The Loctite thread locker is an adhesive designed to hold bolts and screws in place. They prevent components from loosening under stress and vibration.
Thread lockers are available in different strengths. To remove a bolt fixed with Loctite thread locker, you need to know what type of product has been used. Bolts fixed with medium to high strength thread locker can be hard to remove. To do so, you need to use the right technique.
Types of Loctite thread locker
Depending on the thread locker used, the method to remove the bolt varies.
- Low strength (e.g. Loctite 222, “purple”): apply extra torque using hand tools. Low strength thread lockers are generally used for small sized bolts. This grade allows for periodical adjustment.
- Medium strength (e.g. Loctite 243, “blue”): apply extra torque using hand tools. If the bolt does not budge, heat the assembly and try again. This is a general purpose thread locker. It is used for medium-sized fasteners.
- High strength (e.g. Loctite 270, “red”): you will need to apply heat (about 250° C). Then loosen the bolt with hand tools. This grade is used for permanent assemblies. It is very hard to remove.
Using heat to remove a bolt fixed with Loctite thread locker
To remove high strength Loctite thread locker you will need heat, up to 250° C. The heat will soften the thread locker, allowing the bolt to come loose. The bolt will not be damaged.
A bolt fixed with medium strength thread locker (such as Loctite 243) can usually be removed with hand tools. If it’s too stubborn, use heat as detailed below.
For most applications, a simple propane or butane torch will provide enough heat.
- Step 1: Wipe any dust or debris from the bolt. Make sure there is nothing close to the flame that could catch fire. Remove or cover with a heat shield any flammable items. This will prevent fire hazards.
- Step 2: Hold the torch about 7,5 cm (3”) from the bolt. Do not get too close. The barrel of the torch should not touch the bolt.
- Step 3: Touch the blue tip of the flame on the bolt. Move the torch around the bolt to evenly heat it. Keep heating for about two minutes.
- Step 4: Switch to hand tools and remove the bolt. Unfasten while it’s still hot.
Heat breaks down Loctite thread lockers, allowing you to loosen and remove fasteners with regular tools. Make sure to use a correctly sized wrench or socket. A tool with a long breaker bar will allow you to apply the right amount of torque.
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