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Thread: Removing Hot or Cold Nuts?

  1. #1
    Sir Darby Darryl Cainey's Avatar
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    Removing Hot or Cold Nuts?

    Now that I have your attention!

    My (New to me) 1993 R100GS was extremely well looked after with 2 owners and only 14,700 miles.
    I was wondering if the exhaust nuts have ever been loosened at all, seeing no evidence of anti-seize compound.

    I have the proper BMW Nut Removal Tool and am well aware of the perils involved and when to stop turning.

    My question is: Is it better to undo the nuts when they are hot or cold.

    Would Thermal expansion for aluminum on aluminum come into effect?.

    Thanks
    Ambassador BMW MOA Ontario Canada
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    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Darryl -

    Interesting issue. I suppose if you could heat the nuts without heating the header port, you might get some advantage. But the finned nut will dissipate the heat quickly. I'd say try some penetrant, heat the nut, then let it cool....that will suck in the penetrant. Try that a few times. Might help. But as you know, better safe than sorry and cut the exhaust nuts off.
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    My 2 cents worth.

    In my experience in a machine shop, never heat up aluminum on aluminum unless you can guarantee that the nut (in this case) will heat hotter than the head. Heat will tend to soften aluminum in this situation probably making alum on alum gaulding MORE likely, not less.


    We had some success if we would use dry ice on the inner item (hoping to shrink it) and mild, well distributed heat on the external part.

    My recent experience with my own R100. It appeared to me that the exhaust nuts hadn't been off in years, if ever. I took my nut removal tool and tried to rotate one of the nuts without any heat (did use penetrant) with no luck. I did not use any force other than my turning which yielded the whole bike starting to tip. I stopped, and wanted to think about it some more (weeks).

    The next time, I tried, I did a slight heating of the fins only so that some heat would dissipate into the nut, but hopefully NO heat would get to the head. Then I used my wrench (about 1 foot long handle) and lightly tapped with a pretty heavy rubber mallet. I had instant success. I have heard that the danger after getting nut first to move, is that if you keep moving, that is when the gauld will start. So, I lightly reapplied heat (using Bernzomatic) and the nut rotated freely. Added a little more penetrant and rotated nut by hand back and forth as I went to try to distribute penetrant into threads as much as I could.

    No problems - nut further rotated by hand and absolutely zero gaulding.

    Embolden, I did the exact same process to the right side. Had perfect results!

    May not work for you, but two things I would advise: Never force nut - even after getting it to move a little. just keep working it. If it won't go further - cut it off as recommenced by others. Cheaper to purchase a new or used nut than to ruin threads on head. Second, Use heat carefully, never concentrate too much in one place, and try to keep inside item cool by not getting heat on it, if possible, or using cooling methods if possible (regular ice or dry ice, or liquid nitrogen - keep your fingers out of it as it will freeze them in moments). Remember heat rises, so apply heat more from below than from above.

    It is easier to do situations where aluminum is over steel or iron (like a steel screw/bolt screwed into aluminum). Aluminum expands much faster than steel and therefore heating both is less critical as aluminum will expand a lot and steel will only expand a little (relatively)
    Last edited by jimmylee; 01-23-2014 at 05:11 PM.
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    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Pretty much as described, use a propane type torch to heat the nut at the base of the fins, all around. It doesn't have to get really hot, but very warm. It should come off. If not, I'd likely leave it alone and cut it off when the day comes you have to do that.

    Make sure to use COPPER anti-seize, not the gray colored stuff. It is harder to find. I had to order mine from Amazon.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
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    Sir Darby Darryl Cainey's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Make sure to use COPPER anti-seize, not the gray colored stuff.[/QUOTE]

    Why, I have been using the gray stuff for more the 25 years?
    Ambassador BMW MOA Ontario Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by roborider View Post
    Pretty much as described, use a propane type torch to heat the nut at the base of the fins, all around. It doesn't have to get really hot, but very warm. It should come off. If not, I'd likely leave it alone and cut it off when the day comes you have to do that.

    Make sure to use COPPER anti-seize, not the gray colored stuff. It is harder to find. I had to order mine from Amazon.
    Copper is available from NAPA, and I think McMaster Carr & Grainger and many other places. Likely to be at truck repair shops/stores.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Cainey View Post
    Why, I have been using the gray stuff for more the 25 years?
    Personally, I have not understood the infatuation with the copper stuff, because if one removes the nuts regularly if not to just "re-lube" with the aluminum anti-sieze they will still work and can be removed properly.

    I use a little other method in addition. I take a few drops of Marvel Mystery oil or the like to make sure that every thread on both items is lubricated so that the anti-sieze doesn't stay in one spot. Anti sieze needs to be distributed on every thread, the oil helps.

    It is true, however, that the copper is designed to be for "high heat" situations like exhaust nuts. At Rubbermaid the injection machines would get extremely hot so copper is all they used.

    I think the "copper-only" notion was pushed by Chris Harris (with lots of foul language) because he doesn't like the silver type. But I think silver works fine (as attested to here) if one doesn't go another 25 years before re-application of anti-sieze.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  8. #8
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    The copper simply works better in all applications, esp. high heat. I quit using the gray stuff about ten years ago on all applications. Copper works better, and it's only a bit more expensive. Use the best. I don't crack my exhaust nuts yearly. With the copper, I don't worry about it, but for one reason or another, it seems I remove nuts at least every five years for something.

    This is the Chris Harris video mentioned. He does bad mouth Nickel anti seize at about 10:30. Watch the video, it will give you a lot of good advice and help if you need it. With heat, I've never had to cut off a nut. There may be controversy over the point of "is copper better than Nickel." But, since you are talking low cost difference, and no one argues silver is BETTER than Nickel, do yourself a favor and toss out the silver and buy some copper. You can't go wrong, and you might just go right. I for one would NEVER use silver on V8 engine head bolts, it's crap. It looks like concrete after time. Copper is always copper.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRXKC9Yxfug
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
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    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I use the copper type as I found a full bottle while stopped at a signal one day and saw it laying in the debris field. I've had that bottle for about 7 yrs now and many applications. Thank you to somebody!

    I don't think many folks think about regularly adding that step in bike maintenance...have seen some really knarly Oilhead studs at the header flange and nuts that do not come off "easily". If I see corrosion...I tread lightly...PB Blaster, heat...go have a cup of coffee and hold your mouth right.
    I recently removed the collars on the /5 rescue...let those soak for a few days and didn't go crazy with the leverage that big fin wrench can provide.

    I had to remove the headers on a Honda Valkyrie just to remove rear axle for a tire change...every one of the 12 nuts were rusted/corroded and had me ready for that sickening"snap" even after sitting with penetrant. They got slathered with anti-seize for sure even though I prob will never see that bike again...habit.
    Steve Henson
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  10. #10
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    This made me think more about ex. nuts. I've never loosened or reapplied copper anti-seize to the nuts on my 2005 R12RT. But I guess that would not be a bad idea? I must say that without looking, I can't really even picture what they look like!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

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    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    I've given this a great deal of thought but I cannot figure out how this will work on an airhead... motorcycle.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I've given this a great deal of thought but I cannot figure out how this will work on an airhead... motorcycle.
    No idea. Where did you get pic, and what did they say it was supposed to work on? Certainly not the exhaust nuts.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

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    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Well I looked at the R12RT, it does not have spin on nuts like the airheads, so I'm leaving it be.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  14. #14
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roborider View Post
    Well I looked at the R12RT, it does not have spin on nuts like the airheads, so I'm leaving it be.
    no, they are plated cap nuts on our Oil & Hexheads. Still removed and coated them at 24K intervals. I had removed the headers the first time to Jet-Hot them so the anti-seize was a no brainer the first time.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylee View Post
    No idea. Where did you get pic, and what did they say it was supposed to work on? Certainly not the exhaust nuts.
    It just might be a veterinary tool.
    Kevin Huddy
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