T Nation

Removing Rusty Screws and Bolts

Some of you are metalworkers I see, what is your favourite method to get out really rusted in screws and bolts. Have some beasts I can’t seem to budge.

I just did this.

  1. I cleaned the bolt with a wire brush.

  2. Put acetone and penetrating oil (WD-40 in this case, but it doesn’t matter) on it.

  3. Went to bed

  4. Tapped it with a hammer several times. I think this mainly makes me feel better, but it can break loose the rusted-together items.

  5. Sprayed more oil on it

  6. Got out a torch and heated it up a bit. Yes, the oil burns.

  7. Used the right socket – 6 point box end in this case, with a cheater

  8. Lefty loosey

You can also melt a candle in it, but that never did anything for me except make a mess.

I’m replacing screws on a pool cage now (rusted steel hex-head screws in hollow aluminum posts). A torch makes the biggest difference. After doing the first hundred or so, I now just heat them all before even attempting removal so I can start with a non-stripped screw head. Fortunately, the ones that don’t come out I can just drill through in most cases, though some are unreachable with a drill, even with one of those 90 degree tools.

If you’re attempting to use an easy-out, forget the drill bit(s) that come with it and just buy cobalt bits. Same goes for drilling out a hopeless screw or bolt.

Soak it with PB-Blaster and a few sharp taps with a hammer. Also persistent torque. Quick smacks on the wrench or ratchet seem to break the head off of bolts to much for me.

Also~ aluminum always needs a penetrating lubricant.


Crazy how easy my outer tie rod ends came off once I hit them with mapp gas.


I make some effort noises, furrow my brow in perturbation, and voila.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]pushharder wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Also~ aluminum always needs a penetrating lubricant. [/quote]

Oh for cryin’ out loud I love me prose porn. Thank you.[/quote]
A high compliment from a man known for his work on fembots. I am humbled.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Thanks all of you. What about counter sunk screws? Oil won’t penetrate (be serious!) some say cut with a dremel or equivalent. Only other thing is to drill and then use an extractor. What about small screws, I am afraid of either breaking the drill bit or the extractor, any experiences?

My money is still on pb-blaster. Then an impact driver for small screws. Drilling very small holes is also easier than bigger ones. Just keep the speed low. Too fast causer galling on the tip of the bit.

I like an impact driver on countersunk screws. Hold the bit tight into the screw, whack the end with a hammer. The shock loosens most of them for me.