Steel screw stuck in an alloy casing, suggestions? - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Steel screw stuck in an alloy casing, Its out!!!!

Howdy all, I was sorting a high beam/low beam issue on my 71 Bonnie and have come across this problem, the last person into the handlebars electrics had effectively rounded out the philips head screw that holds the plastic assembly with the horn and lights circuit. It looked like they had spun the screw over and over with an electric drill with a philips head bit in it, it was completely rounded out and would not take a screwdriver.

At the time my dremmel was in arms reach so I took the wrecked head off the screw with the dremmel and pulled the electrics out.



I then thought it would just be a matter of putting some long nosed pliers onto the rest of the screw and removing it and replacing it.
Unfortunately the frikkin thing is jammed tight, and I am terrified of snapping it off.

I initially went and bought a can of freezing lubricant, the type where you spray the stuck bolt and the snap freeze cracks the corrosion holding the bolt. No luck with that, so I tried the opposite direction, and got out my soldering iron and heated the bolt and tried again, no luck. Out of frustration, I did the soldering iron again, then hit it with the freeze treatment, still no luck. All this in the mean time slowly wearing what little of the bolt I had to get some sort of purchase on away.



It is currently sitting soaking with some penetrating oil spray on it, now before I go and buy a remarkably small pair of vice grips and try again tomorrow, does anyone have a sure fire remedy for this sort of situation?

Last edited by dogtired; 10-23-2009 at 07:04 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:55 AM
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Unfortunately, it's too late for my suggestion, but for future reference. If you have a phillips head screw that is rounded to the point that even a hammer impact wont remove it, you can take a dremel with a cutoff wheel and grind a slot and use a big flat screwdriver to remove it. I always try the impact first. Now, either you can try to turn it with the vise grips or us a reverse pitch drill bit and see if it will spin out.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Yerp, tried that on the way out, cut a slot, and the screw was so tight it popped one half of the head off the screw as I was giving it some with a screwdriver..

It is an old trick, we used it a lot restoring antique furniture where screw heads would be corroded beyond viability.
(Used to have an antique resto business till the wife went feral on me)
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 01:10 PM
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hi dogtired
that looks a pain, with what is left of it! you should give it lots of little whacks and maybe mushroom the end a touch, then try smacking a small 1/4 drive socket onto it.
You might just get lucky and not snap it off, a bit of heat would be handy.
If it does snap off its the (not very) easyouts, or drilling and taping.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 02:37 PM
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Just use a blowlamp on it for a while to heat the casing and break the corrosion seal, it will come out with no problems with a decent pair of grips.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 04:42 PM
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I recently removed a very "frozen" bolt by lubricating it with "Break Free" which is a Teflon based product that is usually sold in gun shops and sporting goods stores. It took 3 or 4 days of applying it once a day, but in the end it had worked its way through the corrosion. If you've got the time, it's worth a try. Also, when you do try to remove it, use a small pair of vice-grips (mole-grips?) and be very gentle.

Hope this helps: Jim

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimballard View Post
I recently removed a very "frozen" bolt by lubricating it with "Break Free" which is a Teflon based product that is usually sold in gun shops and sporting goods stores. It took 3 or 4 days of applying it once a day, but in the end it had worked its way through the corrosion. If you've got the time, it's worth a try. Also, when you do try to remove it, use a small pair of vice-grips (mole-grips?) and be very gentle.

Hope this helps: Jim
You can buy a very small set of pointed nose vice grips, they are very good (I'd be lost without mine)

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 05:02 PM
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If you have some ATF and acetone you can make a 50/50 mix and put a few drops on the screw to break the bond between the steel and aluminum. Might take a couple of doses to get all the way thru. Then with a set of smallish vice grips firmly attached, I like the needle nose model, give the screw a tiny turn towards tighten then see if it won't come on out.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the advice, I think the most important thing most of you are saying is allow it time for the penetrating oil to get into it. Will let it sit a few days and keep at it with the oil and give it every chance before I attack it again with the hot and cold methods, and a damn good set of miniature vice grips. I need all the help I can get, the actual screw is possibly less than 2mm diameter.

Will post the results in a few days, thanks again.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:55 PM
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The bolt is a bit small for an easy-out. Don't force anything if the penetrating oil trick doesn't work. Instead throw the piece in the freezer for a couple of hours. Use an acetylene torch with a small tip and quickly heat the surrounding aluminum to a max of 302 degrees Fahrenheit or about 150 degrees Celsius and the stub should turn free very easily with a set of vice-grips. The combination of lubricants and heat differential should do it but if it doesn't come out easily, you can assume that the PO used a non-conforming bolt. I'd be expecting this to be the case given the grief you've had so far. If you can get enough of a bite on the stud it may still come out but the thread will be damaged. In order to get a proper purchase on the stud, a bit of careful filing will help the vice-grip to grab on.
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