DIY Filter: The nuts on my kitchen faucet won't budge. Help me figure out what to do next. Details inside.
May 25, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

DIY Filter: The nuts on my kitchen faucet won't budge. Help me figure out what to do next. Details inside.

I'm stuck in my kitchen faucet reinstallation project because the nuts on the bolts holding the faucet in place refuse to move.

It's a pretty normal setup: The hardware is under the sink, and I just need to unscrew the nuts/bolts from the faucet itself in order to remove the faucet. There are two nut/bolt pieces to unscrew.

But again, the nuts are stuck. I have tried the following tactics:

1. WD40 the nuts. Didn't help.
2. Using a basin wrench. The nuts didn't move.
3. PBBlaster. No luck.
4. A manual nutcracker. No go.
5. I tried cutting through the nuts with a Dremel. I did manage to cut through the nuts, but even with a hammer and screwdriver, they are still firmly cemented in place.

I'm out of ideas that do not involve taking the entire sink out, which I am not open to doing on my own. What else can I do to get this faucet out before calling a plumber? If it helps, it's a Delta faucet; not sure on the age.
posted by st starseed to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not planning on re-using the hardware, use a drill with a diameter slightly smaller than the bolts. Just drill right down the center. Might be easy if you cut the bolts off at the nuts with your Dremel.

I did this when I couldn't remove my mom's toilet seat. Quick and easy.

(Apologies if I'm not quite understanding what you're doing)
posted by bondcliff at 8:29 AM on May 25, 2012

It might be way too tight a fit, but can you drill the bolts out?
posted by jquinby at 8:29 AM on May 25, 2012

Yeah, just drill it out from the nut. Things will go faster and more evenly if you start with a small bit dead center, and work up in bit size. If you can drill out almost to the nut threads, you should be able to just shear the hollow bolt and nut off with the hammer.
posted by bfranklin at 8:35 AM on May 25, 2012

I don't think there are any drillable bolts involved here; these nuts are probably over an inch across, and go around the water inlet pipes.

Can you see well enough to get a sense of why they're stuck? Are the nuts rusted badly? Is there evidence of glue or solder? Or could they just have been put on really, really tight? Absent clues like that, my inclinations would be to:

1: Try the basin wrench again. making sure you're turning the nuts in the correct direction. Use more force; the only thing you're likely to damage is the junk faucet.

2. Use the dremel to cut off most of the supply pipe below the nut, so you can use a big socket and ratchet (with an extension) to apply more force.

3. Cut the rest of the way through the nuts with the dremel (seems really unlikely that you cut all the way through and still can't dislodge them, unless they were somehow soldered on.
posted by jon1270 at 8:37 AM on May 25, 2012

Cut through the nuts on two sides with the dremel and if that doesn't work cut through the bolts instead of the nuts with the Dremel. If you can't get under the nuts with the dremel cut the bolts off flush with the nuts and then you can get a socket, extension and ratchet on the nut and apply enough torque to either remove the nuts or snap the bolts off.
posted by Mitheral at 8:40 AM on May 25, 2012

I don't think there are any drillable bolts involved here; these nuts are probably over an inch across, and go around the water inlet pipes.

Yeah, apologies if that's the case. I was thinking they were attached to bolts holding the faucet on to the sink from below.

If you can find it, or wait for it to ship, this was reviewed on Cool Tools a while back. I haven't used it myself but it sounds like it's magic.
posted by bondcliff at 8:45 AM on May 25, 2012

With a long enough extension (and solid enough; metal piping of some sort), you will get results.

It'll either be the nuts finally breaking loose, or the bolt itself twisting off.

Still yet, I'd try to attack it with the Dremel again. If one cut doesn't work, make another.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 8:46 AM on May 25, 2012

What's the sink made of ? cast iron, porcelain, other ? You said kitchen, so I assume it's sturdy stuff, so given that, yeah, try more force, but watch out for your knuckles - it's awkward as heck under there to get leverage and not end up wrenching your shoulder or back.

Is this the collar the supply lines go up, and it just the part that holds the faucet onto the sink ? (ie any pictures ? )

Is there any loctite or other junk on the threads, or is it metal corrosion from water, or expanded/contracted metal, or the old paper/rubber washer has corroded into the threads, or a reverse-threaded connection ? Try cooling/heating the pipe/nut to see if that helps any ?
posted by k5.user at 8:48 AM on May 25, 2012

I'd second jon1270's #2 idea, but I have a feeling the nuts are now too buggered up for a hex socket. I think I'd still cut off the fat, threaded pipe as far up as you can to gain better access to dremelize the nuts further. It may seem like wasted effort, but I'd suggest you lay down or construct a stretcher of some sort so you can spend a lot of time under the sink without ruining your back.

I just replaced a 40yo kitchen faucet on a porcelain/cast iron sink last week. Even after I got the nuts off, I had to hammer the supply pipes up to free them from the sink. I used a mallet and rapid, moderate raps on a brass bar for that part.

On the brighter side, your new faucet will be secured with no-rust plastic nuts.
posted by klarck at 8:57 AM on May 25, 2012

I went through this same scenario about 3 years ago when I replaced a 30 yr old faucet. I tried everything then on a lark I tried to turn the the nut as if to tighten them - and it loosened right up. It had a left-handed thread! It's worth a shot, try tightening it and see what happens.
posted by any major dude at 9:32 AM on May 25, 2012

There isn't any chance you could be dealing with a left-handed thread, is there?

On preview, what any major dude said.
posted by jamjam at 9:40 AM on May 25, 2012

If they are lock-tited, could you apply heat from a small torch? That's broken many a stuck bolt free for me over the course of working on my Jeep.
posted by ellF at 9:43 AM on May 25, 2012

In for a penny...

Take the whole counter top off, sink and all. If it is a simple enough setup, there shouldn't be more than a few screws holding the counter place. Flip it upside down on a couple of saw horses so you can see what you are doing better, and will likely be able to get better leverage to get that faucet off.
posted by csmason at 10:14 AM on May 25, 2012

Heat, heat heat. Try a heat gun/hairdryer on high and see if you can cause a bit of thermal shrinkage in the metals. It may break the bond of whatever is keeping the pieces stuck together.
posted by muirne81 at 4:46 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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