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small bolts and screw questions

Old 07-01-21, 03:19 PM
  #1  
justinschulz9
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small bolts and screw questions

which bolts and what material (metal) are the best suited for maintaining shape and not stripping over time?
should certain bolts be greased?
im noticing more cheap bikes with stripped and shredded bolts which make them impossible to work on. if you had the choice to replace every bolt on a bike, what type of tool goes best with avoiding a stripped scenario.
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Old 07-01-21, 03:29 PM
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Stainless on stainless tends to gall.
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Old 07-01-21, 03:41 PM
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Galvanized (zinc plated) hardware is the cheapest and shortest lasting.

Cadmium plated, which has sort of a bright yellow finish, is next up.

Stainless, the most expensive stuff, tends to be hardest and is usually pretty tough too. But not all stainless steels are the same.

Anytime you see a bright, shiny silver finish on a cheap bike, itís probably chrome plating over mild steel, and it will fail easily.

If you find hardware classified ďGrade 8Ē it will be tougher than lesser or ungraded stuff. It might also be made to tighter tolerances, but Iím not sure about that.

I put a light coat of grease on almost everything when assembling bike parts. Then, I try to keep stuff clean the best I can. I seldom* have problems with stripped or broken hardware.


* I didnít say never. A few months ago I broke a fender attachment bolt on my wifeís bike. It was a bugger to resolve, too.

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Old 07-01-21, 03:52 PM
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Forgot to add...

Common bolt head styles, from most to least likely to strip, are as follows:

Slotted or Phillips

External hex (standard automotive style)

Internal hex or ďAllenĒ head

Internal star or Torx

An old trick that works well for removing a really tight fastener with a head that wants to strip: smear on a little dab of valve grinding compound. Donít have access to this stuff? A coarse polishing compound might also do the trick. Itís counterintuitive, but a gritty substance between the tool and fastener somehow increases traction.
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Old 07-01-21, 04:07 PM
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Proper use of the correct tool and not using ball end tools on overly tight fasteners will fix 95% of stripped fastener issues.
I deal with a lot of bikes on poor condition at a local co-op. Stripping the drive feature in fasteners is very rare for me.

Donít use an open end when you can use a closed end or socket. Donít use an adjustable (crescent) wrench for anything that involves more than moderate torque for the fastener size. Keep your tools fully and squarely seated.
A little lubrication goes a long way.
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Old 07-01-21, 04:11 PM
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at what poimt do yall change your tools out? i feel the tools i have been using at the bike shop work at is starting to wear. at what point should you replace your tool.
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Old 07-01-21, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Galvanized (zinc plated) hardware is the cheapest and shortest lasting.

Cadmium plated, which has sort of a bright yellow finish, is next up.

Stainless, the most expensive stuff, tends to be hardest and is usually pretty tough too. But not all stainless steels are the same.

Anytime you see a bright, shiny silver finish on a cheap bike, itís probably chrome plating over mild steel, and it will fail easily.

If you find hardware classified ďGrade 8Ē it will be tougher than lesser or ungraded stuff. It might also be made to tighter tolerances, but Iím not sure about that.
True hot dip galvanized and zinc electro plated are not the same animal. How it lasts will depend on the fastener underneath and the process used. A hot dip galvanized grade 5 bolt would be strong and rust protected. A Gr2 electro plated wouldn't.

Grade 8 or the metric equivalent 10.9 really have no need on nearly any bicycle fastener.

nearly all SS fasteners a consumer is going to buy off a local shelf will be 18-8 302 or 304SS
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Old 07-01-21, 04:50 PM
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I don't want the fastener to be a lot harder than a threaded hole in the frame or one of the bike components. I can replace the fastener; fixing a stripped threaded hole is more work.
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Old 07-01-21, 07:53 PM
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I would replace a tool when it starts to round out a head easily and is misshapen or deformed in some way. For hex keys that could be something that happens often especially if you buy the cheap stuff, high quality tools will last a while but your most used tools tend to wear out more quickly.

In terms of any metal on metal, you want grease, anti-seize or some sort of mild thread locking compound depending on manufacturer recommendations. Generally if nothing else a light coat of grease will help. I prefer using stainless bolts for most things but am not opposed to fully forged titanium bolts as needed (though they will cost a fortune) I also would much rather have a hex head or Torx head as opposed to a cross head or slot drive. However I do come across a cross head screw on a bike I will almost always want to use a JIS screwdriver as it tends to not cam out and at least for Shimano is the correct tool anyway as they are JIS screws.
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Old 07-01-21, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by justinschulz9 View Post
at what poimt do yall change your tools out? i feel the tools i have been using at the bike shop work at is starting to wear. at what point should you replace your tool.
at the point they start slipping. having said that, cheap tools can slip even if not worn out in the proper sense. they're often made with cheap steel and flex under pressure giving one the idea it is worn out. and, of course, since they do flex they can slip and wear out quickly. good tools...like craftsman, blue point, snap on, some kobalt, etc should last a really long time if they haven't been negligently used. i've had a craftsman set of wrenches and sockets for for almost 30 years now. they only things that wore out from that set were the socket drivers....because i was negligent and let them get wet one too many times.... working in the rain or mindlessly leaving them out and then it rains unexpectedly. they'd have been fine if i'd actually took care of them after getting wet
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Old 07-01-21, 08:46 PM
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I have had to replace old Front and Rear derailuer adjustment Screw/Bolts. Either they were stripped out, bent or just buggered up. Most were mild chromed steel with Prince Point or Phillips heads. I replaced them with Stainless Steel Allen Heads.

Even though I have had no problems with them, it is a Stainless to Alloy (aluminium) junction. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
...In terms of any metal on metal, you want grease, anti-seize or some sort of mild thread locking compound...
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Old 07-01-21, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
Proper use of the correct tool and not using ball end tools on overly tight fasteners will fix 95% of stripped fastener issues.
I deal with a lot of bikes on poor condition at a local co-op. Stripping the drive feature in fasteners is very rare for me.

Donít use an open end when you can use a closed end or socket. Donít use an adjustable (crescent) wrench for anything that involves more than moderate torque for the fastener size. Keep your tools fully and squarely seated.
A little lubrication goes a long way.
Hex drive tools (any drivers, actually) should be considered consumables which will need to be replaced when they become worn; a worn tool is more likely to strip out a drive recess. Hex drivers can be ground back (carefully, to avoid drawing their temper) to fresh, sharp edges to get more life out of them.
Another common way to strip a fastener is to use a Phillips driver on a JIS screw; JIS are identifiable by the little dimple next to the drive recess. This happens to derailleur limit screws a lot.
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Old 07-01-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Stainless on stainless tends to gall.
A coating of lubricant helps a lot to avoid this.
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Old 07-01-21, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by justinschulz9 View Post
at what poimt do yall change your tools out? i feel the tools i have been using at the bike shop work at is starting to wear. at what point should you replace your tool.
1. Good tools rarely wear out. About the time I got better at making sure I didn't go gorilla on a tool that was partly inserted in a fastener and stopped using tools that came free with furniture I also nearly ceased having issues with tools wearing out. Unless you are wrenching in a shop, you can reasonably expect most of your bike tools to outlast you. Across all of my tools the only exception is Philips head screw drivers, and that's mainly because I end up taking out a lot of wood and machine screws that are already half stripped. At this point if I'm going to take out a screw that's already in poor shape I'll do it with a replaceable bit and not feel bad replacing the bit when it ceases to perform nicely.
2. As soon as I feel a tool, typically an allen wrench, starts to slip I'll take a look. If the end is rounded off it gets thrown out. Not that I've needed to replace one recently, but a half decent 5 mm allen wrench costs $0.41 from McMaster Carr, and I order other things from them often enough that shipping cost isn't relevant. A nicer allen wrench is a bit more, but not much and shy of abuse they are really hard to wear out. I used to grind the tips off of allen wrenches to square them back up until I realized it always seemed to be the same allen wrenches that needed to be re-ground. Either they have already had their heat treatment ruined, or they weren't all that great to begin with.

I don't feel bad throwing out dried out dry erase or permanent markers, dead paint pens, normal pens that don't flow nicely, sticks of chalk too small to hold on to, or pencils sharpened to the eraser either.

With this, if the fastener is starting to deform, don't put it back in! Replace it before you can't get it out.

Originally Posted by thook View Post
at the point they start slipping. having said that, cheap tools can slip even if not worn out in the proper sense. they're often made with cheap steel and flex under pressure giving one the idea it is worn out. and, of course, since they do flex they can slip and wear out quickly. good tools...like craftsman, blue point, snap on, some kobalt, etc should last a really long time if they haven't been negligently used. i've had a craftsman set of wrenches and sockets for for almost 30 years now. they only things that wore out from that set were the socket drivers....because i was negligent and let them get wet one too many times.... working in the rain or mindlessly leaving them out and then it rains unexpectedly. they'd have been fine if i'd actually took care of them after getting wet
I'm pretty much in agreement, except I would remove Craftsman from the list, at least as far as screwdrivers are concerned. It pains me to do so because I have a reasonably complete set of Craftsman hand tools, but they just aren't the same as they used to be. Mine are mainly from ~2008, and they are notably inferior to my father's Craftsman tools from the 70's and 80's. They have successfully decreased their warranty costs with me, but only because I no longer bother to even return their tools for replacement when I break them. They're still perfectly serviceable for general consumer use, but I wouldn't pay any premium for them over any other big box hardware store brand.

Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Hex drive tools (any drivers, actually) should be considered consumables which will need to be replaced when they become worn; a worn tool is more likely to strip out a drive recess. Hex drivers can be ground back (carefully, to avoid drawing their temper) to fresh, sharp edges to get more life out of them.
Another common way to strip a fastener is to use a Phillips driver on a JIS screw; JIS are identifiable by the little dimple next to the drive recess. This happens to derailleur limit screws a lot.
I'm not sure why I was quoted here, but I'm generally in agreement. Watching out for JIS vs Philips vs. Pozidriv will save a lot of trouble.
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Old 07-01-21, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
A coating of lubricant helps a lot to avoid this.
I prefer an "anti-sieze" compound for this, vice lubricant...for several reasons but that is what it's designed for and not what lubricants are designed for.
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Old 07-01-21, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post


I'm pretty much in agreement, except I would remove Craftsman from the list, at least as far as screwdrivers are concerned. It pains me to do so because I have a reasonably complete set of Craftsman hand tools, but they just aren't the same as they used to be. Mine are mainly from ~2008, and they are notably inferior to my father's Craftsman tools from the 70's and 80's. They have successfully decreased their warranty costs with me, but only because I no longer bother to even return their tools for replacement when I break them. They're still perfectly serviceable for general consumer use, but I wouldn't pay any premium for them over any other big box hardware store brand.


that is a shame to hear. i haven't bought any craftsman tools in a long time. then, i see lowe's carries them a few weeks ago. i wonder if their tools (other than screwdrivers) are worth the price? i didn't bother to ask if they had the old school lifetime warranty craftsman used to have. i couldn't afford the sockets...lol. well, not the set, anyway. i did get a single 12pt 10mm with 1/2 drive. i'll likely only ever use the thing once for a number of years. needed it for the drive shaft on my honda
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Old 07-02-21, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
that is a shame to hear. i haven't bought any craftsman tools in a long time. then, i see lowe's carries them a few weeks ago. i wonder if their tools (other than screwdrivers) are worth the price? i didn't bother to ask if they had the old school lifetime warranty craftsman used to have. i couldn't afford the sockets...lol. well, not the set, anyway. i did get a single 12pt 10mm with 1/2 drive. i'll likely only ever use the thing once for a number of years. needed it for the drive shaft on my honda
I should walk that back a bit. I think they still have the warranty, but it isnít worth it if they sell you a cheap tool. I used to be willing to pay a premium for them over say a Loweís or HD tool. Decent tool and a really good warranty. Now the tools arenít any better than the other box stores who I think have a similar warranty. Plus itís easier for me to go to the nearest Loweís or HD than it is to go to the nearest Sears.
I donít make enough money on my tools or spend enough time holding them over my head to justify the expense on Snap-On even if they are better tools, although next time my ratchets break Iíll probably go that route just for the finer pitch.
Iíve been going Wiha/Wera for allens and modular screwdrivers lately (at work), although Iím not a fan of their small sockets (for not entirely rational reasons). Iíve never looked to see if they have a warranty as the time to send something back isnít cost effective, but they donít break often outside of high volume automation, so it doesnít really matter.
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Old 07-02-21, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Hex drive tools (any drivers, actually) should be considered consumables which will need to be replaced when they become worn; a worn tool is more likely to strip out a drive recess. Hex drivers can be ground back (carefully, to avoid drawing their temper) to fresh, sharp edges to get more life out of them.
All tools are consumable, the only ones which are not are merely those which see less use. I like to repair my tools, if possible, and I also like to keep old tools and cheap ones around for those times when something like grinding or welding is required to deal with some awkward situation. I am in the process at the moment of filing down and out a really rusty old spanner I found on our farm to make a spare cone spanner, for example. I find continually cleaning and servicing my tools is a good way of increasing awareness of how the tools are wearing and judging what might be a good next buy - and so cheap and expensive tools live side by side in my toolboxes.

I also keep my collection of other accumulated and worn tools in another barn for use by the kind of people who like to wave hammers at things
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Old 07-02-21, 06:06 AM
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The later advice above is good but I did not see one area mentioned that can be problematic, that being Japanese engineers developed their own cross-point design similar to that of the Phillips but not the same. Unlike Henry Phillips' design they are not made to cam out at higher torques, over tightening is controlled by you. Phillips screwdrivers don't properly engage JIS screws (Japanese Industrial Standard). It can be very difficult to tell the difference in these screw heads, some JIS screws have a single dot or dimple on the head of the screw, most don't. You need a JIS driver for a Shimano component in higher torque situations or you can get cam-outs and/or screw damage.
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Old 07-02-21, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by justinschulz9 View Post
which bolts and what material (metal) are the best suited for maintaining shape and not stripping over time?
should certain bolts be greased?
im noticing more cheap bikes with stripped and shredded bolts which make them impossible to work on. if you had the choice to replace every bolt on a bike, what type of tool goes best with avoiding a stripped scenario.
even cheap tools can last a long time if you look after them, donít use them sloppily and donít expect more from than them they were designed for. Many of my tools are from Harbor Freight, and Iíve used them for over a decade of major automotive work. I donít think I ever throw out a used tool, but I take them out of ďgoodĒ use and use them to adapt for one-off purposes. For example, I had a very long needle-nose pliers in which the pivot was developing play. Relegated to the ďdrawer of retired toolsĒ. When rebuilding an old overdrive unit, I came across a monster (~3Ē diam) circlip. I took a dremel to the tips of the pliers and converted them to a dedicated big circlip tool. Pliers have a second life a seldom-used but viable specialist tool.
I buy ďmission-criticalĒ (eg holding my car together) fasteners from a specialist supplier like McMaster, but you generally have to buy in bulk, whereas a Big Box or Ace will sell smaller quantities. stainless fasteners - even Big Box stainless, will be better than the plated crap found in most cheap bikes. Grade 8 or even Grade 5 fasteners are massive overkill for bicycle applications. I think the only place I went McMaster for the bike was replacing the Ti screws on a Cinelli stem with some good quality steel equivalents. Small screws, IMO, arenít the best application for Ti, especially on a 2-screw bar clamp where one screw failure is enough to cause the bars to come completely adrift.

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Old 07-02-21, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
that is a shame to hear. i haven't bought any craftsman tools in a long time. then, i see lowe's carries them a few weeks ago. i wonder if their tools (other than screwdrivers) are worth the price? i didn't bother to ask if they had the old school lifetime warranty craftsman used to have. i couldn't afford the sockets...lol. well, not the set, anyway. i did get a single 12pt 10mm with 1/2 drive. i'll likely only ever use the thing once for a number of years. needed it for the drive shaft on my honda
IMHO, Lowes made a huge mistake when they replaced their Kobalt tool line with Craftsman (Crapman.) Now and then you can still find a Kobalt tool / tool set, but the issue is, where do you bring it back if it breaks? A lifetime warranty is useless if there's no way to get a replacement.
I know good tools. I was a professional auto tech for many years, and most of the tools in my tool chest are from $nap-On.
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Old 07-02-21, 08:24 PM
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Standard US phillips screwdrivers can be made to fit JIS screws by grinding off the tip until it fits the screw head with no play. It's not perfect, but it will really help prevent rounding off 95% of screw heads.
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Old 07-03-21, 08:38 AM
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Stanley Tools bought the craftsman name just a few years ago. Have to wonder if the quality will pick up now that there is an actual tool manufacture making the product.

Bought a Craftsman saw blade the other day for my Sears radial arm saw. Talk about vintage. Felt really weird to be using a Craftsman labeled blade again.
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Old 07-03-21, 09:57 AM
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Bikes: 2007 Motobecane Fantom Cross Expert, 2020 Motobecane Omni Strada Pro Disc (700c gravel bike), 2021 Motobecane Elite Adventure with Bafang 500W rear hub drive

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Originally Posted by justinschulz9 View Post
which bolts and what material (metal) are the best suited for maintaining shape and not stripping over time?
I'm no expert, but a kit similar to this can save a lot of time.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also, using blue thread locker and torque at the low end of specified range make sense. Check fasteners that have been replaced after using to make sure they arent loosening; and increase torque if they are. The only fastener I've stripped on a bike is a chainring fastener that is now held fast by thread locker. That wouldn't work for most fasteners, but has held for years on a double chainring setup.
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