Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stuck Screws and Bolts

Sometimes the simple tasks become more an ordeal than one would like. Where there is sweat and rain there will be some issues - like seized bolts and screws. I have been fortunate for the most part working on my bikes through the years. Of course bottom brackets can sometimes be a beast, but those smaller screws have generally worked loose with a bit of penetrating oil and being careful with the allen wrench so not to strip out the head. This time I wasn't so fortunate when it came time to change out some well worn Cee Gee Cushy arm pads and Velcro on the arm cups. Three of the four screws were tough, but did come out with some finesse. The other one would not budge and I stripped out the head with the allen wrench.

What do the pros suggest? Some of the typical methods are:

  • Cut a groove using a Dremel and use a flat head screwdriver.
  • Drill out the center with a slightly larger drill bit and then drive a slightly larger Torx bit into the hole and remove with a driver or wrench.
  • Use a screw extractor kit. (I bought a kit from Harbor Freight, but decided not to use.)
  • Weld a hex nut to the top of the stripped head and use a wrench to remove.
  • Use a punch and tap into the head counter clockwise.

The most common suggested seemed to be cut a groove in the top and use a flat head screwdriver. Sounded the most simple and more so than than using the screw extractor kit. With the safety glasses, Dremel with a metal cutting blade, large flat head screwdriver and mallet it took about five minutes. After cutting the slot the screw still would not budge so I angle the screwdriver so that I could give a few taps in a counter clockwise direction and that was enough to break the cup and screw loose enough to turn out easily.

Sweaty mess causes issues in forgotten areas on the bike. 

Cut a slot in the stripped head for the flat head screw driver

Removed in a few minutes. It took longer to get the tools ready.

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