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Old 10-03-2015, 06:31 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 400873
Join Date: Sep 2014
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Colorado
2010 STi

Default How to remove Cam Gear Bolt. All methods.

So, as I encountered this problem like everyone else, I also happened to do many things that essentially were a waste of my time, including an hour or more just searching through the forums and searching through like 5 or 6 threads just to find a solution. So, I've decided to compile all the methods I've read about and how easy/difficult they are as well as how much they might cost you to do. Hopefully this saves you some time as well as some money in the long run.

1. How to remove the bolt without the Subaru specialty tools from Company 23 or anyone else, that is, by using the timing belt method, Moderate difficulty, longer set up time, the belt will probably slip once or twice before you get it just right. Requires more than one set of vice grips.
This video demonstrates it well.

Obviously, with that method, I would hope you are replacing your timing belt at the same time or have an old one laying around.

First, use a 1/2" drive breaker bar.
Second, if available, try using an impact wrench. You will of course need an air compressor for this as well. Expect to spend $300-400 to get started if you do not already have these tools.

Third, consider adding a cheater bar to your breaker bar. This can be a simple piece of 1" or 1.25" steel pipe. This is usually where the bolt will strip out if it is stuck. I have also heard of people using some

If you are able to remove all bolts with just that, you did it the least expensive way. Congratulations! It probably didn't even cost you any money if you had all the tools already. Maybe it cost $25 at most. Lucky you!
2. Using Company 23 or similar Subaru specialty tools. In the FSM, they will be mentioned as "Use the ST to lock the cam sprocket". I've found the tools to be cheapest when purchased through Rallysportdirect. They will cost $50 and $40 for the intake and exhaust tools, respectively. Easy-ish difficulty. Holding them in place may require another person or something rigid to prevent the cam gear from turning.
You might consider reading the FSM here. It's pretty simple to get everything on there. Each one only goes on one way, essentially. The Exhaust cam tool can be flipped. In general, though, this should be an issue in your attempt to find a good place to lock it in place, as you should have also moved your crankshaft to a central location so no piston is at or near TDC. This allows you the freedom to rotate your cam shafts to what angle you need.

Again, first use a breaker bar, then try to impact, then finally try a cheater bar.

You will spend $90 at least to get the tools, but it does make it a bit less of a pain in the ass, especially if you are going to be doing this again. Tools are useful, right? I tend not to account for tool cost when working on a project, so if you do that too, this is "cheapest" method.

Now, chances are, one or two bolts are stuck/stripped. Once you get to this point, there are two ways to go about it. Either with a welder, or without.

3. With a welder:
See this video from Outfront Motorsports. It will cost you $5 per axle nut. And as he mentions, it is possible to do with the engine in the car.

It will cost you about $5 per extracted bolt($5 for the axle nut+taxes or shipping).

Alternatively, you could use this method from the very beginning for all bolts. $5 per axle nut and ~$8 per cam bolt depending on where you buy them, $13 per bolt. $52 total.

If you do NOT want to replace your timing belt, don't have a spare, and want to remove all bolts the fastest, this is probably the best way to do it. I mention the timing belt bit, because, if you don't have one to destroy, it saves you from buying a new timing belt, which will cost $30-40 for a new timing belt.

4. Without a welder: This was $26. And is available on Amazon Prime. You can work these drill bits pretty hard with a hand drill, which is why I recommend them over any other drill bit. It is very hard to dull a tungsten carbide drill bit. It will take you about 5 minutes to drill out the bolt. The head of the bolt should spin off on the drill bit, allowing you to remove the cam gear and then extract the bolt by hand. Yes, you will be able to remove what is left by hand.

Watch this video on how to cleanly drill it out. He uses a smaller drill bit(25/64") and turns the head off the bolt with his impact, so, a slightly different method than I prefer(and not easy to do if you already stripped it), but definitely clean:

This is what it will look like when you drill the head off the bolt.

If you went and got a cobalt steel drill bit, you can still successfully drill out the bolt, but it will take longer. You will need to be sure you keep that drill bit lubricated and cooled.

The cam must be cleaned really well since this is inside the oil chamber.

You will need a drill that can chuck a 1/2" drill bit. Some will only chuck up to 3/8".

It will cost you $26/(amount of bolts stripped) to do this method.

Alternatively, you could just use this method from the very beginning for all bolts and the total cost, all four replacement cam bolts included, will be about $60.

If you do not have a spare timing belt, no welder, and are NOT replacing the timing belt, this will be the lowest cost method. This method also requires the least physical strength and effort to do. And plus, you have the best drill bit money can buy in the 7/16" size!
I do not recommend using an easy out, a tool to remove stripped lug nuts, or anything like that. It's more effort than it's worth, and it just isn't worth the money either.

Thanks, and good luck with removing that bolt.
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