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TRUSS ROD ISSUES - over tightened, washer compresed into wood, nut rounded off

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gastric, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire Supporting Member

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    I have in my possession an older bass with truss rod issues that include:

    * Nut has been over tightened causing the supporting washer to compress down into the wood.
    * Nut has been rounded off to the point where a 1/4" socket slips off the nut.

    My initial steps were to:

    1. Remove the nut and washer.
    2. Investigate how to modify the truss routing so a new washer has adequate support behind it to allow the nut to work as it should.
    3. Install the new washer and nut.

    However, I'm totally stuck at step 1. I cannot get the existing nut off the truss rod. The route is at the headstock, it's extremely tight working space, and not many tools can fit down in there. Pliers are mostly too fat, needle nose pliers cannot get a good enough grip, and the Irwin Bolt-Grip socket tools I purchased (which seem awesome) are simply way too fat to even get down into the route to fit over the nut.

    I'm handy and have always done all of my own tech work outside of complicated amp problems. But I've never had to deal with a truss rod issue. Overall it seems like a reasonably simple job assuming I have the correct tools. :)

    Thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

    Attached Files:

  2. megafiddle

    megafiddle

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    Try a 6mm socket. Even if the nut is actually 1/4", it may be worn enough that the 6mm
    will fit closer.

    Also remove the string tension and put a little pressure on the neck to bow it back slightly.
    That will relieve some of the tension on the rod, and therefore on the nut.

    -
  3. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire Supporting Member

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    I couldn't remove the nut and ended up taking it to a local repair shop who can hopefully help me out.
  4. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    A small pair of vice grips would have done the job. I have a some just for this reason. The ends of the grips are pretty skinny and fit into almost any slot to grab a nut like the one you have.
  5. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire Supporting Member

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    Believe me, I tried that. But I couldn't get them to grab enough, while also providing adequate torque to break the nut loose. The nut is sunken down into the headstock to the point where you can really only approach the nut from above.

    Other thoughts:

    * Sacrifice a socket to the problem by JB welding it to the nut, while hopefully not getting any on the rod or other components. Sounded risky.
    * Somehow mill 2 notches into opposing sides of the nut, then finding some fork-like tool that could slide into the notches from above and provide the torque to spin the nut loose. That's beyond my handyman abilities to make tools.

    Will let you know what the [hopefully] pro luthiers come up with.
  6. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy

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    One thing that might work is a "damaged nut/bolt remover " .

    They are like sockets with sharp spiral teeth inside . To get into such a small area you might have to grind the hex shape off of the outside of the socket . Then to turn it you could grind a slot across the top of the socket and use a really wide slot head screwdriver or similar wide flat bladed tool or strip of flat metal used as a screwdriver across the slots. If you use a flat bar of steel to turn it you could use an adjustable wrench slipped over the flat bar of steel to turn it . You'll need to grind a slot with a disk grinder using a thin slicing disk , not a grinding disk, these are high carbon hardened steel., I don't think a hacksaw will be able to cu a slot in them . Some allow you to use a ratchet and extension to turn it just like a normal socket . Don't use penetrating oil , not slippery enough, use oil or grease ( motor oil is good ) .

    Also lube the threads with some oil or grease before trying to loosen off the nut . Not WD40 , ..WD40 is not a lubricant , it is a rust preventer and a very poor lubricant as far as I am conerned . WD40 stands for Water Dispersant 40th attempt, taken from the notes of the scientist who invented it . Its their marketing department who wants people to use it as a lube and everything else under the sun .

    They are also available in a deep version which would probably be better for this job .

    Here are some on E-Bay : http://www.ebay.com/bhp/damaged-nut-remover

    Sears also sells them under their "Craftsman" name .

    There is also a deep set shown on this E-Bay page .

    You Tube video :

    John

    Attached Files:

  7. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    I would sacrifice the socket. That's probably what a luthier would do.
  8. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

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    I have a 1/4" drive, 1/4", deep thinwall socket that I ground the outside of, for Rics & Guilds & problems such as these. I'd take a photo, but I'm not at the shop.
  9. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy

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    I understand how a deep socket would slip over the nut , but this nut is rounded off . I don't understand how a deep socket would GRAB a rounded off nut .
  10. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire Supporting Member

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  11. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy

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    Modify the damaged bolt/nut remover with a bench grinder making it thin wall . Set the socket on the bench grinder tool rest and rotate the socket while holding it with a tool to control it and to not get burned by the heat of grinding . Do not let it get red hot or that will take the temper out of the steel and soften it . Keep a container of cool water nearby to dunk the socket in often while grinding to keep it cool .Take your time , cool the socket often while grinding .

    I have had to do this to sockets before to get into tight places .
  12. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy

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    One more idea for you if you get desperate, and its time for a new neck .

    Step one get out Mig welder . ( M.I.G. > not Arc not T.I.G. )

    Step two slide small steel tube (steel not aluminum or brass or copper etc.) over threaded rod till it rests up against the nut, pick a length of tube that extends out far enough to work with and grip.

    Step three , call your expert MIG welding buddy ( if your not one) (or go to Joes expert welding shop) . Please note the word EXPERT.

    Cover the complete neck and headstock carefully with damp rags to prevent burn marks . ( DAMP not soaking wet)

    Place quick accurate tack welds in a few spots (2 or 3 spots) that are accessable where the tube meets the nut. After welding rotate tube to remove nut. Please note words QUICK and ACCURATE. A one second tack weld each time would do it . Saying the words , " one thousand one " , is about a second .

    The tack welds need to be quick and accurate to minimize heat. The weld needs to hit the spot exactly , get on and get off then cool . Then next spot weld. No trying to hit the spot, missing then dragging over to the right place , this would build up too much heat and cause too many sparks for my liking . Two or three fast one second tack welds cooled quickly after each one with a wetter damp rag to prevent heat buildup and damage .

    Step four call fire department . (kidding)

    Best of luck with it my friend , I will be looking forward to hearing what fix you end up with .
  13. JustForSport

    JustForSport

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    If you know the correct original nut size (looks like there's a bit of the hex nut shape left), grind off the end of a socket- (the inside edge is beveled) to beyond the bevel, that will leave a 'square' end which may be enough to grab the remaining hex shape. Also, be sure to use a 6 point socket only, as it'll catch more of the remaining nut.
  14. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy

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    +1
    This is a good idea .

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