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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All, my Harken main sheet traveler was leaking, so I removed it to rebed it. That was easy enough, I just loosened all the nuts from below. At each end, there is a bolt that goes down from the traveler through the deck. All the other bolts are countersunk through bolts.

Today, I put it back, but I was not able to tighten the end bolts. Apparently their heads are below the blocks at each end. To remove the blocks, I need to loosen a very large bolt, that is very tight. Its screwed through a plastic fitting.

I was unable to loosen it without damaging its head, and I didn't want to use any WD40 because I think it eats plastic. Is there a lubricant that can loosen the bolt without hurting the plastic?

Thanks very much...
 

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I'm not sure about which lubricants eat plastics, but I am sure you should be very careful otherwise. I had an old Lewmar traveler that I needed to remove to rebed, and the darn thing was so corroded and old that I basically had to destroy it to remove it. However, that did give me an excuse to purchase a new Harken big boat traveler that I drool over every time I use it.

There is no doubt PB blaster is a master product for this task, but it may eat plastic. Are you sure you couldn't dissolve whatever plastic this is and just replace it easily enough? Harken is by far the best for having parts around for all their old gear.
 

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Use a freezing spray. There are sprays specially made for removing frozen screws. Cooling works as heating does. Since you can not heat it you can cool it down. I do not know any US brands but I am sure you can find one in your country also. If you cannot find it, use ethylcholoride which is a spray for medical use. The difference of temperature when you apply it causes to break the particles betwwen two surfaces.
 

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T9 will work, safe on plastic too
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone, I'll try all these ideas. I had not considered that I could just sacrifice the plastic, but i would prefer not to if possible. Hopefully T9 or a freeze spray will do the trick.
 

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Be aware that freezing sprays may be as damaging or worse to the plastic as WD40. Most plastics used in marine environments are not going to be affected by WD40 or Boeshield T9, neither of which is a particularly aggressive solvent.
 

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Hit it with a hammer!

I have a impact screw remover made by Mack Tools that is priceless for this type of problem. You hit the tool with a hammer, and the combination of the impact and ratchet motion of the tool works wonders. Not nearly as destructive as it might sound. In fact, I used it to remove some tiny screws from my furler that someone had neglected to coat with Lanocote before assembly. Don't think I could have done it any other way. I also used it recently when I saw my neighbor prying a set of clutches from his deck with a HUGE pipe wrench! The bolts were frozen, and he was out of patience. My tool removed them without hesitation, and we were able to remove the clutch in a civilized manner! I've had the tool for years, but have used it more since I've had a boat than I ever did before. Very handy!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a impact screw remover made by Mack Tools that is priceless for this type of problem. You hit the tool with a hammer, and the combination of the impact and ratchet motion of the tool works wonders. Not nearly as destructive as it might sound. In fact, I used it to remove some tiny screws from my furler that someone had neglected to coat with Lanocote before assembly. Don't think I could have done it any other way. I also used it recently when I saw my neighbor prying a set of clutches from his deck with a HUGE pipe wrench! The bolts were frozen, and he was out of patience. My tool removed them without hesitation, and we were able to remove the clutch in a civilized manner! I've had the tool for years, but have used it more since I've had a boat than I ever did before. Very handy!
I have used such tools on cars, but I don't think I would want to use it on my fiberglass cockpit!
 

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A well designed impact wrench, especially an electric one, is a very useful tool on a boat.
I have used such tools on cars, but I don't think I would want to use it on my fiberglass cockpit!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The T9 did the trick, thanks everyone! I was wrong, what I thought was plastic was aluminum. A very wide, short bolt screwed through the aluminum track car and into a hole in the track to keep it secure at the end. The T9 with a bigger screw driver got it out. No more leaking traveler!
 

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I have used such tools on cars, but I don't think I would want to use it on my fiberglass cockpit!
The clutches I mentioned were on the fiberglass coach top. As I indicated, it's not that brutal if you use some finesse. If in doubt, I use a rubber mallet. It's more a function of keeping the tip in contact with the fastner for a split second as it turned about an eighth of a turn. Not easy to do any other way. After that, I can usually back it out by hand. The eletric impacts are very handy as well, and produce a lot of torque for a small tool. However, if the fastner is REALLY frozen, I think the manual works better.
 

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Hi All, my Harken main sheet traveler was leaking, so I removed it to rebed it. That was easy enough, I just loosened all the nuts from below. At each end, there is a bolt that goes down from the traveler through the deck. All the other bolts are countersunk through bolts.

Today, I put it back, but I was not able to tighten the end bolts. Apparently their heads are below the blocks at each end. To remove the blocks, I need to loosen a very large bolt, that is very tight. Its screwed through a plastic fitting.

I was unable to loosen it without damaging its head, and I didn't want to use any WD40 because I think it eats plastic. Is there a lubricant that can loosen the bolt without hurting the plastic?

Thanks very much...
Two words = Impact Driver

Not an air one but one of the rechargeable battery types. The micro blasts break up the dissimilar metals corrosion more often than not and usually without stripping a screw or bolt head..


Had a guy at the boat yard who had been working on removing a screw for his VHF antenna bracket at the mast head for over an hour with heat, cold, PB on and on. I walked over with my impact driver and offered to help. In 10 seconds the screw was out and he just stared in disbelief.

Also works great for solo tightening and re-bedding of deck hardware! Since I purchased one a number of years ago I can't even begin to understand how I ever survived without one...:confused:
 

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The T9 did the trick, thanks everyone! I was wrong, what I thought was plastic was aluminum. A very wide, short bolt screwed through the aluminum track car and into a hole int he track to keep it secure at the end. The T9 with a bigger screw driver got it out. No more leaking traveler!
Use Tef-Gel when it goes back together or at the very least Lanocote..;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Use Tef-Gel when it goes back together or at the very least Lanocote..;)
I used Sailkote actually, it's what I had.

Interesting about the impact driver. I didn't know they came like the one in your picture. I am used to the kind you put over the fastener then smash with a hammer with all your mite. One more tool to add to the list, thanks!
 
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