Loosening bolts

BenjaminD

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Mar 19, 2006
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Several of the bolts on the fixtures in my high school auditorium have rusted into place, or were just tightened too much at one point. I have tried to loosen them with sheer physical leverage—a 2 foot long rachet, however the bolt just won't move.

What kind of loosening lubricant or device would be safe and would work? I was thinking of some kind of oil, but oil is flammable, and I doubt that anyone would like a fixture catching on fire during a performance! The lights are Strand LekoLites, and they can only be reached from a 24 foot high extension ladder.

Thanks!
 

Chris15

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Any chance that you could get up the ladder and bring the fixtures down to the ground? That would make your life much easier.

If you can get your fixtures down to the ground, then I see no problem with using an oil based lubricant such as WD-40, since you will be able to give the instrument a thorough clean afterwards. I would suggest that if the fixtures have been there long enough to rust in place, then they would be due for an internal clean and bench focus. Do a search on "bench focus" and you should be able to find the old threads on it.

When you manage to get the bolt unstuck and removed, you will need to replace the nut and bolt, but you would also be wanting to inspect the area around where the rusted bolt was for signs of rust "infection". There is an entire thread on rust and its viral like properties here.

Give you fixtures a good clean and they should be right to go back up.

Let us know if you need more information or if something is unclear. Good Luck.
 

kingfisher1

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also, is WD-40 still as flamable after its dries? I am goiing to have to look up on that. my guess is that it still would be flammable but then agian i realy haven't the foggiest idea.
 

Chris15

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Hence why I included cleaning as a step. I don't know how flammable it is when dry, but thorough cleaning should remove it.
 

avkid

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Unless you spray carelessly and hit the lamp,reflector or lens you should be fine. Almost everyone uses WD-40 anyway.
 

MHSTech

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DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use WD40 unless you have an MSDS on hand for it. I have also heard something about it not being allowed it schools, but that may not have been true. See what lubricants your janitors have on hand and use those. All the paperwork is done for that. This wouldn't be a big deal, but you're in a school and your ass could get into trouble if you get cought using a chemical without an MSDS.
 

BenjaminD

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Eek! Thanks for the warning, I was unaware of any such requriement. I definately wouldn't want trouble over such a thing. Probably borrowing something from the janitors would be much more time-efficiant than filling out paperwork.

Thanks again!

Ben
 

Chris15

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MHSTech said:
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use WD40 unless you have an MSDS on hand for it. I have also heard something about it not being allowed it schools, but that may not have been true. See what lubricants your janitors have on hand and use those. All the paperwork is done for that. This wouldn't be a big deal, but you're in a school and your ass could get into trouble if you get cought using a chemical without an MSDS.
OK. Done some research. MSDS is here. I have a can of it next to me and it reads Highly Flammable Propellant: Hydrocarbon. The main cause of flammability is the aerosol that is used to get it out of the can, but the other components may or may not be flammable. The MSDS is there, do a risk assessment and get someone to check over it. The other aerosol lubricants are likely very similar to WD40 and so if WD40 is banned, then all such lubricants would have to be banned. I do however know that here is Australia, I have not heard anything about its use not being permitted. I might ask the chemistry dept. to look up the chemical manual when I get back from holidays.

I guess it depends on what your situation is. OH&s is very much location dependent. You say that you need to use a 24' ladder to get to these lights. That's what 7 - 8 metres? Here in NSW, public school maintenance people are not allowed to climb a ladder such that their feet will be more than 2 metres above the ground, that would be less than 7'. So, in my case, it would not be a problem, because I would not be allowed up to that height without all sorts of fuss and paperwork. I guess it comes down to asking before you go ahead what you are permitted to do. Obviously, I am unable to see your school's risk assessments and so I cannot tell you whether it is considered to be safe to do anything, but a bit of commonsense and asking first will go a long way.
 

MHSTech

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Here's the OSHA regulation that I think applies to this situation. It kind of depends what your school has adopted though, chances are that they have adopted something like this though.

1960.34(d)

All Federal agencies shall use MSDS either provided by DOD, or acquired directly from suppliers, when purchasing hazardous materials (as defined in FEDSTD 313) for local use. These data will be used to develop detailed procedures to advise employees in the workplace of the hazards involved with the materials and to protect them therefrom.
 

Chris15

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And the manufacturer's MSDS is the link I provided above. I think that would be considered to be appropriate in the vast majority of cases.
 

gafftaper

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Before my life in theater I was a public school custodian for a few years. We regularly used WD-40. I wouldn't worry about it... check with your school custodial staff. They probably have WD-40 or a similar spray lubricant on hand that they will gladly loan you.

While it's true that schools are required to have MSDS sheets on hand, WD-40 is a very safe product as long as you don't try to light it on fire while you are spraying it. Just talk with your school custodian about what they use and all will be well.

I've also used to be a product called "lock ease" it's designed to free up rusted locks. It's similar to WD-40... might be worth a try.

Another thing you might try is running the light for a while to get the metal warm. Expansion of metal might make things worse or it might be your friend. It's worth a shot.
 

saxman0317

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Ive never had a problem with WD-40 flamming up using it on things such as grills and such, so i cant see it being affected by some radient heat. Plus, once its dry theres no fumes to burn (gas is the only physical property that will burn). And as long as your careful with the little straw dohickey you shouldnt make a mess with it at all anyways, it doesnt take much to work. Being illigal, i dont know about where your at but its fine in NY.
 

Chris15

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MHSTech said:
Maybe it was just my school, but I was told that we can't use WD40 anymore.
If they have told you that you cannot use WD-40 anymore, have they told you what you can use?
 

Mayhem

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Deoxit D5 is another good penetrant, which is what you want to use over a simple lubricant. Dexoit, WD-40, liquid wrench and CRC are all examples of penetrants. As previously mentioned, it sounds like it is time to give that fixture a good overhaul. If there are rusted parts on it, there are possibly other problems like heat fatigued wires and almost certainly dirty optics.
 

kingfisher1

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if worse comes to worse, couldn't you remove the fixtue from the yoke and replace the yoke with one from an unuse light?
 

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