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Old June 25th, 2011, 20:11   #1
Joester
 
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Default Glow plug broke in half in the hole on my A4

hey guys i have a problem, and i am afraid it is a very big one...

i was changing my glow plugs tonight and cylinder 1 and 2 went fine, but cylinder 3 broke off in the hole. it didnt take much force to do it either! but anyways its done, and now i have to deal with it.

ive deduced that the metal casing of the glow plug has broken in half right above the threads, so its still tight in there, the threads on the head have not galled, but the 10mm head on the glow plug just spins and spins.

has anyone ever come across this? im afraid the head is going to have to come off to actually get it out, but as far as i can tell taking the head off doesnt appear to be much of a problem... true?

i was trying to think of a way that i could use some sort of reverse tap, or easy out, but im not exactly sure what to do here, so i figured i would come to you experienced folk for some advice.

thanks for any suggestions
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Old June 25th, 2011, 20:24   #2
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i did some tests on my old glow plugs that i took out, and heres a picture of what i think happened. i reproduced the situation by putting the threads in a vise, and twisting until it broke.



it IS possible to break the top off of it and leave me with the bottom half, but i havent done that yet on the one thats actually stuck in the engine because im not sure if it will help my case
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Old June 25th, 2011, 20:41   #3
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Default Broken GP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joester View Post
i did some tests on my old glow plugs that i took out, and heres a picture of what i think happened. i reproduced the situation by putting the threads in a vise, and twisting until it broke.



it IS possible to break the top off of it and leave me with the bottom half, but i havent done that yet on the one thats actually stuck in the engine because im not sure if it will help my case
Notice the "Taper" from the shank down to the element (top of your black line on right showing broken). Well, that taper is suppose to SEAT on a corresponding part of the head.

Who ever installed the GPs that last time did not SEAT the GP properly, thus soot/carbon build-up around the shank all the way up to the threads. That situation makes GP removal a PITA and usually ends with a broken GP as in your case.

My suggestion is to remove the head! Do not worry about setting the engine on Top Dead Center (A small piece could have already broken off and fell into the combustion chamber.). Setting the engine on TDC can be done before you go back with the head!

Others will chime in!
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Old June 25th, 2011, 21:51   #4
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thanks for the suggestion, and yeah this is the first time ive had to mess with glow plugs in the time ive owned the car.

is removing the head something that i should attempt? ive cleaned the intake, taken off my turbo, and performed various other mantenance without many problems, and i do alot of work on ATV engines, in fact my 5-valve head is sitting on my workbench right now waiting to be reinstalled. the only thing that i would really be scared of is the timing belt part. ive never done a timing belt on these cars, but i would think it would be pretty easy to learn...

how in depth is head removal?
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Old June 26th, 2011, 06:25   #5
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I would try the Wingnut method of busted glow plug removal before pulling the head.

Simon
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Old June 26th, 2011, 09:18   #6
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Simon thank you so much! Today is the day that I try all available methods to get it out and wingnuts method is top of the list.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 09:36   #7
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Pre soaking the threads with a good penetrating oil may help and some have said a warm engine to expand the hole.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 09:43   #8
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Good idea, I will let it soak in PB blaster for a while before I attempt to remove it as for the warm engine idk how I would do that as the car is in pieces lol

I think I will try it cold and see how it goes.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 13:42   #9
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i have successfully f**ked it up even more with my unskilled hand, so im not really sure what to do now.

first i tried the torx trick with a crappy set of cast iron torx, and that just snapped off in the hole,

so i drilled out the snapped off torx, went to auto zone and bought their most expensive set of forged/superhard/unbreakable torx, and hammered it down into the hole, and proceeded to snap that off in the hole as well.... this is one of those torx that a titanium drill bit cant even put a mark in...



so we welded a slide hammer to the little piece of broken off torx in the hole and we were able to pull the broken piece out, so we drilled it out further and used a reverse tap to try to take it out. it seemed like it was going to work up until the metal of the reverse tap itself started twisting.... so we gave up on that because that was just going to break off in the hole too...

then i went to drill the whole thing out by using a drillbit the diameter of the inside of the threads on the glow plug, but i drilled slightly off camber so once i got down far enough i started to get aluminum shavings and this is where i gave up because i odnt want to ruin it any more, it may even be too late...

i was very suprised to see that a full cylinder head with valves and cam is only like $1100 form idparts though, that seems pretty cheap for a whole head, but maybe, just maybe its not completely ruined...

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Old June 26th, 2011, 15:04   #10
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further inspection reveals that i drilled pretty deep off camber into the head so i think it will require some sort of remachining process or a new head. how much does a used head go for around here? im thinking that might be the cheaper route than remachining...
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Old June 26th, 2011, 15:48   #11
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update, looking at it more im 99% sure that i need to get it remachined. im going to start the head removal process, but if i get too far and im uncomfortable with it i will probably buck up and take it to oilhammer, ive messed enough stuff up already.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 16:27   #12
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Take the head off...........send it to Oilhammer! It will be a 'ell of cheaper than $1,100.00!
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Old June 26th, 2011, 16:38   #13
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thats the current plan, but Brain will make fun of me, lol. guess i deserve it.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 16:53   #14
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I feel your pain Joester. I just went through this and it is a PITA to rectify...here is how I did it.

1) After finding the hex portion spinning without the GP coming out I snapped the electrode so I could expose the bit that was still in the head.
2) First give an extractor a try but one that is small enough to fit inside the GP won't take much torque so it'll be unlikely that you'll get it out without breaking.
3) With the head removed (actually had it off already ) I knocked the remaining portion of the electrode through the glow plug hole. Sift through your drift set and you'll find one the perfect size that will let you drive the electrode through frome the outside (to clarify the direction the electrode would fall into the cylinder if the head were still on the block).
4) So now the electrode is out and you have a perfectly centered pilot.
5) Find your drill bit that just fits in the hole vacated by the electrode. Start with the next one bigger.
6) Drop the drill bit into a GP hole that hasn't been tooefed.
7) Mark how deep the drill bit goes into the head and put some electrical tape around the bit to let you know how far you can drill into the head and NOT DRILL INTO THE SEAT. You want to drill just far enough into the body of the GP but not touch the seat. Do that and you've really messed up the head.
8) Drill into the GP body with your drill bit making sure you follow the pilot as best you can and without submerging the electrical tape into the GP.
9) Repeat steps 6-8 with increasing diameter of drill bits until the steel GP threads fall out of the aluminum.

Here's what I was left with:





When done all I had to do is run my reverse tap through the threads and voila I'm done.

For the record you run a very good chance of wrecking your head if:
1) you've drilled into the seat
2) you've drilled way off center from the GP centerline.

Post a WTB for a used head in the classifieds or talk to Frank to see what heads he has kicking around. I'm sure you can get one cheaper than $1100.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 17:00   #15
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One for those who like to wring hands and scratch heads............

If the head is screwed (trash from a GP stand point), plug the hole and run it without a GP! Of course, something will have to be done to keep the ECU from kicking a CEL.........
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