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Thread: Impact wrench or Breaker bar

  1. #1
    Merlin III
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    Impact wrench or Breaker bar

    I am attempting to remove the top nuts on the forks of my 1150GS so that I can drop the forks and re-route the brake line and cables for a ROX riser installation. I can't break the nuts with my 6 inch ratchet so I either have to get a breaker bar or an impact wrench. Are there any recommendations here? The torque value for the nuts is 40lbs. They may be over tightened or be some degree of seized up.

    I went to Sears today and all they seemed to have were impact wrenches. What would be best, a 2 ft breaker bar or a plug in electric impact wrench? Any brand recommendations?

  2. #2
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    I keep a 12 inch breaker bar in my toolkit on the bike. You very seldom need more than that. What kind of bolts are they? If hex head, use a 6 point rather than 12 point socket.
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  3. #3
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    What size is the nut- 10 or 12 mm? I'd soak it with any of the brand name penetrating oils and use a standard size 3/8 breaker bar. I'd try to tighten a smidge then loosen a smidge and work it loose. If that doesn't work, I'd move to a hand impact (hit with a hammer) driver to kinda shock it loose. A quick spin with say a half inch air impact will probably snap the bolt. Good luck. OM
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  4. #4
    Merlin III
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    The nuts are 14Mn hex.

  5. #5
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
    The nuts are 14Mn hex.
    Same deal. The inherently shorter length of the 3/8 breaker bar helps from applying too much force. Go easy, as no doubt from age and salt exposure, there is some corrosion. OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200
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  6. #6
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    I once bought an 18 inch breaker bar, but only ever needed it once on a counter sprocket nut. Big bar, 1/2 inch drive (but still cheaper than bringing the bike to a shop).

    The 10" or 12" 3/8 drive breaker bar is the one that gets a workout when I do bike maint. If you need more oomph, put a short pipe over it or whack it with a hammer. That's why I like 6 point sockets. They won't slip like 12 point ones sometimes do.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

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  7. #7
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Use some KROIL (the oil that creeps) and alternately use a breaker bar to tighten/loosen the nut. If the nut was fastened with thread lock use your wifes hair drier on the nut the use a suitable wrench or breaker bar. Patience can avoid many problems as brute force many times leads to costly & time consuming repairs.
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  8. #8
    Merlin III
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rpbump View Post
    Use some KROIL (the oil that creeps) and alternately use a breaker bar to tighten/loosen the nut. If the nut was fastened with thread lock use your wifes hair drier on the nut the use a suitable wrench or breaker bar. Patience can avoid many problems as brute force many times leads to costly & time consuming repairs.
    RIDE SAFE
    Well I tried Kroil and a breaker bar to no avail. Is it standard procedure for BMW shops to use thread lock on the top fork stud-nut? Is a standard hair dryer enough or do I need something something a little stronger? I am not exactly sure what that something would be. I would be a little nervous trying to heat up the nut-stud with a propane torch?

  9. #9
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    NO! on the impact! Better to try the breaker with a 6 pt as stated and to tap the bar end with a soft blow hammer while also using the Kroil or similar. May also help to just go ahead and beat on the breaker bar with a ball peen hammer to give an extra "shock" to the part. The use of an impact there will cause something to give & you may not like the result.

  10. #10
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    It is not clear to me which fasteners we are talking about. My assumption was it was the fasteners that hold the top of the forks to what might be called the triple tree at the top. If so, I strongly suspect they have been treated with a high strength thread locker. Not sure, but that is my hunch.

    That is precisely what BMW usually does with what they believe are critical suspension system fasteners. Given the size of the stud, excess force could easily shear it before the thread locker would release. That will be expensive.

    Usually the pinpoint application of heat to the fastener is required if they used high strength thread locker. I wouldn't go any further without consulting a factory repair manual.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  11. #11
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    Nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    It is not clear to me which fasteners we are talking about. My assumption was it was the fasteners that hold the top of the forks to what might be called the triple tree at the top. If so, I strongly suspect they have been treated with a high strength thread locker. Not sure, but that is my hunch.

    That is precisely what BMW usually does with what they believe are critical suspension system fasteners. Given the size of the stud, excess force could easily shear it before the thread locker would release. That will be expensive.

    Usually the pinpoint application of heat to the fastener is required if they used high strength thread locker. I wouldn't go any further without consulting a factory repair manual.
    Paul is right, they do have blue thread lock on them. Use a heat gun till they are about 150 deg. They will still be tight but mushy. You will have to hold the tube with your hand.

  12. #12
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    +1 on what Paul said. I just did my seals recently and those nuts are threadlocked for sure. Looking in the factory manual it says they used Loctite 2701. Fork diagram assembly shows the heat gun at 120C.

    I found heating the nut with a pinpoint flame worked pretty well in this location.
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  13. #13
    Merlin III
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    Yes, that nut is on top of the triple tree. Thanks for all the great help. Now for an education on heat guns or pinpoint flame devices. Would something like a soldering iron placed judiciously on the nut do the job or is there a specific device called a "heat gun" that I should purchase? If anyone has brand names or devices it would be very helpful. Thanks again.

    (Edit, after researching Loctite) I would have to guess that someone used red Loctite on these nuts. After reading articles on the subject, a lot of people say that you can break Blue Loctite with a breaker bar. The subject bond seems nearer to a weld to me, but then again my experience level is low.
    Last edited by Merlin III; 11-19-2012 at 01:53 PM.

  14. #14
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    Heat Gun

    Harbor Freight has heat guns on the cheap, and the quality is OK for items that are basically a little fan and a heating element. These guns may look like a hair dryer, but they operate at much higher temperatures. Don't dry your hair with one of these!

    These are usually safer to use than an open flame for many applications, and the "brute force" alternative is a bad choice when talking about a fastener that has been threadlocked with something requiring high-temperature release.

    Good comment on tapping a breaker-bar with a METAL ball-peen if a dead-blow hammer fails. Vibration can "crack" the corrosion and loosen the fitting, and if you have access to the fitting itself, tap directly or with a drift before applying pressure or heat and see if it releases.

    Depending on what kind of "life" an older bike has had, ("You don't know where that's been!") fasteneners can look OK on the outside, but will have lots of corrosion on the threads when removed.

    Patience, and the application of reasonable force + penetrating oil works wonders. Sometimes TWO DAYS worth of Liquid Wrench, Kroil, PB Blaster, etc. is called-for. Waiting is better than expensive repairs to critical threads. . . and it's WAY better than the feeling of that bolt twisting off. . .DAMHIK

    Walking Eagle

  15. #15
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    A shop heat gun is $10 at Harbor Freight. Mini torch flames work if used carefully. Unlkely a soldering iron will do it well unless you've got one of the old 250W or more ones.
    Due to shrining electronics, most of todays irons are wimpy and for tiny stuff. A soldeing iron is slow and will tend to heat the whole part before it gets anything hot enough to break a threadlocker on bigger stuff. (I get a lot of use out of my almost 50 year old Weller that can do 325 W)

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