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Possibly Pre-Stripped Seatpost Bolt - Options

Old 02-09-14, 07:57 PM
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Possibly Pre-Stripped Seatpost Bolt - Options?

Hey y'all.

Maybe I'm worrying too much, but when I insert an allen socket into my recessed seat post binder bolt (lugged) it seems there's a bit more play than I'm comfortable with. Looking into the bolt it seems like the edges may have started to strip a bit. What do you suggest I do? Is there any way to get my allen socket to fit tighter in the bolt? Would LBS have better tools/know how for this? What if I strip the bolt (it's tight in the back -- no gap to saw through.) BTW, I don't have much in the way of tools, so if I can't get it with an allen wrench I probably need to get some help.

First do no harm, right? Thanks.

PS: "Itegral" seatpost bolt -- screws right into the lug?
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Old 02-09-14, 08:05 PM
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Why don't you just replace the bolt with new? BTW Dremeling with a fiber cut off wheel is a quick way to cut through small bolts. Andy.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for the reply. The issues is I'm not sure I can loosen the bolt out without stripping it. And the seatpost lug anchors (ie the tabs the bolt tightens) are too tight to allow for any sawing/dremeling between them. So if it strips I'm guessing I'd need some kind of "EZ Out" solution.

Re: "Integral": it looks like the bolt screws directly into the seat lug (no nut).
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Old 02-09-14, 08:21 PM
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Try something imperial and see if that gives you a better fit.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:23 PM
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Replace the bolt, they are cheap. Do so carefully, but it's your basic M8 by maybe 20 or 22mm bolt. Need one? I have a drawer full, yours for free. If it's already too far gone, head for the lBS or hardware store and buy the next larger size in SAE instead of metric.

Then throw the old bolt away and get yourself a good hex wrench.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:24 PM
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You don't mention what size of allen the bolt takes, something that works amazingly well are: https://www.amazon.com/Alden-8430P-Gr.../dp/B000H6PM32
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Old 02-09-14, 08:47 PM
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The socket I have that's closest is 5mm. I tried what I think is the next size Imperial and it's too big. I assume the bolt is replaceable -- my fear is that it will strip before it loosens.

So perhaps the easiest way to phrase my question is: If you're something of a noob and you're afraid you'll strip your seatpost binder bolt when trying to loosen it should you 1) go for it and trust that the LBS can bail you out if it strips or 2) take it straight to the LBS to prevent a potentially much bigger headache later.

I'm already leaning toward #2 . I don't want to ruin my frame by messing up the seat post clamp / lug, and they surely have more mojo than me. But do let me know if you've got any ideas. Thanks again.

Last edited by jethin; 02-09-14 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 02-09-14, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jethin View Post
Thanks for the reply. The issues is I'm not sure I can loosen the bolt out without stripping it. And the seatpost lug anchors (ie the tabs the bolt tightens) are too tight to allow for any sawing/dremeling between them. So if it strips I'm guessing I'd need some kind of "EZ Out" solution.

Re: "Integral": it looks like the bolt screws directly into the seat lug (no nut).
the difficulty of getting the bolt out, to replace it, is the same whether you strip it using what you've got or try an alternative. both present the same problem. removing a bolt without the use of a wrench that will work. so if it were me i would try it with what i've got. it it strips, so be it. THEN you can try to get it out without using a wrench.

of course, maybe you are using the wrong wrench. in which case trying something else might be appropriate, as mentioned above.

BTW, most of my hex socket binder bolts look a little stripped. it happens over the years...

Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 02-09-14 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 02-09-14, 09:57 PM
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So the Op's comment about the binder ears being closed up makes me think more then the bolt is needing to be dealt with.

First- Is the current set up holding the post in place well. And does the post/seat need to have a height change. And Is the post frozen in place.

Second- Why are the binder ears closed up. Are they distorted from over tightening. Was too small a post used. Does the bolt fit without any bending needed during it's tightening (is the head of the bolt still square with the threaded section of the bolt).

Third- What is the size of the bolt (i know some one claimed to know by stating what size it was but i don't believe long distance size claims until a measurement is actually made).

It seems to me that if the binder ears are actually closed up on them selves then post holding issues are in the future. And fixing this aspect of the situation is needed sooner or later. If the frame is worth it then the OP might get the bolt removed and replaced and at the same time get the binder slot opened up. Checking the post diameter after bolt removal and before doing much more should be part of this process. If it's found that the post is stuck then a rethinking will be in order. Of course if the bolt gets ruined during it's removal and then the post won't come out (is stuck) then there's no need to replace the bolt . Andy.
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Old 02-10-14, 12:03 PM
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(it's tight in the back -- no gap to saw through.)
suggests more issues of undersized seat post .. and warping the frane to get it to not slip down.


Expensive but IMO, Right way, [ I doubt you are going want to have a proper machinists fix.. of shop time. ]

Buy 1 size up of seat post , spread the frame slot, and the pinch bolt-ears back out..
then carefully use an adjustable hand reamer ..

and cut out the inside of the frame tube until the seatpost, you bought oversize, just barely slips in ..

then, with the fit a closer tolerance, the bolt wont have to squeeze the ears so far ..
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Old 02-10-14, 12:05 PM
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Try something imperial and see if that gives you a better fit.
or Torx
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Old 02-10-14, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
So the Op's comment about the binder ears being closed up makes me think more then the bolt is needing to be dealt with...
It's possible the seatpost is too small -- I didn't install it. It does seem to be holding in place. In any case, I think before I can deal with any binder ear/tab issues I need to get the seatpost out.

I'm out of my league here, so I'm going to go to LBS. The way I see it: 1) they are able to loosen the bolt -- perhaps with a better tool than my Nashbar socket -- and we go from there or 2) the bolt strips and we go from there or 3) we decide to leave it and it stays forever at the current height.

For what it's worth I think the bolt will loosen. I'm just trying to avoid feeling like a complete ass if I did strip it. I still don't know what my options would be if it strips. If a stripped seatpost bolt would endanger the frame's integrity (or cost me a lot of $$$ or headaches) I'd probably just leave it as is.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-11-14, 06:36 AM
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jethin, you keep talking about 'stripping the bolt' but we're confused: Usually 'stripping the bolt' means destroying the male threads on the shaft of the bolt, maybe destroying the female threads that the bolt screws into. However your description sounds like your seat bolt has a socket head and your concern is buggering the socket head of the bolt so you cannot back it out. If that's the case then first use plenty of rust busting liquid (Liquid Wrench, WD-40, CRC, etc - whatever is safe for your frame and paint) to loosen the metal to metal interface at the threads. Then try other allen keys, even fractional sizes to see if another grabs ok. Check to see if there are impact keys in that size. On my mower spindle bolts only impact sockets will grip tight enough. They are made to closer tolerances than standard tools due to the demands of the impact wrench.

Also inspect the socket to see if the key can fully insert. There may be deformed metal keeping the key only half way inserted and much more prone to strip out the hex socket. I could use a fine dremel bit to clean up the inside of the socket - almost a last ditch plan though. Then you can buy 'easy out' type bolt extractors. The trouble is they may need more depth than you have and drilling the hole deeper will be a problem with the hardened steel bolt.

Another last ditch, hail mary play would be to get someone to spot weld a hex key into the socket (hope your frame is steel.....). Only the best welders allowed here - maybe a drag racer shop. This will destroy the bolt and the key but will at least get the thing out so you can start over.

Oh, once you've been given the chance to start over: back that bolt out once/year, when you're winter bench racing, and re-tighten it. I loosen and re-tighten my seat bolts, seat posts and stems once each year to prevent them and their hardware from getting stuck. An ounce of prevention......
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Old 02-11-14, 08:20 AM
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Is the round head of the bolt exposed or is it inside the clamp body? If outside, just put a small vise grip on it and turn it out using the circumference of the head rather than the hex cut out. Once it is not under tension, you can use your 5 mm Allen wrench for the rest of the job getting it out.
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Old 02-11-14, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
jethin, you keep talking about 'stripping the bolt' but we're confused: Usually 'stripping the bolt' means destroying the male threads on the shaft of the bolt, maybe destroying the female threads that the bolt screws into. However your description sounds like your seat bolt has a socket head and your concern is buggering the socket head of the bolt so you cannot back it out.
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Is the round head of the bolt exposed or is it inside the clamp body?
Bingo on the second description Prowler!!! I'm not talking about the threads -- I'm talking about the bolt's head. The bolt socket / hole is allen type, I believe 5mm. It's this socket that appears to be stripping -- there's some play when I insert my wrench. The bolt appears to screw directly into the far side binder ear / tab -- there's no "nut" / female part that I can see. The seat binder tabs are attached to the seatpost lug. The bolt head is recessed into one of the tabs.

Sorry, I can't find any representative pictures. Something like this, but with the bolt screwed in:

https://s24.photobucket.com/user/d3pl...tube2.jpg.html

Penetrating oil is a good idea. But if I'm in danger of needing a welder's help I'd probably leave it as is.
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Old 02-11-14, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jethin View Post
Bingo on the second description Prowler!!! I'm not talking about the threads -- I'm talking about the bolt's head. The bolt socket / hole is allen type, I believe 5mm. It's this socket that appears to be stripping -- there's some play when I insert my wrench. The bolt appears to screw directly into the far side binder ear / tab -- there's no "nut" / female part that I can see. The seat binder tabs are attached to the seatpost lug. The bolt head is recessed into one of the tabs.

Sorry, I can't find any representative pictures. Something like this, but with the bolt screwed in:

https://s24.photobucket.com/user/d3pl...tube2.jpg.html

Penetrating oil is a good idea. But if I'm in danger of needing a welder's help I'd probably leave it as is.
So the bolt head is "submerged" into the clamp fixture. I have one just like that. I assume you are inserting your wrench into the Drive Side (DS) where there is always a hex shaped hole. What happens if you try to insert a small screwdriver between the opposite points of the hex hole? If your had just the right size, you could tap it in with a mallet, and as the screwdriver went in deeper the sloped sides would gradually tighten up in the hole. That might allow you to unscrew the bolt.

Is any of the bolt sticking out of the non-drive side. Can you get a grip on it with a vise grip and turn it while also turning the head using an Allen wrench. With that help, you may get enough purchase on the damaged hex hole to keep from stripping it any further.
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Old 02-11-14, 03:20 PM
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An impact driver like this https://toolmonger.com/2009/07/30/imp...impact-driver/ should work. I've used these on screws and bolts that have seemed impossibly stuck. I also would consider slicing between the ears with a Dremel cut-off wheel. The kerf would be so thin it shouldn't affect usability once you get through the bolt.
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Old 02-11-14, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Coal Buster View Post
An impact driver like this https://toolmonger.com/2009/07/30/imp...impact-driver/ should work. I've used these on screws and bolts that have seemed impossibly stuck. I also would consider slicing between the ears with a Dremel cut-off wheel. The kerf would be so thin it shouldn't affect usability once you get through the bolt.
I wouldn't slice the bolt before finding out if the hex hole will hold up. How will OP get the left half of the bolt unthreaded? Sure there are ways, but it won't be easy.
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Old 02-11-14, 03:55 PM
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Hey thanks again for all the replies everyone. The first order of business will be to see if the bolt will loosen without the allen head getting "stripped". Maybe it will and I will sacrifice a Taco to the Lord.

My main question is, if the seatpost binder bolt head "strips" will I or my LBS still be able to remove it? And more specifically, would this be a complete pain in the @#$. Because if it would be I may not even try to loosen it in the first place.

Note: the bolt can't be cut -- the tabs are too close together. Yes, this is another problem. The binder tabs/ears may need to be expanded after the seatpost is out.

Here's my take: if the bolt head strips my LBS can probably unscrew it -- possibly using some type of easy out solution. But before I do anything I'm going to take it to them and get their 2 cents, and possibly a better allen key if they have one.

THANKS!
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Old 02-11-14, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jethin View Post
Hey thanks again for all the replies everyone. The first order of business will be to see if the bolt will loosen without the allen head getting "stripped". Maybe it will and I will sacrifice a Taco to the Lord.

My main question is, if the seatpost binder bolt head "strips" will I or my LBS still be able to remove it? And more specifically, would this be a complete pain in the @#$. Because if it would be I may not even try to loosen it in the first place.

Note: the bolt can't be cut -- the tabs are too close together. Yes, this is another problem. The binder tabs/ears may need to be expanded after the seatpost is out.

Here's my take: if the bolt head strips my LBS can probably unscrew it -- possibly using some type of easy out solution. But before I do anything I'm going to take it to them and get their 2 cents, and possibly a better allen key if they have one.

THANKS!
Yes, an easy out of some size and design will likely work. As for the tabs, I think others are recommending you actually cut between them even with them being close together. Actually cut some paint and metal. I will stay out of that discussion.

But you should be aware that the ears touching could be part of your problem. That could indicate the clamp was overtightened and when the bolt wouldn't turn any more, the head was damaged. Use a torque wrench next time when you get the new bolt in there.
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Old 02-11-14, 05:51 PM
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here's what i would do:

1) i'd put a LOT of penetrating oil all over that bolt/clamp area. the more the better. then let it sit. and like that Baptists, total submersion if possible. the longer, the better. i'm talking days here, if you can be that patient.

2) put a hex socket on there, if you have access to multiples, use the tightest fitting one. if you can, slip some tin foil in there, or something that you think can work better, to help tighten the connection. just a thought here...

3) grab your rabbit's foot, say a prayer (to your god of choice), don't pout or cry for a week prior to this, cross your fingers and toes, whistle a happy tune, keep the socket head square to the bolt. and give'r hell.

4) if it works, be happy.

5) if not, take to the LBS (of course, i wouldn't do this. this is my recommendation to you), explain the situation. i.e. it's not YOUR fault, you BOUGHT it this way, or you can blame it on some BS recommendation you got from some jackass on an internet forum. not even a lie really.

6) they will probably try to drill it out enough to get an Easyout in there. if THAT fails. they can just drill the whole thing out being careful to not completely destroy the threaded portion on the opposite side of the gap. then you buy a new stainless metric bolt (ACE hardware) and use that. if, by chance, they, or you, manage to destroy the threaded portion of the clamp, just drill it out, get a longer bolt and a washer (optional) and nut to fit and run it all the way through. it may not look as nice as the original, but in many respects would not have been a bad way to do it in the first place.

BTW, i've got one of those seatpost clamp arrangements on a bike i own. the hexhead is probably a little loose too. good luck. it's not at the rabbit's foot stage with it yet, but i do whistle a happy tune...

and if you decide to not take this advice, and i can't think of any compelling reason why you should, and you have to take it to the hall of shame (LBS mechanic), feel free to blame that unidentified jackass on the internet for giving you bad advice.

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Old 02-11-14, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
I wouldn't slice the bolt before finding out if the hex hole will hold up. How will OP get the left half of the bolt unthreaded? Sure there are ways, but it won't be easy.
Both ends should be free after cutting as I understand the setup.
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Old 02-11-14, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Coal Buster View Post
Both ends should be free after cutting as I understand the setup.
No, the NDS side of the clamp is theaded. There is no separate nut.
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Old 02-11-14, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Yes, an easy out of some size and design will likely work. As for the tabs, I think others are recommending you actually cut between them even with them being close together. Actually cut some paint and metal. I will stay out of that discussion.

But you should be aware that the ears touching could be part of your problem. That could indicate the clamp was overtightened and when the bolt wouldn't turn any more, the head was damaged. Use a torque wrench next time when you get the new bolt in there.
Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
here's what i would do:

1) i'd put a LOT of penetrating oil all over that bolt/clamp area. the more the better. then let it sit. and like that Baptists, total submersion if possible. the longer, the better. i'm talking days here, if you can be that patient.

2) put a hex socket on there, if you have access to multiples, use the tightest fitting one. if you can, slip some tin foil in there, or something that you think can work better, to help tighten the connection. just a thought here...

3) grab your rabbit's foot, say a prayer (to your god of choice), don't pout or cry for a week prior to this, cross your fingers and toes, whistle a happy tune, keep the socket head square to the bolt. and give'r hell.

4) if it works, be happy.

5) if not, take to the LBS (of course, i wouldn't do this. this is my recommendation to you), explain the situation. i.e. it's not YOUR fault, you BOUGHT it this way, or you can blame it on some BS recommendation you got from some jackass on an internet forum. not even a lie really.

6) they will probably try to drill it out enough to get an Easyout in there. if THAT fails. they can just drill the whole thing out being careful to not completely destroy the threaded portion on the opposite side of the gap. then you buy a new stainless metric bolt (ACE hardware) and use that. if, by chance, they, or you, manage to destroy the threaded portion of the clamp, just drill it out, get a longer bolt and a washer (optional) and nut to fit and run it all the way through. it may not look as nice as the original, but in many respects would not have been a bad way to do it in the first place.

BTW, i've got one of those seatpost clamp arrangements on a bike i own. the hexhead is probably a little loose too. good luck. i'm not to the rabbit's foot stage with it yet, but i do whistle a happy tune...

and if you decide to not take this advice, and i can't think of any compelling reason why you should, and you have to take it to the hall of shame (LBS mechanic), feel free to blame that unidentified jackass on the internet for giving you bad advice.
Thanks rpenmanparker & hueyhoolihan for really stepping up here. hueyhoolihan -- that's pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. But as much as I want to go at this thing I'm going to take it to my LBS. They are smarter and have more/better tools than me (and I need cables anyhow.) Plus if they screw it up I'll have someone else to blame. In any case I'll start soaking and be on my best behavior for the next few days.

I owe y'all a beer sometime. Cheers!
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Old 02-12-14, 06:13 AM
  #25  
Prowler 
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Originally Posted by jethin View Post
as much as I want to go at this thing I'm going to take it to my LBS. They are smarter and have more/better tools than me (and I need cables anyhow.)
You're lucky to have skilled techs at your LBS. Many of ours have few skilled folks who could handle this. NOT machinists. Most just learned a bit o wrenching as kids and then got a book of LBS procedures and a set of Park tools. You're lucky.

Did you tell us what material frame this is? Steel? Having a machinist slice the pinched seat tube lugs and the bolt in one clean cut may not be so bad - as apposed to throwing the frame in the recycling. A skilled hand and a thing cuttoff wheel could do a nice job, then just touch up the cut line with black paint.

Coal Buster suggested the hand held impact driver (wack it with a hammer) which I've used on the mowers and other machinery. Bit heavy handed for bicycle work BUT has anyone used one of these new battery powered impact drivers on bikes? A good example is the Milwaukee 1/4 inch 2450. Many of us have been looking for an excuse to buy one of these.
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