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Old 08-01-2016, 07:31   #1
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Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

I have all kinds of cheater bar stories which lead to broken bolt removal techniques stories.
What experience/preferences/warnings do you have using the impact driver for particularly diesel engine work?
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:08   #2
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Plan ahead and pre-soak bolts with WD40 / whatever your preference.

Try to tighten each bolt slightly first and then undo.

If very tight apply more constant force gradually, using a Samson bar if required - do not shock force them with this method as your are more likely to shear a bolt.

Apply heat (air gun is safer) and at the same time apply penetrating oil.

Try to undo again,

Repeat as required.

Have a good drill and cobalt drill bits as well as good quality extractors should one snap.


If there are multiple bolts holding something (cylinder head) then refit the other bolts and tighten them down to release some of the pressure on the stuck bolt.

Paula
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:09   #3
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

When I worked as a mechanic for 8 years our trick was to get the head of the bolt glowing red with a torch, it was an acetylene torch, then quench it with a spray of cold water. I was told this was, to thermal shock it and help keep the temper" no idea if it really does keep the temper. It did however work every time to get stuck bolts out. Sometimes it took 3-4 cycles of heating and cooling but eventually they always came out.

It is hard to do this when working with aluminum of course, as you have to be much more careful about accidentally melting the material the bolt is threaded into. Also you have to be careful where your flame is going as it's reflecting off the bolt head, ie you don't want to catch a nearby wire on fire ect.

Warming up and using penetrating oil works too albeit slower. Probably easier on the bolt though. Some times you have to wait for days for some penetrating oils to work, it all depends on the job and how hard or easy it will be to drill and tap the hole if it doesn't work out.

Oh if you break one off and have the remainder of the bolt sticking out another trick is to place a larger nut around the broken stud then weld them together. This again heats up the threads very hot and when quenched can usually be turned easily out.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:23   #4
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Hope these bolts and nuts are decently large to consider either method. Under say 13mm they'll shear off before you can feel them yielding. Heat and penetrating oil, 24 hour presoaking works wonders. A clean sharp whack with a hammer directly down on the top of stuck bolts does well to break free the rust grip. Except on Óluminium castings!! Nuts should be replaced with fresh, ditto washers. So don't try to save them, a 1/4" cold chisel and a few strategic hits can both open out the nut and get it turning. Or cut right through it.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:23   #5
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Yikes! I need to rephrase my question.
Have you used the impact driver for general mechanical work? Did you like it? Any negatives? I do not want extra stuff around unless this will be a wrist saver.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:34   #6
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

An impact driver will loosen bolts that a bar wont IME. But as mentioned, you might break off anything under.... certainly 3/8" or 10mm. You need a driver with good adjustment. But for farm work, old larger bolts etc, the impact driver is great. If you are not talking frozen bolts, I think keeping the air supply, dealing with a hose etc is not worth it for general mechanical work... although if that's your daily job then it's worth it.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:49   #7
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Found a lot of fasteners that only the relatively anemic 12v Hitachi Impact Driver could remove. Mostly SS fasteners in aluminum mast but also through bolts frozen in place by corrosion and old caulk. An impact driver would have use in engine maintenance but at least my engine doesn't suffer from frozen fasteners, yet.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:25   #8
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Thanks
The work I intend doing is going through all systems on a yanmar 2gm20F. I will stop before I take the head off. It is going to be a bit of wrench turning.
Some are from the " if it ain't broke" school. I am from the "probably going to break at the perfect moment" so I am big into inspection and reassembly when I am docked. I want to know what every bolt size is and every tool I will need to to do this work. Anti seize all threads, find and repair/replace any stubborn or corroded fasteners. A great feeling when you have only the stuff one needs stored neatly and know what to do.
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:36   #9
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

One of my essential tools on the boat is a dead blow hammer. Mine is has a stainless face on one side and a hard rubber/plastic on the other side. I often use it to work on fasteners that won't come out. I will put on my Liquid Wrench, WD40, or other penetrating lubricant first and let it sit. Then if I can strike the stud/bolt directly I will use that - tap, tap, tap. Often that is all it takes. If I can't get to it directly with the hammer I will use a brass or steel "drift", or a screwdriver to bit if it has a screw head.

If that doesn't work I will use a manual impact driver (mine is Snap-On brand) and use my dead blow hammer with it. It will usually always get it off if it is going to come off, but not always. A trick I learned was to put a wrench on the square part of the screwdriver I was hitting, or on the impact driver and put pressure on the nut in the direction it needed to come off while a friend hits the top of the driver with the dead blow. This has been VERY effective.

I have heated up and cooled really tough ones with a heat gun and then cold water shock. That sometimes works. My theory is that it will at least let the new penetrating fluid get in to the joint quicker. I would not like to use a torch unless I was sure I would not be damaging a gasket, or oil inside, or a casting, or anything else that too much heat could damage. In general I would be afraid to use one unless it was just a fitting that was very isolated from any of the above (like an engine mounting flange away from the engine.

A hydraulic air or electric impact driver can work but I would never use one on a small fitting. They can, and have, sheared things apart. You do not have much control with them.

I have often exhausted my cussword vocabulary on situations like these. I have gone home and had a couple of beers and come back the next day and found I got it off then. Good luck with yours. You have my empathy for sure.
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:57   #10
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulajayne View Post
If very tight apply more constant force gradually, using a Samson bar if required - do not shock force them with this method as your are more likely to shear a bolt.


Paula
In my experience you are far better off shocking them.
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Old 08-01-2016, 16:13   #11
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

99% of the time, heating the nut/bolt with a torch will allow removal of all but the most unremovable stud.. I once beat on the viscous fan nut on a friends Land Rover for 3 hours.. Eventually found my torch, gassed the sucker and it popped off after 45s..

I use a simple kitchen propane torch for this.. Shield around with some heavy duty foil.. And watch areas with internal orings etc..

Good luck

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Old 08-01-2016, 16:17   #12
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Oh, and I believe an ion screwdriver set would be a wrist saver in any situation.. When I rebuilt my vortec 350 for camaro I used my friends and it will always be in the top 5 tools to take sailing.. 50+ exhaust and head bolts later one battery kept cracking on, I couldn't believe it.. And it was a $200 set.. The hammer action is critical in removing stuck/tough bolts.. If I ever rebuilt a motor I'd have one around no matter what..



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Old 08-01-2016, 16:23   #13
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

Steel expands with heat so ideally you will heat an area with the maximum expansion potential. That's not always possible but, if you are trying to free a nut for example, you are far better to heat one or opposing flats on the nut than you are to just randomly get things hot.

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Old 08-01-2016, 17:09   #14
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

My intention was to find and shear the ones off that are going to go whatever but I like the ideas here. I was going to soak for a week or two with a rag saturated daily with tranny fluid and acetone wired on the nut if I run across tougher ones.
Looks like a cage fight over worse or better on the shearing issue. I have used this but only on a few drywall screws. I am thinking I would have more control and no tendency to get off an accurate true angle to nut face. I know when I am putting it to it, I tend to lean or do something more ergo but throws off where that socket and wrench should be.
Sure would be nice to get them all out in one piece but my goal is to get them all out and have a new, anti seize on threads, proper wet torque, easy, easy to work on in an emergency fastener.

Memories of a crossing I crewed on. I had to polish the arcing carbon off the starter solenoid in moderate seas on a monohull to get the engine started a couple more times. Slammed and smashed up, not for me. All work at the dock and go catamaran early.
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Old 08-01-2016, 17:39   #15
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Re: Cheater bar v Milwaukee M18 impact driver

I have been doing mechanical work for 50+ years. (Mostly my own) My dad was a steam chief engineer. I picked up a lot from him. I was shown and proved to myself that frozen, rusted bolts will almost always come out with an impact wrench, but shear off most of the time with a cheater bar. A penetrating oil that dissolves the rust helps.
If you assemble with an anti-seize compound, later even badly rusted bolts/nuts will come loose easily.
I have air shifting, so compressed air is always available, but Harbor Freight and others have cheap, 120v impact tools.
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