Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 07-19-2009, 02:58 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,739
Removing a stripped nut: need help quick!

I'm trying to replace the front sway bars on my 350Z, and one of the two nuts that holds the stock bar on was very tight, and I rounded it in trying to get it off.

Before doing too much damage, I squirted some WD-40 on it. Didn't help. Eventually, I used vise-grips, but they just rounded it further. (It's a 10mm/1.25 flange nut, if that makes any difference to anyone)

So now I'm stumped. I have an impact driver, but there's not enough clearance in that area to use it.

I'm thinking I'll have to take it to my repair shop and ask them to get it off somehow (and perhaps replace the sway bar while they're at it).

But if any of my fellow Dopers have any suggestions that will save me a couple of bucks, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks.
#2
Old 07-19-2009, 03:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,482
If you have a few inches clearance around it you can pick up what I refer to as a "nut cracker." Sears or most auto parts stores should have them. They are inexpensive. In short, you're tightening a wedge onto the nut and it will eventually crack it. If you do not have enough clearance you might be limited to a cold chisel. Not real sophisticated, but it will work.
#3
Old 07-19-2009, 03:25 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 4,414
In my machinist days I used a center punch to remove many stuck fasteners: Find an accessible spot on the perimeter or top edge of the fastener, pound it a few times to make a deep dent, and then start pounding it in a direction tangential to the fastener. The goal is for the tangential whacks to cause the fastener to turn slightly, enough to break its grip.

It worked sometimes, and sometimes it didn't.

Of course, this was on clean rust-free industrial machinery. Never tried it on an automobile before.
#4
Old 07-19-2009, 03:57 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,578
You might be able to get in there with a hacksaw blade and saw it away. JUST the blade, held by vice grips or whatever. Go buy a few NEW hacksaw blades made specifically for metal. Don't try using old worn out blades.
#5
Old 07-19-2009, 04:23 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,739
I can try the center punch thing, but I suspect that if it wouldn't come off with the vice grips, a few bangs with a hammer aren't going to do much.

I'll see if I can find a "nut cracker."

One thing I meant to mention is that I would prefer, if possible, to do no damage to the bolt in this operation, because it is integral to the endlink, and I suspect that replacing it might be expensive.
#6
Old 07-19-2009, 04:28 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,578
you might also try using a file to refile down two flat surfaces on opposite sides of the nut. In this case, it would again be worth it to go buy a brand new file, probably coarse, speficially made for metal, rather than using something you have laying around.

Take your time and REALLY file it down before you attemp to use a wrench or vise grips.

And, sometimes when dealing with a tight nut, it helps to try to tighten it a bit before loosening it. sound strange, but its worked for me before.
#7
Old 07-19-2009, 04:33 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,795
Spray it with PB Blaster before doing anything.

Other than that, my best suggestion would be to weld a new nut to the old one, and I'm guessing you don't have a welder handy.
#8
Old 07-19-2009, 04:36 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
Spray it with PB Blaster before doing anything.

.
I second that. Its expensive and nasty toxic, but by far that stuff has loosened more nuts than Hillary Clinton. Auto Zone carries it. Make sure to not get it on paint or plastic or rubber parts. It works better than anything else I've tried.
#9
Old 07-19-2009, 04:58 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 14,884
My favorite way of removing rusted-on nuts is to slot one side with a dremel cut-off wheel, and then crack the nut with a screwdriver. Of course, you need some clearance to do this.
#10
Old 07-19-2009, 05:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 16,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by commasense View Post
But if any of my fellow Dopers have any suggestions that will save me a couple of bucks, I'd appreciate it.
First of all, don't use WD-40 as thread lubrication, either installing or removing threaded fasteners. For removal use penetrating oil or brake cleaner.

Second, as SanDiegoTim mentioned, there is a tool specifically for loosening or fracturing nuts called a nut breaker. Hammering on the nut, heating it, or welding another nut on are less than desirable methods because of the possibility of damaging something else, like a crossmember. Cutting through the nut with a cutter or Dremel-type tool is possible as long as you are careful not to cut into the threads, but I'd just spend the $10 or so to buy a nut breaker.

The fact that you stripped the external faces on the nut suggests that you were either using the wrong size wrench/socket head, or that you need better tools with tighter clearances. I worked one failure years back where field techs kept having to drill off bolt heads to remove crossmember. It turned out that the reason was that the installer was using a near-sized SAE wrench on a metric bolt head, and when the faces of the bolt head came in the lower end of the range he would strip the faces. (Not the fault of the factory installers; we were using a component built in Europe that naturally used metric fasteners on an American-built machine and he hadn't been provided with or even informed of the need for a metric tool.)

Good luck to you.

Stranger
#11
Old 07-19-2009, 07:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,117
This is the kind of socket I use for hex nuts/bolts that are rounded or eroded down. I've found that the exact size needed can vary with precisely how much the fastener head is worn down, so it really helps to have a set of them (rather than buy just one and find it doesn't quite fit).

Last edited by Gary T; 07-19-2009 at 07:36 PM. Reason: forgot link!
#12
Old 07-19-2009, 09:20 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,739
Update: I've tried most of the suggestions offered here, and a few others as well, but that damned nut is still on.

I got a nut splitter, but (and I'm sorry I forgot to mention this) it's a flange nut, so between the rounding I've done to it and the flange, the nut splitter won't hold onto the thing. As I tighten it down, it just slides up off the nut, and there's no way to keep it on. So that's out.

The last thing I did this evening was buy a tool set like the one Gary T recommended, as well as some PB Blaster. I'll give them a shot tomorrow, and if I still have no joy, it's off to the shop.

Stranger: I was using a Craftsman socket of precisely the right size (17mm). The problem nut's counterpart on the other side of the car came off with no problem. But on this side, the placement of the part didn't allow me to rotate the breaker bar in a plane perfectly perpendicular to the axis of rotation. That, combined with a very tight, and apparently rather soft, part, led to the problem.

BTW, are you saying not to use WD-40 to help loosen tight parts? Isn't that its stated function?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll post a further update tomorrow.

Last edited by commasense; 07-19-2009 at 09:21 PM.
#13
Old 07-19-2009, 09:44 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Home Of The Bengals!
Posts: 16,039
Quote:
Originally Posted by commasense View Post
Update: I've tried most of the suggestions offered here, and a few others as well, but that damned nut is still on.

I got a nut splitter, but (and I'm sorry I forgot to mention this) it's a flange nut, so between the rounding I've done to it and the flange, the nut splitter won't hold onto the thing. As I tighten it down, it just slides up off the nut, and there's no way to keep it on. So that's out.

The last thing I did this evening was buy a tool set like the one Gary T recommended, as well as some PB Blaster. I'll give them a shot tomorrow, and if I still have no joy, it's off to the shop.

Stranger: I was using a Craftsman socket of precisely the right size (17mm). The problem nut's counterpart on the other side of the car came off with no problem. But on this side, the placement of the part didn't allow me to rotate the breaker bar in a plane perfectly perpendicular to the axis of rotation. That, combined with a very tight, and apparently rather soft, part, led to the problem.

BTW, are you saying not to use WD-40 to help loosen tight parts? Isn't that its stated function?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll post a further update tomorrow.
WD-40 is a cleaner before it's a lubricant. I would buy some PB Blaster, spray it on the nu t and it's threads and try again tomorrow.

A cutting wheel or a similar approach to removing the nut risks bolt-thread damage. You'd have to be REAL careful.

A file isn't a bad option, nor is a handheld hacksaw blade. But again, you have to be careful and prepared for some elbow grease.
#14
Old 07-19-2009, 10:28 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SW Arkansas
Posts: 5,737
Probably too late for this project, but in the future..

If you round off the corners in the way you described, get a new 6 sided socket before you go in with vice grips, channel locks, monkey wrench, whatever.

The 6 sided socket will fit snugly against the entire remaining face to give you the most traction for removing the stuck nut or bolt.

If you've gotten to the point you have to use a hacksaw or Dremel type tool, cut down beside the bolt where you won't be cutting into it. Some people have trouble visualizing that from a description. Think of a lower case 'd'. The circle is the bolt and the back is where you will be cutting.

Good luck!
#15
Old 07-19-2009, 10:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 16,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
WD-40 is a cleaner before it's a lubricant.
And it is actually kind of bad for both, especially as a lubricant, because after the volatiles evaporate the gummy residue becomes hygroscopic and can promote corrosion. While it is the stock-in-trade lubricant in grandad's toolbox, there are much better lubricants and cleaners on the market today.

Stranger
#16
Old 07-19-2009, 10:58 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 6,023
Try a pipe wrench if one will fit. It is designed to grip round things. I had to remove an oil drain plug once and there was very little left. The pipe wrench had no problem removing the plug.
#17
Old 07-19-2009, 11:01 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 5,441
That's weird. The machine shop guy specifically told me to spray his tools with WD-40 to prevent corrosion. I had to wash his tools in soap and water after working on my pump. The WD-40 was used to remove the water.
#18
Old 07-19-2009, 11:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 26,863
Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
My favorite way of removing rusted-on nuts is to slot one side with a dremel cut-off wheel, and then crack the nut with a screwdriver. Of course, you need some clearance to do this.
This.

It's the same process as a nut splitter if you already have a dremel.

If this is the long bolt you're replacing anyway just sawzal the whole thing off.

Last edited by Magiver; 07-19-2009 at 11:47 PM.
#19
Old 07-20-2009, 08:56 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 20,154
The OP said he needs to preserve the bolt; it's integral to a probably multi-hundred dollar part. The nut can be (has been) sacrificed.
#20
Old 07-20-2009, 10:15 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 598
If it is safe to do so and you have one handy, you could try heating the nut with a torch.
#21
Old 07-20-2009, 11:28 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,117
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-P L View Post
If it is safe to do so and you have one handy, you could try heating the nut with a torch.
This is not recommended for steering and suspension components that will be re-used. The heat can affect the temper of the metal and possibly result in something getting weakended and breaking later.
#22
Old 07-20-2009, 11:46 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
IAA Mechanic!

First, WD stands for water displacement.
It's fine for keeping tools and stuff rust-free, but PB- Blaster is a must-have for any removal or disassembly projects. It penetrates where nothing else will.

Second, Gary's link won't link for me, but I assume it's like this from Sears.
Usually effective, but you must really hammer the socket on to get a good grip.


Third, heat can be your friend. I'd let the PB Blaster work for a couple of hours, then a simple propane torch to heat the nut for 3-4 minutes. Get that sucker good and hot, tap on the remover (hard), and gently but firmly rotate and remove.

Another option if you have the clearance, Clarence, is parrot-beak pliers.
These are at Sears, but you may find some somewhere else. Vise-grips and regular Channel locks won't work. The key here is the shape and offset of the jaws. Vise Grips clamp the nut tighter to the bolt - you're fighting yourself.
Normal groove-joint (Channel lock) pliers hold the jaws parallel, and will slip right off. The parrot-beaks work one way, tightening into the nut as you push on the handles. They're handy to have around.

I know this is all a PITA laying under a car, done correctly, you should be rolling tonight, keeping your pesos in your pocket, not the garage's.
#23
Old 07-20-2009, 11:50 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
This is not recommended for steering and suspension components that will be re-used. The heat can affect the temper of the metal and possibly result in something getting weakended and breaking later.
All true if welding or heating the suspension components themselves, but carefully heating the offending nut won't transfer the kind of heat necessary to adversely affect the suspension parts.
#24
Old 07-20-2009, 12:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,795
Looks like the links are only about $15-20. It sounds like you've already spent that much in tools to save the old one.
#25
Old 07-20-2009, 05:29 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,739
Thanks for all the help. Here's the final outcome.

It was only late last night, after doing some research at my favorite 350Z forum, that I realized that by undoing the other end of the stuck endlink, I could take the sway bar and the endlink off the car!

D'oh!

If I had thought of that before trying the vise-grips, I probably could have saved myself a lot of trouble! However, even with the parts off the car, I still wasn't able to undo the damn thing.

The nut remover tools I mentioned didn't work. I bought two sets from different stores: with one set the smallest was too large, and with the other the largest was too small. Typical Murphy's Law!

I had been hoping in the latter case that I had rounded enough off the 17mm nut that the 16mm tool would work, but no joy. (Fortunately, I was able to return them all, since I never actually used them.)

I used the PB Blaster, and banged on it with an impact driver, but nothing worked.

Finally, I brought it to the mechanic I've been going to for the last 30+ years, and he got it off, apparently with a Snap-On socket and a larger impact driver. (I wasn't there to watch.) However, his comments echoed Stranger's and Projammer's suggestion to use a six-sided socket. I'll remember that next time.

With the endlink finally freed, I was able to install the new sway bar with only a little more knuckle scraping, muttering, and cursing. I've been out for a test drive, and everything seems fine.

I didn't realize until my late-night research that the stock endlinks are so cheap. The retail price at my local dealership is about $40, but that would have been a workable solution if I had had to cut off the original one. But the stock links are not strong enough for regular track work, and aftermarket ones, which I'll probably order in the next week or two, are around $300!

Anyway, all's well that ends well, and the worst of this was the annoyance and frustration that a job that should have taken a couple of hours, at most, stretched out to three days.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:59 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: kebab slur knockout drug christopher nance website quarter of 3 weezer woo hoo zyrtec addiction bullet teeth truck bed post long live jambi budie call pie iesu domine humid air conditioner atm tracking salmon cans smell of toast infinity squared cooking spoiled meat prepubesant vagina ballad of serenity speed warning ticket connie godfather condom loads se7en dildo ultraviolet comic half fast meaning bumpy lawn fortnight mean baseball rhel i swan spanish necesito 3.5 classes by tier can i call puerto rico with verizon this preview has been approved how to peel onions regular gas in diesel engine where to find typewriter is delivering newspapers a good job what does passed away suddenly mean how to make an indoor am antenna why do cops have mustaches how much snot can your head hold 2008 ford escape egr valve replacement long island iced tea mix pre made remove metal marks from porcelain battery cold cranking amps low banished colonial charter 1.6 guide how to stop a mockingbird from singing at night two fences back to back how to reverse the polarity of a magnet eagle eyes navigator sunglasses reviews how many days a week do firefighters work when did the british monarchy became a figurehead what does the cherry emoji mean does voter registration expires smudges on glasses that won't come off how long does key lime pie last snips and snails and puppy dog tails meaning venomous snakes in nh us army service stripes gold quarter dollar worth clean up after suicide odds of getting blackjack poison smells like almonds