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Old 02-25-2008, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Irwin Sockets?

Recently, a friend of mine had a rounded off oil pan drain plug and we spent about an hour trying everything in our tool boxes to get it out to no avail. We were seriously considering heat, but didn't want to go that route.

Anyway, my friends brother (a mechanic) told him to try "Irwin sockets". My friend found a set at NAPA and tried one on his oil pan drain plug. It came right out! The sockets are tapered on the inside and have reverse angled sharp ridges in them. They looked like they would really grip and in the case of the stuck oil pan drain plug, worked very well. They look very handy and I will pick up a set the next time I have a stuck or rounded off bolt head or nut.

Now, I'm not a newbie when it comes to tools, but I had never heard of these before and neither had my friend. A google search for them only produced 44 hits. Does anybody else have experience with these sockets and are they called by any other name?
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

I believe you are reffering to the Irwin Bolt Grip products. They look like sockets, but act as you described. They make them in shallow shaft and deepwell and also make a Power-Grip which goes into your screw gun. I hope that helps.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

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Irwin Sockets?

Recently, a friend of mine had a rounded off oil pan drain plug and we spent about an hour trying everything in our tool boxes to get it out to no avail. We were seriously considering heat, but didn't want to go that route.

Anyway, my friends brother (a mechanic) told him to try "Irwin sockets". My friend found a set at NAPA and tried one on his oil pan drain plug. It came right out! The sockets are tapered on the inside and have reverse angled sharp ridges in them. They looked like they would really grip and in the case of the stuck oil pan drain plug, worked very well. They look very handy and I will pick up a set the next time I have a stuck or rounded off bolt head or nut.

Now, I'm not a newbie when it comes to tools, but I had never heard of these before and neither had my friend. A google search for them only produced 44 hits. Does anybody else have experience with these sockets and are they called by any other name?
Thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of them either. Vice Grips also do the job.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

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Thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of them either. Vice Grips also do the job.
Nope, I'm a vice-grip expert. When trying to remove the already-rounded plug, we spent an hour on it and used all manner of monster vice-grips, impact six-sided sockets, etc. and all it did was continue to round off the head. The Irwin socket worked the first time.

It was a new/used truck for my buddy, turns out some numbnuts (probably at a shop because the previous owner never changed her own oil...) did not put the washer (a galvanic isolator?) on the plug - galvanic action most likely led to corrosion causing the problem.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Being in NY, are you sure it wasn't salted roads in the winter time, that caused the corrosion? Doesn't take a lot of salt to start the corrosion process.

Another alternative to the Irwin removers is to drill a hole in the center of the bolt, just deep enough to use and easy-out bit (reverse-threaded bit, that bites into the bolt, facilitatiing the removal of the bolt)...
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

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Being in NY, are you sure it wasn't salted roads in the winter time, that caused the corrosion? Doesn't take a lot of salt to start the corrosion process.
Oh, I'm quite certain that the recent salt exposure was a contributing factor, but the truck just came from Oklahoma and this was its first oil change in NY.

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Another alternative to the Irwin removers is to drill a hole in the center of the bolt, just deep enough to use and easy-out bit (reverse-threaded bit, that bites into the bolt, facilitatiing the removal of the bolt)...
Yeah, I've used easy-out bits before with limited success. The Irwin sockets offer advantages in that you don't have to drill a hole (exactly in the center which is hard to do on a rounded off bolt head) so there is one less step, the fact the Irwin socket places force on the outside of the bolt head gives you more leverage, and you can't use easy-outs on rounded off nuts. That said, you also couldn't use an Irwin socket on removing a twisted off bolt.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Was it these bolt extractors

IRWIN Bolt Extractors

Another way if you have a mig welder you do a bead on the bolt and weld a new nut to it. Works great the heat from the welder help loosening the thread and the new bolt is great for removing.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Only used them once, but they work great. At one time Autozone carried them also.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Well, once you get the drain bolt out, try using one of these from now on:

QuickOilDrainValve.com - the best way to change oil

If you're worried about the lever being unlatched by debri or obstructions just use a spring clamp over the valve body to prevent the lever disconnecting prematurely (shouldn't be a problem where the oil pan is located, and with the factory skid cover in place)...
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Irwin sockets for rounded-off bolt heads and nuts?

Quote:
fjTeddy previously said: View Post
Was it these bolt extractors

IRWIN Bolt Extractors

Another way if you have a mig welder you do a bead on the bolt and weld a new nut to it. Works great the heat from the welder help loosening the thread and the new bolt is great for removing.
Yup! Those are it. Welding on a new nut is also a great tip!

Quote:
JoeUser previously said: View Post
Well, once you get the drain bolt out, try using one of these from now on:

QuickOilDrainValve.com - the best way to change oil

If you're worried about the lever being unlatched by debri or obstructions just use a spring clamp over the valve body to prevent the lever disconnecting prematurely (shouldn't be a problem where the oil pan is located, and with the factory skid cover in place)...
Hmmmm... Have you used one of these before or know someone who has? I suppose on the FJ that it would be protected by a skid plate, but I'd be a bit concerned about it having terrain clearance issues on other vehicles - wouldn't be good to knock it off or as you pointed out already, accidentally draining your oil out due to accidental unlatching of the lever.
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