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Old 04-12-2014, 06:20 PM   #1
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Roof screw removal

I'm removing all the interior paneling so I can re-insulate and re-panel. The philips head roof panel screws are proving most challenging. My current solution is to use a cordless impact driver, after having sprayed the screws with PB penetrating lube. Thus requires a good deal of time and upper body strength, and is only removing ~50% of the screws.

I'm curious how others have handled this, or thoughts as to things I might try, I have no intent to re-use either the screws or panels so I don't care if I do damage to them. The priorities are speed, and ease of removal.

I apologies if this has already been covered else where, if it has please link me as my searches didn't yield any results.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: Roof screw removal

I haven't tried it, but in some of the discussion threads there has been talk of using perhaps a Dremel tool to notch a stubborn Phillips head into a slotted head, and then use more muscle on a standard screw driver with to get it started.

I have two pairs of mini vise grips, one long nose and one short, that I can sometimes get to clamp around the head of a screw to provide a handle to help the screw driver move it. That's good for one or two screws, I wouldn't want to do half a bus roof that way.

I also try to tighten a stubborn screw before loosening it. I might put a Phillips screw driver in the slot, apply twisting pressure with one hand toward tightening the screw while I give the handle healthy whacks with a hammer, then twist toward loosening while I whack it again.

I also have a JC Whitney quality impact handle I can use with a hammer instead of a screwdriver, but it only has larger bits that fit the 1/2-inch drive socket adapter.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: Roof screw removal

pneumatic screw buster
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:33 PM   #4
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Re: Roof screw removal

Pneumatic screw buster / screw knocker looks really good. We figured out a method of loosening the screws with an air chisel, then using an electric impact gun that is working very well. I'll try and post a video of our technique soon so that others might benefit. Thanks for all your suggestions / knowledge.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:08 AM   #5
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Re: Roof screw removal

Most of mine came out easily after whacking them once with a hammer to break any corrosion then driving them out with a bit in a drill. An electric impact driver would be even better, I'm sure.

The screws in my ceiling appeared to be Philips (star) screws, but a Robertson (square) bit fit in them fine and I found it was much less likely to pop out of the head. My bus was Canadian, though, so the screws were likely designed to take both bits. Us Canucks love our Robertson screws
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:03 PM   #6
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Re: Roof screw removal

I used an angle grinder, but I had rivets. I got the wall panels off with a long cold chisel and 4lb hammer. I tried an air chisel on the roof, but it was slower than the hand chisel, because I had gotten the $7 air hammer from HFT, and I hadn't researched anything about BPM and stroke length. Totally useless. The angle grinder did the whole roof in about 2 hours. If you use one, cover any glass you care about and the driver's compartment with something (I used the insulation from the walls) because the sparks will pit the glass and dust will get everywhere. The screw heads will become red hot and fall on you as you grind them off so wear a leather jacket and a face shield. Wear an N95 respirator. If you don't keep extension cords away, the sheet metal will cut through them when it falls and you'll trip a circuit breaker when the short circuit occurs.

I learned the hard way. Good luck!
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