Exhaust Manifold Header Bolts: Remove Them with These Easy Steps

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Many people who take on do-it-yourself projects on their cars often encounter a few challenging problems. One of them involves dislodging header bolts from a lousy exhaust manifold that has been in use for quite some time. Two things often cause this problem. The first one is high temperature coming from the engine, which causes intermittent expansion and contraction of the header bolts. This solidifies contact between the header bolts and other materials. Secondly, corrosion and rust on the header bolds and exhaust manifolds fuses them further and makes it harder to remove the bolts. Here are some clever workarounds to use when you encounter this problem:

Extend Your Leverage

Extending the leverage of your tool is one of the oldest tricks in the books. The idea often works when you are removing stuck bolts because it gives you a better grip on the header bolts and allows you to apply more effort quite easily. Typically, you should do this using a cheater bar and add some length of steel or iron pipe to the wrench you are using. The more range you add on to your cheater bar, the more torsion you will have. Eventually, you will get more twisting force to the bolt and remove it.

Use Heat and Ice

You can also use extreme heat and cold to break the corrosive seal between the header bolts and the exhaust manifold material. Start by heating the top of the header bolt using a hot torch. When doing this, move the torch further from the header bolt at short intervals to refrain from melting or changing its shape. Follow this up with placing a large piece of ice on the hot bolt, ignoring the hissing and spluttering that happens when the ice touches the hot header bolt. When the first piece of ice melts, hold another cube over the bolt for about one minute.

The essence of these temperature extremes is to cause an abrupt change in the size of the bolt. This should break the seal between the bolt and the exhaust manifold, making it easy to remove the bad bolt.

Apply Silicon Lubricant

Silicon lubricants also have a way with hard-headed bolts. Your best bet would be to buy the lubricant in a container with directional nozzles. They make work easier by directing the lubricant to the particular area affected by corrosion and rust. The lubricant penetrates the unwanted seal and makes it easy to unscrew the header bolt.

If you need new header bolts after you DIY auto project is complete, get ARP head bolts for superior quality.