to install another insert (a common brand name for them is Nutsert) in the hole. If you only drill out the flange and avoid oversizing the hole, you can put a new insert in there that is the same size as the old one. The old threaded part of the insert will unfortunately be trapped between the floor and the extrusion so you may hear it rolling around while you are driving for some time until it gets hung up somewhere. Hopefully you have a nice loud exhaust installed to take care of that problem! :D If you have a problem finding a replacement insert, an aircraft mechanic should be able to replace the insert for you. Unfortunately they will most likely not have a metric one and you will be stuck with an SAE insert---aircraft still use SAE fasteners.

Also if you have a clearance problem trying to get to the jammed nuts on top of the stud after cutting it, just install the washer/washers and the lower nut and use a long nosed Vise-Grips to grab the top of the stud to keep it from spinning while you tighten down the nut. You will never be able to remove the nut from the stud again due to the damage caused to the threads, but that really won't be a concern because you are throwing out the cut bolt anyway.

I hope it all works out for you and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again tesprit. I think I'm well armed for this evening.

What are the chances I could pull the insert out? If I put a spacer over the insert with an ID bigger than the OD of the spacer flange, then put the washer on top of that and tighten the nut down per above, would I pull the insert through the hole or would I damage the floor extrusion first? If it worked I wouldn't have anything rattling around in the floor.
 

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Thanks again tesprit. I think I'm well armed for this evening.

What are the chances I could pull the insert out? If I put a spacer over the insert with an ID bigger than the OD of the spacer flange, then put the washer on top of that and tighten the nut down per above, would I pull the insert through the hole or would I damage the floor extrusion first? If it worked I wouldn't have anything rattling around in the floor.
You certainly could pull the whole insert through the extrusion using oversized washers under the nut, however that would leave a huge torn hole in the extrusion that will look like the cratered cone on a volcano that just erupted. The threaded part of the insert is designed to hold like a nut so it is larger than the hole to allow it to hold down whatever is bolted to it. You definitely don't want to pull that part through the extrusion! :no:

If you are worried about the loose insert part rattling around, when you extract the stud and the threaded part falls down it should stay close to the hole. If you can see it down there, you can try squirting some silicone sealant in the hole before installing the new insert to capture the loose piece and glue it down to the floor so it can't roll around. If you can't capture it, the good thing is that the insert part is small and aluminum so it shouldn't rattle around too long or make too much noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, I was thinking more if I *had* sheared it in half and it sheared above the bulged portion *then* maybe I could pull it up.

Good idea about the silicone...I was thinking along those line.

Here we go!
 

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So it was pretty obvious that I had sheared the insert in two. I cut the head off the bolt using a dremel wheel under the bracket and I actually had pretty good access. I then used the method described by tesprit and the bolt pulled out really easily. Better yet, the sheared-off portion smooshed itself into the remaining portion so it didn't fall into the cavity. I'm going to try to retap the insert today and reuse it for the shifter reinforcement mod.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and help. I thought this was going to be a world of pain, but it looks like I'm out of it pretty clean.

Cheers,
Tom
 

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That is great news Tom! I'm glad the job turned out to be easier than expected and I hope you do not run into any trouble with chasing the treads. Just make sure the tap is started straight into the insert and it shouldn't be a problem. If the tap binds or starts to become hard to turn, back it out and try again. It should go in smoothly with very little effort or you will be tapping new threads across the old ones. Baby steps with the tap and some patience and you should be good to go again.

BTW the mod you are attempting is worth the effort. I did this to my car and the shifter feel is so much better than before. This has to be the best cheap mod one can do to the car!
 

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So it was pretty obvious that I had sheared the insert in two. I cut the head off the bolt using a dremel wheel under the bracket and I actually had pretty good access. I then used the method described by tesprit and the bolt pulled out really easily. Better yet, the sheared-off portion smooshed itself into the remaining portion so it didn't fall into the cavity. I'm going to try to retap the insert today and reuse it for the shifter reinforcement mod.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and help. I thought this was going to be a world of pain, but it looks like I'm out of it pretty clean.

Cheers,
Tom
If the sheered off portion smooshed itself into the remaining portion so it didn't fall into the cavity, I would imagine attempting to retap the thing will just push that sheered portion back out into the cavity.

You really want a new insert in there.

I wonder if it's possible, with a pair of angle cutters (dykes) to grap the exposed flange across the center and crush the whole thing across its width to allow extraction? Is there enough of a flange to get a grip for this purpose?

xtn
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Baby steps is the way to go. I think it is probably pretty likely that the sheared off portion will get pushed inside. If that happens I'll spooge some adhesive in there to capture it.

I don't think you could extract the insert by crushing it. If you crush it in one direction, it will get wider in the other.

If everything goes to hell with retapping, I'll drill it out and put a bolt up through the floor...I'll already have two doing that for the sector re-enforcer kit anyway.

Tom
 

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Yes, go very carefully with the tap. There is a good chance you could dislodge the insert piece again and be left with the tap stuck into the loose part of the insert. It is much harder to remove a stuck tap than a bolt from the threaded part of the insert so you may want to try gently inserting a new bolt with the washer and a threaded on nut into the insert to see how well stuck the insert piece really is. If it comes loose again with gentle turning of the bolt, just tighten down the nut and extract the bolt as you did before. If the insert appears to be good, go ahead and gently try chasing the threads with the tap. The good thing is if you can get your bolt to thread easily into the insert, bolting down the shifter assembly will only tighten in the insert further.
 

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I wonder if a pair of angled cutters could get purchase under the flange and just cut the top off completely? Or I suppose you could just grind the flange off with your dremel. Still need to capture the lost bits with some silicon or whatever, but at least you would be able to just properly fix a new nutsert in place.

Is the insert steel? If so a post-cutting extraction attempt might be aided with a magnet.

xtn
 

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I am not sure about this application, but I have had luck by vice gripping the outside of the insert and drilling it out.
 
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