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Using a needle scaler and left hand spiral sockets
Posted to Technical Tips Forum on 7/11/2020 21 Replies

Just an FYI for you folks out there dealing with rusty suspension bolts and exhaust.

The back story:

I have been dealing with the rear suspension on a 2006 Toyota Matrix AWD that came from up in Maine down here to TX.

The rear crossmember in this car rotted in half where the differential unit mounts. Needless to say, most people would send this off to the bone yard. But my customer want to keep the car. The body and rest of the chassis are in pretty good condition. It is low mileage and has been very reliable. I was surprised to find these cars have a very decent resale value.

I removed the entire rear chassis and placed it on a table, so I could work it out of the vehicle. Once it was removed, I realized that the top side of the cross member was worse than the bottom due to road salts being trapped there over the years.

Many of the bolt heads were ate away and everything was rusted badly.

On to the Technical Tip:

Recently, I borrowed a needle scaler from a welder buddy of mine for another project and was impressed by how it worked. I figured what the heck and started using the scaler on some of the small bolts. It cleaned the rust and scale off and I could see what I was dealing with.

Conventional sockets had no chance of gripping any of the bolts or nuts, so I pulled out my left hand spiral socket set and put them to use. To my surprise, most of the bolts came right out with little effort. The impact vibration of the scaler had loosened the frozen threads and the spiral socket gripped them and took them right out. Of course I used penetrating oil and had been soaking all the bolts has I went along on this entire project.

There are a few control arm bolts that are way beyond any help other than a torch. So I am rebuilding the entire rear suspension.

Luckily after calling around I have been able to find all the parts to build another rear suspension. Most were found in Colorado and California because they were still in good condition. I suspect this was just a bad vehicle design that was prone to rust out in Northern salt road areas.

The rear suspension parts are hard to find for an AWD model.

I think the advantage of using the scaler and then the left hand spiral socket saved me a lot of broken bolts and aggravation. This may be useful for other such bolts like ones for gas tank straps and exhaust.

In the future, I will be adding this to my methods of removing rusty hardware.

Hope this helps someone.

Glenn A. Hunt
Automotive Doc's
Devine, Texas, USA

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