Don't mean to pry...
November 22, 2009 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Need to replace a toilet seat. The hardware seems to be fixed fast to the throne; the screw is all rusty, there's a plastic-y sort of nut that has resisted all my attempts to pry off with a wrench. Would really like to do this myself and avoid having to call in a plumber.

I'm about to go out to buy some WD-40. Anything else I should get as well or instead? It's driving me crazy! Any suggestions you have would be most appreciated...
posted by lgandme0717 to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the plastic nut's not recessed into the porcelain under the toilet, you might try carefully cutting it off. With that gone, you could probably work the screw out (if it doesn't fall apart in the process). WD40 or any liquid penetrant will probably help. Have you tried holding the nut fast and attempting to turn the screw instead? That might work just enough to break it loose. Of course, you might also strip the head of the screw, so be forewarned.
posted by jquinby at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2009

Response by poster: Jquinby, thanks, what would work best for cutting it off? I did try using an Exacto knife, but it wasn't enough to really cut into it.
posted by lgandme0717 at 1:37 PM on November 22, 2009

A hacksaw should do the job.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:44 PM on November 22, 2009

A pair of regular household gloves (the sort you'd use when washing dishes) will give you extra grip. It's amazing how many stuck things move when gripped with rubber gloves.
posted by essexjan at 1:46 PM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

May I suggest a small coping saw?
posted by gomichild at 1:46 PM on November 22, 2009

The WD-40 just protects and lubricates. I'd try that after trying to dissolve the rust. Make a paste of vinegar and flour and cover with that. Ketchup also has vinegar in it. You can clean it up after trying that for an hour or two, dry with a hairdryer (quick so it doesn't rerust), and then give the WD-40 a try. If those don't work then I'd try the hacksaw unless it looks like an easy win.

BTW - you don't technically need the whole hacksaw, but it'll make it a lot easier. In a pinch you can just use the blades. There's also other types of saws made for this sort of thing that should be in the same area. I've never had much luck with the thin bladed ones like a hacksaw.
posted by jwells at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2009

Best answer: lgandme0717 writes "what would work best for cutting it off? "

Abrasive cutoff wheel in a Dremel is the best way to get these off. A couple layers of masking tape on the toilet around the nut/bolt will help prevent damage if the dremel slips.
posted by Mitheral at 2:27 PM on November 22, 2009

Best answer: dremel tool with a cutting blade would work as well..
posted by HuronBob at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2009

I swear I typed that before Mitheral posted it, but I got distracted petting the dog.... really!
posted by HuronBob at 2:29 PM on November 22, 2009

There's a spray product that makes stuff like WD 40 and PB Blaster look like water. It's made by CRC and it's called Freeze-Off. I've used it on stuck bolts and fittings that I thought would require the use of a torch to remove.
Don't mess around with anything else. Put down everything and get a can of Freeze-Off.
Spray it down really liberally with the long, red spray extension right up against the fastener.

For real, if you're using anything else instead of Freeze-Off, you might as well be spitting on it. It works on all different materials, too. I've loosened up plastic drain plugs on car radiators that I was sure would be semi-melted and stuck.

Good luck!
posted by Jon-o at 2:32 PM on November 22, 2009

Best answer: If you can see the nut, dremel it off or try a saw. If it's recessed up inside the porcelan (our seats are affixed like that), you can try *carefully* tearing the nut off a piece at a time with a pair of pliers. IIRC, they're not meant to be tightened down too much past "hand-tight" (they're plastic, after all). On the last seat I replaced, the nuts had some oversized wings on them for hand-tightening. It's inelegant for sure, but I throw it out there for the sake of completeness. One or more of the suggestions so far should have that thing out of there right quick.

and I'll be looking into a can of that Freeze Off stuff next time I'm at Lowes.
posted by jquinby at 2:53 PM on November 22, 2009

The way mine is set up, I could grab the plastic nut with a pair of vise grips since I wasn't worried about damaging it. If you can de-rustify the screw enough to get the screwdriver in there, that's the way to go. Turn the screw with extreme predjudice while holding the nut with the vise grips - the plastic part will strip out and let go of the screw. That's when you can remove the plastic nut much more easily.
posted by ctmf at 3:14 PM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The "wings" on the nut aren't usually for hand-tightening like wingnuts, they're so when you put the nut on the bottom side, the wings catch on the bowl to keep the nut from turning 360'. That way you can turn the screw without holding the nut.
posted by ctmf at 3:18 PM on November 22, 2009

They sell special holders for hacksaws that let you get into tight places. Don't worry about damaging the bolt because they're very cheap to replace a you'll probably want a new one anyway.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:06 PM on November 22, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for these great ideas... I am especially intrigued by the Freeze-Off idea. Does anyone know if they sell it at Sears or Home Depot? Thanks again...
posted by lgandme0717 at 4:10 PM on November 22, 2009

If it's plastic, you can probably drill it out, too.
posted by musofire at 4:49 PM on November 22, 2009

I've found Freeze-Off at Autozone and Pep Boys.
It will work.
posted by Jon-o at 5:42 PM on November 22, 2009

Liquid Wrench is good for loosening up frozen nuts and bolts.

Seconding the cut off idea, though. If you have a Dremel tool, use it. If you can afford it, get one - trust me you will find uses for it. If you can't afford it, but a hacksaw blade and some masking tape. Put tape on the porcelain, put tape on half the hacksaw blade to act as a handle. Way cheaper than buying the whole hacksaw, and better at getting in tight spaces.
posted by plinth at 7:21 PM on November 22, 2009

If you have a way to heat up the bolt (soldering iron?), you can get it hot enough that the plastic threads will melt.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:51 AM on November 23, 2009

Response by poster: I finally got it off! The WD-40 helped a lot. I got one side off by then using a hammer and screwdriver as a chisel. For the other side, I dug out the Dremel I gave my husband for a present years ago -- and which he'd never used. The Dremel did the trick! Thank you to those who suggested it. I'm still intrigued by the Freeze-Off and still plan to pick some up. Thanks again!!
posted by lgandme0717 at 5:14 PM on November 24, 2009

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