How-To: Remove and Install Studs in a Tight Space

The double-nut method

Because a stud is by definition a piece of rod with threads at both ends, removing or installing one without damaging it presents a bit of a challenge. Obviously if the threads are already damaged and space permits, you can remove it by any means possible, including Vise Grips and pipe wrenches. But what if you’d like to remove it intact, or there’s not enough room to spin a large tool?

studs, removing, installing, motorcycle parts, maintenance
Removing and installing studs can cause damage but it doesn't have to.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

There are special stud-removing and -installing tools available. If you know in advance that you’re going to need one, and feel like spending the money (roughly $50 and up), they’re well worth buying, particularly if you’re going to be removing a lot of studs. But there’s also a cheap and practical alternative that works just as well: the double-nut method.

Obtain two nuts of the correct size, run the first one down the stud, almost all the way to the end, leaving maybe two to four threads showing. To make things easier, use a little WD-40 or light oil to clean and lubricate the threads. With the first nut in place, run the second one down until it just touches the first. Use a wrench to tighten the lower nut against the upper one, jamming them together (you’ll need a wrench to hold the upper one as well to prevent it from turning). Next, place a wrench on the lower nut and turn it counter-clockwise; the stud should walk right out. To install the stud, place your wrench on the top nut and turn it clockwise. Once you’re done with the stud, break the nuts loose from each other and they’ll spin right off.