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  #1  
Old 01-15-2010
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broken screw removal

The head of a screw on my traveller was recently sheered off during an accidental jibe. I believe the screw is your typical stainless steel which is threaded into a stainless body encased in the aluminum traveller car. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but it's easy to imagine the problem.

So my question is this: Anyone out there have any sure-fire methods of removing a headless screw from its female counterpart? Any approach better than saturating with penetrating oil, drilling into the old screw, and removing wtih some sort of binding action? I'll be standing by for a simple, painless solution to this vexing problem.
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Old 01-15-2010
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Rule #1 Lefty-loosey, Righty-Tighty.
Rule #2 Remember Rule #1.

is there anything left above the surface, or is the screw snapped off flush? if you have enough left above to grab with a pair of vice grips, carefully file down opposite sides of the screw to give a surface for the vice-grips to grip, heat the aluminum with a torch, and turn the screw.
If it is flush, do you have access to the underside, and is the foot of the screw protruding far enough to get vice-grips on the bottom?
Otherwise, it is cobalt drill bits, tapping fluid and slow speed.

Rule #3 When you put it all back together, coat the screws with anti-seize. You will have to take it apart again. THAT is why it was assembled with screws.
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Old 01-15-2010
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How big is the screw? I can't remember the name, but there is a product that is basically a screw with reverse threads that you could drill a pilot hole, into the the sheared off screw, screw this into it. Because it is reverse threaded, it will back out the original screw as it tightens up.
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Old 01-15-2010
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Hi Hog,

Sorry about that accidental jibe and damage.

There are devices/tools on the market called "screw extractors" (no, it's not a coercive device, you sick man! ) that work with a hand drill in reverse. Lowes/Home Despot should have them. Maybe worth a try before drilling them out?

Also, a screw extractor might work even better with an "impact" drill if you have one.
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Old 01-15-2010
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I always knew them as "Easy Outs".
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Old 01-15-2010
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Tiny like a #10 ?

If there some screw left a tiny slot can be cut to use a screwdrive BUT if its been in Aluminum a long time then skilled drilling may be required.

Gotta be carefull with tiny easy-out products as they break easy leaving a hard part in the hole
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Old 01-15-2010
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Did you guys miss the part where I said I want a "simple, painless solution"?

Argh! Thanks for the replies....

No, unfortunately it was sheered off flush, so there's nothing to get ahold of. Also there's nothing on the underside to work with....

The screw is about 1/8th-inch diameter or perhaps a bit smaller. I'm thinking the screw itself is going to be dang hard to drill into.

Thanks for the replies, T34, ChristyLeigh, Capt. Pollard, Captain Jones and Tommays! I'm Dumbo ears, so if anyone has any further suggestions.... Maybe a chant would work... Maybe pass my hand over it and say certain words.... Abracadabra....
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Old 01-15-2010
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I have to agree with the risk of screw extractors. I recently broke one off in a drilled out screw. You are then in big trouble unless you can drive the broken part completely through the hole you drilled.

Take your time and be gentle. If in doubt just drill larger and tap the hole. But try to turn it out first if you can get a bite on it with pliers or vice grips. I have managed to unscrew broken bolts from the rear some times and even from the front by using an awl when they did not bind.
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Old 01-15-2010
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Craftsman and many other companies make screw extractors. I see one even advertised on television.

Carefully applied, any of them will do the job. 1/8 is probably the smallest I would attempt to remove, without completely drilling out the whole thing.
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Old 01-15-2010
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Sail Hog, are you talking about a Catalina 30? What year? Do you have “high” fiberglass traveler mounts or (relatively) low ones? Please don’t tell me you have the dreaded curved traveler. If your set up is relatively “new” (lower mounts), then what you have is a bronze plate embedded in the coach roof that the traveler bolts are tapped into. The downside is Catalina uses 3M 4000 to water seal so you are working against both the torque’d in broken stud and the “glue”. You can use an easy out BUT BE VERY CAREFUL! You will need to use the largest easy out that you can (you may need to use an impact wrench) so a small one may break. The traveler beam is aluminum so it is easy to bung it up if your drill drifts. Buy the best colbalt drill bit you can find and use copious amounts of cutting oil designed for stainless. Drill very, very slowly with lots of pressure. Faster speeds only heat tempers the work giving you a bigger problem. You may want to call a rigger. (Needless to say I too, have experience in extracting a broken traveler screw.)
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