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How to remove stuck dropout screw?

Old 09-19-18, 06:41 PM
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How to remove stuck dropout screw?

It was an already mangled and bent screw. I thought i had bent it back enough to remove, but it's stripped at the head.
ideas?
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Old 09-19-18, 06:50 PM
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Needle nosed vise grips and patience.
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Old 09-19-18, 07:10 PM
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I used a pair of medical grade forceps. Why medical grade, they are much stronger and have a hardened set of teeth embedded in the jaws. The teeth while finer are also stronger.
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Old 09-19-18, 07:24 PM
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Hadn't thought of needle vice grips. Regular needle pliers weren't able to clamp hard enough. Ill take a look at needle vice grips to see if They would fit in the dropout slot.

and definitely hadnt thought of medical forceps. Never used em so I have 0 idea on clamping power. Interesting suggestion.
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Old 09-19-18, 08:47 PM
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Grind it flush on the backside then cut a good slot in the head and use a screwdriver
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Old 09-19-18, 09:00 PM
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^^ Sounds like the best solution so far. I'm having the same problem too, so this is a very timely thread for me. Thanks!


I'm assuming you mean cut the slot with a dremel? That's some hard steel to cut through.
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Old 09-19-18, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
Needle nosed vise grips and patience.
I tried that on a drop out screw that was somehow bent on both the back and front side. It ended up snapping off anyway. I am well and truly 4ked, I think
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Old 09-19-18, 09:23 PM
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I successfully drilled one of those out of a '76 Colnago frame not too long ago. I used these and these:



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Old 09-19-18, 09:54 PM
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Soak in penetrating oil before applying the vice-grips: If the other half twists off you have made your job much harder and will have to resort to the kind of delicate surgery described by jeirvine.
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Old 09-19-18, 10:41 PM
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Try everything you can to remove it, lots of good ideas here. If it ends up stuck, you can drill it out if you're careful with an undersized bit, then tap it out. I've had to do that a couple of times.
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Old 09-20-18, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I successfully drilled one of those out of a '76 Colnago frame not too long ago. I used these and these:



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Old 09-20-18, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Try everything you can to remove it, lots of good ideas here. If it ends up stuck, you can drill it out if you're careful with an undersized bit, then tap it out. I've had to do that a couple of times.
In my experience, while drilling it out, it starts to turn when you're about halfway through. I've also done frozen derailleur stop screws, etc. It's actually kind of fun. And yes: penetrating oil regardless of your method.
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Old 09-20-18, 08:36 AM
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have someone weld a nut to the top of the screw, then you can attach a socket wrench to the nut & screw it off. never tried this myself but I've read it mentioned for similar situations. wish there were small welders hobbyists could buy ...
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Old 09-20-18, 08:37 AM
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You want to do anything in your power to avoid breaking off the screw you have inside the dropout. That's the best handle you will ever have on the rest of the thread. Break that off, and the job goes from moderately difficult, to extremely difficult.

Try soaking in PB blaster, Kroil, or a 50/50 Acetone / ATF mix. Heat can be a big help in getting oil in there too. Use a propane torch to heat the dropout to a couple of hundred degrees, then on cooling, it will pull more oil in.

If at all possible, try screwing it in further. What probably happened was someone bent the exposed threads, then tried pulling the screw out, jambing it in pretty tight. If you can back it up (screwed in further), you can then grind or file off the nub of bad threads you've exposed. Once you loose the bad part, backing the screw out should go pretty smoothly.
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Old 09-20-18, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Try everything you can to remove it, lots of good ideas here. If it ends up stuck, you can drill it out if you're careful with an undersized bit, then tap it out. I've had to do that a couple of times.
I've been successful with this, and I've also broken a drill bit off in the hole. And it refuses to drill out.
The bad part about this is that is was on the same frame. My first attempt was successful, but since the second wasn't I didn't accomplish anything worthwhile.
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Old 09-20-18, 09:22 AM
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I found a pair of these at Walmart for under 10 bucks. What able to successfully grab the screw from the threaded end and tighten it down all the way. Will cut off the exposed end and either leave the screw head end in, or wrestle it out sometime when I'm bored. I only lose 1/8" of dropout if I do leave it in.



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Old 09-20-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
In my experience, while drilling it out, it starts to turn when you're about halfway through. I've also done frozen derailleur stop screws, etc. It's actually kind of fun. And yes: penetrating oil regardless of your method.
Are those jewelers drills? What diameter bit and at what RPM is required to be successful? Do you need to use a cutting fluid?

I’ve got one on my Masi Campy dropout that is sheared off and there is nothing left on the outside to work with.
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Old 09-20-18, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I've been successful with this, and I've also broken a drill bit off in the hole. And it refuses to drill out.
The bad part about this is that is was on the same frame. My first attempt was successful, but since the second wasn't I didn't accomplish anything worthwhile.
Truth be told, same here...
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Old 09-20-18, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I successfully drilled one of those out of a '76 Colnago frame not too long ago. I used these and these:



What kind of drill bits are those? I've got this problem on a frame I really like, and am willing to purchase more tools to fix it.
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Old 09-20-18, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadesfire View Post
What kind of drill bits are those? I've got this problem on a frame I really like, and am willing to purchase more tools to fix it.
I used a variable-speed Dremel, and couldn't tell you the rpm. I used a few different sized bits, starting pretty small to get a pilot hole started, then working up to maybe a 1/16" or so. Once out, I did follow it up with a 3mm x .5 tap, but probably didn't need to since the screw started to turn and spun right out as the bit bit.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadesfire View Post
What kind of drill bits are those? I've got this problem on a frame I really like, and am willing to purchase more tools to fix it.
Those are solid carbide "circuit board" drills. They're designed to be run at ungodly speeds in precision spindles for printed circuit board production (100,000+ rpm)

The trouble is, they're extremely delicate. I've never been able to use any but the largest by hand in a Dremel without snapping them off. You would be much better served using high speed steel (hss) or cobalt drill bits. Much tougher, and more than hard enough for drilling out screws. Try McMaster-Carr for a large selection of drill bits, and fast shipping.

That being said, it's still a very dicey operation, especially if you're not very skilled, and lucky. (I'm a machinist by trade, and I doubt I'd have more than a 50% chance of drilling one out without just making it worse.)
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Old 09-20-18, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
Those are solid carbide "circuit board" drills. They're designed to be run at ungodly speeds in precision spindles for printed circuit board production (100,000+ rpm)

The trouble is, they're extremely delicate. I've never been able to use any but the largest by hand in a Dremel without snapping them off. You would be much better served using high speed steel (hss) or cobalt drill bits. Much tougher, and more than hard enough for drilling out screws. Try McMaster-Carr for a large selection of drill bits, and fast shipping.

That being said, it's still a very dicey operation, especially if you're not very skilled, and lucky. (I'm a machinist by trade, and I doubt I'd have more than a 50% chance of drilling one out without just making it worse.)
Yeah - I used the tiny bits just to start the pilot hole, which needed to be centered.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I used a variable-speed Dremel, and couldn't tell you the rpm. I used a few different sized bits, starting pretty small to get a pilot hole started, then working up to maybe a 1/16" or so. Once out, I did follow it up with a 3mm x .5 tap, but probably didn't need to since the screw started to turn and spun right out as the bit bit.
Thanks. I'll give it another try.

Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
Those are solid carbide "circuit board" drills. They're designed to be run at ungodly speeds in precision spindles for printed circuit board production (100,000+ rpm)

The trouble is, they're extremely delicate. I've never been able to use any but the largest by hand in a Dremel without snapping them off. You would be much better served using high speed steel (hss) or cobalt drill bits. Much tougher, and more than hard enough for drilling out screws. Try McMaster-Carr for a large selection of drill bits, and fast shipping.

That being said, it's still a very dicey operation, especially if you're not very skilled, and lucky. (I'm a machinist by trade, and I doubt I'd have more than a 50% chance of drilling one out without just making it worse.)
Thank you . I tried with a cheaper drill bit, and was not surprised when it didn't work. I will give it another try with a quality tool and see if that will do the trick. I will not be surprised if it doesn't work, as it's really stuck in there, but you never know. That luck thing sometimes works out.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
You want to do anything in your power to avoid breaking off the screw you have inside the dropout. That's the best handle you will ever have on the rest of the thread. Break that off, and the job goes from moderately difficult, to extremely difficult.

Try soaking in PB blaster, Kroil, or a 50/50 Acetone / ATF mix. Heat can be a big help in getting oil in there too. Use a propane torch to heat the dropout to a couple of hundred degrees, then on cooling, it will pull more oil in.

If at all possible, try screwing it in further. What probably happened was someone bent the exposed threads, then tried pulling the screw out, jambing it in pretty tight. If you can back it up (screwed in further), you can then grind or file off the nub of bad threads you've exposed. Once you loose the bad part, backing the screw out should go pretty smoothly.
This is how it would have been done in most shops. Heat almost never fails to loosen frozen parts. If there is a chance to use it without destroying paint etc, it's the go to method. In this case, the paint is gone on the dropout anyway, and there really isn't a downside to torching it.

I'd also +1 on cutting a slot for a screwdriver.

Drilling out stuff like this is really no fun at all, to say the least.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:23 PM
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Update-

I used a small drill bit to bore out a little of the head of the screw. Then used a reverse threaded extracting bit and it immediately dug into the screw and wound it out.

ended up being a molehill when I thought it was a mountain.

2min job. Fantastic.

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