How To Remove a Torx Head Bolt

Why does anyone in the world use torx head bolts? They are the definition of a pain in a gentleman’s bottom. We were made very well aware of this the other day when we kitted out the landy with everything that arrived in the supply dump (which, as it happened, did not include a torx head set).

Unlike our previous attempts at being productive, we were actually incredibly productive this Monday morning. We were up at the sparrow’s fart, an ice cold 0830, and we had the first two bolts out by c.0831. Then we hit a bit of a speed bump at c.0832 what with the third bolt we came across having an ugly star shape in the top of it (torx). It was holding down the middle seat in the front of the cab, which we were attempting to remove. The access was a complete nightmare and there was just no earthly way for us to remove the little bugger. So we gave up on that and tried our luck in the rear (of the cab) but since none of the locks seem to work (and the rear passenger side door was actually locked shut) we had to first break into our own car with a coat hanger. We make for worryingly good criminals. In any case, we soon had the rear passenger side single seat out and took all the giff gaff with it like the seat belt and all the broken glass that was lurking beneath – Duncan’s hand found that before his eyes did though which, as you can imagine, was not ideal for his hand.

We pop-riveted the ammunition boxes to the flat-bed, we bolted the jerry can holder to the shelf in the rear, we spent £10 on fuel driving to Pound Land in order to buy £4 worth of goods, we convinced those fine chaps in Halfords to let us take their items out of the shop in order to try to remove the pesky torx head bolt, but we had no joy with this.

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The return journey included a detour to go and pick up all the wood that we would need to build the terrace (a wooden drawer that slides out to make the roof-rack larger) and the penthouse (a pop-up festival tent tied with shoe laces to the terrace {wooden drawer}). At the lumber yard we met an old friend from school who now resembled a slightly-less-than-life-size gnome wearing a high-vis jacket. We also met a fool who convinced us fools that 6mm ply would be thick enough to stand on when placed atop our roof-rack. For your information, 6mm ply is not thick enough to stand on when placed atop our roof-rack. Thankfully, there are more than just 4 fools and a gnome in this world and across the street we managed to find a chap, one of the stellar kind, who, after 45 minutes of grunting and heavy breathing with us in the back of our truck, did indeed manage to remove that obstinate little torx head bolt. Hurrah hurrah. With the front middle seat finally banished from our midst we took great pleasure in hand crafting a beautiful natural (ply) wood coffee table to take its place. Behold:

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There comes a time when one must stop beating around the bush and grab the bull by the horns so to speak (a prime example would be us needing to stop writing on this website and actually do some revision…). On Monday though, we needed to stop dilly dallying and build what we were there to build, to make what we had been designing for weeks, to create what had never been created before, the car-top terrace. Or to put it more correctly, we needed our friend Sam to build it for us because he knows how to work men’s machinery and we don’t… what?

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Here’s Duncan, hard at work.

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You wouldn’t believe the man’s genius, seeing the unforeseeable and building us fools the most idiot-proof car-top terrace the world has ever seen. The design was this:

  • Take two 1m lengths of 6”x1/4” aluminium plate, cut them to size and countersink bolt holes so that it attaches flushly to the roof rack
  • Take two 1m lengths of 4”x2”x1/4” aluminium L-shape and drill M10 bolt holes through both that and the aluminium plate in positions that correspond to the drawer runners being ‘in’ and ‘out’
  • Countersink bolt holes on the underside of the 2” length of the L-shape so that you can attach a sheet of 18mm ply wood to the topside whilst keeping the underside smooth so that it slides on what lies beneath it
  • Assemble (see ‘Modifications’ under ‘The Steed’  for the general layout)

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We worked late into the night but when we finished and took a step back to see our handy work it was all clearly worth it. The landy is now almost expedition ready, with just a snorkel and rear diff guard waiting to be attached.

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The flat bed has been turned into a thing of ergonomic wonder. In the photo below you can see we eventually figured out a way of mounting the high-lift jack (bolted on on the right hand roof rack rear support leg), the tent slots into that hanging green tarpaulin which simultaneously creates space above it to hold sleeping mats etc, the empty black frame on the right hand side is bolted onto that wooden shelf and is a lockable jerry can holder which can carry up to 60 litres (which, on top of our 70 litre tank, gives us a range of almost 600 miles), the ammo boxes are in the corner just out of sight and hold all the bits and bobs for car maintenance, the drawer you can see there is on runners and fits snugly beneath the shelf and holds all the cooking equipment and food.

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The seat we removed in the rear has created space for a 25 litre water tank and all of our bags. On previous trips we’ve found it annoying having bags inside the car because they fall on you in the corners so we’ve also created a wooden partition which will stop the bags falling on whoever is in the rear of the cab. Finally, hanging above the bags is a mini-hammock which will take odds and ends like camera bags whilst we’re driving, to keep them nice and accessible.

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From the driver’s side, you can see in the rear that we’ve managed to recline the rear bench seats (which were incredibly uncomfortable before) and create handy storage spaces like the seat-tidy on the back of the driver’s seat and the velcro straps on the ceiling to hold the camera stabiliser and tripod.

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In the front, we’ve got our coffee table in between the seats, the compass and thermometer mounted up on the dash, a cigarette lighter socket splitter with two sockets and two usb ports and the converter to give us 240v electricity. We also have a smiley air freshener which does absolutely nadda. It still smells like your granny’s wardrobe in there.

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A short video of the assembly and the following test-run can be seen here.

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