Loosening That Last Seized Bolt

Dave needed to remove our watermaker pump so that he could rebuild it (basically, replace the seals).

As anyone who has ever tried to remove anything on a boat knows, one of the four bolts was seized. And that was the one that was impossible to get to. Of course.

Usually, a seized bolt will give way after letting some PB Blaster soak in for a while (we find PB Blaster to work a little better than Liquid Wrench). Dave sprayed and sprayed, even using a little straw thing to direct the spray, but he just couldn’t get the PB Blaster right to the nut in question.

Looking for anything that might help, he finally hit upon an ingenious solution: a syringe. We had several of these for squirting epoxy into some holes — and always have some in Paz’s bag as well, in case we need to give her some medicine.

Dave sprayed some of the PB Blaster into a small cup that he repurposed from the trash and then sucked it up into the syringe. Then he was able to use the syringe to squirt it right on the nut and the joint with the bolt. Fifteen minutes later, after it had time to soak in, he was able to get that last nut off.

Sometimes you can find needleless syringes at the hardware store or home improvement stores — once in a while you can find them in a pharmacy, too, but they tend to be much more expensive and some states require a prescription. Marine stores also usually carry them, also usually at significantly higher prices. I usually buy them on Amazon as they are much cheaper.

And if you haven’t tried PB Blaster,  you should. We find it’s the best penetrating oil ever. You can get it at most automotive or home improvement stores. And Amazon sells it at a great price as an “add-on” item to a larger order!

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12 Comments
  • Joe Maneri
    Posted at 20 November 2015 Reply

    You can buy wd40 with a flexible metal straw. It’s very cool! It would be better if it was on a can of pb blaster tho.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 20 November 2015 Reply

      Yeah. WD40 doesn’t work nearly as well on seized stuff. We have one of the old little red straws from WD-40 that we use with PB-Blaster, or at least I should say we used to . . . until Dave discovered the syringe when the red straw wouldn’t reach (there wasn’t room for the can anywhere near where it needed to get to).

  • Vonnie Hummert
    Posted at 20 November 2015 Reply

    Feed stores are a good and affordable source of syringes. Thanks for another good post, Carolyn!

  • Ted Broom
    Posted at 20 November 2015 Reply

    PB was always the lead product for mechanics to use but as of late, mine recommended SeaFoam Deep Creep. I have been using if for a couple years now and find that it works better and doesn’t smell as “distinct” as does PB.
    Ted

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 21 November 2015 Reply

      Thanks! Hadn’t heard of it.

      • Ted Broom
        Posted at 21 November 2015 Reply

        It can be found in most auto sections. WalMart carries it also. Well worth a try…

  • Pete
    Posted at 21 November 2015 Reply

    Mix transmission fluid & acetone in equal proportions, use an old style pump oil can to apply. This sulution is much cheaper and works better the any of the commercial products including PB Blaster!

  • Ed Baker
    Posted at 24 November 2015 Reply

    PB Blaster works most of the time, but I’ve found Aero Kroil by Kano Labs to be better. It is super slippery and works at the molecular level to release the bond.

  • Rosalind Franks
    Posted at 06 October 2016 Reply

    That PB blaster is amazing!!

  • Chuck Weldele
    Posted at 07 October 2016 Reply

    Bolt cutters are great too. Used them today on a few of the U-bolts that were seized while taking down the solar panels in preparation for Matthew. Didn’t want to take too much time since the winds were increasing.

  • Mike Keller
    Posted at 09 February 2017 Reply

    I’ll second Kroil. Can be purchased as either an aerosol or non aerosol. I keep both around. With it I removed a 45 year old car suspension with zero effort. I’m restoring an older trawler that had salt water slung around the engine room due to a leaky prop shaft. The week before I am going to start on a project involving questionable bolts, I just hit it with the Kroil. I have not broken a single bolt or fitting. Magical stuff. Only headache, I’ve never seen it sold in stores. Have to buy it online.

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