Cut Off Rusty Bolts

Inexpensive cutoff tool saves the day.

cut off tool

Every time I hit a bump in my Honda van, I heard clattering metal parts in the front. The problem was easy to diagnose by simply looking behind the wheels. Both sway bar linkage ends were completely separated and dangling.

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After rounding up the new sway bar linkage parts, I jacked up the van and tried to remove the nuts holding the linkage arms. But it was clear that no amount of penetrating oil was going to loosen those 13-year-old nuts. The space was too tight for a regular angle grinder, and difficult to reach with a reciprocating saw, so I pulled out my 3-in. cutoff tool and proceeded to cut through the nuts and bolts.

There may be more robust versions of it, but this $25 tool is fine for occasional use. I was able to cut through the bolts in three or four minutes. But I found you have to use very light pressure or the motor will overheat, causing the thermal overload switch to trip. I guess this is a good thing, because otherwise the motor would fry. You can buy this cutoff tool from Harbor Freight. Even though the tool isn’t very powerful, considering the relatively low cost I think it’s worth having around for situations just like this.