Window screw broken off. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-02-2013, 11:21 AM   #1
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Window screw broken off.

I recently removed the side window of my Boler. While I was taking it apart, to get to the crank, two of the screw heads broke off leaving the shaft stuck in the long channel on the side. I don't think the window has been taken apart since 1976!

Would anyone have a suggestion(s) on how to get the rest of the screw out? I fear I won't be able to reassemble the window without being able to use these two screw channels.
Thanks in advance.

I neglected to take photos of this problem but this video, at 2:25, shows what I am talking about.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #2
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If any of the shank is sticking out, I'd clamp vice grips on it and heat the aluminum as hot as possible without scorching anything else.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
If any of the shank is sticking out, I'd clamp vice grips on it and heat the aluminum as hot as possible without scorching anything else.

They are completey embedded inside the channel. I thought about drilling them out but I think I could ruin it that way.....
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Drilling a small screw is tough to do. Maybe the solution is to soak the screws with penetrating oil first. Try to locate the center of the screw where it broke off and mark it with a prick punch. If you can get a hole drilled in far enough to get an easy out into it you may have a chance. Use a small hammer and tap along the edge where the screw is, that may help loosen it. Heat, like Tom says should help. This is one of those go slow, take your time projects that is not going to be easy. If you do manage to get the screw out enough to get vise grips on it, and it still is tight, use more oil and work it back & forth to loosen it. Good luck.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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...I would use a drill bit which has diameter smaller than the screw's, drilling right at the screw head's center, all the way. From there, working back and forth, hopefully I think I could get it out...
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BarterBoler View Post
They are completey embedded inside the channel. I thought about drilling them out but I think I could ruin it that way.....
You could use a device called an "Easy-Out"

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You drill a hole in the screw shaft and insert the "Easy-Out." It has left handed threads and grips the screw shaft and allows you to back it out.

I would soak it well with WD-40, Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster before you try to help loosen it up. You could also heat it up with a torch.

Easy-Outs are available at hardware and big box stores.

Good Luck!


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Old 05-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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EZ outs: the do-it-yourselfer's friend.... well worth the ten bucks a set of small ones costs!

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Old 05-02-2013, 01:54 PM   #8
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...I would use a drill bit which has diameter smaller than the screw's, drilling right at the screw head's center, all the way. From there, working back and forth, hopefully I think I could get it out...

I don't know if you've ever tried this, but I have and I can tell you it's a lot harder than you think. It's almost impossible to keep the bit from wandering and breaking through the screw. In all cases of drilling the bit needs to be smaller than the screw minor thread diameter, even drilling foe an easy out.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:42 PM   #9
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I will most definitely go buy the easy-out tool and stock up on WD-40. I used WD-40 to loosen the screws before starting to take them out but obviously didn't wait long enough...patience is something I'm learning, QUICKLY.

Hopefully this won't happen with the other windows I have to take out. Thanks very much for the suggestions. This forum is going to be a much needed place for someone like me. I don't know what made me think I could buy a trailer and renovate it with absolutely ZERO experience but I'm into it now!
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #10
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One other major problem especially a small screw diameter is to keep the drill bit centered and not drilling at an angle. If you take apart the other windows soak all the screws with WD-40 overnight or 24hrs if possible.

You might be better off the but the turning mechanism from vintagetrailersupply or local RV dealer/wrecker. If you go that route make sure you order the right one as they offer various sizes/styles. The easy outs in my experience break half the time. This happened when I was removing a broken bolt from our Boler hinge, I drilled a hole and used the easy-out and that broke too.

Good Luck!!
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:03 PM   #11
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They are completely embedded inside the channel. I thought about drilling them out but I think I could ruin it that way.....
Ouch, bummer. Good advice on the penetrating oil. I'd hit it with that, heat and also a left hand drill. And an easy out.

Search results for: 'left hand drill'
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Ouch, bummer. Good advice on the penetrating oil. I'd hit it with that, heat and also a left hand drill. And an easy out.

Search results for: 'left hand drill'
Never heard of a "left hand drill" but I once knew a guy who smoked what he called a "left hand cigarette." They sure smelled funny.

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Old 05-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #13
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Never heard of a "left hand drill" but I once knew a guy who smoked what he called a "left hand cigarette." They sure smelled funny.

Spanke
After you drill a hole with a left handed drill, you install a left handed screw with a left handed screwdriver.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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I snapped the heads of of two of the same screws on my 75 boler windows. Not sure if yours are identical, but if you look closely on mine, the side of the screw is visable. I'm going to try soaking mine in some penatrant oil and prying the side gently to loosen the screw before drilling mine out. The screws are too small for an easy out, so I'm going to also cut the side of the screw through the "C" opening in the channel. Probably using a dremmel with a zip disk. . These screws are fairly hard steel, so you are going to need a decent drill bit, I use cobalt penetrated bits for grade 8 steel and up
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