How to extract a bolt extractor? (Help!)

One of the four bolts holding on my heater box to the firewall had its head broken off by the PO before I got the car so when I removed it yesterday I wanted to extract the remnants of that bolt from the firewall without harming the (fine) threads.
Dutifully following the instructions that came with the screw/bolt extractor I bought, I drilled a 1/8" hole into the bolt and then (reverse) threaded the extractor into it until it “caught”. Then I tried to turn the extractor to work its magic and it promptly broke off right at the entry point to the bolt. :scream_cat:
So now I not only have the remnants of that bolt stuck in the firewall but I also have a hardened steel extractor shaft stuck in there too! When I tried to again drill a 1/8" hole all I got was heat and smoke… really need some advice on this one!

Anyone have experience with the correct method for removal?



Thanks Paul. Exactly what I was looking for! Wish I had thought to look for this video before I tried the extractor since he went through exactly was I tried and warned not to as it would break off…which of course is exactly what happened…


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Everybody–EVERYBODY–has their first, bad time with an EZ Out.

If you are lucky, this’ll be your last!


One of the biggest lies in the industry.


You mean if you have any sense then this will be your last!
Funny how I know…

I’ve owned a set since I was a teenager. Used them many times. Never worked, but luckily they never broke either. Can’t say the same for taps.

Good news is that, according to the video you posted, my net worth has increased substantially due to my cache of 20-30 solid carbide burrs, and similar. All of the prices mentioned by that bloke seemed really high! I suspect he’s right, I just think in terms of what I paid for stuff 30-60 years ago.

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Please post a photo!
It may be possible you can cut a slot with a dremel in the bolt/eazy-out, then soak threads for a few days with a penetrating oil, then undo it with a screwdriver.

If it is a heater box lower bolt, you might even decide to leave it as is…

Dennis 69 OTS

Hopefully you’ve been dousing with penetrating oil. If the bolt sheared the first time it’s obviously stuck. If you have a butane soldering iron, the tiny little torch tip can probably be directed right at it without scotching the paint badly. A few cycles of that and the thing should come out easy…once the remover is removed.

Yeah, a pet hate for me. The one on the left is from an Australian made set - yet to fail. The centre one is from China - note burrs - softer than the bolt. Best of all is the USA made one in right, this one for tricky bigger jobs. Paul.

I’ve nearly always had success using Proto screw extractors. I’ve had them over 40years. They are quite different from those shown already, having a tapered square section with a sharp machined barb along each corner. Each size is marked with the correct pilot drill size. I’ve never broken one but did twist one 180 deg. once where I’d applied too much heat. It still worked afterwards.

I never found the spiral type to be any use at all. They tend to expand the broken bolt and make the situation worse.


I snapped one off in a drilled out crankshaft bung. No Bueno.

The gold standard, IMO.

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Yep: they are the only ones I’ll use.

Just a short note to say a sincere thank you to all for your assistance and especially your comments!

Best forum ever…


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I MIG weld a washer to the remains of the bolt, through the hole so as not to weld around the bolt hole and then weld a nut to this.
It puts heat into the bolt to break it free and then you can use mole grips on the nut to remove it.
Sometimes slightly tightening it first helps break any rust seal.

I use a heat putty to protect the paint


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I just MIG or TIG weld a nut to the remnants of the bolt. Never tired using a ‘safety’ washer…

Yes, the heat cycling frozen bolt helps break up the rust.
Penetrating oil helps. -ish

Using a good condition nut allows use of a normal wrench. Work it back-and-forth to break it free. Then weld another nut on.

Two or three nuts later, the broken bolt or stud is out. No drilling. No broken hardened steel gadgets.

The inductive bolt heaters, an alternative to heating the bolt or nut with a flame are getting reasonably priced. I don’t know if this one is ay good, but it’s an example:

I used the carbide burr that I bought today. Worked like a charm! Drilled out both the bolt and the extractor leaving a slightly larger hole that I’ll tap for a slightly larger bolt.
Problem solved. Thanks everyone again for your help!


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My preference is to keep the fasteners as close to OEM as possible.

Research “Heli-coil” and “TimSert” for ways to bring an oversized hole back to original.