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DIY: Tricks for removing stubborn or broken bolts


#1

Losing your mind because the only thing holding up your project is a seized bolt? Davin Reckow is here to show you the DIY tools and techniques you’ll need to get those frustrating bolts out of the way. Whether you’re a practiced wrench in the garage or a newcomer, it’s always good to know how to push past those project roadblocks.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/05/09/how-to-remove-stubborn-or-broken-bolts

#2

I have enjoyed great succes with just a lighter and candle wax. Get the parts just hot enough to melt the wax into the threads. MAJIC!


#3

What Rich Roesch said!


#4

If you’re working with aluminum and you’re worried about the lack of visual signals to indicate the temperature, pick up a heat crayon at your local welding supply shop. Mark next to where you’re working and when it melts, back off for a bit. This is especially valuable if you’re annealing work-hardened aluminum body panels.


#5

Good info and I like the welding a nut onto the broken stud, I’ve been wrenching for many years and it’s always good to be reminded of time and cash savers, thanks


#6

Not sure if that’s how you ‘received’ the part, but having been raised in the “rust belt” (south central PA) I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS pre-treat things that I intend to disassemble with a quality “penetrating oil” for several days prior to disassembly. I still use the “little at a time approach” when removing the bolt/nut (Patience IS a virtue said my Grandmother - OFTEN!) and usually have pretty good luck removing stubborn fasteners.

I do often use the ‘torch trick’ when it comes to exhaust manifold bolts. Heat them up to ‘nice and warm’ (no need for cherry red) and as it’s cooling give it a good dose of said ‘P-oil’ while it cools.

I have also had success with the aforementioned ‘wax fix’.


#7

A homebrew 50/50 mix of acetone and synthetic ATF may be the best penetrating fluid. Heat the stubborn part to aid penetration, and let it soak at least overnight overnight.


#8

A trick for removing stuck bleeder screws. Heat up just the bleeder screw to red hot and then quickly cool it down with cold water ( may have to do this several times ) works every time will also work with other stuck bolts and screws


#9

@gyashko - Great tip with the heat crayon. I have heard there are alternatives to the dedicated heat crayon, but not sure I would trust them as much on my more valuable items to disassemble.


#10

If you’re dealing with larger rusted bolts I’ve good success with a blunted tip on my air chisel placed on top of the bolt. A couple quick pulls and they usually back out with little effort. Works good on axle splines in IRS hubs too. The axles usually have that dimple in the tip, I just leave the hub nut on flush with the end when using the blunted chisel tip.
On stubborn small metric Phillip-head screws on Asian models, know that there is JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screwdrivers that better fit the screw heads and are less likely to strip than SAE Phillips .