Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 07-19-2009, 02:58 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,794
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: 1,491
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: 4,488
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: 16,593
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: 5,794
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: 16,593
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: 3,864
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: 16,593
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: 15,042
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, 11:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,028
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.
#11
Old 07-19-2009, 05:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 16,792
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
#12
Old 07-19-2009, 07:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,148
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!
#13
Old 07-19-2009, 09:20 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 5,794
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.
#14
Old 07-19-2009, 09:44 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 16,546
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.
#15
Old 07-19-2009, 10:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 16,792
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: 6,065
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, 10:28 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SW Arkansas
Posts: 5,849
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!
#18
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.
#19
Old 07-20-2009, 08:56 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 21,040
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: 601
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: 11,148
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, 11:50 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.
#23
Old 07-20-2009, 12:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,864
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.
#24
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.
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 02:59 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: melismatic singing wonder natalie merchant water curve inherent talents inside my gpc mycroft holmes fat thermal acrylic blanket baby oak circular farms on the schneid bl?cher translation inverse meter round ears anakins mother sinatra vocal range fish eyed fool does vinegar freeze worst writers non filter cigarettes brokeback mountain ending pcp recipes compound w burning allegra d drowsiness girlfriend wants dp state farm ro largest airforce c in college soaking barley fitzpatrick's war lolita deepthroat flintstone family names giant booger removal ds9 prophets what color do cardinals wear how to join the yakuza sanding floor with belt sander hydrogen peroxide turns wound white female dog external reproductive system can i drive without a muffler key stuck in ignition battery dead does the employer pay unemployment 100 dollar bill bundles left arm hurts when i sneeze can you brew coffee with milk end of 28 weeks later ice maker cycle time gi joe aircraft carrier value how to trace electrical wiring in a wall what to do with package that isn't yours book about christopher columbus fee fi fo fum meaning loaded questions adults examples extension cord for surge protector best buy car audio free installation shower stool for shaving legs jimmy dore is an idiot can you take zyrtec and claritin how much is a round bale of hay worth cat abscess treatment cost songs about loving someone you hate does the electric chair hurt dmv eye test for license renewal is pipe tobacco the same as cigarette tobacco round trip flight cheaper than one way cubs vs white sox fans best way to sell rare books skin smells like metal