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Please humor the newbie...

I seem to have made a mess of a short shifter/milltek exhaust install. After some jack issues and a costco run to buy a new aluminum jack, I got the car up on jack stands and removed the battery plate. The previous owner had lived by the ocean and it was evident by the rusting of the exhaust and bolts. The 2 bolts holding the main pipe to the header where rusted round, so I went to work on the nuts on the other side which were still intact. I knew this was going to be difficult so I gave it ample time to cool and lubed the nuts up with WD40. After about 20 minutes of straining, grunting, hmming and hahhing, I decided it was futile trying to get the nuts to come loose.

This is about when I made my first mistake... I get the Dremel and a stack of cutting wheels. I decided to start head of the top bolt (closest to the undercarriage) and about 2 hours and 5 cutting discs later, I had the head completely cut off the bolt. I failed to take into account that the flange on the factory exhaust is threaded, so even though I had just cut the head off the bolt, the rest of the bolt and nut remained snuggly attached holding the two flanges together. Grr...

10 minutes of cursing later, I put my thinking cap on, and decided I needed to super-cool the nuts to get them off. So off I went to look for a can of computer duster (they spray liquid CO2? and will make things cold very quickly when turned up-side down). Bottom nut now looking like something out of The Day After Tomorrow, I get to work with the wrench. More grunting and straining and POP! With a shower of oxidized metal raining down on my face, the nut comes loose! Whoo hoo.... or so I think...

With the bottom nut off I try to work the bolt loose(remember, the head of the bolts is rusted so using a wrench is useless). First with I start with a set of channel locks, and then move onto a set of vice grips. Deciding that using the rusting head to grip the bolt is an exercise in futility, I go straight for the shaft. Mistake #2.

Now I have 1 bolt (the top one) with the head cut off, and the nut still securely attached, and another bolt (the bottom one) with the nut removed, but the threads completely stripped off the shaft.

WHAT DO I DO?

I'm really at a bit of a loss and was hoping one of you omniscient philanthropic bulletin board posters could help a poor lost soul out? I thought about drilling the bolts out, but I can't fit the drill up the side of the exhaust to reach the top bolt. The other option is to buy a Sawz-All and try to cut the flange off the factory exhaust. This won't get the bolts out, but at least I could drop the factory exhaust and drill out the bolts? I also thought about using a Sawz-all to cut between the flange on the factory exhaust and the header, but I think this will just make my problems worse (the Milltek won't be able to seal against the factory cat if the flange is all rough). I've also thought about taking it to a garage and having them remove the bolts but I don't know if they'll do that and let me drive the car home. I really don't know what to do at this point. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks for reading!
 

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It's real late here, but I'll just point out a few things.

First, don't freak about this. Tomorrow is another day and you will see this a bit clearer.
Second, these are NOT nuts and bolts, at least not on my 03. It's a pressed in stud on the header side with a nut on the catback side. Your only solution may be to to get a pipe on your ratchet and just torque that upper nut until it just breaks the stud. If you already have the lower nut off then your catback will now separate from the header.
You will need to somehow get these studs out. This may sound sever, but it's real easy to remove the header from the motor if you have to. Follow Randy Webbs 'How To" on replacing the header. It's actually easier then replacing the catback.
Keep us posted here and I’m sure we can get you through this OK.

GOOD LUCK!

Where abouts are you You might be close to someone here that could also help..
 

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The only way to undo these nuts is to use a 6 point socket with half inch drive wrench.
You need to tap the socket on to the rusty nut until it is fully engaged all the way up 'to the hilt' They then go loose with one healthy crack sound. The frontmost ex. flange is not threaded. IIRC the nut is a shoulder type so if cutting you need to be right up flush against the Ex flange with a cutting disc.In your situation probably best to saw the OE system off in situ just rear of the flange ,remove exhaust system& manifold and sort it on the bench. Actually you could try removing system& manifold together first,not tried to do that but may work.Needs to be on a ramp though Good luck!
Best Regards Roland Gt Tuning
 

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First thing is to toss that can of WD-40. It's really not the rust remover it's advertised to be. Get a can of PB Blaster and SOAK the rusted bolt/nut and let sit for 10 minutes or so. Then SOAK it again. Lather, rinse, repeat... several more times. ;)

Then get your vice grips on the nut (since it's rounded off) and work out all of your frustrations on it. It WILL come loose. Eventually.

One other thought too. Do you have a dremel bit that would allow you to slice the nut lengthways? You could make two cuts with that and then use a cold chisel to split the nut loose from the bolt/stud. Again, use the PB Blaster to break loose the rust bond.

Good luck - I know it's frustrating.
 

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Buy a manifold gasket before starting and pull the header with the rest. You are OK on the stud you cut the head off since they are not threaded. Cut the head off the other if you want. A punch and hammer will drive them out of the flanges. Replace with a stainless steel Bolt, nut and lock washer. I have an extra stock header/cat with undamaged flange that was done this way.
 
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