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Old 06-02-2005, 12:49 PM   #1
Almost There
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 82
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American FE
Engine: Cummins 555 9.1 L diesel
Rated Cap: 77
Getting big screws and nasty screws out AARRGGHH!!

I'm having some difficulty getting old and rusted screws out to access the flooring (surprise!).

If I can heat and tear the rubber floor from around the screw head I can usually get it with a vice-grips (greatest tool ever invented). However, where the screws are in metal strips holding the flooring down that technique won't work. Plus, some of them are big mommas. And they ain't letting go. I've tried heating them a bit, smacking a screwdriver into them with a hammer to loosen the screws and remove "groniff" (is my dad the only one to ever use this term?) from the heads and better seat the driver, but to no avail.

They laugh and fart in my general direction, mocking me.

I must defeat them. I'm thinking of scaring them with a cold chisel. At least that might affect the psychological balance of man and the machine.

Is this what an impact drill/hammer is for? I've never known...

As for drilling them out, can someone give a little first-hand primer on that task? I've got wood/metal bits, and damn that is slow going, and I think I'm just wearing the bit to dullness and then watching it spin round and round. Which is fun, don't get me wrong, it's just not doing anything to get the screw out.

Tips, pointers, workarounds, counseling all gratefully accepted.

1981 Bluebird All American
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Old 06-02-2005, 01:19 PM   #2
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Off-Grid
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Year: 1982
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH S1723
Engine: IH V345 Gas V8
Rated Cap: 66
Maybe, if you built this badger. . . but now for something completely different - can ya get at 'em with a grinder? Or do you need to completely remove them?
~(G)Q Arduously Avoiding Assimilation
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:14 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
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Year: 1989
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 370
Rated Cap: 44
get a metal grinder and grind the heads off, then poke the rest through
'89 Ford 370-2V Wayne - Sold :(

Plotting the next project now. Looking for a clean diesel pusher with low rust/miles. Identical plans with plumming and biodiesel added :)
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:33 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 12
I had the same problem. The best way I found was bending the end of the metal strip up so it broke or kinked at the offending screw. Then one wack with a cold chisel would finish them off.

A. Moose
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Old 06-03-2005, 03:32 PM   #5
Bus Nut
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Year: 1993
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If you can remove enough flooring to expose a joint between the plywood, and assuming you're tossing the plywood, you can work a beefy prybar under the wood pry it up, popping the screw heads off. It's a great workout but the heads will fly with some velocity.

After that, your metal floor will be exposed, and there will be headless screws poking up at you. Bring out an angle grinder w/cut-off wheel or a hacksaw to lop them off. But be sure to get all of them. I was careful cause I was skeered of stepping on one...or worse, kneeling on one!
Bus conversion/info here
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Old 06-03-2005, 03:50 PM   #6
Almost There
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 82
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American FE
Engine: Cummins 555 9.1 L diesel
Rated Cap: 77
I'm gathering...

from the responses, that I'm going to get to bust some stuff up.


Happy to hear more ideas.
1981 Bluebird All American
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Old 06-11-2005, 06:50 PM   #7
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Low Desert Mountains, So. California
Posts: 111
Oh thank the gods! Someone else is about to kill those stupid screws like I was.

I"m so frustrated! Everything is rusted like mad making it hard for me to prybar anything up. I've even had the cordless circular saw but to no avail *grinding teeth* The floor alone is slowing up everything else because I know its going to be the most difficult sanding job to date.

Looks like the old angle grinder is gonna come out of retired again.

Found out last week that it makes an excellant sander as well which is cool beans as everwhere there is exposed screws in the floor, there is rust. I got lots of sanding to do but only if I can get those @#$%^&* screws out first!
'Before you go out seeking revenge you must first dig two holes'--Chinese Proverb
Bright Blessings of the Mother upon you ;)
1990 International Ward Volunteer "Fantastic Voyage"
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Old 06-19-2005, 08:27 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Plymouth MA
Posts: 197
Rusted screw removal

Don't know if this'll help, but try it anyway:

When I get rusted/broken screws and they're partly exposed, first give them a good wire brushing, then shoot them with Blaster PB (IMNSHO better than WD-40).
Let it soak 10 minutes or so, give another shot, then LIGHTLY whack the top of the screw with a hammer. You want to start the rust moving.

Then I grab the screw with vice-grips, clamped down tight. Rotate/rock the screw back-and-forth, a wee bit at a time, and you might be surprised when it comes out.

If they DON'T come out, I grind them flat with an angle grinder.

If you want to drill out the screws, be aware that many are hardened. Trying to drill some out is fruitless.
However, if they are soft enough to drill, first use a prick punch and mark the center of the screw. This'll give you a better starting point for the drill bit.
Then use a SMALL drill bit, followed by a larger one, and so on, until the lil' sucka is gone. This process is called "step drilling".
Sometimes the heat of drilling and Blaster PB will start the screw turning. Remember, slower speeds, plenty of pressure (but don't break off the bit in the screw...).
Buy extra drill bits, you WILL break them.
And always use a fresh sharp bit, dull ones just work-harden the metal and make it difficult if not impossible to remove.

I've heard some bus companies used lag screws instead of bolts to secure seats, treat them like giant wood screws. If a wrench doesn't get them out, Vice-grip 'em. Or cut/grind them flush.

I sometimes drill or cut bolts, unless they're hardened. In that case, I cut the nuts if I can get to them.....sawzall, grinder, nut splitter, pick yer poison.
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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