Metalwork & FabricationTips & Tricks

10 Tricks to remove that Stuck, Seized, or Stripped Bolt/Nut

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88 thoughts on 10 Tricks to remove that Stuck, Seized, or Stripped Bolt/Nut

  • I am changing the water pump and radiator on my old truck. The last bolt on the right (behind air compressor and all) will not come out. Thinking it’s gotten hot and “welded the bolt to the block. Any suggestions? ?

  • Think about the thread pressure. For stuck nut or bolt hammer hard once or twice. The impact should drive into the threads. This breaks the rusted bond of the two metals and usually loosens it just enough. Also use candle wax and heat. Use the wax like you were sweating a pipe. The wax is drawn into the threads and acts as a lubricant. Have fun

  • I am replacing a toilet and one of the nuts are stripped. How can I get it off without having to break the toilet???

  • I’ve spent a lifetime fixing, restoring and repairing old cars, bikes and tractors and corroded in bolts and studs are a constant pain. Firstly make sure your tools are a good, tight fit on the fastener. Cheap sockets or wrenches make rounded corners almost certain. If you can heat the item normally by running the engine or taking it for a run do so and as soon as your back spray liberally with release oil of your choice and let it cool completely, overnight if possible. If I’m planning to work at the thing on say Saturday I will do this each evening from Wednesday. Be conscious of the diameter of the threaded parts a 6mm m/s bolt will not survive the attention of a 3/4″ socket and 3′ breaker bar.
    Sometimes an impact driver works wonders on smaller diameter fasteners, it doesn’t apply too much torque preventing breakage but hits it repeatedly which can break the corrosion’s grip. For the really stubborn stuff a mig welder is a godsend but you have to understand when you go down this rout the bolt, stud or whatever will be unusable. Also be careful of finishes around the work area, a welder, even a mig can do damage. Favorite method, used on Fordson tractor wheel nuts and similar. Heat to a dull red with Oxy/Acetylene and quench immediately with cold water. I actually had a wheel nut take the force of a 13 stone man standing on a 4′ breaker and not move, when this method was used the nut started and screwed off by hand. Remember many small steps to success is better than one giant leap to failure.

  • For rounded bolt heads that aren’t too badly stuck, you can use the cut off wheel on a Dremel tool to slice a slot in the bolt head and then use a screwdriver to turn it. A screwdriver probably won’t provide enough torque to pull anything really tough, but for a lot of jobs it’s a very fast and easy fix. Just don’t slice too deep and cut off half the bolt head.

  • The Fault in that were stripped and they were so badly stuck together they wouldn’t even move. Getting the toilet bowl off. Read a few. Now I’m going to try. Thank you

  • I just drilled out a motor mount boat and I had to retype it or use the 5/16 drillbit and tap to three eights by 16 for Rich to best thing is to use a small drove it at first dead center and then go little bigger to you get to your 5/16 and whatever you do do not break off Daisy out order tap I mean into the block they do have tours to take out the taps only three flare in for flair and maybe they might have to flare I don’t know anything about swirl

  • Having a nightmare of a time with 2 studs have snapped of on a crankcase. I have managed to get some studs out.
    I have welded this just sheared off, bought a odd looking stud remover and that just went round and around not gripping, stillsons worked the best but studs are now too short so might drill next

  • Thanks for the great tips. I’m in the process of replacing the cone-shaped front wheel bearings on a 2004, 2WD Ford Ranger and, wouldn’t you know it, the last caliper mounting bracket bolt head was so rusted that it rounded before I could get any loosening torque on it. I hammered the top of the bracket to loosen it a bit, put a vice grip on the rounded head and wacked the bracket with a rubber mallet. After a couple of good hits I felt the thread give, which allowed the bolt to unscrew. I’m getting a new set of 4 bolts for 14 bucks. Beats having to cut out the bolt of worse get a new steering knuckle.

    Your tips and those from the forum folks helped me a ton in time and treasure. Thanks a bunch!!

  • WD-40® SPECIALIST® RUST RELEASE PENETRANT SPRAY ACTUALLY WORKS QUITE WELL. But of course there is always one that just will not come out.

  • Yep a huge problem todays cars are worse in Australia anyway we have lost all our manafactoring to assia sad days ahead so car steel is coming from china low quality and ferris oxide happens in only afew years i always use a anti seiz copper grease as it only can help stop rust we uesd to add a few drops of oul but found penzoil soild this copper grease what do you guy think do you do a silular prosses or is my ocd over board we refuse to work for insurance mostly resto and private ..

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88 Comments

  1. I am changing the water pump and radiator on my old truck. The last bolt on the right (behind air compressor and all) will not come out. Thinking it’s gotten hot and “welded the bolt to the block. Any suggestions? ?

  2. Think about the thread pressure. For stuck nut or bolt hammer hard once or twice. The impact should drive into the threads. This breaks the rusted bond of the two metals and usually loosens it just enough. Also use candle wax and heat. Use the wax like you were sweating a pipe. The wax is drawn into the threads and acts as a lubricant. Have fun

  3. I am replacing a toilet and one of the nuts are stripped. How can I get it off without having to break the toilet???

  4. I’ve spent a lifetime fixing, restoring and repairing old cars, bikes and tractors and corroded in bolts and studs are a constant pain. Firstly make sure your tools are a good, tight fit on the fastener. Cheap sockets or wrenches make rounded corners almost certain. If you can heat the item normally by running the engine or taking it for a run do so and as soon as your back spray liberally with release oil of your choice and let it cool completely, overnight if possible. If I’m planning to work at the thing on say Saturday I will do this each evening from Wednesday. Be conscious of the diameter of the threaded parts a 6mm m/s bolt will not survive the attention of a 3/4″ socket and 3′ breaker bar.
    Sometimes an impact driver works wonders on smaller diameter fasteners, it doesn’t apply too much torque preventing breakage but hits it repeatedly which can break the corrosion’s grip. For the really stubborn stuff a mig welder is a godsend but you have to understand when you go down this rout the bolt, stud or whatever will be unusable. Also be careful of finishes around the work area, a welder, even a mig can do damage. Favorite method, used on Fordson tractor wheel nuts and similar. Heat to a dull red with Oxy/Acetylene and quench immediately with cold water. I actually had a wheel nut take the force of a 13 stone man standing on a 4′ breaker and not move, when this method was used the nut started and screwed off by hand. Remember many small steps to success is better than one giant leap to failure.

  5. For rounded bolt heads that aren’t too badly stuck, you can use the cut off wheel on a Dremel tool to slice a slot in the bolt head and then use a screwdriver to turn it. A screwdriver probably won’t provide enough torque to pull anything really tough, but for a lot of jobs it’s a very fast and easy fix. Just don’t slice too deep and cut off half the bolt head.

  6. The Fault in that were stripped and they were so badly stuck together they wouldn’t even move. Getting the toilet bowl off. Read a few. Now I’m going to try. Thank you

  7. I just drilled out a motor mount boat and I had to retype it or use the 5/16 drillbit and tap to three eights by 16 for Rich to best thing is to use a small drove it at first dead center and then go little bigger to you get to your 5/16 and whatever you do do not break off Daisy out order tap I mean into the block they do have tours to take out the taps only three flare in for flair and maybe they might have to flare I don’t know anything about swirl

  8. Having a nightmare of a time with 2 studs have snapped of on a crankcase. I have managed to get some studs out.
    I have welded this just sheared off, bought a odd looking stud remover and that just went round and around not gripping, stillsons worked the best but studs are now too short so might drill next

  9. Thanks for the great tips. I’m in the process of replacing the cone-shaped front wheel bearings on a 2004, 2WD Ford Ranger and, wouldn’t you know it, the last caliper mounting bracket bolt head was so rusted that it rounded before I could get any loosening torque on it. I hammered the top of the bracket to loosen it a bit, put a vice grip on the rounded head and wacked the bracket with a rubber mallet. After a couple of good hits I felt the thread give, which allowed the bolt to unscrew. I’m getting a new set of 4 bolts for 14 bucks. Beats having to cut out the bolt of worse get a new steering knuckle.

    Your tips and those from the forum folks helped me a ton in time and treasure. Thanks a bunch!!

  10. WD-40® SPECIALIST® RUST RELEASE PENETRANT SPRAY ACTUALLY WORKS QUITE WELL. But of course there is always one that just will not come out.

  11. Yep a huge problem todays cars are worse in Australia anyway we have lost all our manafactoring to assia sad days ahead so car steel is coming from china low quality and ferris oxide happens in only afew years i always use a anti seiz copper grease as it only can help stop rust we uesd to add a few drops of oul but found penzoil soild this copper grease what do you guy think do you do a silular prosses or is my ocd over board we refuse to work for insurance mostly resto and private ..

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