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Old 10-04-2012, 04:05   #1
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Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

I have one screw in the "T" track that my forestaysail sheet's block slides along that is about 1/16th of an inch above the flat of the "T". It stops the slide from having full slide range on the "T".
I've tried brute force, an impact screw driver and even heated it with a propane torch and then used the impact driver all with no success.
Any suggestions on how to get it out? I can't get to the underside of where the screws come through the deck(if they do)to see what may be holding them in but so far have never found a screw in the deck to be backed by a nut and washer(Taiwan boat from the early 80's).
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:19   #2
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Try this

Amazon.com: 5pc Damaged Screw Extractor Set Ez Out Remover Tool New: Home Improvement

Screw Extractor
When an impact driver can't remove a screw, or there's not enough of the screw protruding to grip, the next step is to drill off the screw's head and then use a screw extractor.
Screw extractor bits are made of very hard metal, so they are very brittle. It is very easy to break one off inside the screw. When that happens you are screwed...
A screw extractor is a very hard reverse-thread bit. You drill a hole into the screw, then carefully tap the proper extractor (which has a smaller initial diameter than the hole, and quickly flares out) into the hole, and use it to twist out what is left of the screw. The reverse flutes on the extractor cause it to bite harder into the metal of the screw as you put more force on it. Screw extractor bits are made of very hard metal, so they are very brittle. It is very easy to break one off inside the screw. When that happens you are screwed (sorry for the pun)- the extractor metal is harder than any drill bit, so you can't drill it out. The only recourse will be EDM (see below). To turn the extractor you should use a tap handle commonly used to turn threading taps. The screw extractor has a square end to fit into the tap handle. Using a regular wrench to turn the extractor is almost guaranteed to break it.
You should be very careful when drilling the hole in the screw. Obviously you don't want to drill into the material surrounding the screw, so be careful to line up the drill in the center of the screw. Use a drill press if you have one and the part is small enough that you can set it up solidly in the press. Drill slowly and stop often to check your progress. Drill a small pilot-hole first, using a punch to mark the spot before you start drilling.

Many times, drilling the hole in the screw will be enough to loosen it as the pressure is released, and you will be able to ease it out with little force on the extractor.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:36   #3
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

I would drill the screw out, fill the hole with expoy ( use an alen key to break up core around the hole and also fill with expoy if it's a cored deck) and re-tap the thread.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:47   #4
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Be careful with a screw extractor. Personally, I haven't had much success with them. I one case, apparently the screw extractor has put additional pressure inside the screw making it even more seized than before to the point that I was unable to extract it without damaging the surrounding metal. The second time I tried one, it broke inside the screw.

You might need to use a small diameter hole saw to drill the screw out.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:07   #5
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

I got way too much experience with this when I removed my teak decks - about two dozen of the 1615 screws seized in the fiberglass (on the bright side that's not a bad ratio ). The deck screws were #8, too small to try the screw extractor, but they were SO seized that I'm positive it would have broken off in the screw like previously mentioned. I think it must be some sort of stainless galling.

You don't say your screw size, probably a 1/4" machine screw? That's big enough to try the screw extractor - if you haven't drilled stainless lately now would be a convenient time to give the screw extractor a try, and remind yourself why you haven't drilled stainless lately. It's also good exercise for your patience and vocabulary, use or lose it, ya know. After the tip breaks off in the screw do what Ziggy and nolex 77 said.

I tried everything under the sun and the only way to get them out is to remove the surrounding fiberglass. I drilled four 1/8" holes around each screw to get enough room to fit my needle nose vise grips and weaken the surrounding fiberglass so it would crumble when I turned the vise grips, and many of them still weren't way to easy. It really makes a mess of the deck, thank goodness for epoxy. Never seen such a small diameter hole saw but that would be the best option.

My experience tapping epoxy for machine screws is that makes for less holding power than drilling an undersized hole and screwing it in. Of course if it is a wood screw there aren't any taps for that. Drill your hole *just* undersized of the max thread diameter of the screw, any smaller and your screw will seize, and lean on your screwdriver so the threads bite and don't just act as a drill bit reaming out the epoxy. Experience: what you get just after you need it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:21   #6
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShipShape View Post
if you haven't drilled stainless lately now would be a convenient time to give the screw extractor a try, and remind yourself why you haven't drilled stainless lately. It's also good exercise for your patience and vocabulary, use or lose it, ya know. After the tip breaks off in the screw do what Ziggy and nolex 77 said.
If you think drilling stainless is tough try drilling out the broken tip of a screw extractor. Once the extractor tip breaks off inside the screw (and from the description of what OP has tried it probably will) then you are left with two options. Get a carbide bit and grind it out in little pieces or go ahead and cut the whole thing out of the fiberglass.

For what it's worth, I have tried screw extractors many times over the years and have about a 10% success rate with them (guess I'm a slow learner). After the last event I have sworn off them forever.

From the OP's description, the screw going through the T-track I think drilling larger holes, hole saws, etc are not an option since that would also involve drilling through the track, one more argument against risking breaking an extractor in the screw.

I think the best option is to go ahead and drill it out. If it is a particularly tough grade of SS you can get a small carbide bit for a Dremel tool for about $15 that will eat through SS easily.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:30   #7
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Before trying an EZ Out or other brand of screw extractor you might want to read the comments on this thread I started after my last (last and final forever) experience.

Broken EZ Out
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:18   #8
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Drill off head, remove track, use plug cutter to cut out damaged screw, repair fiberglass, re-drill for new screw



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Old 10-04-2012, 09:04   #9
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Have you tried alternating tightening and loosening with the impact driver?
I've successfully used heat, some WD40 and the above all at the same time.

Keep us posted.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:57   #10
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

If you don't need to remove the track, do the cheap and dirty. File/sand /grind the Head of the screw flush with the track. You are only talking about 1/16" so it shouldn't affect the strength of the screw. If you do need to remove the track in future you can apply the suggestions mentioned above.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:10   #11
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by perchance View Post
If you don't need to remove the track, do the cheap and dirty. File/sand /grind the Head of the screw flush with the track. You are only talking about 1/16" so it shouldn't affect the strength of the screw. If you do need to remove the track in future you can apply the suggestions mentioned above.
+1 Probably stainless track on that boat right?
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:16   #12
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Just plan old "T" track. Not stainless steel. Only one screw is raised. The other 10 are just fine and the thought of taking all of them out just to fix the one is more than I care to go through. So I don't have full range of the track. Is that really going to affect the angle of the sheet to the sail. I think not. I'll probably use a file on the head and get on with my life. If I ever have to take the track off(unlikely) I can worry about it then. Life is to short and there is too much of the world I still want to see.
But with that being said, thanks to everyone out there that has given advise. Always nice to ask for help and know I'll get it here.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:03   #13
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Yeah... makes sense. Not possible to lift on the car and get over it? some of mine were like that. Or a different style car might clear it....
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:18   #14
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

Since the screw is not seated in the track, it is not doing it's job anyway, so removing the head will not change the strength of the attachment.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:22   #15
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Re: Seized screw in fiberglass deck.

I have found a wide variation in the head size on taiwanese flat head screws from that era.... so it could be seated or just cocked a bit.
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