Seized Nipple Help


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pedalpower17

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 20, 2010
269
280
Michigan
#1
Working on a set Huffman wheels from the 40s. Three nipples/spokes are rusted so bad that I can't get loose. Liquid Wrench, WD40 and even heating nipple with a small torch. I really don't want to have to cut them out. There's a lot of mechanical genius on this site...and I could use a little now!

40s Huffman Zephyr 2.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,758
728
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#3
I've broken some loose by clamping the spoke in a hand vise and unscrewing the nipple. Grind down a screwdriver so it REALLY fits the slot in the nipple and it should come off after penetrating oil and the judicious application of heat. Just hold the spoke so it can't move and make sure the tool you are using on the nipple fits exactly.
 

Archie Sturmer

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 13, 2018
701
617
Los Angeles, CA, USA
#4
Soaking overnight or two may help if you’re down to 3; sometimes I have found it helpful or coincidental to still have the other spokes in place or even tightened to apply some stress to the threads. The WD40 seems less effective and tends to evaporate more overnight. A good old spoke tool may help if not already in use.
 

Mymando

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 3, 2018
232
62
60
Eugene
#5
Heat them then spray cutting oil in the threads repeat several time until it starts to move. It will take time but it worked for me! Also if you soak the rusted area in white vinegar first it will dissolve the rust. Those two things do work on a lot of stuff? Good luck!
 
Likes: pedalpower17

morton

I live for the CABE
Nov 9, 2007
1,563
1,934
York, United States
#6
Sometimes the rust buster can't get down into the nipple because of rust. I use a dremel tool with a circular steel brush to remove the rust at the head of the nipple so the solvent can get to where it can do some good.

I also had success with one of the Freezing sprays. Seems the intense cold can cause tiny cracks in the rust as is freezes/thaws. Stuff I use claims to have a penetration solvent that also helps.
 
Likes: pedalpower17

pedalpower17

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 20, 2010
269
280
Michigan
#8
Hate to say it they are goners. Just replace them with used ones...
Wont' throw in towel just yet, but you've suggested the best Plan B. Any idea whose selling used spokes? Also, I'm guessing that in the 40s, there was little variety in the length of the spokes on the classic 26" ballooners. Sound about right?
 

pedalpower17

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 20, 2010
269
280
Michigan
#9
I've broken some loose by clamping the spoke in a hand vise and unscrewing the nipple. Grind down a screwdriver so it REALLY fits the slot in the nipple and it should come off after penetrating oil and the judicious application of heat. Just hold the spoke so it can't move and make sure the tool you are using on the nipple fits exactly.
I used to work on modern bikes a lot, and I have the spoke wrenches, one of which fits very snugly on the top of the nipple, where the spoke enters. However, hate to admit, but it didn't occur to me to hold the spoke with some vice grips. Will give this a try. Thanks.
 
Likes: piercer_99

pedalpower17

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 20, 2010
269
280
Michigan
#10
Soaking overnight or two may help if you’re down to 3; sometimes I have found it helpful or coincidental to still have the other spokes in place or even tightened to apply some stress to the threads. The WD40 seems less effective and tends to evaporate more overnight. A good old spoke tool may help if not already in use.
OK. I've got the spoke wrenches. All spokes still attached, but loosened. I'll give another go with the penetrating liquid wrench. Thanks
 

pedalpower17

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 20, 2010
269
280
Michigan
#11
Sometimes the rust buster can't get down into the nipple because of rust. I use a dremel tool with a circular steel brush to remove the rust at the head of the nipple so the solvent can get to where it can do some good.

I also had success with one of the Freezing sprays. Seems the intense cold can cause tiny cracks in the rust as is freezes/thaws. Stuff I use claims to have a penetration solvent that also helps.
Good suggestions. Will try both. Thanks
 

SKPC

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 2, 2018
881
4,773
62
Utah - United States
#13
If you remove the rest of the spokes, you can push the stuck spoke/nip combos out the back of the rim, which will give you more room to maneuver and grip the spoke and nipple with vice-grips and a spoke-wrench. Use soft cloth to protect spoke under vice grip.
 
Likes: pedalpower17

redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
5,093
4,027
Seattle, United States
#14
Whoa ....... :0. Too much for me.... how do you know if they haven’t been already repaced once before? ... :0:0:0
Sorry....slightly obsessed with "original," even down to nipples and bearings. Suspect that there may be a few others on here that share the devotion to OE.
 

saladshooter

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2014
1,587
5,267
Littleton, CO
#15
Sorry....slightly obsessed with "original," even down to nipples and bearings. Suspect that there may be a few others on here that share the devotion to OE.
Hell yeah! Original all the way! That's what the CABE is for - source original replacements.
 

redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
5,093
4,027
Seattle, United States
#17
Yes .... I hate it when I mix my old original grease with the new modern stuff it just doesn’t feel the same too me...I feel like I violated the bike....
 
Likes: piercer_99

OhioJones

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 1, 2015
958
1,047
Detroit, United States
#18
WD40. Spoke wrench. Back and forth. Eventually you'll hear what sounds like a click or a tick. Back and forth and it will get louder. Freeing up all the crap that's gotten down in there over the years and made the threads lock up. You may have to come back to it a day or two later. But you'll get it. Had 5 on one wheel recently. Slowly but surely saved four of the five. The one spoke broke off inside the nipple.
Good luck!!!
 
Likes: piercer_99

PCHiggin

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 22, 2008
3,658
1,450
Ryderwood, United States
#19
Sorry....slightly obsessed with "original," even down to nipples and bearings. Suspect that there may be a few others on here that share the devotion to OE.
Good luck,I hope you can save some of them. I wouldn't use vise grips on anything I was trying to save,the teeth marks defeat the purpose,IMHO
 

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