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guy who bikes
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got a new handlebar and stem because its a 31.8 instead of 25.4. I ran into a problem when I went to remove the old Thomson stem and one of the bolts wouldn't budge. I haven't stripped it yet, and I've soaked it in Pedro's citrus degreaser, but no luck yet. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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Try some WD-40 or Liquid Wrench instead. If you don't have either some penetrating oil will help. Tri-flow, sewing machine oil, pull the dipstick out of your car, and drip some oil on the screw, any lubricant will be better than the degreaser.

The citrus degreaser is a solvent, probably has a fair amount of water in it too. On my Thomson stems they use screws with a black oxide finish. They also anodize their stems. Anodized finishes are oxide layers too. The oxide layers are similar enough that they stick together. I have a feeling the citrus degreaser might have cleaned off some dirt, but sped up the two oxide layers becoming one. That might not be entirely correct, but anytime I put black oxide screw into aluminum parts I have problems.

You need some lubricant in between the threads of the screw and stem.

To break the screw loose you can place an Allen Wrench in the socket head screw and give it some sharp whacks with a hammer. Not really hard, but sharp and quick. Doing that can break down the oxide layer fusing between the stem and the bolt.
 

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Go to your local auto parts store or Wal-Mart and get a can of PB Blaster...Its the best penetrant I've ever used. Let it soak over night...tap on the bolt a few times and repeat. If the bolt doesn't loosen after that, then use a heat gun to apply heat to the part around the bolt. If it still refuses to budge...then I would kill myself. (just a joke, of course:p )

Bottom line, that should work. Keep us updated.

Mikey
 

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guy who bikes
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the advice guys. I've got it soaking in some WD-40 overnight, it's the best I had at home, and then tomorrow I'll try to track down a torque wrench or rachet and give it a try. thanks again.
 

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Don't try to break it free with torque wrench, unless it's not yours and/or you don't care if it works properly when you're done. Get a breaker bar or a ratchet to break it free. Make sure the hex bit is fully inserted into the head of the bolt to prevent it from stripping out.
 

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pedal_bob said:
thanks for the advice guys. I've got it soaking in some WD-40 overnight, it's the best I had at home, and then tomorrow I'll try to track down a torque wrench or rachet and give it a try. thanks again.
I had the same problem with my stem a few years ago; I'd torqued the bolts to 60 in/lbs, when the spec says to go to 48 (I mis-remembered the specs), and one of the bolts froze like a mutha. Eventually, I had to cut the damn thing in half with a dremel. Drilling it out was nearly impossible. Good luck!
 

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I'd HIGHLY suggest ensuring your tools are of reasonable quality. Don't try and break it free with JobMate stuff, or something you purchased from a convenience store bargain bin.

As for using a torque wrench, you'll shear the head off that bolt before you miscalibrate a torque wrench ... but a breaker bar WOULD be more ideal. Noting that, a normal human should be able to shear the heads off those bolts with just hand tightening using real allen keys (albiet, alot of force, but doable)
 

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Hit the stem body (not the screw) with a heat gun (the kind used for wallpaper removal, etc.), or a couple of quick, light passes with a propane torch. This will help the body expand away from the fastener.


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RSW42 said:
Hit the stem body (not the screw) with a heat gun (the kind used for wallpaper removal, etc.), or a couple of quick, light passes with a propane torch. This will help the body expand away from the fastener.

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which stem? x4 or elite. If elite you probably backed one bolt all the away out and the other bolt is 'stuck'. Its not stuck its binding you have to back both bolts out at the same time about a half turn at a time. If you put the bolt you took out back in and tighten it i bet the 'stuck' bolt will turn.
 

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guy who bikes
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the advice guys. After soaking it in degreaser and then WD-40 and then trying to screw the other bolt in and try (it is an Elite), I took it to my LBS and when they couldn't get anything to work, we went ahead and drilled it out.
 

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Glad you got it out. I had a similar problem with a couple of allen bolts being stuck inside a motorcycle cylinder head. I absolutely could not get them out and was using enough force to twist the allen sockets. A couple of sharp taps on the head of the bolt with a hammer and they came right out.
 
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