Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

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Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby John Yungbluth » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:47 pm

Hobbiest, non-professional here.

Had a kid come by with his garage sale find, a Fender Starcaster acoustic. The neck needs major adjusting, but a previous owner stripped out the hex surfaces on the truss nut and it is hard to get a grasp on it. This is adjusted through the sound hole, through a brace.

When I can get any resistance with the hex wrench, it will not budge. I'm concerned it was overtightened, and is siezed to the rod. The adjuster nut seems to have been made with the centered bored out, threaded at one end, and machined to accept the hex at the other. I'm wondering if it ran out of threads in the nut, and the rod attempted to cut more under the pressure being applied, and it seized up.

Tried a tapered flat head screw driver pressed into the nut and it will grab hold, but I cannot get it to break loose.

Because of the value of the guitar, thought about cutting open the top of the brace and putting a small vise grip on it to see if that would work.

Also thought of drilling out the center of the nut down to the end of the rod and see if that would loosen it up.

Maybe attempt to force thread in a left handed bolt with a nut to run against the damaged nut and try to back it out that way.

I know this post alone is spending more time than the guitar is worth, but as a hobbiest it is a challenge I want to try.

Ran a few drops of JB Blaster inside and will let it sit over night and sink in. Then I'll try the hex wrench and screwdriver again.

Any insight you can share would be greatly appreciated.

John
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Mark Swanson » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:31 am

Try heat. You can get an allen wrench really hot, and place it in the hex nut for a while. It'll transfer heat to it. Maybe the heat and the oil will loosen it up. Keep working to loosen it, it should come loose. Maybe the nut was cross-threaded, or it's bottomed out as you suspect.
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby John Yungbluth » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:19 pm

Mark, thanks for the tip. I have two allen wrenches that fit it well. I'll heat up one and then apply pressure with the second. I'll let you know how it comes out.

John
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Nick Middleton » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:32 pm

First, I would make sure you've removed the strings to take away the string-tension on the neck. If that doesn't help, I would try a block of wood on top of the first fret and last fret of the fingerboard, then add a beam on top that spans those blocks. Then, use a clamp at the middle of the neck to force the neck backwards, and relieving any tension the rod is making.

After one or both of those methods, you should then only be fighting with the threads and can evaluate the situation from there.
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby John Yungbluth » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:44 pm

Well, I tried the clamp to force some back bow and it would not come loose.

Heated the allen wrench also using the clamp method and could feel heat in the wood below the nut, but no movement in either direction. Tried this 3 seperate times without any change.

Gave the kid another, playable guitar until I get this figured out.

I'm thinking now that this may have spent a few days in a hot car, and the glue softened, fingerboard slipped under the string tension and it cooled and reset with a bow in it. Then they tried to adjust it out with the truss rod, seizing it up.

This weekend I'm going to heat the board and glue, and clamp it flat and see if I can reverse the process.

Haven't tried this before, but have read about it. Any new suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

John
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Mark Wybierala » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:26 am

If the heat gets a decent transfer its worth repeating. "A good fit" is something that is open to interpretation. The allen key is probably 5/32" or 4mm. if its a loose "good fit" then I'd try taking what ever the next size larger allen key and use a file to subtley taper the ends to get a tight "good fit" -- maybe wack it once.

The evil question here is, Is this a dual adjustable truss rod that it at its limit? Some inexpensive guitars under the Fender name have them. If the guitar has zero or less relief when strung up, I would suspect this. Some trusted friends take an allen key and do really bad things because they think they know what they are doing and I have had guitars like this come into my shop with the trussrods adjusted beyond reason by well meaning people.

I would concentrate on working the truss rod until there is no other option before cutting any wood. If you strip the allen key hole entirely, move on to an easyout. Don't let yourself get misled in your frustration. It is always right-tighty - lefty loosie. There has been more than once that I've needed to employ an extension on to my allen key to get leverage and the resulting POP! has always been frightening but it works.
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Mark Swanson » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:45 am

Not to crush all hope here but remember that this guitar is the cheapest of the cheap. It may well be a bad rod, or a faulty installation or something. Go ahead and try all these tricks but remember it may be messed up from the start.
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby John Yungbluth » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:04 pm

Hope springs eternal. Low end guitars are a reality all their own.

This is now just a learning process. I'll try to heat the nut again. I have used an extension to add some torque. If that strikes out again, I try heating the FB and neck, clamp it straight and see what results that gets.

If I can't make it playable, I'll let the kid keep the loaner.

From there I think I'll pull the fingerboard and see what is going on in there. Have a neck and better FB that may come over from another cadaver. Options, and all the time in the world to play with it.

Thanks everyone.

John
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Greg Robinson » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:17 am

John Yungbluth wrote:Have a neck and better FB that may come over from another cadaver.


Would that make it a Star-en-caster?
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby John Yungbluth » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:20 pm

If I do replace the neck and FB, would it now make this bad boy body a Starcaster-ated?

Should I make it a Tenor?

Painful thought.

Stay tuned for my next episode of "Tales From The Bottom of The Dumpster".
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Re: Siezed up truss rod adjuster on low end Starcaster

Postby Doug Polk » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:12 am

As long as the donor guitar body is truely garbage, and the neck is a bolt on (weren't Fender acoustics all bolt-on?) the idea has merit. If it's glued in, then the only true (and easiest) fix for this is to pop off the fingerboard, see what's what with the rod, and glue the board back on (if it doesn't get wrecked pulling it off). But as I said, if the neck is a bolt-on, replacement is a chinch.
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