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Broken Bolts in Taillight Assembly

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Picantesauce, May 7, 2021.

  1. May 7, 2021 at 7:50 PM
    #1
    Picantesauce

    Picantesauce [OP] Member

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    Well, I was removing my tail light assembly and I somehow broke both these bolts trying to put them back in. I wasn't even applying much pressure either. These much be the cheapest bolts I've ever seen. Lol. Only had issues with the driver side and never had this happen before.

    Anyways, what's the easiest way to get the remainder of the bolts out of there?
    20210507_193851.jpg
     
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  2. May 7, 2021 at 8:56 PM
    #2
    Waasheem

    Waasheem The catholic radio bear

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    Did they bind as they were going in, or easily spin in? If it took some effort to get them in, it’ll take more effort to get them out without a bolt head.

    If they spun in easily. Try to stick something in the hole, grab the edge, slowly try to spin it out. You could blow some air in the hole in hopes to clean out any dirt that’ll slow the process. First choice would be a straight oring pick. Jewelers flat screwdriver might get it. Press in and spin. If it moves and stops, spin it in a bit then try again.

    If they didn’t spin in easily. You could try the above methods but it probably won’t budge. You’ll need to go to extractors.

    https://www.amazon.com/Tools-Hanson-Spiral-Extractor-11119/dp/B0002NYBH8/ref=rtpb_12?pd_rd_w=U333e&pf_rd_p=be844577-fee7-4bbc-8dda-083e56cc6f0d&pf_rd_r=1838P6KB9FDNWFF7BYGJ&pd_rd_r=3832ed0c-140f-4249-b453-a5c0b2061a98&pd_rd_wg=J8Siq&pd_rd_i=B0002NYBH8

    This is my go to set that gets most with a high success rate. MAYBE the smallest reverse drill bit and extractor will get them out. The upper one has more meat, that lower one is deep and would be challenging.

    The most important step would be to center punch and drill close to the center as possible. I can’t stress this enough. Since they’re really small, there’s very little room for error. Using a reverse drill bit, sometimes it’ll grab the bolt and spin it out. Sometimes the drill bit will snap off in the bolt. If that happens and your lucky enough that some of the broken drill bit is sticking out, you can grab it with some tiny needle nose pliers and get the bolt to spin out, or “tighten” the broken drill bit to get it out. Drill very carefully so hopefully you don’t break the drill bit. Watch the bolt as you drill, hopefully it’ll move. I think there’s a tool to assist center punching dead center, I don’t use one. If your drill bit just makes a hole in the bolt and it didn’t spin out, on to the extractor. It’s not absolutely necessary but I suggest using this.

    https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-70500-Tap-Socket-Set/dp/B0002SRFOE/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1S61C5BFHUIUJ&dchild=1&keywords=lisle+tap+socket+set&qid=1620444735&sprefix=Lisle+tap%2Caps%2C222&sr=8-1

    It’ll help believe me. Trying to use an awkward tap handle is a fight. Blow out any shavings that’ll get in the way. Find the right socket to fit the extractor. Stick an extension or spinner handle in the socket, gently try to spin the bolt out. You want the extractor to grab once, then don’t take it out once it grabs. Have a ratchet close by in case you feel the need to give it more pressure. You probably won’t need to seeing it’s such a small bolt. Use no lube of any kind at any time. It’ll help the extractor grab. In other situations I’ll put penetrant on the threads if rust is in the hole or on the bolt. If the extractor is not moving the bolt, don’t take it out. Apply steady twisting pressure, tap the metal the bolt is stuck in. The shock wave will sometimes make it loosen. Don’t twist the hell out of the extractor. They can take a good hard twist but they will break off in the hole.

    If you’ve never done this before it might be better to find someone who has. I’ve done hundreds, and end up helping other guys I work with who aren’t good at it. Best of luck.
     
  3. May 7, 2021 at 9:05 PM
    #3
    jnprn2003

    jnprn2003 Active Member

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    Pull the light out and remove the broken pieces. If they are actually in the plastic part of the light they should practically fall out.
     
  4. May 7, 2021 at 9:52 PM
    #4
    Waasheem

    Waasheem The catholic radio bear

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    I like your way better, lol.
     
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  5. May 7, 2021 at 10:10 PM
    #5
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    If the tail light will not move to the left, it isn’t coming out.
    There is a metal clip on the tail light that the bolt goes into.
    You have to have the bolts out to pull the light towards you (rear of truck)
    there are 2 press fit clips that hold the back in.

    Again, if the light doesn’t separate from the truck, it’s not going to come out.
    When I say separate, I mean. The bolted section needs to be able to be press towards the side of the truck.

    Looking at your pics, you still have threads in the metal portion of the metal clip that is on the tail light.
    BBEFA3F1-C6BB-490F-AF02-FAEFE23CE0EA.jpg
     
  6. May 7, 2021 at 11:38 PM
    #6
    Picantesauce

    Picantesauce [OP] Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I'll have to give this a shot after work tomorrow. I snapped the middle bolt a few months ago when I was tightening it, but didn't care since at least the 2 clips and 2 other bolts were holding it in. But, now that another has snapped, I figure I can't ignore it. Lol.

    The bolts were going in with absolutely no resistance. It was only when they started to tighten up that they broke. I ended up going really easy on the 3rd one, just to make sure I had something besides the clips holding the tail light in. I didn't have any of these issues with the bolts on the passenger side assembly. The assembly does still slide in and out if I want it to, as the broken pieces aren't impeding that movement.

    They didn't seem to wanna just fall out so easily. I'll take everything apart again tomorrow and try again to see if the pieces will come out. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to go the extractor route that Waasheem. Never had to deal with this before on the truck.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll keep y'all up to date!
     

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