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Old 09-06-2010, 02:49 AM
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Repairing threads in an aluminum head

I have spent much of the last 2 days replacing a head gasket on my dads 98 stratus with a 2.4L DOHC 4 cylinder engine. The car has a mere 70k miles on it and has been a piece of crap for the last 2 years or so. We discovered lots of oil in the coolant reservoir and the only thing we can think of is the head gasket. SO. Weve torn the thing apart and finally got the head gasket replaced.

In the process of removing the head, we had to remove the cams from the head to gain access to the head bolts. Upon reinstalling the cams (in this engine the cam has caps on it just like a crankshaft) one bolt pulled the threads out of the head. Yikes!! The rest of them tightened down just fine.

There were three of us working on this car. My dad and I ran to walmart to get some oil and some gasket sealer while the 3rd guy stayed behind and worked on the car. He didnt do much while we were gone and was gone when we returned. I think hes the one that pulled the threads out (it was the #1 bolt in the tightening sequence for that cam so it should have been the first bolt he messed with) by not tightening the cap down evenly but i cant say for sure. So I am not totally sure what happened, but I know that i sure didnt put much torque on it before i felt it tighten and then loosen. I was hoping it was the threads on the bolt but when i backed the bolt out the threads were full of aluminum.

Can this be drilled and tapped and a larger bolt installed or better yet can it be heli-coiled? Or would it be fine with one bolt missing since the other one tightened down ok?

Or are we just screwed? or what?

I need a little help! We're needing to get this car done so it can be used Tuesday. Its my stepmoms daily driver.

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Last edited by Torque454; 09-06-2010 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:21 AM
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Helicoil the hole, it will be stronger than it was originally due to the greater surface area of the helicoil insert.

Going to the next larger bolt size may weaken things too much, will alter torque values due to the different size bolt, and you will have to hunt for a bolt of the correct grade and length.

You can't leave it with just one bolt and be positive it won't fail somehow.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:38 AM
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I would helicoil the hole.

Jon
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