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Old 27-07-2021, 22:01   #1
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How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

I bought a boat last fall, so of course I'm doing boat work.

My current problem is inspecting and maintaining the mainmast head.

I have the mast sitting on sawhorses, and I'm removing and inspecting/cleaning everything.

I have a forestay held in place by a stainless pin fit through the aluminum masthead. (See the attachment).

There were split rings on each end of the pin, holding it in place. I've removed one, but the pin seems solidly seized in place.

How do I get it out?
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Old 27-07-2021, 22:28   #2
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

If it's just a pin going through an eye, tap it with a hammer gently. At all costs, do not hit or damage the aluminium.

If that doesn't work spray thoroughly with a penetrating oil, & tap again.


Other configurations may require different thoughts.
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Old 27-07-2021, 22:37   #3
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

I had a similar situation at my mast head. I got lucky; I soaked it with penetrating oil (Aerokroil) and clamped visegrips on it and tried twisting back and forth, Eventually it came free. Folks here recommend a penetrating oil made of equal parts acetone and automatic transmission fluid. I haven't tried that yet, but I have a frozen pin in an old spinnaker pole that was given to me that I will be trying that on.
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Old 27-07-2021, 23:49   #4
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Remember the three rules:
1) Always use the right tool for the job.
2) A hammer is always the right tool.
3) Any tool can be used as a hammer.
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Old 28-07-2021, 00:57   #5
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandor View Post
Remember the three rules:
1) Always use the right tool for the job.
2) A hammer is always the right tool.
3) Any tool can be used as a hammer.
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Old 28-07-2021, 01:32   #6
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Heat the aluminum with a propane torch-both sides.
Hammer on the pin.
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Old 28-07-2021, 01:38   #7
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I haven't tried that yet, but I have a frozen pin in an old spinnaker pole that was given to me that I will be trying that on.
Hard experience has suggested to me that a ss pin frozen in a spinnaker pole or a whisker pole is usually held in place by an astonishing crust of accumulated salt spray components.

Further, several means of removing the pin work, but with very different time scales: soaking in tepid water for very much longer than you think necessary; drilling out in frustration; application of mechanical shock; etc.
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Old 28-07-2021, 02:55   #8
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

When you do hit that pin with a hammer, it is a good engineering practice to wedge a tight fitting piece of wood between the two alloy sides of the masthead fitting just behind the "eye" of the forestay wire. Then put a "C' clamp across the outside of both sides just where the wood is. The reason is that you do not want to bend the sides as you pound on the pin. The wood and C clamp will stabilize the whole assembly and keep it rigid as you pound on that pin. If you bend the alloy you weaken it.
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Old 28-07-2021, 05:45   #9
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Heat...lots of heat on the stainless. Let it cool then repeat. Tap ...donít slam it with a big hammer even with a drift...donít peen over the stainless. Do not use visegrips between the ears..it just increases the diameter. PB Blaster or whatever. Wood very tight or better yet aluminum pieces between the ears but...If you bend the aluminum, youíll never get it out.
You need a lot of heat like outboard mechanics use on bolts, but a very narrow tip flame. Drilling the stainless is difficult. Lots of tips available.
Iíve drilled 1/2 the diameter and three times the diameter in depth into the pin then machined a drift to fit and it took all day to pop one pin out. Iíve given up on one. I think heat and some kind of oil is the best. Never tried weasel pee.
Good luck, be patient.
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Old 28-07-2021, 08:34   #10
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Heat and let cool down a few times and tap with hammer.
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:04   #11
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
I bought a boat last fall, so of course I'm doing boat work.

My current problem is inspecting and maintaining the mainmast head.

I have the mast sitting on sawhorses, and I'm removing and inspecting/cleaning everything.

I have a forestay held in place by a stainless pin fit through the aluminum masthead. (See the attachment).

There were split rings on each end of the pin, holding it in place. I've removed one, but the pin seems solidly seized in place.

How do I get it out?
Something softer than a standard hammer for striking the pin.
Say a brass hammer, mushrooming the head would be a complication.
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:37   #12
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

How many times have I done this Arrghhhh. My mast is 50 years old. You get the idea

Anyway, don't be in a rush
My procedure is as follows

1) PB blaster 2 to 3 times a day for a couple of days letting the PB seep into the system. Do both holes.
2)Before the next steps wedge the two aluminium arms apart inside so they do not bend when you hit the pin.
3) heat the alumnium not the SS. You heat with propane so it gets hot!!! If you heat the SS it expands in the hole.. need I say more.
4) Put a piece of oak on the pin and hit oak with big hammer. Don't go crazy
5) If it does not come out.. have a beer then
6) repeat 1 to 4..

Good luck!!
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:50   #13
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Use the jumper cable/battery trick to heat the pin/aluminum and or MAPP gas torch. Heat, quench with penetrating oil, repeat many many times, support the mast head and tap pin with a hammer and/or try twisting with vice grips, repeat as necessary. Do not mindlessly beat on the pin as you can mushroom the head and make removal impossible without removing the mushroom with a file. The mast head needs solid support direct to the ground. Without that the mast will flex and absorb the blows of the hammer, blocks or a 2x4 cut to length directly under the masthead will do the trick.

Most effective penetrating fluid is equal mixture of Acetone and Automatic Transmission Oil.

Jumper cable trick to heat up fasteners.

Hook jumper cables up to the battery as you normally would. On the other end put a bolt (1/4" x 2" bolt works fine) in the postive lead clamp of the jumper cable. Clamp the negative lead as close to the stuck fastener as possible. Touch the bolt in the positive lead clamp to the head of the fastener. You set up what is essentially an arc welder. Will heat the fastener to cherry red if left in contact long enough. It also gets the fastener way hotter than you can with a MAPP torch. It works really well as it only heat up the area of the fastener while not burning up the surrounding country side like you do with a torch. It is really the only way to get serious heat to a fastener if there is painted surfaces or plastics close by. Quench the heated fastener with penetrating oil. Try to remove the fastener with an impact driver, either manual or power. Repeat the process till you break the fastener loose. Other than using the trick to remove all the fasteners on a 44 year old mast, used it to get corrosion welded bolts out that passed through substantial aluminum castings on my self steering vane.

Having said the above, the hardest fastener to remove is not one that is threaded into aluminum but one that simply passes through an aluminum casting like cleats, etc. Getting the bolts out of the self steering casting took something north of 25 iterations, heating with the jumper cable and quenching with penetrating oil over many days. A good idea to coat the shaft not just the threads of any fastener in aluminum cleats or castings with Lanocote, TefGel, or other long lasting lubricant.
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Old 28-07-2021, 10:05   #14
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Peter O
Hadn't heard of that trick... I will try it next opportunity!!! which I hope is in a long long time (;-)


Thanks for the trick

Mike
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Old 28-07-2021, 10:20   #15
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Re: How do I get a stainless pin out of an aluminum masthead?

Just my 2pennorth.
Don't forget to soak both sides of the alloy cheeks, and both cheeks, with your chosen freeing liquid. I.e both ends of the pin.
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