DennisB WiseAutoTools.com © Summary: Time-Sert or Heli-coil? We answer this question a lot. In fact many of our customers call asking for a Helicoil kit. Helicoil is a brand name that’s synonymous with thread repair. Just like Kleenex is the best known brand name for facial tissues, Heli Coil is the most common brand name for thread repair kits. But being the most commonly known name doesn’t necessarily make it the best fix. Read on to learn more about choosing the right thread repair kit.
Parts stores love to carry fast moving inexpensive thread repair kits. The problem is, in many cases they just don’t hold up that well. We field calls everyday from customers that have used a temporary repair kit (like Helicoil or some other brand) from a parts store that they thought would be a long lasting repair. First problem is Heli-Coil kits typically use thin wire coils as thread replacements. And the tooling included is sometimes not long enough. Mechanics are used to improvising. I’ve done it too. Once when doing a spark plug thread repair at Carmax, the only thread repair kit we were aware of was HeliCoil. The F150 I was working on had spark plug holes that were way down in wells (not near the surface). The short tap that came in the Helicoil kit wasn’t nearly long enough. I ended up using my mig welder and welding the short tap to a broken 1/2″ extension that I had in the tool box. This provided enough length to reach the tap down in the well to tap new threads for the Heli Coil insert. I was lucky that the Helicoil held. It never came back to our shop anyways. I wouldn’t be surprised if it failed at some point though, because of the number of calls we get from people that have experienced a Helicoil failing. Sometimes they go a couple of miles and other times they may last several thousand. Sometimes they thread back out on the next spark plug change. In any case the Time Sert brand, although not as well known, uses longer tooling and solid inserts. Time Sert is held in better too. They’re held in several ways, see below.
Spark Plug Plug Thread Repair
1. The Time Sert solid threaded bushing type inserts are loc-tited in. This is something that cannot be done with coil type inserts because you’d get loctite on the threads of the spark plug.
2. They are cold rolled. The bottom threads of Time Sert inserts are not completely finished. The threads are completed by the installation driver. This finishes the threads while expanding the bottom of the insert locking it into place.
3. Big Sert inserts use an embedded pin to help lock them into place. Big Sert is the Time Sert oversize inserts used when a competing brand has blown back out.
In addition to Time Sert kits, we sell the Heli Coil 1130 kit that is used for head bolts. The Heli-Coil 1130 kit also has short tooling which is hard to use when head bolt threads are down below the surface. I’ve had customers purchase the 1130 against my advice because the kit is less expensive than the Time Sert brand. One customer called back saying he had to grind down a socket so it would be small enough to reach the short tap into the head bolt hole. He went through several sockets because they were so thin they kept breaking. I told him about the spark plug repair I did years ago when I had to weld an extension to the the tap in order to gain enough length in the tooling. Again, Time Sert has long enough tooling without rigging or improvising anything.
Helicoil Thread Repair Kit – M11x1.5 coil type insert repair. Not recommended by Toyota, Honda or GM.
Time Sert 2200 Thread Repair Kit – Used for first time repair on Toyota’s some Honda’s and Northstar Cadillac’s. Time Sert is recommended by GM and Toyota.
Time Sert 2200BS Thread Repair Kit – Oversize kit, used for Second time repairs when a Helicoil or another brand has failed.