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Removal of rusted bolts and screws

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by mcambrose, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. mcambrose

    mcambrose LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    I was recently visiting with an old gunsmith and he told me a story from his first day on the job as a welder/machinist apprentice that might be helpful to some. His boss sent him and two others up the hill to remove the bolts from a rusty dozer track. They worked all morning beating on a long wrench with no success. Just before lunch the two other boys left becuse the work was miserable and not making progress. After lunch the boss sent him back and he worked a couple of more hours but to no avail. At about 2:00 the boss came by to see how he was doing. He said not very well. The boss sent him up to the shop to get a rosebud torch and a bucket of water. He told him to heat the nut up cherry red and then pour cold water on in. He did what he was told and then the nut came off easily. He said the thermal shock did the trick. He asked his boss why he didn't tell them this at first, and he said he accomplished two things by not telling them. He ran off two boys who wouldn't make it and he taught the him a lesson he would never forget. I tried this myself last week on some rusted nuts and it worked great. If have tried just the heating before and it sometimes works, but the heating and then cooling seemed to work more consistently.
  2. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    Really good advice. I've done the heat'em up trick but never tried putting water on them afterwards. Thanks
  3. Royalslover

    Royalslover LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    I learned this trick years ago and the only time it has failed me was when I couldn't get a tie rod end off. Once I couldn't get my reciever hitch off and I wasn't near home to use my torch. I went by a muffler shop and had the guy put heat to it. I asked if he had some cold water and he looked at me like I was nuts. But sure enough it came out easily.
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Hmmm. . .so by "thermal shock" I figure you are talking about the sudden expansion and contraction of the metals? Also, how soon after dowsing with water should you attempt to remove the bolt/nut? Lastly, I know squat about welding - what is a rosebud torch? Thanks.
  5. Royalslover

    Royalslover LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Right away if you want. The important thing is to cool it off ASAP.

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