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Old 09-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
blooddrench
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2002 SL2
1995 SC2
Default Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Okay, this saturn has been kickin my ass, It goes like this.... since we got the car its had a weird shimmy on take off, i replaced all the motor mounts and made a custom TAM and Trans mount, still had the shimmy. Previous owners spent about 2k trying to fix it as well. So one day the front stabilizer bar broke, the threaded part pulled right out of the pipe(shimmy found!). So after running around and trying to find a stabilizer bar(gm discontinued them) i got a JY one for $55. Tonight i replaced the old one, but upon removing the last Bolt on the Sway bar brackets, the nut inside the frame came loose(top bolt, drivers side bracket), and the bolt/nut now spins freely. Being i live in an apt complex i had to get it put together tonight no matter what, so i cut off the bolt with a hacksaw and slapped it together. I'll probably have to take it to a shop this time, but what do you guys think i should tell them to do? I was thinking of buying a grade 8 bolt (i know its grade 10, but those are next to impossible to find) and buying a grade 8 nut, same size or bigger than before, and having them weld it in from the inside of the frame. Unfortunately there is no way into the frame at that location, so they would have to bore a hole in the metal next to it. Any alternative ideas???

TLDR: The nut on the Stabilizer bar bracket came loose, had to cut off the bolt, need ideas to remedy, help?

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:29 PM   #2
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

The correct repair part is a LCA bolt and nut. You can hold the nut inside of the cradle with a modified wrench and tighten it all back up. LCA bolt is a bit long and is to be cut off. You can reverse the process and get the bolt inside the cradle and out the hole, run the nut up and hold it all by the extra little bolt. Trim after assembly.

From the FSM

IMPORTANT: If the front stabilizer-to-cradle strut nut becomes damaged due to corrosion, cross-threading, etc., or is broken loose from the cradle, it can be replaced using the following procedure:

If the nut is broken loose from the cradle and the bolt is locked in the nut, proceed to steps C, D, and E.

If the nut is not broken loose from the cradle, but is damaged and the bolt is removed:
  1. Distort the threads of the service bolt sufficiently to cause the bolt to lock into the nut.
  2. Install bolt, and using an air impact wrench, continue turning bolt until nut is broken loose from the cradle.
  3. Cut off the bolt head.
  4. Retrieve the bolt shank and nut from the cradle cavity. Install new bolt and repair nut.

The repair bolt and nut are the LCA to cradle bolt and nut.

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Old 09-20-2012, 11:37 PM   #3
AlexofNazareth
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

is there a similar remedy for a subframe to frame nut thats broken loose?

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The correct repair part is a LCA bolt and nut. You can hold the nut inside of the cradle with a modified wrench and tighten it all back up. LCA bolt is a bit long and is to be cut off. You can reverse the process and get the bolt inside the cradle and out the hole, run the nut up and hold it all by the extra little bolt. Trim after assembly.

From the FSM

IMPORTANT: If the front stabilizer-to-cradle strut nut becomes damaged due to corrosion, cross-threading, etc., or is broken loose from the cradle, it can be replaced using the following procedure:

If the nut is broken loose from the cradle and the bolt is locked in the nut, proceed to steps C, D, and E.

If the nut is not broken loose from the cradle, but is damaged and the bolt is removed:
  1. Distort the threads of the service bolt sufficiently to cause the bolt to lock into the nut.
  2. Install bolt, and using an air impact wrench, continue turning bolt until nut is broken loose from the cradle.
  3. Cut off the bolt head.
  4. Retrieve the bolt shank and nut from the cradle cavity. Install new bolt and repair nut.

The repair bolt and nut are the LCA to cradle bolt and nut.
I believe you're only supposed to use the LCA nut. The bolt has a non-threaded shank where it passes through the LCA bushing--there would be no threads on the other side unless you used some sort of thick spacer, and I'm not sure that would fit. You can, however, use the LCA nut with the sway-bar bracket's bolt (or an appropriate replacement, which you can find at NAPA among other places).

The hardware is metric grade 10.9, which is similar to SAE grade 8: either would work fine (I think grade 8 is actually a big stronger), but unless you already have SAE hardware that would fit, it makes more sense to get the correct metric size.

I'm not really sure how you're supposed to get a wrench on it. When I encountered this problem a few years ago, I drilled as small a hole as possible, in the frame, and welded the nut back on (stick welder with electrical tape wrapped around the rod to insulate it where it passed through the hole in the frame).

...
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Well, that is the FSM word. I would find a grade 8 flanged nut and bolt that would fit and figure out how to hold the nut while tightening the bolt. Heat pretty much negates the advantage of grade 8 so I would be figuring out another way to hold the nut in place.

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

You might be able to find or make a nut with "wings" on it that are long enough to prevent it from turning inside the frame (wings longer than the width of the frame). This is how the nuts that the subframe bolts into are held in place (they seem loose when you start to turn them, but once they make most of a full turn, the wings will bind and they won't turn any more--when you tighten the bolt, it will go back the otherway almost a full turn).

Welding does certainly effect the hardness of the nut, but I wouldn't be too worried about it--I'd still be more worried about the bolt breaking than the nut. (They're welded from the factory, anyway.)

When I re-did mine with a new subframe (intact nuts), I cut the heads off the original bolts and used them as studs (perfect length), with LCA nuts used to hold the brackets on. Hopefully, if I ever have to remove them, the outer nuts will come off easily and there won't be any risk of breaking the inner ones free.

...
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
blooddrench
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Okay, I was also considering grabbing a sheet metal nut that the subframe uses from a junk yard (maybe weld a rod on it, so it contacts the frame as plasticcarsrock mentioned) and boring the hole bigger and buying a new bolt. Regardless, im a college student living in an apt, so this is out of scope of things I can do here, and I do not know anyone in the area who can lend me access to a garage or an outlet. I guess I'll work on a plan of what to tell a mechanics shop to do, I have a feeling i'm going to get a lot of "deer in the headlights" responses when I explain my situation.



*To clarify what I'm walking about, the head is now cut off and the nut inside spins freely, but isnt free from the frame. I can barely touch the indicated area on the inside of the frame with a fingertip, let alone a tool.*

http://imgur.com/tE6vD

Pic is from the internet, not my car.

Last edited by blooddrench; 09-22-2012 at 03:25 PM..

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Stick a magnet through the socket sized hole that gives access to the lower bolt, then punch the upper one out of it's location, pull it from the frame with the magnet.

Not sure how you'd weld the nut in, nor access it with the frame in place but if you take any standard wrench and bend the box'd end 90 from the handle, with maybe an inch after the bend to the box, you can superglue a nut to the wrench, snake it through the access slot and put the bolt in. If you don't use too much superglue it'll be easy to break it's hold once the bolt is torqued down.

Meh, thats my idea with 5min of looking at the frame I took out of my SW2.

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Old 09-22-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

I think your subframe has seen too many Chicago winters.You might consider a replacement subframe.

...
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:15 PM   #10
blooddrench
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by almoore View Post
I think your subframe has seen too many Chicago winters.You might consider a replacement subframe.
That was just a reference photo i found online, not mine. This car is originally from florida.

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Old 09-22-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
blooddrench
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Also was thinking of cutting a hole then i could always get a breaker bar in there with a deep well socket; it is tight against the transmission there, mind you in my scenario everything is bolted to the car..

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Old 09-26-2012, 11:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Need recommendations fixing a broken bolt/nut in the subframe.

Hey guys, just wanted to do an update. I had a shop repair it using this technique

http://classic.artsautomotive.com/CaptiveNut.htm

A bit steep (150$) but its done and on the road. I make it sound way easier than it was (car stalled in the middle of an intersection/had to be towed/battery completely dead/wont hold a charge.). Now that the G/F's saturn is done, time to fix mine!!! To bad its impossibly hard to find a custom exhaust shop that does stainless.

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