seized screw heads - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-24-2006 Thread Starter
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seized screw heads

anyone have a neat idea on how to unseize flat head screws. Found water entering from up top and traced it to the jib track want to remove and recaulk but the screws aren't moving.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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I would start by soaking them in WD40 or Liquid Wrench overnight, then try to get some leverage--e.g the right size screwdriver gripped in a large vise grip--push down on the screwdriver while turning the screwdriver with the vise grip. If that still doesnt work, I would add a 2 - 3 foot pipe sleave over the pipe wrench to get more leverage. After that, I would try applying some heat, though carefully to not damage the surrounding gelcoat.
Others may have some better ideas.
Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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Get yourself an "impact driver" tool. It's a heavy duty screwdriver that you place on the screw (using appropriate bit, of course) and hammer the top. Striking the top drives the bit into the screw, and puts a twisting motion onto it at the same time. Check the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_wrench

Since this involves some pounding, you may want to brace the deck area from below if you're not already near a bulkhead or stringer. You want the energy to go into twisting the screw, not bouncing the deck.

Also make sure you have immobilized the nut below deck or you will simply turn the whole assembly and nothing will loosen up.

Would not recommend heat, certainly not a torch, in that area. Using extra leverage on a square shaft screwdriver may work, but often you simply twist the blade out and ruin the screw/bolt head, making things worse.

Last edited by Faster; 11-24-2006 at 02:22 PM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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Are you sure they are not machine screws? They have a nut on them.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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Now I'll be helpful.

CRC has a new penetrant out that chills the metal as well. Works like heat, but won't damage the finish, at least I wouldn't anticipate damage. I've only heard about the stuff (it's new), but it sounds like the right way to go. CRC makes great products.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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removing seized screws

I agree with Faster on the impact driver tool. I've had one for years. But it's important to know that the force exerted by these things is considerable if you give them a good lick. It's possible to strip/gall the heads of screws or break the shafts. Knowing what the threads are engaged in would make sense, if it's possible to see the ends from the bottom. Are they threaded to nuts or a backing plate? That would be the place to squirt penetrating oil if accessible. If all else fails and the head slots are stripped, they might have to be drilled out, a nasty and possibly destructive task.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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If you do stip the heads you can buy drill bits made specifically for removing screws. The threads are reversed so you actually drill into the screw with the drill in reverse. The further you drill in the more torque it imparts to the scew and will remove the scew once the torque exceeds the force holding the screw. They come in different sizes and are available at most hardware stores. I would still use something like liquid wrench as well.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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BTW, patience is a good thing. The penetrating solvents will take a couple of days to penetrate in really stubborn cases... rushing it is a pretty good way to screw things up and make it worse.

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-24-2006
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screw extractors

Here is an image of a screw extractor, which has reverse threads, and can be inserted in a drill hole in a broken screw.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-25-2006
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What has probably happened is that the aluminum track has corroded and fused head/shank of the screw to the track. I had this happen with some aluminum deck cleats and they simply would not turn. Remove the fasteners from below decks and try pounding upward on them with a mallot from underneath. This might help break the corrosion free from the bolts. Try penetrating oil first and give it a few days headstart. Drilling out the heads probably wont get you further than a damaged track and bolts that need to be fully drilled out. Drilling out stainless with surrounding aluminum is next to impossible (the drill will prefer to wander into the softer aluminum).
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