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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2017, 06:42 PM
Attacking Mid Attacking Mid is offline
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Mein Auto: 99 328i, 08 X3
Drill Out Lug Bolts

I picked up a used 2008 X3 last month for my wife to drive. Having owned another BMW for the past 12 years, I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into. I've caught up most of the maintenance items - fluids, gaskets, etc., and have figured out DIS and Progman in order to fix the steering angle sensor issue the car had when I bought it. But.... what has ticked me off is that everywhere I go on this car, I find evidence of sloppy mechanical work. Missing fasteners, wrong fasteners, etc.

The epitome was when I went to rotate the tires and found the lug bolts torqued on so tight I could BARELY remove them with my Snap-On 1/2" drive breaker bar and all 220 lbs of me bouncing on it. I got them off of 3 of the wheels, but the RF wheel, I only managed to get one of the bolts loose. I cracked my Craftsman 17mm socket in the process, so I recruited a buddy who had 1/2 drive impact sockets and a more powerful gun than my old CP gun. We cranked my air compressor up to 155 PSI and still couldn't get the bolts off. Ultimately, we cracked his impact socket (granted, it was a Harbor Freight Chro-vanadium, but still!). In subsequent days I tried various other ideas, but eventually took it to the local tire shop. They could not remove them with their 900 ft-lb gun, and they were reluctant to try anything more extreme for fear of breaking something.

My only option at this point was to drill them out. It took me about 3 hours time between drilling, resting my tired hands, resharpening drill bits, etc. I started by drilling with about a 1/4" bit to a depth just slightly beyond the taper of the bolt. I then drilled it with about a 3/8" bit before finally drilling with a 1/2" bit.

The threads were not damaged from the over-torqueing. Ultimately, the way it worked was that I had to drill down to the point where the taper was able to release it's grip from the wheel's taper. Once the material was thin enough to "fail", I was able to easily buzz out the bolts with my 1/2 impact wrench.

Definitely a pain in the @$$ drilling them out, but ultimately, everything was okay other than needing new lug bolts.
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2017, 07:57 PM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Mein Auto: E46, E83, E90 (all MT)
Wow! Is there any damage to the aluminum wheels, due to the over torqued bolts?

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  #3  
Old 01-29-2017, 08:43 PM
Attacking Mid Attacking Mid is offline
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Location: Colorado
 
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Mein Auto: 99 328i, 08 X3
Not that I could see or feel. I was concerned about damaging the wheel with the drill bit since I was free-hand drilling, but even if I had drifted a bit, it would have only damaged the very bottom of the taper and would have been still perfectly functional.

AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-30-2017, 05:58 AM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Mein Auto: 08 E83; '86 442; 84 GMC
Drill Out Lug Bolts

Ah, the pleasures of working on something after a hack mechanic did a job, in this case "I can't be bothered to torque these so lemme just turn up the pressure on my impact gun to Max!" This is why no one works on my car but me. Ever.

I would have went and purchased a high quality black impact socket, breaker bar (in a larger size than 1/2") and used a loooong pile for leverage (like 8 ft long). "Give me a lever long enough and a place to set it and I'll move the world." (Paraphrased)

All lugs should be replaced if not done so, as they're all stretched and not far from failing at this point. I'd be worried about the threads in the rotors.


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Last edited by dukedkt442; 01-30-2017 at 05:59 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-30-2017, 05:59 AM
abscate abscate is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 BMW X3... VOLVO... V
My guess is you had electrolysis and the threads had bonded to the wheel, rather than being over torqued. At 900 ft lbs the threads would have failed on either the bolt or wheel hub.

I think heat here would have worked, but probably you need oxy-acetylene to get that hot enough to break up that corrosion

Nice job drilling out..that's hard work. You are feeling that this morning in your hands I bet.

Is there a way to get the hub off the car with the rim on? If the rim/hub could be dragged to a machine job, a drill press could do that job in a jiffy. I would gladly pay an hour vs 4 hand drill outs.
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2017, 06:36 AM
Attacking Mid Attacking Mid is offline
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Location: Colorado
 
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Mein Auto: 99 328i, 08 X3
I tried the longer lever using a 6 pt. impact socket, but the bolt heads started rounding off. I don't think there were any issues with the threads as the bolts turned out easily once the tapered head was relieved of its pressure. Also, the tires (snows) were virtually new when I bought the vehicle, so the wheels had been off the car within the last month or two. Yes, I replaced all 20 bolts! Fingers too achy to type any more

AM.
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2017, 01:56 PM
abscate abscate is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 BMW X3... VOLVO... V
Mon Dieux -- one month is too short to really bond up. Somebody really went to town on those.

At some point, it would be easier to tack weld a re-bar to each bolt and loosen them that way.

Nasty, nasty work - even for a midfielder


(Defender) - I have to beat you every time, you only have to beat me once...

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  #8  
Old 01-30-2017, 05:51 PM
Attacking Mid Attacking Mid is offline
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Location: Colorado
 
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Mein Auto: 99 328i, 08 X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by abscate View Post
Nasty, nasty work - even for a midfielder


(Defender) - I have to beat you every time, you only have to beat me once...

I should change my forum name, as my playing days are long past. I can't even ref anymore due to bad knees. I still coach HS soccer for now. Thinking my days are limited there also. This getting old stuff is not for the faint of heart!

AM.
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