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Old 05-25-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
chevymike
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Default Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Hi all, I want to get a little advice from others who might have done this. My Chevy 250 inline 6 had a threaded insert in the driver rear head bolt location. It was not a heli-coil but a steel insert. I pulled the head for some work and found it was sticking out some. Needless to say, it would not torque up to specs. I was able to remove it. The hole in the block is at 5/8" (head bolt is 1/2").

I was recommended to use E-Z Loc insert which requires a 3/4-10 threaded hole for the insert to be used for a 1/2" thread.

So the question is, has anyone had any good luck with using any inserts for a head bolt location? If so, what did you use?
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
in2hotrodz
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

We use Time-Sert products at the shop I work at and have zero issues. When installed correctly and using the correct torque for the bolt size the repair should be as good as new.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
Fogger
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

x2 on Time-Serts, I've been using them for over 30 years. Never had a problem!
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:10 PM   #4
SAM123
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

heli- coil works for me
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
63comet
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

I have a heli-coil in my block right now. It torqued up fine. Maybe whoever installed the insert in yours did something wrong?
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Keen serts wuill work if you have enough meat to drill and tap or you could just thread the other one back in with some red locktite and let it set up.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:16 PM   #7
spiderdeville
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

time cert is a GM approved [demanded/required] repair on the fantastic Northstar Aluminum V8
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:12 AM   #8
cully33
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Caterpillar also make good threaded inserts.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Many types of thread inserts.
Just make sure you buy one for your application.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
1971BB427
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Just went through this last week when a stud pulled out the threads on my BBC while torqing the heads. I got a helicoil kit and put it in. Torqued right down to 80 ft. lbs. after install, and no problems.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
63comet
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

I have a question to add to this... I'm going to do a head swap soon. What re the odds of that Heli-Coil giving me troubles during that?
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #12
chevymike
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. They pointed me to a lot of different types I had not heard of. Here's what my research is finding...

Helicoil won't work as the original hole had been "fixed" with a steel insert that pulled out of the block. There is not enough to tap for the size Helicoil.

Time-sert had the same issue with size BUT they also make Big-sert which is basically the same but larger external diameter specifically for fixing holes that other inserts have pulled out of.

E-Z Loc have a large diameter insert so in this case it would work for fixing an already fixed hole.

Keen-sert (aka Caterpiller) are similar to E-Z Loc but also have 4 "locks" that help hold the insert into the hole.

Full-Torque seem to be the top ones on the market as the design actually helps hold the tighter the torque of the internal bolt. This is the only one that will allow a hole with a crack (actually helps pull the crack closed) or even partial hole exposure. Downside is $$$.

Many options...
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

I used to work on OT cars where the head studs would strip out of the block.

I used time serts and never had a problem.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

ChevyMike, as you noted you are already beyond useing either heli-coils or Timeserts which both use an STI thread. I've used KeenSerts many times in both aluminum and cast iron with good results. McMaster-Carr sells them.Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #15
Wolfcreek-Steve
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

I would look into why yours failed a second time!
I haven't had the need to do thread repair for a long time and don't remember brand names, but at one job I had we inserted threaded holes in injection molding machine tables. The initial threaded hole in the table would pull out in a few months of operation, but after inserting them they lasted for years. I've seen them fail from repeated use (wear) but never a "pull-out" IIRC we got them from McMaster-Carr.
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Chevy 250's have a problem with the four corner head bolt holes cracking . Sometimes the crack goes to the cylinder sometimes to the outside of the block. Check for cracks before you spend the time on a repair.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #17
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jethro View Post
Chevy 250's have a problem with the four corner head bolt holes cracking . Sometimes the crack goes to the cylinder sometimes to the outside of the block. Check for cracks before you spend the time on a repair.
Especially the front bolts cracking to the waterpump.
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #18
chevymike
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

No cracks in the block or head (had checked).

I think it was an issue with the original install of the rebuild company. When I pulled the head, it was already partly pulled out and looks like the top of the insert was "flattened" like it was pulled up when they torqued the head originally. I looks like a bad install to me.

I am going to talk to the machine shop on Tuesday and see what they use.

My only issue with doing it myself is getting it squared to the block.
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Last edited by chevymike; 05-26-2013 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:55 PM   #19
chevymike
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

Figured I would post a couple pics of what's going on.

This was ground flush before I started the torque sequence and this was at 75 ft/lbs.


The insert that I removed
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: Anyone Use A Threaded Insert In Block for Head Bolt

I have a 400 smallblock that I used to run in a race car 25 years ago. It pulled a head stud , which like yours had been repaired before I got it, the resultant hole was too big for the available inserts back then.....and in New Zealand 400 blocks were hard to find and real expensive .
So I made my own insert from a piece of cast iron bar. Turned it to a suitable size, bored it and , then turned a fine thread on the outside. Drilled and tapped the block and screwed it in with 680 Loctite . Then using a block of hardwood for a guide I tapped the insert to correct thread.
For the guide I just faced the block of wood and bored a hole in it then ran the tap in while it was still on the lathe. Once I had it located on the block,the tap ran straight into the hole....probably wouldn't be any good for multiple uses, but it worked fine for the one I needed.
The repair worked fine , reused the block in the racecar and when it was retired from there , it did about 50000 kms in the tow truck, before I converted it to diesel.
It is still sitting there on the shelf waiting for another day..
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