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  #1  
Old 01-31-2024, 09:01 AM
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Recommended tool for a stripped hex head

Thanks in advance for any advice and recommendations. The first hex head bolt on the front ball joints (tension strut at carrier) I went to loosen when putting the new tension struts on immediately rounded out. Some of it may be my hex socket, but the hex head too looks goobered up now. Fortunately I didn’t really need them and was just doing them because I had a new set on hand, I was in there, and the rest of my front suspension had aged prematurely and was knocking at low speed, so I was throwing parts at it.

Someday they will need to come out though. Any tools work better than others for getting these fasters out? It’s beyond me why BMW didnt use standard bolts. Even the otherwise crappy torx head bolts they love would be better than hex heads.
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2024, 09:13 AM
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Let me confirm.... The front tension strut is attached to the ball joint in the carrier with a 22mm nut...The ball joint stud has a hex recess so that you can hold it steady while you tighten the tension strut 22mm nut onto it?

You should be able to remove the 22mm nut with an impact gun without holding the hex head. if you get the nut and tension strut off, you should replace the ball joint with the hex recess

If you can't remove the 22mm holding the tension strut (which is not what you are describing), you can simply cut at verticle slit in with a dremel or grinder to remove it
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:29 AM
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Hmmm strange, mine had the torx bolts.... are you sure yours aren't also, and maybe they're just dirty and look like hex? lol

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Old 01-31-2024, 09:33 AM
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Thanks gents. The tension strut nut came off with an impact, but yes, the first of two bolts holding the ball joint on rounded out quickly. Cutting a slot in it…genius. Then it will take a slotted head (screw driver type) tool.

I can’t recall what brand I used when I replaced them years ago, but the ones in my car are hex heads. I did notice the replacement ball joints I was going to put in are torx head.
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:33 AM
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I see what you are talking about...

Other options include:

-drilling the sides of the head with an angled "divot" so that you can put a punch on it and hammer the head into turning the way you want to loosen it

- maybe square off the head a little with a dremel, heat it up and hammer on a six-sided socket, e-torx socket or an extractor socket and turn it off that way.

You would sure rather not snap the head off...that woudl be a bear to drill out.
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:37 AM
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I had a very similar problem changing my ball joints.

Dremel into slot is the goto but i also have a set of bolt extracting sockets and a very special bostich socket set that are splines. I can usually find an under sized socket by swapping to S.A.E. vs. metric and pound it on. Those bolts are not very big I may have just used a chisel to turn them out.

I had more trouble pounding the ball joint out once the bolts were removed then getting the stripped bolts out.
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:55 AM
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+1 on splined sockets for stripped heads.. wasn't aware of them...probably perfect for this application.

I do have a "metrinch" sockets that work well on rounded 6-pont hex heads - SAE or metric
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Old 01-31-2024, 11:50 AM
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I had this with the f30. It uses a torx t40 counter hold. The thing was so seized it snapped my snap-on t40 socket. Went to Lowe's picked up two Craftsman t40s and it snapped both of them too. Not enough room to get the impact in. I tried some u-joint extension stuff couldn't get it.

Since I was replacing the arm anyway, I ended up just using the multi oscillating tool with the metal cut tool and plunge cut the stud below the nut. Easy enough. That oscillating tool comes in handy rather often.

Ball joints of the worst part of the car to work on. I had quite a fight with the one here on the e53 and had to use the torch. I've not found a good BMW ball joint popping tool. The off-the-shelf ones are too small. I've broken two of them.
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Last edited by Factory6speed; 01-31-2024 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-31-2024, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Factory6speed View Post
I've not found a good BMW ball joint popping tool. The off-the-shelf ones are too small. I've broken two of them.
I have a few from parts stores/HF. I bought this set a few months ago and it's been life changing. Worth every penny:

https://www.amazon.com/DPTOOL-Separa...2-63e904010ad0
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Old 01-31-2024, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LA02MAX View Post
Hmmm strange, mine had the torx bolts.... are you sure yours aren't also, and maybe they're just dirty and look like hex? lol

BMW seems to have changed from the E-Torx to the internal Torx head style mid way through production.

I rounded and eventually snapped the head off the E-Torx on one of them; no amount of heat/penetrating oil/impact with an extractor socket would budge it. I ended up removing the knuckle and drilling/backing it out with a left hand drill bit. Managed to save the threads thankfully. New ones went in with nickel antisieze.
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