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  #1  
Old 29th February 2008
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Default Oxygen Sensor frozen- how to remove?

My oxygen sensor is failed, and I'm tired of looking at the Check Engine lamp. I bought a new O2 sensor, but I can't get the old one out... there is simply not enough clearance above the exhaust pipe to get any force on wrenches that fit in there. The sensor is frozen in place. After about 90 minutes of climbing over and crawling under the car, my hands and forearms are dirty, and knuckles scratched, but the sensor is still firmly in place.

How have any of you replaced your oxygen sensor?
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  #2  
Old 29th February 2008
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The sensor will be easier to remove when it and the exhaust are baking hot. Same principle as applying heat to a seized fastener.

Try using an oxygen sensor socket on an extension bar for easier access and a breaker bar for extra leverage.
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  #3  
Old 29th February 2008
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7/8ths box end wrench and a BMFH (big mother f****** hammer) will do the trick .... (the BMFH - much like the "custom fit tool" (hacksaw) is one of my favorite tools ..)
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Old 29th February 2008
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If I recall correctly, the last time I replace an O2 sensor, I disconnected the connector, threaded the wire through the closed end of a wrench, then slid the wrench down the wire to the sensor. This enabled me to have a good solid grip on it without risk of rounding it off. Mine came off fairly easily, I love living in Oklahoma but once you have the wrench on it like so, then you should be able to apply enough force to get it off either by putting a cheater wrench on it, or a short lenth of pipe, vice-grips, whatever you have to extend the reach a bit. You might soak it with a penatrating oil and have at it in the morning too, never did much good for me, but some say it works.
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  #5  
Old 1st March 2008
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the easiest old rusty frozen O2 sensor i ever removed came out of an exhaust elbow i had heated to a cherry red with a torch, braced it in a bench wive (brace, not clamp!!!), then tapped the wrench once with a hammer. the sensor came right out.

if you would rather leave the elbow bolted onto the turbo and are having trouble getting the leverage you need, remove the headlight and corner lamp. also, run the car for a bit to warm things up (after you feed the wires through the wrench)
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  #6  
Old 1st March 2008
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thanks for the good tips... my fear about having the exhaust at temp is that I've got to reach in or crawl under the car to get at the sensor... risking burning my hand or arm... good idea about slipping the closed wrench over the wires. I was having problem with rounding off the sensor the one time I thought I had started actually turning the sensor...
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Old 1st March 2008
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If you know with certainty that the sensor is kapoooooot, then cut the wiring off as close to the sensor as possible and slip down a 6 Point deep socket 22mm or 7/8" and try that, heat help, PB blaster helps, and you can also try rapping on the cast elbow next to the sensor with a hammer, dont slam it, just some good vibes to loosen things up
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  #8  
Old 1st March 2008
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Take the battery out first
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  #9  
Old 2nd March 2008
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I cannibalised a ring spanner(cut in half approx to get it in position) so i could get it on the head and gave it a sharp tap with a hammer a couple of times and out it came(also cut old wires) This thread has just reminded me why i have a ring spanner cut in half in my tool box as i had forgot
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  #10  
Old 2nd March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KR900
thanks for the good tips... my fear about having the exhaust at temp is that I've got to reach in or crawl under the car to get at the sensor... risking burning my hand or arm...
that's why i mentioned removing the turn signal and headlight.

you were trying to get the O2 sensor out with the battery installed??? best of luck to you there, with little to no room to move.
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  #11  
Old 2nd March 2008
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Use a proper 02 sensor socket (or the correct sized deep one and cut the wire off first).
It will then come off easily!
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  #12  
Old 2nd March 2008
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Since you're going to be throwing the O2 sensor away anyway, use some good penetrant on it, and let it soak for a few hours. I use GM Penetrant and Heat Valve Lubricant (from any GM dealer). It worked fine when I replaced my last two oxygen sensors (on my wife's Range Rover).

Be sure to clean the bung after you get the oxygen sensor out, then to use a good anti-sieze on the threads of the new sensor if it doesn't already have anti-sieze on it. (My last two O2 sensors had anti-sieze already on them right in the box.)

Scott
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  #13  
Old 3rd March 2008
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. I ended up freeing it without penetrant, while the exhaust was cold... just using a bigger (longer) wrench. As my car isn't a turbo, the oxygen sensor is location on the top of a straight pipe section sort of under the RH driveshaft and power steering rack and exhaust header (so removing the headlight, battery, etc was not needed).

Fortunately after slipping the closed wrench on by threading the wires through it (all while under the car) I was able to then turn my body around under the car and exert force on the wrench with my feet, freeing the the stuck sensor. Several more minutes of wrenching by hand finally freed the sensor, and the replacement slotted in easily.

Just as described in the Bentley guide, it took 10 minutes of driving with the new sensor in before the Check Engine lamp went out. Hopefully this ends the lamp's reign of irritation.
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Last edited by KR900; 3rd March 2008 at 12:56 AM. Reason: forgot to discuss resolution of Check Engine lamp
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