Grinding a slot might work but I've always found the bolt heads to be sitting in a recess and hard to reach. If you have a cheap six point socket you're not too emotionally involved with, you might try pounding that onto the head. Also consider an impact driver. If you don't know what that is, it's a hand-held tool that gives a little turn to the socket when you smack it with a hammer. They aren't very expensive.
If you do have to grind the head off, the wheel cylinder should pull right out as long as the axle flange isn't too close.
As an alternative, wheel cylinders are real easy to rebuild right on the car. Auto parts stores will have somewhat universal kits. You'll need to pull out one of the two lip seals and look on the inside to see the diameter molded onto it, then you buy a kit for the same diameter. Ford has had a lot of trouble with their wheel cylinders corroding and leaking. Those can't be rebuilt. Other manufacturers don't seem to have such a big problem. It's caused by moisture in the brake fluid condensing and rusting away a rough spot in the bottom of the bore. If you don't see that, I have a brake cylinder hone that is used with a drill but sandpaper spiraled around a cotter pin works too. You just need to remove anything that isn't steel. Wash it out with brake parts cleaner.
I should mention too that if you tried any type of penetrating oil on the bolts or especially the steel brake line, wash and scrub all of it off and be absolutely sure none gets mixed in with the brake fluid. Just a little on your fingertip is enough to contaminate the brake fluid and cause rubber parts to swell.
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 AT 5:25 AM