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Old 02-28-2020, 10:35 AM   #1
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How to remove panels with stuck screws

I am currently attempting to gut my bus; however, the 30 year old panels, attached with screws, are giving me a lot of trouble.

I can get about a third of them out with my impact driver, but the rest won't budge and end up just stripping out. I am thinking maybe an angle grinder can just cut the heads off. Is this my best route?

I have tried screw extractors as well with no luck.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:41 AM   #2
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Try using an S2 bit instead of a phillip's bit.

The phillip bit will strip the screw while the S2 will hold on much better.

for the ones that won't budge, hit them hard with a hammer first to try to dislodge them.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbeanbus View Post
I am currently attempting to gut my bus; however, the 30 year old panels, attached with screws, are giving me a lot of trouble.

I can get about a third of them out with my impact driver, but the rest won't budge and end up just stripping out. I am thinking maybe an angle grinder can just cut the heads off. Is this my best route?

I have tried screw extractors as well with no luck.
Grinder will work if you don't care about hitting the panels.

Harbor Freight has a decent set of left hand twist drill bits.
Use those to drill the heads off -- usually the heat of drilling coupled with the reverse rotation of the bit takes the screw out long before the head is completely drilled away...
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
Try using an S2 bit instead of a phillip's bit.

The phillip bit will strip the screw while the S2 will hold on much better.

for the ones that won't budge, hit them hard with a hammer first to try to dislodge them.
That's a good point!
My Thomas bus looks like it has phillips head screws but they are in fact "posi-drive" with a distinct sq opening in their center.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:05 AM   #5
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before you try to remove any screw that is rusted in take a dull chisel and tap the screw sideways on 3 or 4 sides firmly but not hard enough to knock it off MOST times it will come off with no effort. i been using this method for years. i learned it from a modet t mechanic just before he retired. he knew a lot of tricks i never seen in mechanics school
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:26 PM   #6
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Just smack the head with a hammer, it'll break free the rust connection.
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Old 02-28-2020, 05:45 PM   #7
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I've stripped out numerous screws on my bus. Generally, I just take an angle grinder with a cutting wheel and cut a notch through the head, then use a big regular screwdriver to turn it and get it out. This is a lot easier (and less destructive to the panel) then trying to grind or cut the whole head off.
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Old 02-28-2020, 05:57 PM   #8
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They make a impact you hit with a hammer also that I have used on Phillips that were sealed on my Suzuki samurai to pull the door hinges off. It was the only way they would come loose they work really well to break stuff loose.
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:21 PM   #9
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All good suggestions here. I found that if the screw didn't budge after one or two hits from the impact - I reversed the driver and tightened it a few hits. Then it would reverse right out.

Also, what musigenesis said works a treat!
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I've stripped out numerous screws on my bus. Generally, I just take an angle grinder with a cutting wheel and cut a notch through the head, then use a big regular screwdriver to turn it and get it out. This is a lot easier (and less destructive to the panel) then trying to grind or cut the whole head off.
I use this method a lot. When I was reading the first part of the thread I was thinking I would post this method ... ya beat me to it!


I do like the "knock it on 3 or 4 directions" technique. I'll have to try it some time.


The thing about the notch method is that it works just as well AFTER you have stripped the screw head. If that does not work, the notch helps the cold chisel take the head off!
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Old 02-29-2020, 03:17 PM   #11
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An impact driver works much better than a simple drill or screw-gun. Also, the screws on my Amtran were #3 phillips, not #2.

Ultimately, I used the angle grinder on about 30 screws that I couldn't get out with the impact driver. It was easy and fast.

On the very last one, the red-hot screwhead fell on my driver's seat. The whole seat went up in flames in about 30 seconds. The fire destroyed the seat and seatbelt, cracked the driver's window, and melted the wiring going to the rear lights. Whoops.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:38 AM   #12
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Bus driver seats are flammable.

MVIMG952019041495150529.jpg

MVIMG952019041495151431.jpg
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:42 PM   #13
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Bus driver seats are flammable.
Jeez that's scary.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
An impact driver works much better than a simple drill or screw-gun. Also, the screws on my Amtran were #3 phillips, not #2.

Ultimately, I used the angle grinder on about 30 screws that I couldn't get out with the impact driver. It was easy and fast.

On the very last one, the red-hot screwhead fell on my driver's seat. The whole seat went up in flames in about 30 seconds. The fire destroyed the seat and seatbelt, cracked the driver's window, and melted the wiring going to the rear lights. Whoops.
Use a #2 square bit on the phillips screws.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:19 PM   #15
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Bus driver seats are flammable.

Attachment 41955

Attachment 41954
Holy cow !!! I knew there was a reason why I keep a fire extinguisher on the bus. It’s always in my way. Must have moved that damn thing a 1000 times !!
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:11 PM   #16
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Go to Harbor freight and buy a 16$ air chisel(assuming you have access to an air compressor). You can hit each screw a few times with the air chisel, actually with a little practice, you can start the screw unthreading and finish up with drill and square bit. Has the same problem and this solved it easily.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:23 PM   #17
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Drill them out
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:56 PM   #18
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I just removed my ceiling panels on my Thomas shortie. They had those Philip-Square screw heads. I used an S2 (square #2) as was mentioned above. I go hundreds out that way, I did have a about a dozen that stripped out anyway and I had to cut a slot or even grind them so weak that a hammer and a heavy crow bar knocked the off (heads off), I then had to use vice grips to get the headless screws out. I never tried the left turning drill bit. That actualy sounds very good.

I also wanted to mention I used a hand ratcheting screwdriver for most of these rather than the electric torque/impact wrench or driver. They tend to "slip and strip". At least that was my experience.
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