Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck - SailNet Community

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  #1  
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Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

So we're working on re-doing the deck of our Vagabond 42, and that means we also want to remove all deck hardware. The cleats have some monsterous bolts with flatheads and standard screwdriver slots. Nuts have been removed below although there is still a single backing plate on all 4 bolts. (First cleat removal attempt.)

I have bought the largest screwdriver I can find and am having no luck in twisting these things out. (That includes of course putting a wrench on the square shank of the screwdriver.) The pulpit stanchions that I've successfully removed - much smaller of course - required unscrewing the whole way, evidently due to an excellent job of sealing the holes/fasteners when installed.

There isn't enough thread down below to double-nut and get them started up and out. Might we have to chip out the teak under the cleat so I can get a sawzall in and cut the bolts? But then I'd have a piece of all-thread in there with no way to get it out either!

All suggestions are definitely appreciated. Thanks in advance.

(P.S. - I'm away at work so won't be able to try any of your excellent thoughts right away.)
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

Oh, that's bad news. You may be able to drill off the screw heads, remove the cleat and then you'll have enough remaining stud sticking out to remove the remainder of the screw. You may also be able to purchase a 3/8 drive screw driver bit and borrow a rattle gun (impact driver) to back the screws out.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

I use a large drive "drag link" type screwdriver bit with a breaker bar or rachet, you use the bit the fits the length of the slot.
Drag Link Socket from Sears.com
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

You don't know what the bolts have been bedded in. Could be 3M 5200. Could be the threads have corroded into a electrolytic cocktail along with the bedding. Maybe they're welded in by a P/O who didn't want leaks. What "looseners" have you tried? (MEK?) Bigger screwdriver with more heft is the next option.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

Try an impact driver or impact wrench. Torqued and bedded (especially with 5200) are a bear to get out. You can also try MEK/Acetone to break the sealant’s bonds or even a little heat.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

If a purchase on the head of the bolt can be had with a pair of vise grips you can usually get enough leverage to back the fastener out. If there isn't enough land area on the head to get the vise grips to bite it's sometimes possible to use the vise grips on the exposed threaded end inboard and back the fastener out far enough to get a purchase on the head.

I used this method yesterday to get some long number 12 screws out of the cabin roof with the friction of the fiberglass/plywood sandwich being augmented by the BoatLife caulk that was used to seal them. It worked.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

If your cleats are alloy and the bolts stainless, you may never get them apart. There is a special Neverseize (gold not grey) for alloy, but nobody in the boat construction industry seems to have found it.
You might try gently heating the cleat at the bolt; the alloy should expand faster, but it's a risky thing to do on something bedded directly to glass, like a cleat.
Soaking with a penetrant several times a day for a period of time could help, but most penetrants are designed for rust, not alloy/ss corrosion.
Good luck.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

They make impact screw drivers. They are great for stuff like this. You put a screw bit in them, put them securely in the screw and whack it with a hammer. The thing is the hammer blow also pushes the bit into the fastener so it hold really tight. Work great to get out stuck screws, and auto door jams.

Impact Screwdriver Set with Case

They are cheap too. They are reversible so you can use it to give a final tightening to a screw that you want a lot of torque on.

I think this is the one I have:

http://www.sears.com/lisle-impact-dr...1&blockType=G1

Has never let me down in several restorations of British sports cars. Has lasted about 30 years too.

Last edited by miatapaul; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:18 PM.
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

Quote:
Originally Posted by capttb View Post
I use a large drive "drag link" type screwdriver bit with a breaker bar or rachet, you use the bit the fits the length of the slot.
Drag Link Socket from Sears.com
I'm thinking (hoping?) these drag links with the impact driver might break things loose. I'm concerned that it'll be a bear the entire length of the bolts!

Thanks for all of the ideas.

(We're hoping for NOT finding that alloy mismash cocktail!)
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Re: Removing Deck Hardware Fasteners - No Luck

PB Blaster and Impact Driver. I got my driver from NAPA. It will last a lifetime. PB Blaster is amazing stuff and it really works. I just went through the same thing with stainless and aluminum.
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