Motorcycle Classics Blogs > Tech Corner

Tech Corner

Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.


Stuck Allen Bolt

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Stuck bolt

Q: I have a frozen button-head Allen bolt with the socket stripped out. Can I use an extractor to try and remove it? — Curt Shontz/via email

A: I don’t like to use bolt extractors except as a last resort. There’s nothing more frustrating than having one of them break off while trying to extract a bolt, and since they’re harder than a drill bit they’re impossible to drill out. My favorite technique is to use a left-hand twist drill bit in a cordless drill set to reverse. Often the drilling heat will help extract the bolt. If it doesn’t, at least once you have the head drilled out and the pieces apart you can grab the stub of the bolt with vise grips and get it out. MC