How to Remove a Heli-Coil

12:08 pm How To Auto Repair


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Heli coils are used in many applications when threads are damaged, but what happens if you need to remove one? If the depth of the threads is too long or not long enough there could be a need to remove the Helicoil and install one with the correct length. Also if the threads are rough or you’ve found a better insert to install, removing the Heli-Coil insert could be an obstacle.

Question  I have a 2002 F250 ford 4×4 with a 5.4L, I have had #2 and #3 spark plugs blow out and I repaired them with a regular heil-coil, just this past Saturday 02/28/09. Now #7 spark plug blew out and now I’m looking at the kit that you sell for the repair of#7. My question is how do I remove the other Heli-coils that I have put in already in #2 and #3 so I can use the type that you sell (Calvan 38900) since it is a better repair method?

Answer  In this case, my first thought is to “let sleeping dogs lie” because the Helicoil repairs may last. And trying to remove them might cause more problems than it’s worth. I do understand your concern though and I’m not sure I would want to keep them in either. The thought of having a spark plug eject at any given time may be more than I could handle.

Heli-Coil Removal Methods

  1. Use an angled pick to bend the top coil inward to grab with needle nose pliers.
  2. Use a Helicoil removal tool like the one pictured above (sorry we don’t sell this one).
  3. Try using an “easy out” to lightly grab the helicoil and thread it back out.
  4. Use Loc-tite on the spark plug and hopefully remove the inserts with the plug (this method scares me)
  5. Drill the insert out (if debris will fall into engine, make sure the valves are closed and a bore-scope can be used to insure all is removed).

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4 Responses
  1. Ronnie :

    Date: March 5, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

    Having a spark plug blow out of a cylinder head at 70 mph will get your attention!

  2. Randy Cooksey :

    Date: March 26, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

    I put in a lot of the one piece helicoils on the Ford heads, some stayed, some came out, this calvan tool is the way to go, it has the taper seat for the plug, not like the helicoil and its permanent – certified Ford tech for over 20 years, best thing I’ve seen.

  3. Mannny :

    Date: April 6, 2009 @ 1:53 am

    I installed a Helicoil type insert on a ford truck, and it blew out the spark plug, do you sell a tool to remove an insert? If not what do reccommend in doing?

  4. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 6, 2009 @ 6:32 am

    I assume that the Helicoil insert is still in the head and didn’t blow out with the plug? If not we have listed suggestions for removal in the blog.

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