Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

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Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:20 pm

In my experience, the allen keys usually become unusual before the bolt itself.
K-edge Go Pro mounts have crappy Allen Key bolts and I simply replace before they get too bad.

I have a problem-child MTB disc rotor with Hex bolts (old style) and not torx and though it was never adjusted the bolt itself is worn (round) so that I have no chance with a fresh allen key. Still too small for an allen key size up and no lick with any of my torx bits.

Any tips before I resort to a drill?
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by BNA » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:33 pm

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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Duck! » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:33 pm

Cut a slot across the head of the bolt with a hacksaw, and try a broad, flat-blade screwdriver.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby jacks1071 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:05 am

I highly recommend Snap-on allen keys and 1/4" drive bits, in my experience the metal is harder than other brands and they seem to fit tighter than everything else I've used and so far show no-sign of wear despite heavy use.

They arn't cheap but if you just replace your commonly used sizes its not too expensive. Be warned buying quality tools can be is slighly addictive...
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Tank1252 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:10 am

AUbicycles wrote:In my experience, the allen keys usually become unusual before the bolt itself.
K-edge Go Pro mounts have crappy Allen Key bolts and I simply replace before they get too bad.


Jees, i thought it was just me. I stuffed 2 allen keys already & i've only fitted the mount twice. Can i ask where you sourced the replacement bolts?
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby josephk86 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:44 am

If the bolt is not counterbored, I'd try grabbing the end of the bolt with a set of pliers/multigrips...had to do this last night.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby boyracer » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:21 pm

Bit of valve lapping paste will take out the slack. give it a love tap with a hammer & punch first.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby HappyHumber » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:48 pm

I have a problem-child MTB disc rotor with Hex bolts .... so that I have no chance with a fresh allen key. Still too small for an allen key size up and no lick with any of my torx bits.


I'd still defer to some other replies being preferable... but in a pinch I've also used some imperial/Seppo sized allen keys to save me in such regard.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:06 pm

I got lectured on imperial verses metric (but have never lost a satellite in space) and because I got the other 5 out with no drama.
For the K-Edge I had a spare bolt in my amazing collection of bolts, screws and other bits I may need someday.

The pliers trick didn't work, the head has a triangle shape and I don't have a socket to match - and a thin steel plate makes it a little difficult.

Thanks for the hacksaw trick.
My next idea was to try and pad with aluminium foil - but the bolt is screwed so that will be best.


Jacks1071 - not a fan of Ikea allen keys I take it.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:18 pm

Duck! wrote:Cut a slot across the head of the bolt with a hacksaw, and try a broad, flat-blade screwdriver.


This. I actually had to do this with 2 bolts at work today, worked a treat. If all else fails you can use an angle grinder VERY CAREFULLY to remove the bolt head, assuming you then have enough exposed thread left to grip somehow.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Cruiserman » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:38 pm

Simple really,
1 select a drill bit the same size as the threaded portion of the bolt.
2 drill off the head
3 remove the offending threaded portion with some pliers or vice grips as the head is no longer there there is no tension holding the threaded section in and it will simply unscrew.
4 source a replacement bolt when reassembling.

If you can get the allen key to grip a bit or you are aware that you are about to strip out the head, use a socket allen key and strike the end of the screwdriver attachment from the socket set while applying torque to the bolt, works like an impact wrench, also works for tight phillips head screws. Luckily they don't name these things after women as they would be a real b!tch to get out - not sure about torx (talks) though.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Mrfenejeans » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:46 pm

If you have handy a grinder and the bolt isn't overly worked, you can cut part of the tip of the allen key off which should leave a burr, you then knock the allen key into the bolt which with the burr should be tight enough to undo the bolt.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Rusty6149 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:53 pm

I had an issue with a stripped Philips head on a screw I was trying to remove in my house - googled it, and someone suggested putting the screwdriver bit into a latex glove, and then unscrewing - worked a charm.. maybe the same will work for a chewed up hex head ?

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Postby Causidicus » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:43 pm

AUbicycles wrote:...not a fan of Ikea allen keys I take it.

Snap-On are now principally Asian made junk. Buy German. Stahlwille or Gedore.
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Re:

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:19 pm

Causidicus wrote:Snap-On are now principally Asian made junk. Buy German. Stahlwille or Gedore.


Ouch, considering 95% of the worlds bikes are made in Asia... including the German branded bikes.

I admit that with tools it is a little different though don't know which percentage of German branded tools are made in the Far East.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby find_bruce » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:31 pm

Another trick I have used with allen headed bolts is to drill the head to an appropriate size to use an ezy out.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby open roader » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:21 am

I've had success with slightly corroded bolts featuring chewed out hex head slots by using 'Araldite' epoxy glue and a cheap hex head (1/4 inch drive) and waiting a few days for max. bond. I had three bolts like this on a friend's car roof rack - all three bolts unthreded when torqued gradually..........
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Re:

Postby jacks1071 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:46 pm

Causidicus wrote:
AUbicycles wrote:...not a fan of Ikea allen keys I take it.

Snap-On are now principally Asian made junk. Buy German. Stahlwille or Gedore.


Frankly I couldn't care where anything is made (Although I try to buy AUSTRALIAN MADE whenever possible). Quality is quality regardless of the country its made in...

Snap-On would be broke with their warranty policities in no-time flat if your statement was correct.

I lost a couple of allen keys and they gave me new ones without charge!! I am hardly a big customer to them. I'm yet to break any of my snap-on tools but when/if I do, I'll take great delight in handing the broken one over and getting a brand-new one back.
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Re: Re:

Postby jacks1071 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:49 pm

AUbicycles wrote:
I admit that with tools it is a little different though don't know which percentage of German branded tools are made in the Far East.


German tool, american tool, everything made in Taiwan.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:34 pm

I've got a jemmy bar that was made in the US :) .
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby nailsaslegs » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:38 pm

I drill them out. Pretty simple and doesn't cause any damage.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby HappyHumber » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:31 pm

one of these doovahickies; a screw extractor

Smidge more here on Wikipedia by way of explanation
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Postby Causidicus » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:53 pm

jacks1071 wrote:Snap-On would be broke with their warranty policities in no-time flat if your statement was correct.

No, they would not. Snap-On is now huge and can absorb the failure rates. They even own Bahco now. Try and find a new Swedish made Bahco adjustable wrench (they are now collectible). Snap-On are moving manufacturing where it's cheaper and that's to cheaper European countries and the far east.

Snap-On have a huge marketing machine but do not confuse marketing with quality. Snap-On is trading on a name that was built on quality but has not survived the 90s manufacturing shifts. Workshops are no longer looking to standardise on Snap-On tools. They are more expensive yet lower quality than decent European manufacture such as Stahlwille, Gedore, Hazet, Beta and Unior. Facom is no longer Euro only but at least the vast majority of their manufacture is from European bases.

A point to recognise is that domestic German made tools are required to be made to rather onerous DIN standards in order to be able to be sold. Asian stuff is just made to customer specification with little regard to other standards. It shows when you compare current Snap-On to, say, equivalent Stahlwille or Hazet.

As time goes on less and less of Snap-On's tool range is USA or European. There are few non Asian tool houses and, unfortunately, Snap-On isn't one of them.

A key point of note is that unlike Stahlwille, Gedore, Hazet, Beta or Facom, Unior have a wide range of bicycle specific tools and a long history of sponsorship of pro cycling teams on the tool front.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby Nate » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:07 am

cutting slots as above...

Doing a restoration on a 30yo car... had this with the brake components.
Hammer in a larger/torx bit as above.

End result was to weld a rod into it & then twist it out with a bit rod.
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Re: Worn Allen Key bolt removal - tips

Postby AUbicycles » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:41 pm

I have a number of German made tools - even some East German tools (which are generally not very good, but have nostalgic value).

On the bolts, with the heavy Sydney rain I will get onto this tomorro... but decided to get new rotors as I have to get bolts anyway and the rotors are the original ones and could do with an upgrade.
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