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What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

It’s a harrowing experience when the bolt securing your AC compressor suddenly snaps while you’re attempting to remove it. In that moment, panic may set in, and the prospect of dealing with a broken bolt embedded in a casting can be daunting. Fortunately, there are effective solutions for this predicament. In this article, we’ll share our findings after researching various methods for addressing broken AC compressor bolts.

When AC compressor bolts break off, here are a few steps you can take to address the issue:

  1. Use an extracting kit.
  2. Employ the welding technique.
  3. Apply penetrating oil.

Read on to discover the tools, techniques, and valuable advice for dealing with broken bolts in your AC compressor.

Removing AC Compressor Broken Bolts

Different techniques work better for removing bolts, depending on the specific situation. Here’s how you can efficiently extract broken bolts:

What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

Use an Extracting Kit

One of the simplest and most effective methods involves using an extracting kit. Begin by drilling a pilot hole or indentation into the hardware. Then, insert the extractors into the hole. Screw extractors work by gripping the pilot hole’s edges and allowing you to turn the bolt out. This method is usually successful for mildly jammed bolts.

Drifting It Out

If the bolt is not entirely seized, you may attempt to drift it out. Insert a screwdriver or a small chisel behind the burr, if present, and tap it out gently with a light hammer. If this approach fails, try spinning the shaft using a center punch by tapping a hole near the edge. Be extremely cautious when using this technique, as it may risk damaging the threads or enlarging the head, making the situation worse.

Using a Left-Handed Drill Bit

Another option is to use a left-handed drill bit to make a hole in the head of the broken bolt. Standard drills turn in a clockwise direction, which can further tighten the bolt. However, a left-handed drill bit, when used in reverse, cuts in the opposite direction, exerting force that naturally unscrews the stud. The heat and pressure generated during drilling can help the left-hand bit bite into the bolt and turn it out.

Using a Bolt Extractor

A bolt extractor tool is a specialized option for freeing a sheared-off bolt. This screw extractor features threads that resemble drill bits but travel in the opposite direction. The extractor latches onto the damaged bolt and rotates it free from its attachment point.

It’s worth noting that screw extractors come with their own set of challenges, the most significant of which is the potential for the extractor to break inside the bolt. The hardness of the material and the impossibility of drilling through the first screw extractor can make extracting the first screw more difficult. If none of the above methods work, your last resort is drilling out the screw or bolt and re-tapping fresh threads, which is a labor-intensive process.

Pros and Cons

Using a bolt extractor is generally a more reliable and consistent repair method, and technicians of any skill level can use it with the right equipment. It’s often the best choice when there is limited space and avoids the need to remove the entire engine head. However, without the right equipment, it can be a challenging and frustrating task. Using cheap drill bits and extractors typically leads to subpar results.

Use the Welding Technique

The welding technique requires welding skills or the ability to hire a professional welder. When employing this method, it’s essential to use a MIG welder rather than an arc welder to avoid excessive slag production. Here’s how to tackle broken bolts using welding:

Releasing a Sheared-Off Bolt

Obtain a nut of the same size and weld it over the sheared head of the stuck bolt. The differential rates of fractional expansion in the metals, caused by heating and cooling, aid in breaking the bond. After it cools down, use a breaker bar to pry the newly welded nut out.

What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

Fixing a Broken Stud

To address a broken stud, select a nut or flat washer with an inner diameter approximately the same as the threaded bolt’s size. Attach the nut or washer to the bolt and use a welding gun to fuse the nut’s interior to the broken bolt top. Afterward, disassemble the nut and bolt using a wrench. Keep in mind that certain situations, particularly those involving high-temperature materials like titanium alloy bolts, may require more care and heat when welding.

It’s important to note that welding has its limitations, and not all scenarios can be resolved using this method. Welding is generally faster and can be relatively inexpensive with the right skills and equipment, but it demands a thorough understanding of welding and heat transfer.

Pros and Cons

Welding can be a quick and cost-effective solution when applied correctly, but it requires a good understanding of welding and heat transfer. The process can be time-consuming due to equipment setup, heating, cooling, and repeated attempts. Additionally, welding can be challenging when dealing with a variety of metals commonly found in modern engines.

Use Penetrating Oil

Penetrating oil is an effective solution for releasing rusted and corroded objects. It offers the advantage of removing stuck metal parts without the potential hazards of heat application. Here’s how to use penetrating oil to address broken AC compressor bolts:

Instead of applying heat and penetrating oil simultaneously, use them alternately. Before using heat or an open flame, be sure to wipe any oil from the part’s surface and the surrounding area.

Apply the penetrant and then thoroughly cool the part after a challenging job. Using high-quality penetrating oil can help you complete difficult tasks more safely and effectively compared to using heat.

How to Remove a Broken Aluminum Bolt

If you’re dealing with a broken aluminum bolt, begin by smoothing the top of the bolt with a metal file until the surface is flat. Then, insert a bolt removal bit onto this flat surface and turn it to remove the bolt from the metal.

Can You Heat Up Aluminum To Remove The Bolt?

What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

For aluminum bolts, you can attempt to heat the nut or bolt using a propane flame if it’s still stuck. After heating with a torch for several minutes, let the nut or bolt cool before repeating the process. Ensure that all combustible materials are kept at a safe distance to prevent fires when using a torch.

What Happens If The AC Compressor Breaks?

When the AC compressor malfunctions, your air conditioning system stops working. Even though the fans may still run, no cool air will come out of the vents. Dealing with a faulty AC compressor is a significant decision, as it’s a crucial and expensive component to repair.

In Closing

We trust that this article has equipped you with valuable insights on how to address broken bolts in your AC compressor. After learning about the basic methods for removing broken bolts, it’s advisable to have a professional inspect your AC compressor as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Don’t let broken bolts cause you unnecessary stress; follow the appropriate method and get your AC compressor back in working order.

What To Do When An AC Compressor Bolts Broke Off? Find Out Now

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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