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Penetrating Oils - Which works best on Rusted Nuts & Bolts

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    • 10950 posts
    November 2, 2012 5:06 AM PDT

    Machinist's Workshop Magazine recently published some information on various penetrating oils. The magazine reports they tested penetrates for break out torque on rusted nuts.They are below. They arranged a subjective test of all the popular penetrates with the control being the torque required to remove the nut from a "scientifically rusted" environment.

    Penetrating oils ........... Average torque load to loosen

    No Oil used ................... 516 pounds
    WD-40 ..................... ... 238 pounds
    PB Blaster .................... 214 pounds
    Liquid Wrench ...............127 pounds
    Kano Kroil .................... 106 pounds
    ATF*-Acetone mix............53 pounds


    The ATF-Acetone mix is a "home brew" mix of 50 - 50 automatic transmission fluid and acetone. Note this "home brew" released bolts better than any commercial product in this one particular test.


    ATF-Acetone mix is best, but you can also use ATF and lacquer thinner in a 50-50 mix.

    *ATF=Automatic Transmission Fluid.


    This post was edited by BusinessEditor at February 11, 2017 12:12 PM PST
    • 5353 posts
    November 2, 2012 5:18 AM PDT
    Never heard that one before. I've got an old go cart that sat outside for ever I will be working on soon. This should come in handy!
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    • 10950 posts
    November 2, 2012 5:29 AM PDT
    PB Blaster is what I've always used, but I'm going to try this. :-)
  • November 2, 2012 6:52 AM PDT
    I dont know the stats on this but it always worked well for me
    MARVEL MYSTRY OIL! might be a little easier on the fingers.
  • November 2, 2012 11:14 AM PDT
    Excellent post! Especially for us girls that aren't super strong.
    • 828 posts
    November 3, 2012 6:57 AM PDT
    Always used Liquid Wrench in the past. I will try this next time. Do you know if it is okay to mix these and store them in a small bottle.
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    November 4, 2012 3:16 AM PST
    Probably, I'm going to put my mixture in an old lacquer thinner can, and use a squeeze oilier to apply it on the rusted stuff.
  • November 4, 2012 6:46 PM PST
    Thanks for the tip. I have always used liquid wrench on my old VW's but i'll be given the tranny fluid and acetone a shot next time. Did it recommend only mixing enough that you were going to use right away or can you store it?
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    • 10950 posts
    November 5, 2012 2:57 AM PST
    wheels wrote...
    Thanks for the tip. I have always used liquid wrench on my old VW's but i'll be given the tranny fluid and acetone a shot next time. Did it recommend only mixing enough that you were going to use right away or can you store it?








    This info came to me from a friend in Ohio that does body-off restorations on muscle cars.

    I guess you can store it, I'd shake it up before using it, I'd think it would separate after setting.

    I too thought VW, my dunebuggy chassis.
    I don't keep extra metric hardware around, so if I can save what is there.............

    • 2769 posts
    November 7, 2012 6:31 AM PST
    Thanks for sharing this.I use Liquid Wrench,and have had good results,yet the homemade stuff sounds like a no brainer.
  • November 8, 2012 11:32 AM PST
    I'll have to try that. I use Kroil at work, but sometimes when we are prepping a unit before shutdown, we use PAM on the hot bolts. It does a helluva job and doesn't flash off at high temps like some solvents do.
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    • 10950 posts
    November 8, 2012 3:03 PM PST
    I use a PAM type product (non-flavored) so welding splatter doesn't stick to exposed metal while MIG welding.
    • 848 posts
    December 3, 2012 2:58 AM PST
    We work with lots of old rusted hardware out in the fields. I have to give the ATF and Acetone a try.

    Thanks John
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    • 10950 posts
    December 3, 2012 4:38 PM PST
    You are most welcome my friend.
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    • 10950 posts
    February 4, 2013 4:30 AM PST
    Surprising you mentioned that. :-)
    • 719 posts
    February 4, 2013 5:40 AM PST
    when using ATF and Acetone use in a well ventilated area do to the Acetone,,, and brake fluid works good to....
    • 5353 posts
    February 4, 2013 11:29 AM PST
    Gotta say I used the ATF and Acetone last week helping a buddy with his lawn mower and it worked better than anything I have ever tried.
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    February 4, 2013 2:56 PM PST
    COOL! :-)
  • February 4, 2013 3:15 PM PST
    Hey thanks for bringing this post back to the top. As a farmer, I'm always trying to losen rusty bolts. I never had much luck with penatrating oil, PB buster, liquid wrench or anything else for that matter. I usually resort to a torch to loosen rusty nuts. Can't wait to try the new snake oil.
  • February 5, 2013 12:37 AM PST
    Nice! I'll give it a try.

    I WAS a loyal WD-40 user before they designed that ABSOLUTELY IDIOTIC "smart straw" nozzle. It only stays on if you are as dainty as an old lady. I switched to Liquid Wrench. Seems to work well but, again, thanks for the tip.
    • 5353 posts
    February 11, 2017 12:21 PM PST

    I had almost forgot about this until last week.  I needed to replace the battery in my truck.  The nut & bolt on the negative terminal were completely corroded.  I tried a little pressure on the nut and didn't budge.  Since this is the typical caggaige bolt in the square hole I didn't want to use too much force and round the hole.  Then I remembered this post.  I mixed up the accetone (wifes nail polish remover) and auto transmission fluid and dripped some on 3 times about 10 minutes apart and let it sit for about an hour.  The nut broke loose but wouldn't come off.  I dripped more on and rocked the nut back and forth several times and it finally came right off.

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    • 12645 posts
    February 12, 2017 5:59 AM PST

    Thanks for reviving this. I'll have some need with my new/used Jeep project.

    • 1824 posts
    February 12, 2017 9:39 AM PST

    RexTheRoadDog said:

    Thanks for reviving this. I'll have some need with my new/used Jeep project.

     

    Had a few jeeps in my day.  More rust issues in more places.  But I still love 'em.  Have fun.

    • 19 posts
    February 12, 2017 3:03 PM PST

    Tried tranny fluid and acceton worked great also check out the 

    BOLT-GRIP Bolt Extractor Set - 5-Pc By Irwin tools 

    They work great even on torx heads dont ask how i know damn TORX bolts

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    February 13, 2017 6:18 AM PST

    Jimmyacorn said:

    RexTheRoadDog said:

    Thanks for reviving this. I'll have some need with my new/used Jeep project.

     

    Had a few jeeps in my day.  More rust issues in more places.  But I still love 'em.  Have fun.

     

    YEP, actually fun to work on and a blast to drive out in the desert. One of the advantages of desert living is minimal rust. My last CJ was from the Northeast US and the frame rusted away. I sold it for parts. When I was looking for one the most important thing was frame and body condition, and second was a good drive line. This one (86 CJ-7) has only surface frame rust and one small place of body rust with an excellent drive train.