Breaking a stud off in a housing is likely one of the most frustrating things that can happen in the farm workshop. When we took the front axle apart during our ongoing old Jeep restoration, Project CJ3A, we found a previous repair effort left a broken stud at the bottom king pin bearing support in the front axle knuckle.
We don’t know why the stud originally broke. But judging from the torque required to remove the other three in the assembly, a good guess is someone had a large bowl of Wheaties in the morning and used his excess energy to grossly over-torque them all when installing a replacement bearing. That snapped off the stud. The broken stud was simply left as it was ever since. Hardly a quality repair, but we’re finding the old Jeep had a lot of poor quality repair work done to it over the decades.
Before we could reassemble the overhauled axle, the broken stud needed to come out. Here’s how we removed it.
Because we didn’t know why the stud originally broke, we assumed the worst, which is that it could be rusted and stuck in place, although it didn’t look to be in bad shape. So we applied penetrating fluid from both ends several times over the course of a week to get maximum effect, hopefully loosening and lubricating the broken piece.
Fortunately, a couple of threads on the broken stud were protruding from the housing, which meant we could get a nut onto it by almost one full turn. Using a MIG welder, we tack welded the nut to the top of the stud.
Getting a nut welded onto the broken piece made it unnecessary to drill the stud and use an “easy out.”
More from the Grainews website: Frame-off restoration, part 1
A MIG welder works much better than a Stick welder for this job. It’s easy just to insert the gun tip into the nut to get into good position to make the weld. Be sure to just use short tacks to do this job. You want enough penetration to firmly attach the nut to the stud, but you don’t want to generate too much heat, burning through the stud and welding everything to the housing. That would require a trip to a machine shop or make it necessary to replace the housing entirely.
After the weld had cooled, we put a wrench on the nut and gently applied some torque. The broken stud easily turned out. The stud was oily along its full length, which meant the penetrating oil had fully worked its way through. And there was no sign of excess rust, which supported our suspicion that the stud was likely broken by too much torque during installation.
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at [email protected]fbcpublishing.com.