So I decided today would be my day to give Barney his 1,000-mile front-end lube (more like 1,200 miles, but who's counting?) and jacked him up. But before the lube, I wanted to tighten the cap screws on the differential cover, since he'd been a bit - er, incontinent, shall we say. And my bride did not appreciate him marking up the driveway in this manner.
So I got the rear end waaaaaaaay off the ground and proceeded to tighten things up. Hand tight at first, then with the torque wrench to 27 foot-pounds (I always torque to the midpoint of the specified range). Some of the bolts - the ones at the top, primarily - were really loose; almost finger-tight.
Everything was going smoothly until I hit the last fastener, the one that holds on the 45C tag. I felt something going south, and it seemed like it was taking forever to get to torque, when - yep, the head twisted off and fell to the ground.
"Crap," I said (or something like it), as I sat and watched the drip turn into a trickle. I ran and got a plastic cup to catch the lube while I figured out what to do next.
I've got a good set of Craftsman reverse-extractors, so I got out the proper size, chucked it into the drill, and proceeded to slowly begin the drilling process... but to my surprise and delight, it seems that the bolt head, in breaking off, left a nearly perfect ridge down the center of the broken face. The extractor caught it and immediately backed it all the way out of the axle housing!
Even better: I had the proper-size 5/16" cap screw in my bolt box, so I didn't even need to leave the house. Cleaned up the axle housing and cover, blew the hole out, put the new fastener in and torqued it - gently! - to spec.
So what could have been a frustrating all-day job turned into a "thank you, God" moment that I was very, very grateful for. And the front end got greased, too
Good times... good times!