Seized Spoke Nipples

Location
Loch side.
It all depends.
1) If they are aluminium, you'll win the lottery before they will turn. They will probably just break or round off.
2) If they are brass and don't have threadlock on, find a good, four-sided nipple spanner like a Spokey that fits tightly, and wiggle until it comes loose.
3) If they are brass and have threadlock on, heat them before turning.
 
OP
Wester

Wester

Über Member
It all depends.
1) If they are aluminium, you'll win the lottery before they will turn. They will probably just break or round off.
2) If they are brass and don't have threadlock on, find a good, four-sided nipple spanner like a Spokey that fits tightly, and wiggle until it comes loose.
3) If they are brass and have threadlock on, heat them before turning.
sorry if this sounds a dumb question

What is threadlock
 
Location
Loch side.
Never a dumb question, only dumb answers ^_^ & hope this doesn't fall into that catergory :laugh:

Threadlock is like a glue that is used on nuts etc to stop them coming loose
Yup, sometimes generically referred to as Loctite but that's just a brand name and there are many other brands too.
Wheelbuilders sometimes make their own concoction by using boiled linseed oil. Linseed oil polymerises and becomes a hard, sticky glue after the wheel is built.
An interesting fact about threadlock is that it is anaerobic which makes it set in the absence of oxygen. We are mostly used to aerobic glue that sets in the presence of air.

Properly tensioned wheels don't need threadlock but try and tell that to people who can't build wheels properly. Hence problems turning spokes afterwards.
 
OP
Wester

Wester

Über Member
Never a dumb question, only dumb answers ^_^ & hope this doesn't fall into that catergory :laugh:

Threadlock is like a glue that is used on nuts etc to stop them coming loose
And how do you know if a spoke nipple has got threadlock on it or not
 
Location
Loch side.
It isn't obvious until you've worked with a few and have developed a touchy-feely sixth sense.

An aluminium nipple that's frozen onto a spoke just won't budge until the nipple either rounds off or breaks in half. Signs of aluminium corrosion by way of white salts may also be visible, depending on whether the nipple was anodized or not. This is easy to ID. Only aluminium nipples can be made red, pink, purple and green. So, if you see a nipple in these colours you know without a doubt. Both aluminium and brass nipples can be made black though.

A brass nipple with Loctite on behaves in one of two ways. If the threadlock/Loctite was of the hard set type, the nipple with resist at first and then pop loose and come of as if there was no threadlock on it. If it has soft threadlock on it, it will be very tardy with its movements throughout the length of the thread.

If it is heavily soiled and impacted with fine dust particles inside the thread, typical of real-world mountain bikes, then the nipple will squeak, groan and complain as it unscrews.
 

zacklaws

Veteran
Location
Beverley
From experience, if you think you have a seized spoke nipple, do not try to tighten it to try and free it, always try to slacken it. I have had spokes break before or strip the nipple as there has been no thread left on the spoke to tighten it so in reality the spoke was never seized, just tightened up to its maximum extent.
 

e-rider

crappy member
Location
South West
if the nipple appears to be seized, loosen it if possible put some oil on the threads and tighten again. If it's seized to the point where it will not loosen or tighten then you could cut the spoke and remove both ends before replacing with new spoke and nipple
 

Erudin

Senior Member
Location
Cornwall
I trued the wheels on my mum's old mtb bike the other day, it's kept in a draughty shed so a bit corroded.

I put a drop of ProGold Prolink into the spoke nipples first using the cable luber syringe and was able to get them to turn using a Spokey.

progold-prolink-cable-luber.jpg
 
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