In a slightly unexpected development, I have a new car. Several weeks ago, I stumbled across this Subaru Outback on eBay, and the following Saturday, went to collect it. More on that later, however.
The car has needed a little bit of work, chief of which was replacing the inner CV joint gaiters. Again, more on that later, but for the time being, it is sufficient to note that this job basically involved taking the whole front end apart. In the process of doing so, one of the control arm mounting studs undid itself from the subframe mounting point (pictured below), due to a seized nut. While not a big problem in an of itself, in the process of coming out, it got slightly twisted and ended up damaging the threads inside the hole.
Although I have a small tap and die set, this particular fastener utilises an M14 bolt, and my tool collection is not equipped to deal with something that large. I thought about purchasing a larger tap set, but for this size, they are rather expensive. In the end, I found the following ‘hack’ online: Take a bolt of the same size and with the same thread pattern and, using a grinder or Dremel tool, cut a groove perpendicular to the thread. Then de-burr the edges where you made the cut – all I did was to take a flat-edged screwdriver and run it along the treads to smooth off any sharp edges. Apply some lubrication to the bolt, and then simply screw it in and out.
I really could not believe how well this trick worked. It took almost no effort to get the bolt in and out, and the mounting stud went back in easily afterwards. If you do encounter some resistance, similar to using a tap set, just back it off a bit and work it forwards again. But considering all it cost me was £1 for a bolt from my local hardware shop, this is by the far the best hack I’ve come across in a long time.