A common method to remove red Loctite involves using intense heat to melt away and dissolve the bond of the Loctite. But what do you do if you don’t have a blowtorch handy? Is there any way to undo a red Loctite bond without heat?
The best ways to remove red Loctite are to use corrosive household or automotive chemicals. This will help to strip away the Loctite and can dissolve and soften it enough for the bond to be released. It may also be helpful to use power tools and wrenches to help undo a red Loctite bond.
Keep reading to learn more about the various ways to dissolve red Loctite without heat, and how to stay safe while doing so.
Why Is Red Loctite So Strong?
Red Loctite is the strongest level of threadlocker available from the Loctite brand. It’s meant to be a permanent bond helping metal threaded hardware stay locked in place in the face of intense and life-long vibrations and shock.
Red Loctite presents several unique challenges. It will not come off with regular hand tools and needs at least 3,000 psi of pressure to break through the bond created by this material on threading.
Let’s review the materials and methods we know to help you remove Red Loctite without heat, and help you stay safe in the process.
Using break cleaner on a red Loctite can be an affordable and fairly simple way to get the bond to come apart. This works well if you’re trying to undo bolts, specifically, and have a surface to spray the brake cleaner onto directly. Chlorinated brake cleaner works especially well.
It is important to always wear eye protection when working with any corrosive or dangerous chemicals. If a chemical is strong enough to loosen Loctite, it’s strong enough to blind you.
First, spray the bolt with brake cleaner, and make sure to get as close to the inner working of the bolt threading as you possibly can. Allow the brake cleaner to work its way into and onto the bond for two to three hours, and then give the bolt a few turns with a wrench.
The break cleaner should help to dissolve and loosen the red Loctite just enough to allow for a manual unscrew of the bolt. If initial success seems elusive, apply some more break cleaner and allow the assemblage to sit overnight before attempting to loosen.
There are a few things WD-40 can’t do, and it is also recommended to help loosen the bond of red Loctite. It may or may not be the most effective method when compared to chlorinated brake cleaner, but multiple applications of WD-40 may help loosen stubborn red Loctite.
WD-40 is easy to use and affordable, and you may already have some lying around your garage or basement. Eye protection is still recommended, though, as is proper ventilation.
Simply spray the WD-40 onto the bolt or as close to the interior of the bond as possible, and allow it to soak in for at least ten minutes. Then, attempt to loosen it with a high-torque wrench. This may require several applications, but can be a successful way to break a bond if heat is not available.
This is a specific brand of a de-bonding compound that can be helpful against red Loctite. It often comes in a very small, clear tube or plastic bottle, and is great for unsealing tough bonds and threaded hardware.
The Un-Cure Debonder is not quite as toxic as some of the other materials, but you’ll still want to avoid breathing it in. Eye protection is not needed here but keeps your nose and mouth clear of the material, and take normal precautions.
Get this material as deeply into the threading as possible, and allow the Un-Cure to soak into the Loctite-secured area for at least three hours. After it’s spent some time soaking, approach the hardware with a standard screw. At this point, your red Loctite should be loose and soft enough to unscrew the threaded hardware.
This method works for dissolving hard Loctite on bolts of threading that have already been disassembled. Simply soak the bolts in a paint stripper overnight, and carefully brush away any remaining Loctite with a wire brush.
This will dissolve your red Loctite from metal pieces, and help get these components ready to use for the next project, or ready for disposal. You can also try paint stripper as a softening agent against sealed red Loctite bonds. Allow the paint stripper to rest on and work its way into the bond for at least two hours, and attack the bond with a high-torque wrench.
Again, a secondary method here can be to soak the bond overnight and attempt removal in the morning. This can give the material plenty of time to soften and dissolve the red Threadlocker and can be a valuable way to save frustration and energy.
As you attempt to dissolve the red Loctite with solvents and corrosives, it may be helpful to also get some extra strength from physical tools.
Use a torque wrench instead of a handheld wrench, get a wrench with a longer handle and tougher steel for extra power, or try a cordless power tool to help you extract the bolt once the red Loctite has softened. An air impact wrench can be helpful, too.
This can help save you some time and can help in your fight against the Loctite bond. Mind you, mechanical tools alone likely won’t be enough. You’ll need to dissolve the red Loctite with chemicals first beforehand or power tools will do you any good. But once the red Loctite is softened, they can make your job easier.
Hammer and Wrench
Try giving the stuck bolt a few hard taps with a mallet against a wrench as you seek to loosen the bolt. The extra force can help knock the bond loose as you apply a solvent.
Using the mallet will give you some extra mechanical strength as you work the bond loose. Take your time and work carefully and be sure to add enough solvent for the job. Be patient, and tap away at the bond steadily for maximum effect.
What Needs Heat?
Are there any red Loctite bonds that simply won’t work with anything but heat? Well, the trickiest red Loctite bonds are the ones that are hard or nearly impossible to get to from the outside. This is especially true of bonded male and female metal threaded piping, such as the piping used on a gas line.
The more out-of-the-way and hidden the threading is from the surface, the tougher it will be to attack with a solvent or corrosive material. For threaded metal bonds like these, attacking the red Loctite with heat may be the only way to loosen it.
We do recommend at least trying a less fiery method first, but if this doesn’t work, using a blow torch or other source of intense, concentrated heat may be the only workable solution.
What Not To Do
If you’re trying to take apart red Loctite without heat, the worst thing you can do is to work in a stuffy or unsafe environment. The chemicals that do the best job of dissolving red Loctite can be harmful if inhaled or if contact is made with the eyes. Be sure to wear goggles and nose and mouth protection when working with brake cleaner or paint stripper, and work in a well-ventilated location.
Don’t fight the red Loctite too hard. You can wind up injuring yourself, destroying your hardware, or causing dangerous damage to your piping. It’s always a better idea to let the bond soak than to attack with too much force. If it won’t come apart easily after a couple of hours, let it soak overnight.
If you do wind up using heat when all else fails, be safe. Have someone with you during this process, wear hand and eye protection, and be careful of all equipment, heat, and wiring. Make sure you fully understand how to use your heating equipment, and if unsure, avoid doing the job solo. Get help or a lesson in proper equipment use.
The best way to remove red Loctite without heat involves using a corrosive element such as chlorinated brake cleaner, WD-40, or paint stripper on the bond to help soften the Loctite. Allow the solvent to work into the bond for at least two hours, if not overnight, and then attack the bond with mechanical tools.
Be sure to use eye protection and work in a well-ventilated area when working with chemicals like WD-40. Mouth and nose protection would be advisable with a paint stripper, too.
Using power tools as well as a mallet and wrench may be helpful along with the solvent. The main place where heat may be absolutely necessary will be in threaded bonds that are hidden inside metal piping, and cannot be directly soaked in corrosive fluid.
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