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Barry

Freeing up seized fasteners

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This is something most people who work on their cars will come across. We all know how  easy it is to round off a bolt head or snap the fastener off inside the hole requiring the hole EZ Out process then breaking the EZ Out in the hole and not being able to drill it because it’s so hard. Not everyone has access to oxy  propane/acetylene and we all know the blow torches from ACE hardware are only good for lighting barbecues.

So share your hints and tips for extracting stuck fasteners!

I hear a lot of people preaching WD40 is good for this but in my experience it’s not. It’s good to spray on a bolt thread. If you can get a nut moving it will slide off a lot easier. But it doesn’t help to break the original friction. It is a lubricant, not a penetrating oil. 

I came across a product in my youth days of working on BMXs called Plus Gas. Amazing stuff, but you have to leave it for a few hours and let it penetrate into the threads. Some people have no patience, they just want to spray and screw but this doesn’t work with penetrating oil. It needs time to work. Seemingly not available in uae though. 

Maybe 6-7 years ago I read an article online. It recommended a 50/50 mix of acetone and ATF. The acetone draws into the thread by capillary action, evaporates and leaves the oil on the threads, thus lubricating  unseen spaces. 

This has become my go to method for freeing up fasteners when oxy gas isn’t available. I have modified it a bit as acetone is expensive so I mix paint thinners and ATF and it works just as well. You just need to give it time to work. Don’t spray and screw.

I used to keep a spray bottle handy but the thinners were eating the seals in the spray bottle so now I keep some in a coke bottle and pour as required. 

Ive heard a lot of good things about “ice freeze sprays” but the way things are in uae, people don’t even know about simple things like uv leak detector so I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has tried it. I guess they shrink the fastener and make it easier to remove, much like oxy gas expands the nut and makes more space for the nut threads. 

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Nice to read all this and also nice to understand that finally, your much-awaited project car is kicking up in the background. Can't wait to see its pictures.

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Interesting, just a week back I came across this video where big name brands were tested against exactly what you describe, ATF and an acetone mixture. The results were surprising, to me at least. 
 

 

Till date I have used WD40, but I leave in it to soak and usually overnight, if I know I'm going to work on something. I spray a generous amount on the bolts the day or night before and sometimes reapplying a second coat somewhere along the way too.

Another old school trick that usually also works if the bolt is not too far gone or just being stubborn is put a wedge, pick or even a thick screwdriver on it and give a good couple of raps with a hammer, this usually breaks it free.

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Another old school trick is before you loosen a fastener, tighten it a quarter turn first. Most of the time it's easier to tighten than loosen and tightening a little bit will break the bond on the threads before you loosen off.

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1 minute ago, Barry said:

Another old school trick is before you loosen a fastener, tighten it a quarter turn first. Most of the time it's easier to tighten than loosen and tightening a little bit will break the bond on the threads before you loosen off.

I agree to this hands down

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I know this is old, but I am using ATF/ nail varnish remover, if anyone can tell me where to get 100% acetone then I am interested. I will also experiment with ATF and another solvent like laquer thinner or paint thinner. 

Only issue with this is, that it is in a pump oil can, so the reach of the liquid is not as good as a pressurized can. But works better than WD40 any day, and much cheaper. 

I have also used a blow torch, on some 30 year old 02 sensors, took them out easy. Also snapped a bolt in a diff, and then used a reverse bit to remove the remaining bolt...thank god that worked!!!!!

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5 hours ago, vanhack said:

I know this is old, but I am using ATF/ nail varnish remover, if anyone can tell me where to get 100% acetone then I am interested. I will also experiment with ATF and another solvent like laquer thinner or paint thinner. 

Only issue with this is, that it is in a pump oil can, so the reach of the liquid is not as good as a pressurized can. But works better than WD40 any day, and much cheaper. 

I have also used a blow torch, on some 30 year old 02 sensors, took them out easy. Also snapped a bolt in a diff, and then used a reverse bit to remove the remaining bolt...thank god that worked!!!!!

I can help with the acetone. Please send me a PM with your contact details..

Edited by skumar83
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3 hours ago, skumar83 said:

I can help with the acetone. Please send me a PM with your contact details..

I need IPA for something else. Is that in your scope?

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I am a chemical supplier. Can supply almost all the basic chemicals that you need in 2.5 litre bottles

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