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Stripped Illusion XS tower rack holes. Help!

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Either I had Superman strength and no touch Saturday or the previous owner softened up the threads the starboard side of the tower a lot.  I put new racks on both sides and the port one went on fine and is firmly in place.  The starboard threads seemed a bit buttery but I screwed the bolts in anyway.  Everything seemed fine until after about 2 hours of surfing the starboard rack got very loose.  Female threads are ruined.

Anybody have any experience fixing this?  Heli-Coil? Drill and retap? Specific size and type of bolt would be nice.


Edited by minnmarker
Mis spell
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So this topic isn't exactly burning up the board but I thought I would post the resolution in case anyone has this problem and searched in the future.

The Helicoil worked very well!

You'll need: Helicoil 5521-6 3/8-16 Inch Coarse Thread Repair Kit, good sharp 3/8 inch drill bit, tap handle, 3/8-16 bolt

I know the repair kit says use a 25/64th bit but this is aluminum, not steel, and the 3/8 hole was easy to tap and left deeper threads into which to insert the Helicoil.  Use a new high quality bit.

First determine which threaded hole is in the best shape (or undamaged) and screw the bolt in as straight as possible.  Next drill out the other hole with the 3/8 bit and using the bolt as a guide for how to position the drill.  Check it from both top and side to make sure the drill is parallel to the bolt.  These holes go in at an angle so try to be precise.  Be careful not to catch your bit on the aluminum.  It is soft and you can easily get too much purchase with the bit.  Apply light downward pressure and get the bit spinning before contact.  Now blow the shavings out and tap the hole using the tap supplied with the Helicoil kit.  Again, use your bolt for alignment guidance.  If you have never tapped in aluminum before use a piece of scrap aluminum to practice.  Keep it straight and apply downward pressure while turning.  Don't try to use a wrench to turn the tap!  You'll get it crocked.  Use a tap handle (cheap).  1 turn in, 1/4 turn out, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.  Once you get firm resistance you're hitting the back wall of the tower so stop and carefully back the tap out straight.  It'll cut going either way so you can still screw it up.  Blow out the shavings.  Put the coil on the insertion tool.  Make sure it catches the cross wire on the coil.  You can be 180 degrees off.  Carefully screw the coil into the hole until the  last coil is just below flush with the surface.  Back your tool out and use the handle end of the tool to knock the cross wire off. Now take your bolt out of the other hole, put it in the repaired hole to use as a guide and repeat the process.

Repair should be as strong or stronger than the original.  Mine seemed good.  The rack bolts tightened up firmly and stopped hard.

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