Dropped bolt into engine while replacing camshaft. What now? (SOLVED)

Discussion in 'VW Mk4 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle, Passat TDI forum' started by Tom MacDonald, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. Tom MacDonald

    Tom MacDonald Member

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    Hey all,

    Like the title says, I dropped a bolt into the engine while replacing the camshaft. It was a camshaft bearing cap stretch bolt, so pretty long (maybe 3 or 4 inches). For future reference, make sure to block off the oil passages that lead to the crankcase with a rag or something before you take off the camshaft!!!

    So, I think it went into one of the following holes shown on this picture:

    [​IMG]

    I heard it hit lots of stuff on the way down. Sounded like it made it all the way through the passage way into the bottom of the engine... I'm thinking its either sitting somewhere in the oil pan or somewhere in the crankshaft area.

    Given that the bolt was pretty big and it sounded like it made it all the way to the bottow, I think it's safe to assume that it probably fell down the bigger hole (the one on the right in the picture above).

    So, I guess its path is likely to have taken the following course:

    [​IMG]

    I immediately tried to take the oil pan off after the bolt fell down, but there is no clearance to get two of the oil pan bolts off because they are blocked by the bell housing on the transmission. They have been rounded off a bit too, making me think the they aren't going to come off without a fight. There is a thread going about how much of a pain in the **** these two oil pan bolts are to get out, and ideas on how to get them out:

    https://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=317828&page=2


    So, here are my questions:

    1) Should I continue trying to get the oil pan off, or should I get some sort of flexible magnet fishing going on first?

    2) If I choose to continue with taking the oil pan off and end up rounding off the bolts, should I drop the transmission to gain access to the rounded off bolts, or should I then start fishing with a magnet?

    3) If I'm fishing with a magnet, is it better to try from inside the valve cover and feed the magnet down the suspected oil passage in question, or just fish from the oil drain plug hole.

    FYI, I already tried fising it out of both of those holes with a straight telescoping magnetic pickup tool but to no avail.
     
  2. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    Ah....the daylong project which turns into a weeklong project. Those are always fun!

    You need a ball head allen bit to get those bolts off. This lets you get to it at an angle. If it's really rounded, perhaps you could cut a slot into the head and turn them that way? Or pound a socket onto their heads?

    I would remove the oil pan and baffle and see if it's in there. The oil pan is aluminum so worth a try fishing around.

    If you still can't find it, it could be stuck somewhere which, if it's that stuck in there, as long as it stays in the drain, probably won't be dislodged otherwise since it's a drain and not a high pressure line. But I would definitely sleep better knowing that it was retrieved.
     
  3. Peca

    Peca Member

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    Remove the oli level sensor and with magnet on 10 inch wire, it should solve rour problem if the bolt hit the crankcase.
     
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  4. crsmp5

    crsmp5 Well-Known Member

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    you need a flex head socket for the 2 oil pan bolts... few threads here in this section on others who got stuck with tips on how to mod shallow 10mm sockets and extensions to get them out.. if your car lacks oil level..
     
  5. crsmp5

    crsmp5 Well-Known Member

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  6. Tom MacDonald

    Tom MacDonald Member

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    Ok, so my plan is to try a ball end allen key, and if that doesn't work to try and grind down a 10 mm 1/4" drive socket till it only has 1/8" depth left in the cup and try that on a 1/4" drive flex shaft.

    The "removing oil pan" mk 4 wiki section of this site says that you can rotate the crankshaft to reveal notches in the flywheel which will allow a regular 1/4" drive straight allen bit to work. Other threads seem to indicated that it is impossible to tell if your flywheel has notches in it or not as this was a feature that only came on some flywheels. Given that there is a bolt floating around somewhere in the engine, I feel like unlocking the crankshaft from its current TDC location with no timing belt on and turning it is a bad idea. Not so much worried about the valves getting hit, since there is currently no camshaft in the head, I would be more worried about the bolt getting caught and damaging a moving part of the bottom end of the engine assembly; I keep thinking of the bolt getting caught between the sprocket and chain of the oil sump drivetrain and breaking a tooth off or breaking the chain.

    I feel like this is a dumb question, but I'm curious to see if anyone thinks its worth a shot. I would only consider this an option if I get to a point where magnetically fishing the bolt out doesn't work and I am looking at dropping the transmission to remove the last oil pan bolts.

    Is it safer to attempt to rotate the engine by hand while there is a bolt somewhere in the crankshaft area to reveal potential flywheel notches, or to try and drop the transmission in order to extract the hidden oil pan bolts?
     
  7. crsmp5

    crsmp5 Well-Known Member

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    ought you looked at the thread i linked... modify a 10mm socket..
     
  8. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    Also, if you learn anything new, please do add to any wiki article with the "edit" button on the upper right of wiki pages.
     
  9. Tom MacDonald

    Tom MacDonald Member

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    I've edited the wiki page on inspecting/replacing the camshaft.

    I tried to replace a picture with the same one but with arrows pointing to the oil return passages with a label instructing the mechanic to block them off with a rag.

    Looks like the picture change didn't take, and simply deleted the picture.

    At any rate, here is the picture after I photoshopped/added the labels to it.

    [​IMG]

    I'm guessing that regular users can't add photos to the wiki pages? (But can delete them)
     
  10. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    Regular users can attach photos to wiki articles but can't delete them because photos attached to posts or wiki articles go through the database. This permission setting is to prevent vandalism. The attachments should be visible at the bottom of the page in "edit" mode but regular users shouldn't be able to delete them.

    However, the article predates the forum-integrated-wiki so many of my articles use photos that come directly from a site folder instead of through the forum software. Therefore, the link to the photo can be removed from an article but the actual photo is still there on my site. Since I watch all the wiki articles, if someone makes a malicious edit the photo is still there and I can add the link back or simply revert the edit.

    I have added your photo to the article, great tip and hopefully this prevents someone else from having this problem!
     
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  11. Tom MacDonald

    Tom MacDonald Member

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    Okay, so I ended up getting the oil pan off and found the bolt! The bolt would probably not have been retrievable via a magnet. It was sitting on top of the baffle plate (the plastic shield that sits between the crankshaft and the bottom of the oil pan, and serves to dampen pressure waves from the crankshaft that would otherwise stir up oil near the intake of the oil pump dip tube).

    Definitely recommend using the ball-end allen keys for unthreading the 4 oil pan bolts that are hard to get at. Ended up getting one of the 2 really inaccessible ones with the ball end allen key, but the other was too stripped for the key to grab. Instead, I had to use a 1/4" drive universal joint with a 10 mm short socket that I then ground down height-wise with an angle grinder until it was about 1/8" deep (about the same depth as the oil pan bolt head). Reducing the height of the socket allowed me to slip it over the head of the oil pan bolt. If you try and take them all the way out with the 10mm socket, you will not be able to get the socket out as the clearance gets smaller with each turn. I guess I was lucky that even though that bolt was too rounded out to be loosened with the ball end allen key, it still had enough bite for me to use the key to back it out once I loosened it with the 10mm.
     
  12. mu2bdriver

    mu2bdriver Active Member

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    Nice job. It must be a relief.
     
  13. dweisel

    dweisel Member

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    Yep,dropped a small wrench a few years ago when I had the valve cover off a 2000 Beetle ALH engine. Sold the car and the new owner sends me the below pic after he removed the oil pan. LOL
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2017
  14. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    So is he gonna send you the wrench back?
     
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  15. dweisel

    dweisel Member

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    LOL. Yes, I had given him 2 fairly new Douglas snow tires after he purchased the 2000 Beetle from me that were off of a parts car I had bought. So,no wrench no FREE snows. Haha. When he returns to pick up the snows he better have my wrench.

    I've dropped tools before that just seem to disappear never to be seen again. The fall into the engine compartment and are impossible to see. The catch in the weirdest places. Once dropped a 10mm wrench and just couldn't find it. I looked and looked. That same day I was driving down the road and about 5 miles from home I hear a tink noise from the wrench falling. I look in my mirror and see it sliding along the blacktop. Pulled over and ran back to retrieve the wrench. Happy ending.
     
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  16. mazzystr

    mazzystr New Member

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    Thats awesome!

    I dropped a 5mm allen in to the nether regions of the engine compartment not too long ago. I finished the job and got sent to the grocery store. I did my shopping and on the walk back to the car I notice a 5mm allen sitting on the pavement of the parking lot! I cannot confirm if it was mine or not. I like to think it was. :cool:
     
  17. abarnabe

    abarnabe New Member

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    Yesterday I dropped a cam stretch bolt into the oil return passageway, I tried a telescopic magnet from the head and the oil drain without success. I removed the oil sensor, put 2 fingers in and yaaaay I recovered the bolt!!!
     
  18. Ol'Rattler

    Ol'Rattler Well-Known Member

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    Bummer for us in NA. We don't have the oil sensors in the pan. :(
     

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