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2021 RTL-E Modern Steel Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a 3 month test phase with my new '21 RTL-E, I decided that a simple soft tonneau would be a nice addition to my vehicle. I extensively researched this forum and opted for the North Mountain tonneau for three reasons: (1) inexpensive, (2) mostly great reviews, and (3) rails don't impede into the bed as much as my 2nd choice (Truxedo Lo Pro).

After religiously reading this forum, I was quite aware of the potential to strip the T30 Torx screw/bolt (shoulder bolts) on the interior side of the bed. These bolts need to be removed to allow North Mountain installation. I almost ordered the Truxedo to avoid this possible complication, but thought I would give it a try. What could go wrong?

I ordered the North Mountain from Amazon. It arrived in great shape and I was excited to get the install done. I carefully - and quite easily - popped off the first 5 T30 shoulder bolts. No problem at all. As you can guess, all hell broke loose on the last one. I applied ample pressure and attempted to loosen it with my socket - no dice. It stripped miserably.

After consulting this forum, I tried the following solutions:

1. Cold chisel and hammer
2. Screw extractor (grabit-like bit)
3. Hand impact driver
4. Dremel to increase the size of the triangle bit-like slots, then tried to use a larger flathead to get some traction.
5. Dremel to square off the sides and tried a wrench and socket

Everything failed. The result: About $65 worth of new tools and bits purchased, plus over 2 hours of wrestling with this attempted extraction in 90+ degree heat. And a very wounded shoulder bolt that shows no signs of turning counterclockwise (see below picture).

Can anyone offer further sage advice on removing this stubborn bad boy? I was so confident that steps 1-3 above would work, but it won't budge. I'm not sure where the optimal impact point is with the chisel and hammer approach. I tried impacting in a downward direction on the upper left slot.

I'm hot, tired, angry, and wishing I had spent the extra $275 for the Truxedo. I'm old enough to appreciate that wasting time and avoiding frustrating is worth spending extra money.
37E5520E-A686-4E22-B4A3-9F0FB29143CC_1_105_c.jpeg
 

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The last easy choice is a left handed drill, drilling in a left handed direction will either back out the screw or cut a clean hole for an ez-out. Choose a left handed drill and an ez-out to match the screw size. You at least have undamaged samples to take to the store.
Good luck!
 

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2021 RTL-E Modern Steel Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The last easy choice is a left handed drill, drilling in a left handed direction will either back out the screw or cut a clean hole for an ez-out. Choose a left handed drill and an ez-out to match the screw size. You at least have undamaged samples to take to the store.
Good luck!

Option 2 I described in the OP was the left hand drill/ez-out solution. I drilled very slowly with the drill bit, then tried the extractor bit. No dice. It's quite possible that it was due to user error, but I consulted the vast YouTube archives before I attempted it and seemed to have followed the best practices.
 

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Cool, (the left hand drilling direction wasn't clear and can help a lot). My only other observation is that the drilled hole needs to be deeper to allow the ez out to better engage.
 

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Can you slip a piece of sheet metal under the bolt head? Then square off two sides with a metal file to get vice grips to bite. Big vice grips with a good bite will give leverage that you need.
You may have to drill it out. An easy out might work but as you drill it out starting with a very small bit increasing each time the shaft will probably start to work it’s way out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cool, (the left hand drilling direction wasn't clear and can help a lot). My only other observation is that the drilled hole needs to be deeper to allow the ez out to better engage.
Thanks for the advice. I thought I had a deep enough hole, but you might be right. I think I was worried about going too far, especially since I tried a small bit and kept working to larger bits.

Maybe I just needed to step away for a moment, cool down, gather my strength and sanity, and attack again with new resolve!
 

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2021 Radiant Red RTL
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I think you are on the right track, step away for a bit and take another try at it.

I have a 2021 Ridgeline and those bolts were barely torqued down. I am sorry to hear that one of them gave you so much difficulty. Could you drill a small hole directly through the center of the bolt? You can then enlarge the hold gradually, if you need to. That might relieve some of the pressure so you can use the easy out. Take it slow and easy. Hope you get it out without too much stress on yourself or damage to the vehicle.
 

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I believe cajonfan's suggestion will work if you just go deeper with the hole for the easy-out bit. I just happened to install a North Mountain tonneau today on my 2021 Ridgeline, and yes those T30 Torx screws were TIGHT. Fortunately I was able to get all 6 of mine loose with a drill driver without any "casualties". And like Sparkland said, give it up for today, and start again when you're fresh, and with a new mindset that the easy-out will work ! Good luck Drakken.
 

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Can you get a pair of large vice-grip pliers to clamp onto the head? If you can get a grip, they often work with stubborn screws.
 

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Not that it helps now, but IIRC those heads might be T27 not T30.

On my '19 I had a similar problem with one of them. Used a set of vice grip pliers and was able to pry it loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Have you tried any kind of penetrates. I have a love affection with Kroil. The oil that creeps!!

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
I think I'll try some tomorrow. A poster in a previous stripped T30 thread thought that the seal behind the torx screw would probably prevent penetrating oil to get where it needs to go, but it's probably worth a shot. I haven't tried Kroil before, so it might be worth a shot. I just never thought I would need to use penetrating oil on a 3 month old vehicle!

Thanks to everyone else for their comments. I really appreciate it. I'll try again tomorrow or Saturday and will provide a progress report. I also have a celebratory ice cold beer waiting in the refrigerator. I can't drink it until that torx screw gets removed.
 

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I am no expert on this topic but have looked at several videos on YT, having run into a similar issue. If all else fails, you might have to find someone with welding equipment. Weld a bolt head on the torx, then use the welded on bolt head to unscrew it. I would reserve this option if all else fails.
 

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Drill out the core of the bolt's stud leaving just the threads. Pry off the bolt's head, then fish the threads out of the panel nut with a sharp tool. Back in the day that was the only way to remove broken stainless exhaust studs on 5 cylinder VWs.
 

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I had the same issue with the last bolt near the tail gate for soft cover install. Used a left handed (reverse on your drill) followed by a left handed easy out. There is a rubber gasket between the bolt head and the panel that almost welds itself to the panel.
Problem is trying to find a replacement. Tried Hondafactoryparts.com but they say not available!!
It's called an M6 shoulder bolt. Anyone else find a replacement? Dealer also had a problem locating one.
 

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2019 RTL awd, MSM
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I would try the hand impact again. If that doesn't work and you have access to a heavyduty impact wrench, maybe try that. Impact wrenches work much better than drill drivers for avoiding stripping.

Use the penetrating oil.

Use physics. Cool down the bolt while heating up the structure in which it is embedded, if possible.

Try a little steel wool (poor man's Screw Grab) around the purchase area to get a better grip.

Is there a triangle bit that fits the head better?
 

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I had a similar but different issue with one of my lower bolts. It would just spin but never actually unthread. It was like the threads themselves were stripped from the factory. No amount of prying from the front or putting pressure from behind would get it to unscrew. After an hour and many curse words, I finally gave up and drilled the head off. Unfortunately doing it by hand with no jig i dilled slightly off center and messed up the welded nut. Someday I'll have to knock that out and fix it.

414332
 
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