A torch is going to torch the paint, so that's a bit of a last resort. Not sure I can be bothered with that, though it'll give it a nice "rat" look? ;)
But maybe some gentle heat on the electric hob can work?
I could put the metal stanchion bit at the bottom on the heat so that the painted outside tube doesn't get direct heat. The steel should heat up and the inside tube should also get hot, heating up the bearings and other bits I cannot get to.
Not sure that is quite "hot" enough though... my partner thinks not and he's more into mechanical engineering than I am.
Yeah I don't think it's a realistic option.
Of course with caustic soda you could melt the upper tube from the lower - you wouldn't have much left worth salvaging in the end given half the damper is alu too though!
As this "FFS it's rusted shut!!!!" problem is a common one, there's gotta be a way around it...
Just need to find it :)
My colleague said his car spring compressor is too short, so that is out.
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