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Cartgate 06-13-2013 03:09 PM

cam cleat removal
I need to rebuild one of my cam cleats but he screw attaching it to the boat is stripped out. I can not get a screw driver head to fit it because evidently, someone before me had the same idea and stripped it out. Anyone have any good ideas to on how to remove an old screw? Thanks for your help.

ebs001 06-13-2013 03:19 PM

Re: cam cleat removal

Irunbird 06-13-2013 03:27 PM

Re: cam cleat removal
There are several methods used (including screw extractors, assuming you can gain no purchase on whatever is left of the screw shank), but what has worked for me for the vast majority of those is to carefully drill through with a carbide drill bit one size smaller in diameter. If it's a stainless screw, it will take longer, but I've never had that fail. If it's a big enough screw, you can drill partially through the center (deep enough for an extracting bit to bite) then back out the screw. Be aware, that if you overdrill too large of a diameter hole, you may need to refinish the hole with thickened epoxy, then re-drill the hole for the cleat screw.

Squidd 06-13-2013 08:49 PM

Re: cam cleat removal
Another option is to use a larger bit and drill the "head" off the screw...pull the cam cleat off and then use a vice grip to remove the standing shank of the screw...

SchockT 06-14-2013 12:35 AM

Re: cam cleat removal
What is it screwed into? Aluminum? Fiberglass? Or is it a bolt, with a nut under the deck?

One trick is to use a dremel to cut a slot into the head of the screw to accept a big flat blade screw driver.

With seized screws I have found an impact screwdriver often works. You hit it with a hammer, and it simultaneously digs into the screw and turns it. The combination of the two will break it loose more often than not.

If it is through bolted and you can access the nut on the underside, you are best off just grinding the nut off.

H and E 06-14-2013 08:00 AM

Re: cam cleat removal
I found some Left Hand Turn (counter clockwise) drill bits and have used them for removing stripped screw heads. They seem to work well. On occasion the screw came out before I got the head drilled. I think I found them at Sears several years ago.

Irunbird 06-14-2013 08:03 AM

Re: cam cleat removal
Schockt- where did you find that impact driver? I've looked a bit around here (mostly the big stores, but couldn't find one). I like that dremmel idea.


jimgo 06-14-2013 09:40 AM

Re: cam cleat removal
Ray, check out: 7 Piece Reversible Impact Driver Set

If you can get the screwdriver to bite, you can also do a "poor man's" impact driver; put a lot of rotational force on the screwdriver, then whack the head with a hammer. The impact driver is better, but this has worked for me, even with bolts.

bobsaxet 06-14-2013 02:13 PM

Re: cam cleat removal
Great post! Screw extractors work great - everyone should have a set. One additional step which I don't believe was mentioned is that you need to carefully centerpunch the head of the screw so the drill bit won't wonder around. If you don't centerpunch you risk getting started off center which is ruinous. I also suggest that if you go down the screw extractor route that you practice first. There is some feel involved. Lastly don't push it when drilling. If you break the drill off in the screw you're done. Recovering from this is much work.
Hope this helps, Bob

OPossumTX 06-14-2013 04:18 PM

Re: cam cleat removal

Originally Posted by H and E (Post 1043901)
I found some Left Hand Turn (counter clockwise) drill bits and have used them for removing stripped screw heads. They seem to work well. On occasion the screw came out before I got the head drilled. I think I found them at Sears several years ago.

I got my LH drill bits at Harbor Freight and they work just fine. If the bit sticks in the screw, it backs it right out. The heat of drilling and the ccw torque of the LH bit usually breaks them loose. If you get the bit centered properly, you will never even nick the threads in the hole.

If the screw stays stuck, I just go up sizes until I drill the screw's minor diameter, the size of the bottoms of the threads on the screw. After that, a tap will usually chase out the remaining trash and I can save the hole and original threads.

This works even with screws bedded in epoxy or 5200. The problem is after getting the screw out of the way, the stupid hardware is still stuck to the deck by the miracle glue.:eek:

If the wind is not blowing, I have put wet towels or rags around the offending metal hardware and then using a heat gun warmed the cleat or what ever until the magic glue turns loose. Keep the rags around the hardware wet and the deck will not melt or burn before the glue turns loose. I didn't use the wet rags the first time I did this and had a nasty mess to fix.

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