stripped bolts

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by red_october, Sep 27, 2003.

  1. red_october

    red_october New Member

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    I am a beginner and I really don't know the terminology for this....but here goes. I need to change my front fork, but the bolt on the top of my stem (that really long bolt) had a little rust on it and when i tried to unscrew it with my alien key, it just stripped. (The top of it became circular instead of diamond shaped) Is there a substance that I can put onto that circular hole so that bolt bites again? I really need to get it out, but my key just spins through it. I was thinking of maybe getting a key one size bigger and hammering it into the bolt, but I think that can damage my bike. There has got to be something out there that can help me with this.

    Thx

    James
     
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  2. ireman_1

    ireman_1 New Member

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    There are a few schools of thought on this, but if you have stripped the allen bolt my advice would be to go to Sears or ANY hardware store you are comfortable with and ask then for a bolt/screw extracter. You can put the bit into your drill and run it backwards. The bit bites into the bolt without drilling into it and "should" get the bolt started on it's way out, hopefully. There are some "break free products out there as well, but they are not my preference, but lots of people like them. Good luck.

    K.
     
  3. red_october

    red_october New Member

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    thank you very much for your reply. You wouldnt know the name of at least one break free product would you? I just need to know the name of one and I think I can research all of them from this one name.

    p.s. is there something i can put on the bolts to prevent them from rusting?


     
  4. ireman_1

    ireman_1 New Member

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    The only liquid spray that comes to mind is "Liquid Wrench" and I have not used it, but have seen it in friend's garages. I think using stainless or Ti bolts are the best way to make sure your bolts don't rust. Stainless bolts are pretty inexpensive to pick up. Some swear by WD-40, but I find it to be mostly useless. Good luck with getting the bolt unstuck. I was at one of the home improvement mega stores today getting something and looked at the extractors. They had a "kit" of 3 sizes in one box for under $20(US). I paid $10 for just one a few years ago. Just FYI.

    K.
     
  5. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't put too much faith in those if I were you. Anything that's seized bad enough to require lubricant has usually also seized so tight that lubricants won't penetrate very well. It won't hurt though, so make sure you give the fork a blast from below too. It sounds like you haven't got aheadset, so that's where your stripped bolt is anchored anyway.

    There are two common anti-seize products available, one graphite-based and one that consists of copper flakes suspended in grease. These work better than pure grease because even if the grease dries out it leaves particles behind that helps lubricate the threads. I prefer the graphite-based stuff, with that I don't have to worry about any compatibility issues between different metals.

    Extractors are sort of tricky to work with, and since you're already committed to destroying the bolt there's another way available. Ask around for someone who has an arc welder (stick will do). Put a (large) nut on top of your stripped allen head, and weld a large bead through the center of it to lock the nut to the stripped allen head. As soon as it has cooled you can then use a wrench to get it loose. Remember that you don't have to unscrew the bolt the whole way. Once you've got the bolt to lift a couple of mm you can tap it down with a hammer and that will usually retract the wedge enough to let you remove the stem.
     
  6. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Just thought of something even easier - Since that bolt needs to be scrapped anyway, get yourself an 8 mm drill bit and simply drill out the bolt head. The hexagonal recess should make it fairly easy to keep the drill bit centered. Don't worry about the bolt head being wider than the drill bit, once you get through it into the shaft of the bolt the head will drop right off. You might still need to find something to hit the shaft of the bolt with to get the wedge to loosen though.
     
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