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How To Clean Weld Nuts

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Cleaning Weld Nuts

A common problem that we run into with a lot of our vehicles that have existing weld nuts in the bottom of the frame is that when you go to try to put a bolt in them you have an excessive amount of road grime or rust built up in there and when you go to put your bolt inside the weld nuts you find not only does it not want to thread but it also appears that the bolt is too big for the weld nut. The first thing that typically comes to mind is that the bolts that I received are too big and 99.9 percent of the time this is not the case. What we have actually got here is an excessive amount of rust and debris built up in the weld nuts that are preventing the bolt from starting. We are going to show you how to get those thoroughly cleaned out so that we can not only get our bolt started but to get it threaded completely into the weld nut. 00:41

To clean it we are going to take a spray lubricant like a WD-40 and soak it down really well and you may need to let it sit for a little bit and this process is probably going to have to be done a couple of times. We are now going to take a wire brush and start working it in and out. We are really going to concentrate on the bottom few threads. Once we can get the bolt started we can actually use it to help further along the cleaning of the threads. You can see now even after two cleanings that I can get the bolt to grab but that is all the more I am getting out of it. It is still a little tight. Again I am going to continue with the cleaning. 01:20

You can see now after multiple cleanings that I was able now to get a couple threads in so from there what I am going to do is take and use the bolt to help finish cleaning out the weld nut. You can do this with a standard ratchet if you do not have air tools, using an air tool will make the process a little bit quicker. Start tightening the bolt up and when you start feeling an increase resistance from the weld nut, stop and back the bolt back out and spray it back down with a lubricant. Once we get quite a few threads started what we are going to do is start tightening until we get resistance, backing it off a few threads, tightening it back up, releasing. Continue that process and the bolt is going to slowly work its way up through the weld nut and clean as it goes. There you go, you can see again that after a lot of time and patience we have finally got our bolt into the weld nut nice and easy and then we can put the hitch up and it is going to be very easy to do.

Questions and Comments about this Video

I am wondering if a tap could be used with cutting thread lubricate. I have done this with other holes that are threaded that have a lot of corrosion and clean up very nicely!
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@Cbrbmw you could use that method as long as you went slow and only removed corrosion. You would have to be careful not to cut material from the nut.

Kay F.
For rusted weld nuts, do exactly as they say/show in this video until you can thread in the bolts by hand. It works!
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Yep! Some instances just require more persistence than others....

Michael F.
you can out the bolts in the refridgerator or the freezer and they will shrink a little bit and be easier to put in

Info for this part was:

Employee Zack K
Video Edited:
Zack K
Employee Joshua S
Video by:
Joshua S

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