Dealing with Stuck Fasteners, Part 3: Smelt and pelt


I’ve been emphasizing patience when dealing with stuck fasteners, but when all else fails, there is a nuclear option: The oxy-acetylene torch.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/10/03/remove-stuck-fasteners-part-3


Buyers should be cautious about buying used tanks. Where I live most of the welding supply houses are small chains. Unless you have written documentation of ownership/provenance of the tank they wont touch it. Tanks also need to be re-certified every so many years. I use mine so infrequently they are several years out of cert and will need testing to refill - like scuba tanks. Check your gas supplier first and see what they require…


Forget this small tank and map gas business, nothing like a real torch set, super cutting and all the tips for any kind of heating or brazing, silver soldering etc. Get a real torch kit on eBay, used is fine as long as they guarantee it works and works right, then go rent your tanks from a supplier where you can come anytime for exchange of empties. The rent covers the inspections, you pay for the use of the tanks and never a problem.
Also, there’s no need to rent the big tanks, they’re heavy and only meant for serious shops and such, rent the mid-size, this is best and gives a lot of gas for the money, far better than the small stuff.
My son has the ‘small stuff’ and is always out of gas, then he comes to me.

Warren Sjoberg


I owned and operated a Custom Muffler Shop for a couple years… so heating fasteners to remove them without damage was a daily task. Today I have a Small Oxy-acetylene torch set in my home garage. Love it - takes very little storage room, easy to move it wherever I need it and plenty of capacity for the small and infrequent tasks I need it for. Bought it used, from a local Welding Supply company - so no problem exchanging tanks when necessary - and that has been about once a year. If you are buying it from a private individual in your area - ask him if you can have the Welding Supply company he uses - check everything over before purchase…


All great advice! This is my 2 cents all gained from over 40 professional years and who know how many nonprofessional years experience. I was a dealership mechanic and am a retired fleet mechanic for 33 years for a public agency with a very diverse and complex fleet quoted as being “only second to the military”. If it’s a nut on a bolt or stud, heat the NUT ONLY as quick as possible to expand it to remove it. If it’s a bolt or stud in a manifold or whatever it’s stuck in, heat the PART ONLY as quick as possible to expand the part around the bolt. If you heat everything, everything expands and gets soft then breaks off. Also if it doesn’t work be careful when reheating too many times because everything could become welded together. When heating aluminum extra care is needed, too much heat and you’ll pull the threads. Lock Tite secured fasteners need a little heat to melt the product. Again my 2 cents, Lock Tite is a great product when used correctly. Lock Tite on steel bolts into aluminum is not necessary it will usually pull the threads out when removed. About the torch setup, by me if the welding supply didn’t sell you the tanks they won’t refill them. When they’re out of date you will pay for the re-certification weather you own them or rent them. Only high pressure tanks (over 1000 psi. oxy, argon, etc) will need to be re-certified for a fee. Sorry this might have sounded like a lecture but again only my 2 cents. A word about extractors. If the bolt broke off, an extractor will break off. If the fastener sheared off then you have a chance with an extractor. Heat used with extractors won’t work either, they only remove the temper of the extractor and they strip out. Oh one more thing, it seems like some of you have a love affair for the gun (impact wrench). Do yourself a favor, do it by hand, learn how to get the feeling don’t rush you’ll only be spending more time fixing what you needlessly broke. Above all have fun and learn!!