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Auto-X Fil
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 08/11/03
Posts: 4140
Loc: Pennsylvania
How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose.
#1301696 - 08/16/06 06:45 PM

This is a pretty critical skill if you're working on a car that's not brand-spankin'-new, and very critical if you're working on a ten-year-old rustbucket. Every stuck fastener is a little different, but these guidelines should help a lot.


1) Get a good tool on it. 6pt sockets are much better than 12 pt, and a box-end wrench or a socket is better than an open-end wrench. Vice grips are okay sometimes, but are at the bottom of the list with adjustable wrenches and slip-joint pliers. Many times a snug socket and good long ratchet will break very stubborn bolts.

2) Use leverage, but don't round it! Go ahead and throw a pipe on the ratchet/wrench, but be careful - once you strip the head, you're in a world of hurt. Air tools often are less likely to strip in many cases, but they also dont' usually give as much warning - I prefer to break it loose with a wrench first, if at all possible. A normal drill/driver won't break stuff loose, but it can help wind out long bolts. I use one all the time - it's much better than cranking a ratchet 1/12th of a turn 100 times.

3) Fight rust with fire. If you feel like you're not going to get it without possible tool/fastenera damage, torch the sucker! Propane works well, MAPP gas is better, oxy-acetelene is best. If you don't have a torch, get a MAPP or propane job. You really do need one. Be careful to position the flame so you're not heating anything rubber or otherwise able to be damaged by the heat. I have a couple pieces of flat steel 3/16" thick that I use as heat shields when working around brake lines, CV boots, and bodywork. Once the area is safe, hold the flame to the fastener and get it hot - 30 to 60 seconds is good with propane; you can get them red-hot in ten seconds with a cutting torch. The bigger the part and the more metal around it, the longer it'll take. After it's hot, give it a little bit to cool and then try your wrench again. Usually it will come off pretty easily.

4) Penetrating oil works a little. If you can't use a torch for some reason - you couldn't smuggle one into the junkyard, there's rubber too close, etc., give it a shot. But really, torches are so much easier and faster, there's no reason to screw with the oil otherwise. WD-40 is garbage for this - use PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench.

5) Smack the thing. If heat didn't do it, try knocking it around a little - sometimes they like it. A hammer blow to the fastener (using a punch if needed to reach) will sometimes knock it loose.

6) You idiot! If you stripped it or it's so rusted there's nothing to grip, you need to get creative. With the T-47 Torx bits on the Contour rear brake brackets, I use Vice-Grips. They have a big head with lots of room for the Vice-Grips, and a crappy torx stamping that rusts out and strips easily. When using Vice-Grips, be sure to get it nice and square, and REALLY tight. You want the teeth biting into the fastener.

If it's stripped just a bit, try a smaller size. It's often possible to get a metric/SAE tool that's just a little smaller than the fastener, and you can pound a it onto the bolt/nut and get a good grip. 12-pt sockets tend to break if you try this. You can also grind/file new flats onto a bolt that fit a smaller socket.

If there's nothing to grap with the pliers or socket, try welding something onto it. I keep junky old sockets and broken extensions around for this reason. Just weld it on and then you have something to grip. At this point the fastener is toast anyway. This works well for stripped security lug bolts/nuts - or ones you don't have a key for. This will get it nice and hot too, like the torch. I guess if you somehow have a TIG and no gas torch you could even heat a bolt with that. I have yet to end up in that situation, though.

7) You got it! If it's buggered, replace it. If the head is okay, but the threads are hurting, chase them with a tap and die. In any case, put some anti-sieze on the sucker before re-installing. It'll prevent rust and ease removal next time. You'll thank yourself the next time!

Chime in with your tips and tricks, guys. I'm sure I forgot something.

--------------------
-Philip Maynard
'95 Contour [71 STS | Track Whore]
'97 Miata [71 ES | Boulevard Pimp]
2006 autocross results

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BrApple
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/23/01
Posts: 6910
Loc: Enfield, CT
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1301698 (Re: Auto-X Fil) 08/16/06 06:54 PM

with PB Blaster or the like soak the threads down and work the bolt out. this is important for something like the subframe bolts or the bumper bolts. as you back a rusted bolt out you might get rust into the threads, this will tighten up the bolt and cause you to possible break it. so you need to work the bolt like you where tapping a whole, run it out a few turns then run it back in while using plenty of PB blaster, this way you rid the rust from the thread but you don't mess the thread up or break the bolt and it will come out, just takes some time

--------------------
- 95 Mystique LS - Zetec/5spd
- 99 Contour SeVT Sport - Duratec/5spd

Official NE-CEG Contour/Mustang Family


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Tisby
Veteran CEG'er

Reged: 06/14/04
Posts: 980
Loc: SBN
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1301719 (Re: BrApple) 08/16/06 07:24 PM

Heat is always better than using penetrating oil, but this stuff is freakin' awwesome when it comes to that stuff...



--------------------
2000 Mystique LS
Duratec 2.5L MTX

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stocksvtcontour
CEG'er

Reged: 11/15/05
Posts: 217
Loc: warren mi
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1301761 (Re: Tisby) 08/16/06 08:12 PM

Originally posted by Tisby:
Heat is always better than using penetrating oil, but this stuff is freakin' awwesome when it comes to that stuff...






I have been saying that for years now. AEROKROIL rocks. Spray, Wait, Turn bolt, done.

--------------------
2000 svt contour
1996 oldsmobile eighty-eight


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elraido
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 10/28/04
Posts: 2116
Loc: MN
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1301765 (Re: Tisby) 08/16/06 08:15 PM

If it like a bolt on the exhaust after the cat, you can also drill it out. That is what I had to do on one of them. Heat burnt all the rust, used lots of deep creep, hit it with a heavy hammer...and nothing. After about 2 hours of trying to get it out i just used a small drill bit and drilled threw the bolt. Then I just used bigger and bigger bits to get to the right size. And I thought the rear torx bits on the calipers were T-50's. And yes, vise grips do work on those caliper bolts---just get someone with long arms so they can leavrage on it.

--------------------
95 SE MTX
svt exhaust
intake
deer killer

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BlackE1
Veteran CEG'er

Reged: 08/17/02
Posts: 853
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1302272 (Re: Tisby) 08/17/06 01:04 PM

Kroil is the best stuff ever invented. It’s amazing, when I did my headers put that on every bolt and nut, if they were still stubborn I put more on and waited with in 10 min that stuff worked.

My father and I are working a 1942 Divco milk truck and it even loosens up rusted out nuts and bolts on that thing like magic.


--------------------
98.5 Black SVT with 34k miles Build #5683 Born on 4\15\1998
WR Headers GMK CAI
Blaupunkt system fiberglass tweeter pods
L.E.D. tail lights in the works


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m4gician
Veteran CEG'er

Reged: 06/05/06
Posts: 504
Loc: Toronto (Woodbridge)
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1302291 (Re: BlackE1) 08/17/06 01:35 PM

WD-40 IS GARBAGE, I was removing the front fender and broke 2 of the bolts on the left side. Advice for taking off a rusted bolt from my end, probably using a torque metric wrench with a 6 piece. Loosen it, than try and saturate it with a loosener chemical or be very VERY gentle.

--------------------
1998 Mercury Mystique LS

- Looking for SVT EXHAUST, SVT Rear bumper (silver frost) and ANY rocker mouldings (side skirts)

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iluvmytour
New CEG'er

Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 36
Loc: Is confused a place?
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1302617 (Re: m4gician) 08/17/06 10:44 PM

Originally posted by m4gician:
WD-40 IS GARBAGE




Maybe cause WD is a Water Displacement Formula which was finalized in its 40th chemical composition...and was never intended to free rusty or bound mechanical parts...

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andy
CEG'er

Reged: 09/01/02
Posts: 112
Loc: Michigan
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1302676 (Re: iluvmytour) 08/18/06 12:55 AM

Originally posted by iluvmytour:
Originally posted by m4gician:
WD-40 IS GARBAGE




Maybe cause WD is a Water Displacement Formula which was finalized in its 40th chemical composition...and was never intended to free rusty or bound mechanical parts...




Hey, I saw the same show on the History Channel!

--------------------
Andy
96 Contour V6 101000 miles

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getsum111
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 04/05/05
Posts: 1029
Loc: Freedom, Pa
Re: How-to: Get rusty/frozen nuts and bolts loose. new
#1302872 (Re: Auto-X Fil) 08/18/06 04:43 AM

Here's a neat trick for a rounded or rusted nut that won't budge. Try to get a flathead screwdriver/chisel on the flat face, then tap it COUNTERCLOCKWISE with a hammer, letting the screwdriver bite into the nut itself. I've done this a few times, but you will be needing a new nut once your done.

--------------------
Scott

Mabe I WILL be Phil.

1999 Contour SVT, Tropic Green
BAT kit, K&N RU-3530+MAF, Magnecore 8.5mm, some audio goodies, Hightowers, Knauberized, tatoo by Parkedcar.






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