View Full Version : Help me remove the rusted-on toilet seat ...

06-29-2003, 02:14 PM
Sorry if this is the ridiculous question of the day, but... I want to remove an old toilet seat. The bolts are very rusty and have plastic nuts that do not have any flanges to speak of (i.e. no easy grip). I cannot get the plastic nuts to budge. The hinge on top is metal.

I have an assortment of common household tools and chemicals. If I had more wiggle room, I'd use a hacksaw to saw through the bolt from the top side. But there isn't enough of a gap to fit the blade.

So should I continue the brute force approach, or try to dissolve or cut through the plastic nuts? Or if I can dissolve enough of the rust, will the nuts come off freely?

Here's what I have: wire cutters, hacksaw, various screwdrivers and pliers, electric drill, WD-40, denatured alchohol, muriatic acid, paint thinner, methylene chloride, nail polish remover, Goo Gone.

Also have but are useless: big chain link cutters (too big), socket wrench set (doesn't fit over the plastic nuts).

06-29-2003, 02:26 PM
WD-40, applied to all parts, let it soak awhile. When it's good and soaked, use a screwdriver to hold the bolts, while using a pair of pliers to try to turn the nuts. Alternately, hold the nuts with the pliers and use the screwdriver to turn.*

If that doesn't work, use dynamite.

*why do I feel so dirty now?

06-29-2003, 02:28 PM
Oh, and it's easier if you have a second pair of hands to do the screwing or the holding.

This can be generalized to other settings as well.

06-29-2003, 02:35 PM
OK, I sprayed with WD-40. The bolts don't turn because they're part of the hinge assembly, so that's not a problem. I've been hacking away at one of the nuts with wire cutters in hopes of destroying it with brute force. I have visual access to the underside of one of the bolts, but just by feel for the other one.

Salem, thanks for your ideas, you must be just as bored as I am this afternoon!!!

06-29-2003, 02:47 PM
Eh, just cut the plastic nuts off with the hacksaw. Any plumbing supply store will have replacements.

06-29-2003, 02:56 PM
The nuts are in a sunken area on the underside of the toilet, so a straight hacksaw blade does not fit there. I did remove the blade from the hacksaw handle, and am (just barely) able to squeeze the blade below the hinge on the top side of the toilet, to try to cut the bolt. But it's hard to move the blade back and forth by hand, and it doesn't seem to be making any progress.

06-29-2003, 03:07 PM
Is the bolt plastic too? They usually are. If so, you can simply drill the head out from the top (lift up the snap-close cover on the hinge). New toilet seats normally include a replacement nut/bolt set.

06-29-2003, 03:13 PM
The bolt is metal. The hinge isn't the kind with the snap-on top, it's metal. But keep those ideas coming!!!

However, I do have some progress to report: One nut has been successfully removed via a combination of destruction with wire cutters, and rotating off the plastic cuff that remained.

One nut to go (the one I cannot see from the bottom)... I sprayed again with WD-40...

06-29-2003, 03:17 PM
You could always try to melt the other one off. Soak it in alcohol and light it up! :D

No, don't do that, you might burn your house down.

06-29-2003, 03:26 PM
Well the only problem I can see with the melting idea (assuming the plastic's melting point is low enough, etc.) is that the heat might crack the porcelain toilet. If it weren't for that, I'd try it!

06-29-2003, 03:48 PM
- - - I would work a screwdriver under the metal hinge on top and just try prying. The plastic is the weakest of the three materials, and should just pull out.

06-29-2003, 06:43 PM
I'd probably cut the nut with a straight screwdriver & a hammer, e.g. bang right through the side of the nut, or top if thats all you got to work with. Plastic nuts usually turn if you hit them in the right direction. Assuming you are turning them in the right direction. In a weird case now & then they go the other way.

radar ralf
06-29-2003, 07:12 PM
IANAE, but I have had some luck in the past using Coca-Cola to dissolve rust on metallic parts.

06-29-2003, 07:31 PM
Wedge a flat head screwdriver up towards the plastic nut. Take a propane torch and heat up the screwdriver. Wear gloves, the plastic might drip.

06-29-2003, 07:35 PM
Thanks to everyone for your helpful hints. Here's the latest...

I used the big chain cutters to snap off the hinge, which provided the illusion of progress, since there's less stuff attached to the toilet, but the second bolt assembly is still stuck there. I tried hacksawing it from the top, but I have a feeling that it's thicker at the top -- i.e. the hinge, which is some kind of cast metal, may protrude into the hole in the porcelain, so I'm not just cutting through the bolt, it's the whole thickness of that part of the hinge. And the sawing is just not making progress.

My hands are all banged up, I decided to call it a day, and work on it some more tomorrow -- my approach will be to keep hacking away at the plastic nut (which I cannot see, and cannot turn, and am not sure which direction to turn even if it moved, as handy pointed out). And keep hacking away at it until there's no more left.

I did try an experiment to see if the methylene chloride would dissolve the plastic -- I put a piece of the first nut into a can with the chemical, and it didn't appear to be dissolving. Also, it does not catch on fire.

06-29-2003, 07:37 PM
Hey Nurse Carmen, that's a great idea, but I don't have a torch.

06-29-2003, 08:46 PM
Eureka!!!! Inspired by Nurse Carmen, I tried an experiment in the sink, and found that the plastic actually will burn and melt under only a small flame from a match. So I held a flaming long fireplace match below the toilet, against the plastic bolt. Although the flame kept going out, I persisted, and it was enough to partially burn and weaken the plastic, which I eventually was able to yank off with the wire cutters.

Thanks, everybody!!!

06-29-2003, 08:52 PM
WHEW!! I was about to suggest giving up and starting with the closet bolts and a whole new W/C, wax ring, floor tiles .........

06-29-2003, 10:03 PM
WD40 will do nothing for the plastic/metal combination.
The metal rusts and becomes embedded in the plastic.
Just work on the plastic.
Sometimes a large pair of side cutters.
Sometimes needle nose vice grips.
In certain conditions I have used a jackknife and split the nut.

06-29-2003, 11:04 PM
Hokey Smokey! I can just about feel the helix of your DNA unraveling from here. Methylene chloride is seriously nasty stuff-(NIOSH identifies it as a Carcinogen) I've used it for many years to strip old flooring adhesive, but in the interests of the environment and my lungs have chosen a less toxic product.

FYI-many plastics, once ignited, liberate poisonous gases. Bad plan. Once ignited, they can be difficult to extinguish.

Next time, borrow a Dremel™ tool and use the abrasive wheel to cut off the plastic nuts, sparing yourself and others a potentially unpleasant evening. :eek:

06-30-2003, 10:58 AM
You know those locking grip pliers? They also make one for nuts. You tighten it around the nut. They always work for me.

06-30-2003, 11:13 AM
I second the Dremel tool approach for future emergencies such as this. Between the abrasive cutting wheels and the grinding accessories, you can usually find some combination that works.

07-01-2003, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by danceswithcats
FYI-many plastics, once ignited, liberate poisonous gases. Bad plan. Once ignited, they can be difficult to extinguish.

That explains the third arm growing from my forehead.

Sorry for exposing you to that ratatoskK. I guess I'm old school. If a hammer won't work, heat will. If that deosn't, a bigger hammer and more heat will.

I guess I should reconsider my approach considering my newly garnered info. My basement bathroom has a gas mask hanging above the toilet as decoration, I guess I'm still safe to burn the seat off there. Wether that be in the course of use or replacement is another story.

07-01-2003, 06:02 PM
Well I didn't die, and if there was any insidious brain damage, I sure haven't noticed it...:eek:

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