How to insert a helicoil

Written by g.k. bayne
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How to insert a helicoil
HeliCoils can repair damaged threads. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images)

HeliCoil is a brand name for a spiral-tapped hole insert. The spiral insert requires special tooling provided by the manufacturer. In most all cases, the HeliCoil comes in a complete kit form that contains a special drill bit, threaded tap and an insertion tool. The HeliCoil can also be used on new threaded holes that may have to undergo multiple bolt replacements. The hardened threads will hold up to many bolt insertions and removals.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • HeliCoil kit
  • Drill bit (optional)
  • Drill motor
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Insert the correct size drill bit into the drill motor chuck. The correct size drill bit depends on the size of the HeliCoil being installed. The correct size of the drill bit comes in the kit or is printed on the HeliCoil package. Tighten the chuck on the drill to secure the bit in place.

  2. 2

    Drill out the hole of the damaged threads or the new thread hole to the correct depth. The depth depends on the overall length of the insert and the bolt that is going to be installed.

  3. 3

    Clean the new drilled hole of all metal debris.

  4. 4

    Tap the drilled hole with new threads using the kit-provided HeliCoil tap tool. The depth of the HeliCoil threads must match that of the insert and the bolt being installed.

  5. 5

    Slip the HeliCoil insert onto the mandrel of the insertion tool. Wind the HeliCoil insert, clockwise, down into the newly tapped hole. Continue until the top of the HeliCoil is 1/4 to 1/2 turn below the top surface of the metal.

  6. 6

    Strike the top end of the insertion tool sharply with a hammer. This action will break off the lower tang of the HeliCoil so a full-length bolt can pass through the opening.

Tips and warnings

  • HeliCoils 1/2 inch or larger will require the use of needle-nosed pliers to break off the lower tang. Reach inside the threaded insert with the jaws of the pliers. Grab the lower metal tang. Work the tang back and forth with the jaws of the pliers until it snaps free. Remove the small metal tang with the pliers.

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