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Old 11-11-2018, 01:52 PM   #1
cerial
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Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

I have a 87 v10 I am saving if it wants me to or not. Thing has been a Michigan truck all it's life and used as a plow/wood/fun truck with 103 orgional on the dash.
I know that number is orgional because it had orgional ignition parts, orgional u joints, wheel cylinders, starter, fuel tanks, and so on. The thing has sat being neglected for 31 years being driven a bit then parked off and on.

So I just finish the rear breaks this morning and go to do the front wheel bearings/rotors/hubs and those 31 year old Allen bolts are set in that oem hub. Hub works great I just have a bearing going out and figured might as well do the rotors.

So I put my little Allen on the bolt and the bolt just laughs. Get my "high torque" Allen's where you turn your wrist and the Allen is twisting 1/4 turn and the bolt is not moving. Ok. Get my wheel screw tool for removing the rusted wheel screw that uses a Philip or such head and put the correct he bit in there and wack it and the bolt stripped. Time to ask for help.

Seems every bolt I have had to grind the head off or extract. But with these screws I am kind of lost in how to get them off I don't want to destroy the manual locking selectior it is the only part of the hub assembly I don't want to replace. Despite probably being dry the thing works great. But if that is the only option then recommendations on doing that right would be appreciated.



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Old 11-11-2018, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Have you tried heat?
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:15 PM   #3
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

A torch, or a drill bit is in your near future. Either way just work slow n be careful.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:41 AM   #4
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

If the repair is planned, days or weeks before I plan to start, I spray the bolt/nut/whatever with lots of penetrating stuff. Repeat the spraying morning and evening. And from the backside if you can see a way to make that happen.

Sometimes it works like with my 8 bed bolts, all of which came off without much fuss. Other times, it doesn't like with my M101 military trailer where about half the bed/frame hold down bolts broke off.

Make sure you have your broke bolt extractor kit.

Mix some low heat with extra penetrating stuff. Sometimes the heat will help the stuff find those really small openings.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:20 PM   #5
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Yea my 2 remaining bed bolts(rest were rusted through) came off via a hole saw slightly larger then the bolt head.

Using the same tactic here and after thinking about it will just take a drill bit and drill down the 9/64 allen with a slightly larger bit using the allen hole to center it till the head spins.
Then should be able to just pop the cap off to get to that inner and outer snap ring and hopefully will be able to tack a nut on the remaining bolt to turn it and save the hubs.

As long as the bit is bigger then the Allen bit smaller then the diameter of the head I should be good. Little wiggle room there but not much.

Just dropped $600+ into the breaks/lines/hardware//bearing parts. Half of which is still in the boxes. If I need to spend $200 on hubs I will. But would like to try and remove these bolts and keep these good working hubs working.

Will get a hardware kit and some new hubs. If I am lucky all I will need is the hardware kit for the new bolts.

Thank you for the help
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:56 PM   #6
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Too late now, but for future reference....

Grab yourself a large diameter brass drift, around 3/4 in diameter and about 6" in length. Place the drift against the head of the allen bolt and smack it really hard with a substantial hammer...you may have to hit it several times...

Then using a hammer driven impact with a hardened allen bit of the correct size, first tighten the bolt with one smack, then loosen the bolt....

Used this technique for 30 years...have never had one not come out...

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Old 11-15-2018, 01:45 PM   #7
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Hit the cap with a rubber hammer then went to town hitting the bit with a 3lb then back to the rubber. Then I tried it and it stripped.

Decided to replace the spindles and do new hubs and waiting till after Thanksgiving do do them
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Old 11-15-2018, 04:39 PM   #8
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

The punch trick works on most of the Cap Screws on 4x4 hubs. If it doesn't... Don't twist them off if you can help it.

Drill the heads off all of the cap screws then you can liberate the hub locks with threaded stubs still proud of the actual hub. You need a cobalt drill bit that's slightly larger than the screw shank diameter under the Allen socket, cutting oil, and patience enough to not drill it full speed on your drill. The Allen socket will keep the drill bit on-centre enough til the head separates from the shank...

Once the hub locks are off you can heat up the hub around the cap screws and remove the remaining stubs with vise grips.

If some are broken off flush MIG or TIG a nut on top and spin em out.

I've done this with Ford, Dodge, GM, and IH 4x4s.

ALWAYS hit the new socket head cap screws with Never Seize and chase the threads with a bottoming tap and compressed air.
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1959 M35A2 LDT465-1D
1967 Dodge W200 B383, NP420/NP201
1969 Dodge Polara 500 B383, A833
1972 Ford F250 FE390, NP435/NP205
1976 Chevy K20, 6.5L, NV4500/NP208
1986 M1008 CUCV
2000 GMC C2500, TD6.5L, NV4500
2005 Chevy Silverado LS 2500HD 6.0L 4L80E/NP263
2009 Impala SS LS4 V8


RTFM... GM Parts Books, GM Schematics, GM service manuals, and GM training materials...Please include at least the year and model in your threads. It'll be easier to answer your questions.
And please let us know if and how your repairs were successful.

Last edited by hatzie; 11-16-2018 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:44 AM   #9
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Ordering new spindles and warn gold hubs today to install thanksgiving weekend. I can hear one drivers bearing rattling around when the wheel is in the air so I am guessing the spindle is gone.

I will just drill the old hub heads off. Will let me just pull the hubs and submerge the old ones in a vat of penetrating oil while the new ones are on the truck spinning.

If I can save them then fine if not then they have had a good 31 year run


Thanks for the help.

Bit of rambling below about the history and future of the truck if your interested.

Truck only has 103 on the dash and was all factory untouched. Confirmed after removing several factory parts. But the previous owner never maintained the thing. Most of the truck was all original factory 31 year old parts that amazingly still worked ok when I got it. Coil went out quickly after it made it back the 50 miles to the house. But I was able to clean up and save the distributor base despite having to tap and drill holes for the cap. The transmission pan leaked from a shifter seal so they just kept it topped off with fresh fluid for years. Even installed a new shiny chrome pan and neglected to tighten the pan drain bolt so the thing was leaking out of the seal.. But hey all that neglect kept the transmission clean. Suspension is good and the thing goes straight at 90. That's better then most my previous c30's.

I am chipping away replacing parts to save this thing while making upgrades. Engine exhaust currently leaks from a few spots but is quiet "enough" at idle. The thing also has bad rings and valve seals(smokes a little if I get on it) from neglect and sitting so I am just going to pull the engine next summer. Unfortunately they did not leave the oil pan bolt loose like they did with the transmission and constantly topped the engine oil off with fresh oil every few hundred or I would probably save the short block..
I am just replacing the 87 5.7 with a used good ($800-1000)88 from a part out upgrading to serpentine with all the accessories in the process which will avoid me snapping exhaust bolts off in the 87 head. I am not after power just making the thing reliable keeping it mostly factory. Should be a plug and play deal done in a weekend. Eventually I want to stuff a full standalone harness in it to replace the wiring.
Lots weekend upgrades to do before that point sensors, floor, shifter, and so on. I am about 30% of where I envisioned the "finished" truck in my head when first looking at the pile back in April. I have put around 3k into parts on this truck that was headed to the scrap yard with only around 3000 miles ran since April. Probably another 4k to go before I get the thing where I want it.

But she runs good enough to get me back and forth the 7 miles to work each day and I enjoy the look of and driving a square body. I just keep going at it on the weekends replacing parts and chipping away at the old girl despite her sometimes taking a swing at me from time to time with these rusted and seized parts.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:58 PM   #10
hatzie
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

You'd be surprised how much abuse the locks, hubs, and spindles underneath can take.

Hub locks, hubs, and spindles are expensive not to mention likely made in China.

I'd spend a little time disassembling the originals to make sure they really are shot.

Be sure to replace the axle shaft seals on the diff and replace the U-Joints on each side while you have it all apart.
I've found the slingers missing in the Dana 44 front axles I've repaired... among other odd small parts. People try to re-use the small needle bearings deep inside the spindle too.

I lean toward Timken/Torrington bearings, Spicer Uni's, and Chicago Rawhide seals.
If the axles are grooved under the seal lip I use a speedi-sleeve they aren't a kludge they work quite well and should last 100K.
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1959 M35A2 LDT465-1D
1967 Dodge W200 B383, NP420/NP201
1969 Dodge Polara 500 B383, A833
1972 Ford F250 FE390, NP435/NP205
1976 Chevy K20, 6.5L, NV4500/NP208
1986 M1008 CUCV
2000 GMC C2500, TD6.5L, NV4500
2005 Chevy Silverado LS 2500HD 6.0L 4L80E/NP263
2009 Impala SS LS4 V8


RTFM... GM Parts Books, GM Schematics, GM service manuals, and GM training materials...Please include at least the year and model in your threads. It'll be easier to answer your questions.
And please let us know if and how your repairs were successful.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:56 PM   #11
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Hubs are warn 20990. Not bulletproof but a good stock replacement for the money.

You sold me on the spindle. I bought a single used spicer spindle that was inspected and confirmed to still be in good condition.

Hopefully I wont need the replacement spindle. But I would rather have it and not need it then need one and not have one.
If I can save the hubs I will. But I would rather once again have replacements here in case I can't save the old ones to keep this weekend project a weekend project. .

Thank you for the help.
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:51 PM   #12
hatzie
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Re: Removing 31 year old hub cap bolts.

Lots of folks mis-understand the names of parts on the outer ends of the front solid axles. I screw up the names when I start posting without thinking...

Hub locks are made by Warn or Spicer or Mile Marker or... I believe you're calling these Hubs... The Warn 20990 are almost on-par with the old 70's Spicer hub locks.

Hubs are the big hairy chunk of machined steel that holds the wheel studs, wheel, and the brake rotors. The Hubs turn on the tapered wheel bearings on the outside of the spindles. The inner profile is similar to a 2WD brake rotor with pockets for the outer wheel bearing races and a grease seal that rides on the spindle.

The spindle is another big hairy chunk of machined steel that has needle bearings inside that carry the stub end of the half shafts from the diff and a profile on the outside that carries the tapered wheel bearings just like 2WD front spindles or the wheel hub ends of full floating rear axle tubes. It's bolted to the knuckle.

The only reason I've ever replaced Spindles or Hubs is when they were just plain chewed up by road salt... The spindles can be badly damaged when the servicing tech doesn't use thread protectors for the wheel bearing nut threads and accidentally whacks the threads. Tape ain't gonna do it.

If you don't have protectors re-install the hubs with the wheel bearings and retainer nuts... after you get the spindle bolts out of the knuckle. You can thump on the hubs pretty hard using s dead blow hammer without doing a lot of damage. The worst thing that'll do is damage the tapered bearings that you're replacing anyway.

Speedi sleeves work great to renew the grooved area where the seal lip has ridden for years.
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1959 M35A2 LDT465-1D
1967 Dodge W200 B383, NP420/NP201
1969 Dodge Polara 500 B383, A833
1972 Ford F250 FE390, NP435/NP205
1976 Chevy K20, 6.5L, NV4500/NP208
1986 M1008 CUCV
2000 GMC C2500, TD6.5L, NV4500
2005 Chevy Silverado LS 2500HD 6.0L 4L80E/NP263
2009 Impala SS LS4 V8


RTFM... GM Parts Books, GM Schematics, GM service manuals, and GM training materials...Please include at least the year and model in your threads. It'll be easier to answer your questions.
And please let us know if and how your repairs were successful.

Last edited by hatzie; 11-16-2018 at 08:03 PM.
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