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Old 02-16-08, 09:54 AM   #1
Dawes-man
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Removing Snapped Off Drop Out Screws

I have a 1982 Trek 730 with broken off drop out screws.
See:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/2298367...7603905040368/
and
http://www.flickr.com/photos/2298367...7603905040368/

WNG on the Classic & Vintage forum has suggested soaking them with penetrating oil and then have someone tack-weld a small screwdriver to the ends and see if they can be screwed out.

I've thought of maybe using a fine file to cut screw slots into the ends, being very careful to not damage the drop out threads, and then trying to screw them out. My Dawes Altantis had the same problem but the screws had screw slots on the inner ends and they screwed out v. easily.

Does anyone have any other tricks they have tried with success, or think would work?

I suggested to my bike mechanic using a fine drill to drill hole in the ends and then insert something to screw them out but he reckoned I would risk splitting the drop out.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:14 AM   #2
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Why can't you just drill it out? Easy out?

Last edited by operator; 02-16-08 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:23 AM   #3
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File them off and call it good?

They're not really necessary, just a convenient feature, but if you absolutely had to replace them...

Slotting them for a screwdriver is probably the cheapest option. If the fine file doesn't "cut it", try a dremel with a cutoff wheel...just be careful and use one of the thinner wheels.

If that won't work, try a left-twist drill and drill the center for an easy-out. It may come out with just the drill.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:59 AM   #4
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If there are any threads sticking out from the inside of the dropout, try grabbing the bolt with needlenose pliers and taking it out from the inside.
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Old 02-16-08, 11:08 AM   #5
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If you don't care about them, I'd just file the ends flat and call it good to go. Or drill them out.

Cutting a slot in the end with a dremel is an old trick to be able to get a purchase, but I bet these babies are rusted in there pretty good. If there is a nubbon left to grab, then vice grips often will work.

Tangentially, is there a source for these somewhere? I'm missing one on my Trek 400 and have removed the other, but if I could find one, I'd probably put it back in.

- Mark
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Old 02-16-08, 11:09 AM   #6
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black and decker makes a "easy out" broken fastener remover.
available at home depot, there is a set of three and the small one is just SO tiny, you could seriously remove a 4mm broken screw.

you drill a pilot hole, then put the remover in your makita drill/driver and using reverse, it'll grab the tiny hole and should back right out.

nothing else I've tried has a pointed cone head thats THIS small*.

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Old 02-16-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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I've removed zillions of screws that have broken like this in my shop. Assuming it is broken-off flush or slightly below flush . . . take it to a welding shop that has a TIG welder. Have them build up the end of the screw with weld metal until it sticks up an 1/8" or so.

It the broken screw is already sticking up 1/8" or more . . . proceed to the next step.

Have them place a small nut over the part they just built up. Weld the nut onto the 'extended' screw. Once it has cooled somewhat . . . take a wrench and remove the broken screw.

It occasionally takes several tries . . . but it 'will' come out.

The heat from welding tends to break any bond between the screw and the bike. The nut that was welded on provides an easy way to grab it.
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Old 02-16-08, 02:51 PM   #8
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I have tried different brands of screw extractors but this is the only one that worked for me. Most the ones I tried before look like a tapered drill bit. They tend to be thin, very brittle, and break before the screw will come out. This one is sort of chunky and works surprising well.

http://www.4grabit.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1
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Old 02-16-08, 06:13 PM   #9
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Many thanks to all who have responded!

There really is nothing protruding either outside or inside to get hold of with pliers - outside they're broken off flush and inside they aren't screwed in far enough.

As to why I don't just live with it, well, I would except I'd like just a little more clearance on corners. The frame already has a large drop (7.5) compared to the bike I've been riding for 4 years and am used to (a Dawes Atlantis with 5.8) and without the screws the wheel is right back in the drop outs - with screws I'd add almost a centimetre.

Lots of good suggestions and I'm very gratedful. If possible, I'd like to get them out myself (for the satisfaction of it) so I'm going to try penetrating oil for a month or so, then use some sort of extractor. If that doesn't work I'll follow dwood's advice - there's an excellent engineering works that I've used for my motorcycles.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 02-16-08, 07:04 PM   #10
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Is any of the screw sticking out into the drop outs? It sounds like there should be, since removing them will give you more clearance. Can you grab an of this end and remove them using pliers?
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Old 02-16-08, 07:15 PM   #11
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Is any of the screw sticking out into the drop outs? It sounds like there should be, since removing them will give you more clearance. Can you grab an of this end and remove them using pliers?
No, as I say above, there's nothing to grab either inside or outside.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:39 PM   #12
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Tangentially, is there a source for these somewhere?
They're not hard to find, either ebay or loosescrews or some outfit like that should have them.
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Old 02-17-08, 12:34 AM   #13
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Something I've learned in 35 years of removing broken screws is this: if the screw broke when you tried to remove it by it's designed tool [screwdriver, wrench, etc.] you are not likely going to be able to remove it with an EZ-out. It is STUCK. Cutting another screw slot with a Dremel tool, etc. will not work either.

If it was sheared-off by some external force then it 'might' be free enough in its threads to be removed with an EZ-out, grasping with pliers, etc.

TIG welding on a 'new head' as mentioned previously is the easiest way to remove it. It is amazing how the heat from welding on the broken screw can break the bond and free the thread.

Other options, such as drilling through the screws 'core', then picking the remains out of the thread, will sometimes work. However, this requires considerable skill [and sometimes luck] to keep from messing up the thread in the part you wish to keep.

As a shop owner . . . I always hated when the customer brought in the part after 'he' had attempted to remove it himself. Often it would have an off-center hole drilled in it with a piece of drill bit embeded and sometimes also the tip of an EZ-out. I could still save the part . . . but it was an expensive [for the customer] PITA [for me].

If you really want to salvage the part . . . take it to a reputable welding/machine shop and let them work their magic.
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Old 02-17-08, 12:57 AM   #14
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I've removed zillions of screws that have broken like this in my shop. Assuming it is broken-off flush or slightly below flush . . . take it to a welding shop that has a TIG welder. Have them build up the end of the screw with weld metal until it sticks up an 1/8" or so.

It the broken screw is already sticking up 1/8" or more . . . proceed to the next step.

Have them place a small nut over the part they just built up. Weld the nut onto the 'extended' screw. Once it has cooled somewhat . . . take a wrench and remove the broken screw.

It occasionally takes several tries . . . but it 'will' come out.

The heat from welding tends to break any bond between the screw and the bike. The nut that was welded on provides an easy way to grab it.

Sweet, I'll try that some time. Its sweet having a TIG welder, you can fix or make anything (along with your vertical mill and metal lathe)
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Old 02-17-08, 02:58 AM   #15
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If you really want to salvage the part . . . take it to a reputable welding/machine shop and let them work their magic.
Thanks for taking the care to write again. I shall do as you say. Thanks!
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Old 02-17-08, 09:15 AM   #16
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Sweet, I'll try that some time. Its sweet having a TIG welder, you can fix or make anything (along with your vertical mill and metal lathe)
I'm with you on this nitropowered! I don't believe I could live without my lathe and vertical mill. The only things I might add are my heat-treating oven and surface grinder. It goes without stating, of course, that you need the basics: hand tools, TIG welder, arc welder, oxy-acetylene torch, drill press, bench grinder, band saw, air compressor yadda yadda yadda. Thinking about it . . . there really is no logical end to the tools one needs to survive!
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Old 02-17-08, 09:30 AM   #17
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Yeah, I wish the snap on truck will come to my house and just dump his inventory into my garage.

Can't live w/o good tools and machinery.
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