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Old 02-20-2003, 10:09 PM   #1
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Car: 1987 Trans Am GTA
Engine: 5.7L 350 V8 TPI
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Thermostat bolt wont go back in!!!

My back is killing me, and ive been in the garage for 2 hours just to figure out how to put the left bolt in!!!

Everything was going fine today, as i successfully replaced my fuel filter, and then decided to put in the 180 thermostat. Well, to my suprise everything came out pretty easy for the thermostat.

The right bolt was no problem, but the left bolt i had to do some manuvering with the throttle body. Anyways i eventually got that off too, and i switched gasket and thermostat.

Well here i am putting it back together, and the left bolt wants to go in on an angle! No matter how hard i tried, even if i tried going in straight, it wouldnt catch on the thread, so i was forced to go in on an angle, which means i cant get the damn thing to screw down all the way!

WTF is going on!?! I even switch screws to see if it goes down, and it does the same thing. I even got my dad out and he couldnt do it either.

He said we might have to buy this sort of drill bit that has threads on it, and it suppose to drill in new threads. Is that gonna work, or is there anything else i can do?

Heres all the mess i had to do just for one bolt!

Click the image to open in full size.

And heres the bolt im talking about:

Click the image to open in full size.

Please help me out, i wanna have everything done by this weekend, so monday when my SLP stuff come its all ready to go.

Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:22 PM   #2
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Make sure there's no coolant in the bolt hole, all the old gasket is out, and the threads are clean. If it came out easy it should go back in easy. Don't try to tighten it back while it's crooked or you will strip the threads.

Also there's no need to remove the TB. An open end wrench on that bolt always works for me.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:31 PM   #3
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Well the thing is i tried tightning as is, cause from my angle i couldnt tell if i was going in on an angle. Well before the bolt was screwed all the way down, it started becoming VERY HARD to screw in. Thats when i realize something was wrong, so i pulled it out, and kept trying to put it in straight, but was a no go.

Gasket has been scraped off, and that black residue u see there by the thermostat is nothing, just black stuff, but its all smooth. Well i look in the bolt hole and i do see some liquid. Even if i wanted to get it out, how the hell would i do it, some sort of sucking machine i assume. But why would liquid prevent it from screwing down? Wont the liquid just sprung up as i tighten the bolt down?

U got it out with removing the TB? Well i really didnt have to the move the TB when i was removing the bolt, but screwing it back it got annoying, so basically i was just pissed and wanted everything out of the way.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:41 PM   #4
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If it became hard and didn't tighten all the way, then you most likely will have to tap new threads. In your case I don't think the liquid was the problem, but in general I was advised once that when you have fluid in a bolt hole there's a possibilty of cracking something as the bolt is going in, since the fluid can't be compressed. So I take no chances. I dunno how many people would agree with this. You can get a piece of paper towel or something and twist it so you can stick it in the hole and absorb the fluid.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:48 PM   #5
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Ya thats a good idea with the towel thing, i;ll try and soak up as much liquid as i can. The right bolt though was filled with liquid, but i managed to bolt it right down, but either way, id rather have it dry, better safe then sorry. Well tomorrow me and my dad are gonna pick up a thread repair kit, or whatever u call them. Hopefully that takes care of it, if not im ROYALY @UCKED.

Thanks for advise so far. Damn, working on my car makes me SO sleeping right after.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:52 PM   #6
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Cool man. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:54 PM   #7
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Ya thanks, i'll post back tomorrow sometime with results, later.
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Old 02-20-2003, 11:15 PM   #8
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You should seriously try passing a tap in the threads first to straighten out the damaged threads before you go putting a heli coil (thread repair kit) in there. Any reputable tool store or Auto parts store should be able to hook you up with either one.
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Old 02-21-2003, 11:06 AM   #9
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Judging by the photos, the front bolt appears to be cross threaded. You'll need to tap the hole straight.

Even with a thread repair kit, the hole needs to be tapped straight, or you'll have an even bigger problem, possibly requiring you to remove the intake.

Did I mention yet that the hole needs to be tapped STRAIGHT?!

O.K. Get a 3/8-16 PLUG tap, NOT a bottoming tap. The plug tap will have a longer taper to the lead threads, and allow you to steer the tap straight instead of picking up the crossed thread. Actually, a pulley tap would be ideal. since they are a lot longer and easier to judge the angle, but you may have trouble finding one at a regular hardware store. With the TB removed, a pulley tap has a nice clear shot at the front hole.

Tap the hole straight, then try a good bolt. If the threads seem loose and bearing strength is in question, you may need to install a thread repair kit. I'd suggest a threaded insert instead of a spring coil, since they provide a lot better, more permanenet repair. Anyone that has ever had the coiled insert come out with the fastener will know exactly what I mean. That means you can't remove the bolt in some cases, which may complicate the disassembly.

Click the image to open in full size.

When you're all done with the thread repair, apply some anti-seize compound to the bolts. You'll appreciate it the next time you have to remove one of them.
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Old 02-21-2003, 01:21 PM   #10
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Hey guys, well i had my uncle take a look at it also. The fact that the screw doesnt go all the way in, made him think of an idea. He was thinking of using a shorter screw to put it, and therefore preventing from going to the depth where it would get tight and not continue.

Well we tried that but it got stuck too early, and the bolt would not go deep enough where it would safely secure the thermostat housing. Then we thought of using multiple washers and place them on there so the screw doesnt have to go in all the way. Well, i think its a good idea, but we didnt try that yet.

So it came down to getting that thread repair stuff. Well i just got back from Murrays and picked this up:

Click the image to open in full size.

Its a plug style tap, and i had a guy at Murrays pick that out for me, i even brought the bolt with me to the store just to be sure.

So anyways, im gonna wait till my uncle gets back and let him do it, cause i dont want to screw things up, since he knows what hes doing.

Hopefully this will end this stupid little problem.
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Old 02-21-2003, 01:35 PM   #11
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The moral of the story is to start all nuts and bolts by hand. i.e no tools. Also try to tighten the bolt by hand as much as possible.

Its not a guarantee that you'll avoid your problem but increases your chances.

I would also consider the washer and shorter bolt trick as very temporary fixes.
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Old 02-21-2003, 10:33 PM   #12
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Hey guys im happy to report that i successfully got the bolt to tighten all the way down! Yes that Plug Style Tap worked, i went and screwed it down a little bit, then pulled it back out, and then i went in all the way. Well after i pulled it out again, and put the bolt in, the bolt went in nice and easy.

Im so relieved this all fixed up now, thermostat in place, everything put back, and now its ready for the SLP CAI and SLP Air Foil on Monday.

Thanks guys for your help.

And knowing how my record is, expect me to post a new problem when my stuff arrives on Monday Until then, i'll try and enjoy the weekend, even though its supposed to snow 8-12 inches on Saturday!
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Old 02-22-2003, 07:29 AM   #13
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GTA,

Good to hear. I hope you anti-seized the hardware. To prevent any problems with your upcoming projects, you may want to go out an start soaking the hardware with penetrating oil now, to give it a few days to do its job.

And you're supposed to go out and have fun when it snows, not sit inside and complain. Grab you favorite board, skis, or Ski-Doo and have at it. There's nothing quite like doing a 12-second on a Mach-Z.... just don't bif.

BTW - Don't we ALL have a CAI on our cars right now?
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Old 02-22-2003, 10:31 AM   #14
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Oops forgot the anti-seized stuff, is it gonna be a big problem? Cant i just blast the area with the some WD-40 and call it even? It was wet inside the housing and the bolt from the coolant and a little PB Blaster left-over, so that should be OK right?.

Going out and ski, not my type of thing. I should try that stuff one day, i hear its fun. Plus im not gonna just sit here, im going to Autorama in a few hours.

We all have CAI in our cars, well i dont know if u seen a STOCK air intake on a 87 GTA, but if u call that CAI, i must be crazy. I know what i call it, a piece of restrictive **** design.

Anyways, snow is falling now, its gonna be a bitch coming back from the show, but at least we taking SUVs there

Later
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by GTATransAM
...We all have CAI in our cars, well i dont know if u seen a STOCK air intake on a 87 GTA, but if u call that CAI, i must be crazy. I know what i call it, a piece of restrictive **** design.

Anyways, snow is falling now, its gonna be a bitch coming back from the show, but at least we taking SUVs there

Later
The anti-seize thing isn't a big deal, it just makes life easier next time.

It's 22 outside, and snowing. ALL cars have CAI today... D
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Old 02-23-2003, 10:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
It's 22 outside, and snowing. ALL cars have CAI today... D
Ah now i get u, i guess it is CAI, but my car never sees the Winter, so i dont benefit from that.
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Old 02-23-2003, 10:27 AM
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