Boler window - help with broken screw! - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:03 PM   #1
ntj
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Name: Nathan
Trailer: Boler
Ontario
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Boler window - help with broken screw!

I began disassembling my Boler side windows for the first time this weekend, as I plan to remove the paint the PO applied and polish them.

While removing the screws that hold the frame together (two screws at each corner of window), one of the heads sheared off leaving the rest of the screw in the frame. Doh!

It appears the screw was installed a bit sideways jamming it in the aluminum flange it is supposed to sit in, so I'm guessing this is why it broke.

Now, to figure out how to remove the remaining bit. I can't image drilling out a steel screw in an aluminum frame would be wise, as I assume I'll end up destroying the softer aluminum. Would it make sense to heat the aluminum and bend it out of the way to remove the screw, and then bend it back? Help!?
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:41 PM   #2
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 2013Escape 21
Iowa
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Easy out

Depending upon the diameter of the screw and it’s accessibility and how it broke off, you may be able to dress it with a file so it’s flat, use a small pointed punch to mark the center and tap a dimple into the screw shaft center. Then carefully using a small drill bit drill down into the shaft and make a hole in the center. Then use a screw extractor to bite the outside of the hole you drilled and back the screw shaft out. Put some rust cutting lubricant on it and let set a while ( overnight if you can). Then easy does it. Might work. If not careful drill in vertically and retap the hole. Might have to use a little bigger screw next time. Use never seize on the new screw. Good Luck
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Old 08-08-2018, 01:48 PM   #3
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Name: Zac & Cathy
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You might try a pair of needle nosed vise grip pliers, get the good ones though. I use mine for all sorts of issues like these!
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:13 PM   #4
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Dremel

Initially I was thinking of using the Dremel with a cutoff wheel to make a slot in the end to unscrew it. I wonder if you could use the cutoff wheel to go the length of the screw and have it fold in on itself and it will fall out? Just some thoughts. Good luck. Doug
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:36 PM   #5
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Name: Kelly
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if you wiggle the pieces they will most likely just come apart from each other. That might leave you enough screw length left to grab it with vise grip pliers. If not you might have enough to try cutting a slot in the shaft.


As to cutting slots in the head with a Dremel cut-off disk. Yes you can try that but keep the speed low, and make a number of passes over time with a pause between passes. If you use a high speed you can heat up the metal so much that it loses its hardness. Then all that will happen when you try to turn it with a screwdriver is that you will strip out the softened metal slot instead of removing the screw.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:46 PM   #6
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Name: Al
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Did my windows recently. Found that applying a little heat from a propane torch helped with getting the more stubborn screws out. Used stainless screws when I put them back together.

Another option, albeit perhaps a bit slower one...but non destructive...



Regards,
Al
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:52 AM   #7
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I would do as you suggested. Pry the channel open a little and you should be able to get the screw out. Also stainless steel screws are great for corrosion but the heads break off easier then zinc plated screws because they are more brittle.
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:34 PM   #8
ntj
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Name: Nathan
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Ontario
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Thank you all for the suggestions. Some great ideas! I certainly wish I had used my propane torch from the get go to heat it up, but alas, some lessons need to be learned. It was the very first screw I was taking out from the frames that broke, so I was unsure how much force I could apply before it broke. On the plus side, now I know!

I think I may try out Doug's suggestion of cutting the screw in half with a dremel cut-off disc, as it looks like it may be possible. I'll ponder for another day and then give it a go this weekend. Worst case, I resort back to bending the flange out of the way and pulling it out....
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:04 PM   #9
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Name: Kelly
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There is a much safer way when working on fiberglass trailers to heat the screws up to make them easier to remove. Put the tip of a soldering iron on the head of the screw for a minute. The heat is better directed into the screw than when using a propane torch and you don't have the issue of an open flame.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:00 AM   #10
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Name: Al
Trailer: 1969 Boler 13'
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I think it's a given/common sense that while working on the windows they are on a work bench and not physically "in" the trailer.

The goal IS to heat the aluminum around the screw...using it's higher co-efficient of expansion to break the rust bond.

5 seconds or so of heating is all I found necessary.

Al
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:35 PM   #11
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Gipetto, the guy in that video is CRAZY! Totally worth watching even though it crashed the app.
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