Land Rover Defender Blog

Stubborn bolts? Irwin Bolt Grips Review

We review the Irwin Bolt Grips, which promise to get you out of a jam.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

July 24, 2012

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year


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Recently I got a bit stuck whilst working on the Landy. Literally. I've been working over the brakes recently and needed to remove the calliper bolts. Trouble is, years of corrosion, a high torque setting & awkward access conspire against me. The calliper bolts are 12 point bi-hex heads and so you need the proper socket head to remove it, which I went out and bought. However, because the indents are quite small and the bolt was in poor condition, the whole thing rounded off very quickly.

The Irwin Bolt-Grip Kit

It was quickly apparent I needed to try something else on the bolt. Penetrant fluid had been applied, blow torches had been burned and it still didn't shift. So, a quick Google and we came across Irwin Bolt-Grips. And they are excellent!]

Each grip has hexagonal sides to work with adjustable spanners, or it can be used on a 3/8in socket / impact fitting

The Irwin extractors work beautifully. You get 5 sizes in the kit (an add-on / expansion set are available, there are places for these to put in the original box for safe keeping, producing one super set).

  • 3/8in (10mm)
  • 7/16in (11mm)
  • 1/2in (13mm)
  • 9/16in (14mm)
  • 5/8in (16mm)

The sizes are great as these seem to cover pretty much most bolt sizes you'll find on a Defender and we've not come across one that has stumped us yet. The grips are 3/8” square drive for use with hand ratchets, impact wrenches and air ratchets, however, each grip also has hexagonal sides, allowing you to use it with an appropriate size socket piece or an adjustable wrench for example. That means the kit is highly flexible and you should be able to get purchase on pretty much any stuck bolt!

Here's how we removed the bolt in the end

1. Before removing the bolt, we hurried on over to Huddersfield Land Rover Centre, where we purchased 4 calliper bolts (just in case, each calliper takes 2 bolts). Then we had the parts needed to keep the Land Rover rolling.

2. The old bolts presumably were original items and so were heavily corroded. Each bolt was soaked in penetrant fluid (being careful not to spray onto the brake disc). The correct bolt-grip (in this case we used the 1/2in  13mm grip) was lightly tapped onto the bolt. This allows the carbon steel, reverse spiral flute grip to bite into the bolt head. Then, it's simple a matter of turning the bolt as you would normal.

The first half turn might be a tough and you should expect the bolt to suddenly "crack" sending you and your fingers flying. Be ready for that and make sure you don't cut or slice any part of your person.

3. Once the bolt-grip has sunk it's spiral flute into the bolt, you can unwind till it's removed. If you're removing a nut, you may find it easier to remove using the original bolt if you can, or a flat headed screwdriver, as the nut will be stuck right in there!

The grips work under load such as on this impact tool

This set is the first time we've seen bolt extractors work. And to be fair, they are quite pricey! With an RRP of £33.65, these bolt-grips are costly, but a worthwhile investment! They save you time and hassle and can remove the even the most stubborn, corroded and rounded bolts & nuts.

  • Great product
  • Compact carry case
  • Works flawlessly
  • Very high quality
  • Highly recommended by FunRover!

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