stickboy

Stainless bolts in cast aluminum

Recommended Posts

The rudder split so I have to take it out. The first hurdle is getting the steering quadrant off. The stainless bolts threaded into the cast aluminum won't budge. There's no apparent corrosion, they just have been galled into the cast for 35 years. I've tried propane torch, PB Blaster, wax!, CRC Freeze Off (not impressed) and using my hammer impact driver and nothing budges.

Anyone have any good tricks?  Will Mapp gas make that much difference?

I could spin the bolt heads off and try to break the two halves apart sliding off the unthreaded part of the bolts (assumption there) but if that fails I'm screwed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tough problem. If the quadrant is that far gone consider a new one. After all the simple things that you tried, which almost never work on alloy/stainless corrosion, yes, consider removing the bolt heads. Either break them off with a robust socket and bar, drill them off, or angle grinder. After stress is relieved from disassembling the pieces sometimes the remaining headless stud will come out with a bit of banging around.

On re-assembly apply gobs of some preventative goo.

Did you try a large air impact driver?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

Did you try a large air impact driver?

Or even an electric one. I've removed bolts with an ordinary de-wilt battery powered driver that wouldn't budge with my hammer impact.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have some Large slot head screws (#14 ? 1/4x20?)  holding an old gooseneck track, probably installed in June of 1962, they didn't move in 2001 when installing the new Alum boom, so took a sawzall to the track and opened a gap. 18 yrs later, it would be nice to remove the extra weight and ugly. 

Lets just say that the grinder is probably our best alternative, to get the heads off, then pop the SS brackets off the shanks and grind them flush with Mast. 

will be curious if you have any other success. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

multiple days application of Kroil, followed by heat in combination with large impact driver.  Otherwise, start cutting/grinding.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

High % vinegar - food grade is only 5%, cleaning vinegar is 10% and I've heard of some for landscapers that is 20%.

It's the only thing I've ever used that is at all effective on aluminium oxide.

Let it soak for a long time - periodically re-wetting parts that can't be immersed.

Heat & beat

Repeat and keep repeating - you'll get there.

It took me most of a week to get some of the bolts out of my rod vang but eventually they came out.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

35 years into an aluminum casting... I don't envy you.

More heat + power impact driver. Don't be surprised if you just snap the heads off the bolts though.

Then brand new cobalt drills to drill out the stainless bolts. Drill and tap for 1 size bigger (metric even rather than bigger imperial to keep the size increase reasonable if you're close to the edge of a casting. Or Helicoils.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 50/50 mix of acetone and hydraulic fluid might help.  (?????)  Don't drip it on any nearby plastic or soft goods.  Then heat & beat with the impact driver,  and if you can't heat the quadrant effectively due to fire risk or whatever, maybe try dry ice on the bolt. 

Recently used that combination of acetone and cherry juice to break a bike mount locking bolt that was rusted in with the help of some road salt after 7 years.  Not sure what the metals are but the locking bolt started out  bronze looking several years ago, the hitch/rack are the usual mild steel they use for that sort of thing and the first 5 minutes involved knocking mystery metal oxide off the bolt head and getting a properly sized wrench to seat correctly.  Wouldn't turn with the box end wrench plus a 3' persuader bar, but then came off grudgingly with the regular 1/2" socket after a half hour soak.  Don't know if it works on aluminum oxide, if it works, you'll probably need a considerably longer soak than that, overnight or a couple days with repeated doses.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Zonker said:

35 years into an aluminum casting... I don't envy you.

More heat + power impact driver. Don't be surprised if you just snap the heads off the bolts though.

Then brand new cobalt drills to drill out the stainless bolts. Drill and tap for 1 size bigger (metric even rather than bigger imperial to keep the size increase reasonable if you're close to the edge of a casting. Or Helicoils.

love Helicoils

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a huge fan of Kroil penetrating oil but doubt it will help much with corroded aluminum.

Try chilling the bolt with dry ice or one of the cold sprays and rattle it with an impact wrench.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are welcome to swing by and grab my 1/2" battery impact from the yard if you need... the thing has a ton of grunt... with the one caveat that I don't have to crawl back there and do it!! :lol::lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, suider said:

You are welcome to swing by and grab my 1/2" battery impact from the yard if you need... the thing has a ton of grunt... with the one caveat that I don't have to crawl back there and do it!! :lol::lol:

Appreciate the offer. But as you were typing I was buying this. The thing is a beast, 450 ft. lbs. (5400 in. lbs). Backed them out like they went in yesterday. DONE.

CMEF900_1.jpg.d968b3e557a9991f0066ae54bcf863b4.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no solution like a brute force solution.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bigger hammer technique.

Glad it worked for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have successfully removed a whole lot of stuck stainless fasteners from aluminum castings. As I grow more patient and less inclined to succeed RIGHT NOW my breaking percentage been approaching zero 

my concept: aluminum oxide is brittle. Aluminum oxide is “bigger than it was as aluminum,”

so... the “walls around the fastener” have sorta foamed up and tightened their grasp

but

Aluminum oxide is more fragile than the surrounding solid aluminum and surrounded stainless steel . 

 

so I do a lot of tapping . I don’t hit hard enough to deform the fastener or to compress it into a shorter stubbier shape .

if I can turn the oxidized crap into dust, that fastener eill come out easily. 

i try every chemical  available IN MODERATION!!! Muriatic acid eats aluminum oxide but it also eats good aluminum... but the aluminum piece is generally  useless with the bolt stuck in it. 

 Hitting it while twisting it might  break up some of that oxide. 

Hitting it  while trying to tighten the boot sometimes Helps 

Hot water ice water hot water ice water 

the two metals expand and contract differently. Maybe more if the oxide will pulverize.

  Hit it repeatedly . 

Keep trying stuff 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

We have successfully removed a whole lot of stuck stainless fasteners from aluminum castings. As I grow more patient and less inclined to succeed RIGHT NOW my breaking percentage been approaching zero 

my concept: aluminum oxide is brittle. Aluminum oxide is “bigger than it was as aluminum,”

so... the “walls around the fastener” have sorta foamed up and tightened their grasp

but

Aluminum oxide is more fragile than the surrounding solid aluminum and surrounded stainless steel . 

 

so I do a lot of tapping . I don’t hit hard enough to deform the fastener or to compress it into a shorter stubbier shape .

if I can turn the oxidized crap into dust, that fastener eill come out easily. 

i try every chemical  available IN MODERATION!!! Muriatic acid eats aluminum oxide but it also eats good aluminum... but the aluminum piece is generally  useless with the bolt stuck in it. 

 Hitting it while twisting it might  break up some of that oxide. 

Hitting it  while trying to tighten the boot sometimes Helps 

Hot water ice water hot water ice water 

the two metals expand and contract differently. Maybe more if the oxide will pulverize.

  Hit it repeatedly . 

Keep trying stuff 


 ^^^^^^^^^^^I love this bar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Lex Teredo said:


 ^^^^^^^^^^^I love this bar. 

Yea, me too. Gouv got me thinking that the threads in the casting are probably pretty weak, I think I'll go with longer bolts and nuts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could try a strong Citric Acid solution, it reputedly dissolves Aluminium oxide.

You can get Citric Powder where you buy food colourings and spices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, stickboy said:

Yea, me too. Gouv got me thinking that the threads in the casting are probably pretty weak, I think I'll go with longer bolts and nuts.

That's where the Helicoils come in very handy....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Helicoils still depend on threads in the casting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SloopJonB said:

Helicoils still depend on threads in the casting.

except you drill them out and re-thread. Of course the casting needs to be big enough to take a larger hole...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 14ft beachcat. The rudder brackets are screwed into an alum backing plate inside the boat and  glassed in.

Having broken the screw head on one I ground the other one off to remove the bracket.

I then got a diamond drill with a hole, like you use for ceramic tiles and drilled around the bolt.

I reckoned that the drill, not being diamond of course wouldn't touch the stainless but would cut through the alum, it did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks like it should have been done in the water. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Alcatraz5768 said:

Do you have a bolt on Skeg?

This is probably the best answer:

IMG_20190604_164241.png.4d39e9f0a66a82cfd43dcae2892c8f74.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Either twist off the heads, or we have used a hacksaw blade to cut the bolts between the two parts of the quadrant, four 3/8's bolts in our case.  (Makes it easy to remove the quadrant - just pry the two sides apart.  Take the two pieces to a machine shop, and have them drill out the bolts, re-tap and/or install helicoils, then you can reinstall with new bolts using Tef-Gel.  Will cost some money to have the machine shop drill ou,t but you will not go thru drill bits or spend the time doing the drilling yourself, a slow process if you do not have the right equipment.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course this won’t help the OP but it helps generally 

when you first realize you are going to be taking something apart... squirt some penetrating lube on the fasteners. 

Passing fella: “Why are you messing with your turnbuckles, gooseneck bolts, rudder post boots, and every stinking fastener in your motor system ?”

Owner dude: ”We are hauling the boat for service next month and I want to make sure everything will come apart without breaking.” 

Passing fella: “And the trash bag full

of old duct tape?”

Owner dude: “My repair guy charges $250 an hour to remove what he calls that fucking duct tape.” 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2019 at 8:25 PM, LionessRacing said:

We have some Large slot head screws (#14 ? 1/4x20?)  holding an old gooseneck track, probably installed in June of 1962, they didn't move in 2001 when installing the new Alum boom, so took a sawzall to the track and opened a gap. 18 yrs later, it would be nice to remove the extra weight and ugly. 

Lets just say that the grinder is probably our best alternative, to get the heads off, then pop the SS brackets off the shanks and grind them flush with Mast. 

will be curious if you have any other success. 

had similar issue with old cleats on the mast (ugh) .. cut the cleats in half to leave shaft of the screw exposed,  clamped a vise grip on   and used that to back the them out..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just about to do the same thing...soon...with a Lewmar Cobra system.  I will do the soak with penetrating oil probably Inox.  Can't seem to find Kroil in Oz.

I have seen on various nets a home brew concoction of 50/50 Acetone and ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid), similar to a post upthread, so I may give it a go.

Tiller arm has been on rudder stock for 16 years and the Lewmar installation book specified the bolts to be torqued to 40Nm so hopefully they did the deed per spec?...!!

We will see.......:blink:

All good info on this thread is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Jim

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, JimL said:

Just about to do the same thing...soon...with a Lewmar Cobra system.  I will do the soak with penetrating oil probably Inox.  Can't seem to find Kroil in Oz.

I have seen on various nets a home brew concoction of 50/50 Acetone and ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid), similar to a post upthread, so I may give it a go.

Tiller arm has been on rudder stock for 16 years and the Lewmar installation book specified the bolts to be torqued to 40Nm so hopefully they did the deed per spec?...!!

We will see.......:blink:

All good info on this thread is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Jim

 

One thing to keep in mind, Sir, is that w/the unavoidable dissimilar metal corrosion, that TIGHTENING the bolt 1/4 turn before attempting to loosen it will often help break apart the crystallization.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Used to find this stuff in a boatyard in Mexico where  got stuck for several months. Land of Manana but they still want to get things unbolted in a hurry. I remember it being called

'Hafla en Todo' but can't get any Google hits under that name. This must be the stuff though.

 

'Free All' 

Gasoila Free All Deep Penetrating Oil

https://www.hoseandfittingsetc.com/our-blog/free-all-loosens-rusted-nuts-and-bolts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2019 at 10:42 PM, SloopJonB said:

High % vinegar - food grade is only 5%, cleaning vinegar is 10% and I've heard of some for landscapers that is 20%.

 

Glacial Acetic Acid (CH3COOH) is "100 %" vinegar or better said vinegar is ~4% acetic acid and the rest is mostly water. Glacial Acetic Acid is available from Walmart among others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All, Many thanks for the posts above.

Ahab; the youtube test is an eye opener regarding Kroil vs 50/50 Acetone ATF.

Guy in Chesapeake;  That seems to be a good trick to start with 1/4 turn. I will do that by hand and not an impact wrench.

Rasputin; Have not seen that in Oz but will have another search.

KC375; I will try this as we have a similar outlet in Oz, Bunnings, which carry some helpful chemicals.  This I will try, is there any trick formula to this?

As in all yachts, there is bugger all room to do this deed and must be considered just another character building exercise! :lol:

Cheers,

Jim B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, JimL said:

Just about to do the same thing...soon...with a Lewmar Cobra system.  I will do the soak with penetrating oil probably Inox.  Can't seem to find Kroil in Oz.

I have seen on various nets a home brew concoction of 50/50 Acetone and ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid), similar to a post upthread, so I may give it a go.

Tiller arm has been on rudder stock for 16 years and the Lewmar installation book specified the bolts to be torqued to 40Nm so hopefully they did the deed per spec?...!!

We will see.......:blink:

All good info on this thread is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Jim

 

Seeing as you're in Oz try Bolt Off. All it does is exactly as it's name implies.

If you're in Bris you can get it from Mercury Mufflers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2019 at 2:18 PM, Ukuri said:

Link

Boltoff.com.au

 

Many thanks, I am chasing it now.

Cheers,

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now