The Rest of the Story
about the Broken Bolt

“Now the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. The broken bolt syndrome. For 30+ years I have looked at broken bolts and broken threaded fasteners. I thought to myself their must be a better less labor intensive way to repair them, but there seemed to be no better answer.
    As a person who likes to dream I thought their must be away to make a repair that would be easier and far less expensive. I am lazy and dislike wasting hours of unnecessary drilling to make any repair. Problem fasteners are prevalent in more ways than just car and truck repairs. Millions of hours are wasted on such repairs every year. While you are working on a vehicle or anything else with a broken bolt or stud, you could save valuable time if you had an alternative way to make the repair. If you can avoid these time consuming problems you can schedule your time better and save more money than anyone can imagine.


    Their were three identical vehicles scheduled on the same day for the same type of repair. It is unusual to have three exact same repairs on the same model car at the same time. These vehicles were at our shop to have a front flex pipe replaced. The front flex pipe is attached to the exhaust manifold on the front of these four cylinder engines. This flexible woven pipe is in the exhaust system to keep the vibrations from the engine to a minimum inside the car. After a period of time these pipes wear out from their movement (vibration) as well as from the heating and then cooling (expansion and contraction) they receive in the normal operation of the car.
    Many manufacturers use these pipes. Whenever you try to change these pipes at least one or two of the bolts (3 bolts hold the pipe in total) attaching the old pipe to the manifold will break upon removal. Now you have that terrible broken bolt. Why they break is a long involved story of unlike metals and electrolysis to be talked about another time. When these studs break, or a bolt breaks the person making the repair knows the trouble has just begun. A broken bolt causes bigger trouble than any repair person is looking for. The do it yourself technician may have found a problem that seems impossible to handle, and has know one to ask, what do I do now? Now that you have a broken stud, everyone realizes that this job is going to be a lot harder and more expensive than originally expected. For your customer this can be devastating news and can put a strain on your relationship with that customer.


    A broken bolt in many ways, including time this is a disaster for all. My tech came to me with those awful words, "I have broken a stud" and we knew it would be an hour and a half of drilling to open just one hole in the manifold so the new pipe can be reattached. We also must be careful of the ears in the flange, that they don't break off. When we removed the pipe from the manifold their were some threads still available on the broken stud, but we had no way to utilize them. If we could use the broken bolt it would have been flush with the flange. This meant we had no way to reattach the new pipe.
    After having been through these situations for many years and being frustrated by them, I decided I must find away to make this repair. Their must be a way to use the threads that were left behind on the remaining stud. After being told I had no chance of finding away to repair this problem, I put myself on a mission. I decided these situations had gone on way too long in my life and enough was enough.
    I thought there must be something available to fix this problem. I set out to my local parts stores for help and advise. They all reassured my worst fears that no fix available for a broken bolt. TOUGHNUTZ™ was being born before our eyes and we didn't know it yet
   At this point we thought about a customer we had turned away from a repair because he had a broken stud on his manifold of a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup truck with a V-8 engine. We had no repair for his problem either. I returned to our repair facility and decided there had to be some way to reattach parts to a broken bolt or stud.


   I got a piece of a very soft material (brass) and made a prototype nut with a barrel shape that could reattach the part with the use of the remaining threads. After trying different designs I went to a tech working on another one of these cars and said cut the studs off with a torch and remove the pipe. Then I can see if the new pipe can be reattach with this simple designed nut. He then cut the two studs with a torch, our mechanics favorite tool. He then took out the one stud that would come out. We then ground off the slag (melted metal from the heat of the torch) and found that we needed to deburr (we have since designed a special tool for this) the threaded area a little to get my nut design to start on the threads. When this was completed, we were able to reattach the flanges with my new style nut, boy were we excited. I had used a soft material (because it was easy for me to work with, I am not a machinist) to make this nut. We could not use it for an actual repair because it would need to be made out of steel in order to be used. No problem I thought, I will just go to a machine shop in town and get some made. I thought I would be back later in the day with some.



   What a surprise for me after traveling many miles and hours around the area. The machine shops explained they could not help me. They explained that we wanted to small a quantity for them to be able to produce them. If we wanted thousands of them made, they would be interested in working with us. I thought if I went to the city near our location I might find a shop who would help. Again with visions of my great repair nut in hand I went to more machine shops. They all politely said the same thing I had heard everywhere. They did not generally make small quantities like we needed. If they did make a small quantity it would be very expensive and take weeks to make.
    I said to myself there has to be someone that could help us. I came back to the shop and the techs had finished two of the cars the old fashioned way while I was gone. I told my technicians of the frustration and they suggested a small machine shop in our area who might help. I found out he worked for a big machine shop in the city, but had a little machine shop at his home. I explained to him what I needed and he said "he would make 12 of them for me". I did not care how much they cost, I knew they would save time and money. I came back to the shop excited and thankful. The next day he came to our shop with the nuts and asked if I had shown this nut design to anyone? My answer was no I had not because no one was interested in such a small quantity so I had no reason to show them what it was. He said "then I have good news and bad news". I said why is that? He said first show me what they are to be used on. I had a vehicle at the shop with the exact same broken bolt situation. I then showed him the vehicle with the broken bolts. I explained to him we were experimenting with this particular car and he said don't use these on that car. I said why not? It will save us hours of work and frustration. He said "I have been a machinist for thirty years and I have never seen this style nut before" you should send this in to a patent attorney to see if you could get a patent for this technology. We did send it in and found it did not seem to exist. Not only in the United States but in the world to our surprise. We filed the appropriate paper work for a patent. We then followed the process to get patent pending status so we could finally try the nuts in a real broken bolt or broken stud situation.


   By the time we got patent pending status we had already repaired all the cars that had a broken bolt, the old fashion way. With pure luck the customer with the broken stud on his F-150 came in. It had been a couple of days since we received our letter informing us of our patent pending status. We could not wait to try our new product on his pickup. What we did not know, was the whole story about his pickup truck at this point. The vehicle would tell us the rest of the story as vehicles always do.
    We must tell the rest of the story about what had happened since we last saw this truck. I will keep this as short as possible, but it is a good story. It follows Murphy's law. His father had suggested to his son, if your garage won't fix your exhaust leak come down here to visit me. I will take it to my mechanic to get the work done. Yes, you guessed it, they tried to fix the stud for him. They thought the exhaust noise was coming from the exhaust manifold gasket. They believed this was the cause of the leak near the broken stud. What none of us knew at the time, the exhaust manifold had cracked on the underside causing the exhaust leak. The shop his father had taken the truck to tried to drill the stud out using the manifold as a guide. While trying to make this simple repair they accidentally tapped into the water jacket of the cylinder head. This occurred because they were drilling out steel in an aluminum head. The drill bit wants to walk sideways and this can be very hard to drill this way. Drilling into the water jacket is not good, believe me on this. From their, they scurried to hide what they had done. They put in a dummy stud with sealer in the hole they made (looked like JB Weld) and ground it down smooth to solve their mistake. The truck was then returned to the customer (his dad) saying they had looked at it but couldn't’t make the repair of course and now the exhaust leak was even louder.
    Now with God's good graces, the owner of the F-150 had walked through our door. He asked if we could attempt some kind of a repair for his problem. We were extremely excited, but kept our emotions in check. We didn't know if this process would work but we were going to try and make the repair for him. He didn't want to be forced to go back to a dealer for the repair, so he agreed to leave his truck with us for a few days. He had priced the manifold repair with a dealer and found their estimate of $1300.00 dollars for one side of the engine to be more expensive than he could afford. They quoted both sides at around $2100.00 or more with parts. Neither the customer, the dealer or our shop knew about the broken bolt in the head. We told him it would be an experiment and we would stay within the estimate we gave him of $600.00 dollars, no matter what it cost for the parts, labor and our new product Toughnutz™ (a nut with a special, but simple design).


    We immediately cut the studs off with a torch. We were not going to have the broken bolt syndrome this time. The studs held the exhaust manifold to the cylinder head of the engine. You can see this exact truck and the procedures we followed at The pickup truck you see is the exact truck we worked on. When we took the manifold off it was obvious that the exhaust leak was a crack in the bottom of the manifold. It was also apparent what had been mistakenly done by the other repair facility. The prototype nuts we had made for the car repairs were 10mm and these were 8mm x 1.25 pitch so a new size (today we make 22 sizes) had to be made.


    When the machine shop made some of the new size, we started to make up the procedures to be followed. You will see the rough stages of instructions as well as filming how this work should be done. Some trial and error occurred, but we were able to make the repair and be proud of the repair we made. We also found some things that needed to be modified to make this a better product and easier to use with many more situations in mind. Through trial and error we made this a great product saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars on each repair. It also saves a tremendous amount of time and gives you a way to fix the impossible broken bolt or stud syndrome.NOTE: Most of the work went easier than anticipated. He was pleased and we were excited.
   Wow we thought this will be a great product and everyone will love its simplicity. The day of having a broken bolt should be history. This will sweep the repair industry by storm, right, wrong.


   During this time period some roofing men were in our shop visiting and we thought we would tell them about our new product. We told them about our new product to get their reaction, boy were we surprised. They are people who do their own auto repairs at home so we thought we might get a good reaction to our new products. They said here is some food for thought.


   Well we were shocked when they said forget fixing cars, this would work on a flat roof drain and cover. We asked them what they were talking about. They explained that a flat roof has drains to carry the water off the roof so the weight on top of the roof would be reduced. Standing water weighs around seven pounds per gallon. We asked how will this help? They explained that the unlike metals of cast iron and steel would corrode over time and that when you remove these bolts to lift the drain cover off to begin replacing a roof, some of these bolts would break. This caused spending hours of drilling and tapping the old drain or worst yet for the customer you would end up replacing the drains with new ones.
   We thought wow another great repair for our new product TOUGHNUTZ™. View this to at under view videos. On Monday we set off to see some roof material suppliers and show them our new product. The roofing supply people we went to, said this is a great idea and wanted us to show this to their biggest roofing contractor. We were ecstatic at the thought. We were shocked when their biggest roofing contractor said I will not use this product, because I will not make as much profit as I do without it. We asked why not? The answer was a shocker to us. He explained that they make more money on having to replace or repair drains than they would on the re-roofing itself. He explained that their estimates noted that drain repairs were extra. He then showed us an asterisk on his bill allowing extra charges over their original estimate for drain repairs. We said ok, but what about the customer? He would see a large savings and the roofer could stay on schedule. His answer to us was that the customers never came up on their roofs to see what they had done before, during or after the work was completed. He stated to us that when roofing of these buildings was needed, the owners would just write the checks. The owners didn't understand any more than the roof leaks fix it. The roofer showed no interest in saving his customers money on the bottom line of the bills he presented to them. We were totally blown away by this attitude. We always thought if we could reduce our customers bill they would be back more often, were we wrong, we hope not.
    Then we wanted to know how they could sleep at night doing this to a customer, when there was a better way? They explained that the dollars they made profit from doing the repair of the drains the old fashion way was huge and they were not interested in using our product to save time or money. We then went to a local roofer, who was a customer of our repair garage and showed him the process. He stated it was a great idea but he would never use it either. He felt it would reduce his profits so he probably would not be interested. We were amazed at the attitude of some professional business owners.


    One day month's later, while at my shop the phone rings and this roofer said desperately can you come over to a job right now and show us what your nut can do. We know a couple of these drains will have a broken bolt if we do it our old way. I immediately left for the city again excited about his inquiry and I could now demonstrate my product first hand. When I arrived I immediately met him on the roof. He showed me the problem with two cast iron drains and the steel bolts holding the covers on. I pulled out the tools I needed to do the job and had both drains prepared and done with our Toughnutz™ product in about seven minutes. I had never done a roof drain on a roof before, but this product is a no brainer. One of his workers said why would we do this any other way? I thought wow we are in now, so he paid me for the time and products. He then said he would stop down to our office to get more of our products and his foreman was excited about how fast you could now do this work. I thought the boss would be in for the product in the next few days. He never came in or called us and I could not understand after that demonstration why? I saw one of his guys about a month later at a rest stop and asked why the boss had not called me for our product. The roofing foreman explained to me that the job that the boss called me for, he (the boss) was not going to get paid for, because of certain circumstances so he needed the least expensive repair. He had missed the fact that a part of the roof was wet under the roofing material and his quote was too far off to make the full repair. Now that he had started the job he could not waste time with the drain problem. He only called me to get a repair for himself so he could save money on this roof, hmmm. The main reason for our products getting to the public marketplace as slowly as they are is that the masses are not aware they exist. We believe Toughnutz& trade; will revolutionize repairing frozen fasteners. Once everyone is aware of the savings and universal uses we haven't even thought of yet for this product sales will skyrocket. When a customer starts stocking Toughnutz™ we find they use them often. Sometimes trying to teach new technologies can be a difficult task. We found that the do it yourself tech and many local repair facilities have used our products with great success. They have saved the customer and themselves mega dollars. When our product is used on your manifolds for example: the next time this work needs to be done you can do it at home in the driveway. It will take about 15 minutes, because the prep work was done the first time you did this work.
    Another amazing situation for you to think about. We had a Ford dealer using our products which were recommended by the Vice President of Ford Motor Company. He stated that our nut is a great alternative repair for Ford manifolds that needed to be replaced. At a dealership near our facility the head mechanic refused to use our TOUGHNUTZ™ products while working for Ford. The reason he refused to use our product was the reduced hours in his pay because of how fast you could do this job with TOUGHNUTZ™. After the dealership was shut down by Ford Motor Co. the same mechanic came and bought our product for his personal use, but he refuses to use it on the customer cars and trucks he repairs, hmmmm! We are just regular mechanics who are optimistic that we can turn this way of thinking around. It will take some time dealing with the objections, but when there are enough people using our product the rest will have to follow. The money and time saved by using our products is tremendous. Not having to worry about having a broken bolt or stud in the cylinder head. There is much more to this story and maybe someday we can finish it with our success. Maybe a video would work to tell the rest of the story, only time will tell. Great ideas are not always accepted at first glance. Sometimes because they are too simple of an idea to work. Maybe it is hard to believe it took so long to solve such a major problem with such a simple solution. Soon sales will explode because of the economic impact and the savings they produce for the consumer, you.