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juakali 03-27-2013 07:58 AM

Loose anchor bolts in Kenya
Hello all,

I was hoping I could get your advice on a project I am working on. I work for an organization that installs chlorine dispensers to treat drinking water in remote water points in rural Kenya. The system is essentially a tank that fits inside a housing which is bolted to a PVC pipe. The PVC pipe is filled with concrete and a small base slab is also poured around the base of the PVC as an anchor slab. About 6 in from the top of the PVC there are two holes where we feed bolts through the inside of the pvc and the dispenser housing to bolt the two pieces together. The head of the bolt is flush with the inside of the PVC and the nut/end of the bolt is inside the dispenser housing (so that we can remove the housing if it gets damaged)

This is a picture of the dispenser itself:

This is a picture of how the dispenser housing is bolted to the PVC (note that on these pictures we have added an extra nut to the side of the bolt inside the PVC so that it is slightly more embedded in the concrete. This is not the case for the situation where I am talking about, where the bolt head is flush with the inside of the PVC- this happened before my time and I don't have a picture of this).

There was some unfortunate decisions made early on where the bolt head was flush against the inside of the PVC and we then fill the PVC with concrete to fix the bolts in place. The problem, however, is that since the bolt is not really embedded in the concrete at all and when we need to loosen the nut to change out the tanks, the bolt head breaks free from the concrete and spins in place. We have no real way of accessing the bolt head other than cutting the PVC and removing the entire bolt.

We are now at a scale at which it is likely that we will need to replace approx. 500 dispenser casings. Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this? Can anyone think of a tool that would allow me to grip the bolt from the threads which provides enough torque that I can remove a rusty nut? (Vice grips are the obvious answer but I was hoping for something that wouldn't damage the threads so we can reattach a housing).

Many thanks for your help!

Best wishes,

hand drive 03-27-2013 08:17 AM

it seems that some type of hole drilled through the center of the bolt at the threaded end to allow an insert of sorts
to hold the bolt fast while you are able to turn the nut. I'm thinking of the system that allows stripped out screw heads to work
where the part that is inserted acts opposite directionally speaking of what needs to be turned( the nut in your case) . drilling into
metal is not easy and there would be the drilled hole left in the metal when you are finished so it may need to be filled with epoxy or
similar to keep it from rusting out to quickly. without being able to grab the threaded part of the bolt the center part seems like the most likely
candidate to get a grab of.

Thank you for what you are doing to help people get clean drinking water, that is something every human needs so much. Bless!

joed 03-27-2013 08:59 AM

Cut a slot into the bolt. Cut into the nut also if needed. It can be replaced with a new one if overly damaged. Then use a flathead screwdriver to hold the bolt while you use a wrench on the nut.
After you have it removed you could try injecting some epoxy around the bolt the lock it back in place.

fred54 03-27-2013 09:43 AM

how about a nut splitter to remove the damaged nut? Then as someone suggested you could cut a slot in the end of the bolt to attach the new nut. Lots of wd-40 or neversieze on the reinstall.

fred54 03-27-2013 09:44 AM

also maybe for future installations drill all the way through the PVC and use a longer bolt. Good luck whatever you do. You are doing a great service.

jagans 03-27-2013 09:48 AM

2 Attachment(s)
First of all, Great pictures. Synchro-Sunlight with flash on. Beautiful.

Now your problem. You actually have a couple.

1. Your station needs to have a stand on which those coming to get chlorine can set the five gallon containers. The post is leaning like that from the weight, I assume.

2. The "Bolts" that you are using should not be bolts at all. A simple fix for future stations would be to use Stainless Steel Eye bolts, with the "Eye" portion in the PVC pipe into which you pour the concrete. Run a nut up the threads to set the length you want the threaded portion to stick out, put on an appropriate rubber washer, a large saddle washer, put through wll of pipe install another rubber washer, and anothersaddle washer and a nut. Make sure you tap the pipe lightly all around once you fill with concrete, this will "Vibrate" the concrete and remove air pockets, so the eye does not sit in a void. Zinc plated hardware, and chlorine is a bad match.

If the nuts are really rusted, your best bet is a nut cracker, as shown below. Since you are replacing the chlorine containers, I assume they are broken, so you can just break them from around the frozen nuts? Do not use a "knuckle buster" wrench as shown being used the wrong way in the photo. Use a large box wrench or a 6 point socket on a large breaker bar. You have to apply significant force to crack the nut. You are going to need a tool that is well made, as you have many nuts to crack, so buy a few made in the USA.

God bless you and the work you do.

joecaption 03-27-2013 10:09 AM

I would have used a washer like this and used stainless steel wing nuts and bolts.

jagans 03-27-2013 10:11 AM

OK Joe, we're sending you to Kenya on the red-eye tonight, pack your gear.


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