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Old 04-03-2021, 04:25 AM   #1
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Rusted off screws

Started the project of replacing the rear tail lights with LED's. First problem is there are 4 screws rusted off in the plywood. Thinking about going after them with a small bit on a rotary tool. Any better ideas?

Thanks.

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Old 04-03-2021, 05:44 AM   #2
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There may be better ideas but the problem will be that you have to repair the area so that it can take a new (stainless steel) screw.

One way is to take a small bit and drill holes around and adjacent to the broken screw, perhaps at a similar depth, until the screw is loose enough to remove with needle nose pliers, locking pliers or similar tool.

Then drill the clean smooth hole with a diameter the same as a wood dowel. Depending on the screw size you may be able to keep it to 1/2 inch. Glue a dowel in the wood cut flush to the surface and it becomes the surface for installing the new screw.

Take care to not drill beyond the depth of the plywood.

Also, if possible keep the repair within the area covered by the lens and make sure it is watertight.

I am assuming the screw is too small to consider an easyout or similar device.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:51 AM   #3
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Far too small for the easy out. Thanks for the drill bit idea. I was kicking around a hole saw idea but way too big hole.
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:25 AM   #4
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Is the wood around the hole solid enough to hold a new screw?
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:52 AM   #5
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Bill,
Nice idea on how to get the screw out!
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Old 04-03-2021, 01:25 PM   #6
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There is very little rot, surprising due to the rusted conditions of the screws. I could probably drive the new screws in at an angle but my OCD wife doesn't like that idea.

By the way, who makes some decent screws for the lights? I've been to Loews and Ace Hardware but haven't found what I'm looking for yet.

The previous owner sprayed Flex Steel in the light openings, probably save it from a lot of damage.
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Old 04-03-2021, 03:31 PM   #7
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Ace Hardware usually carries a wide variety of screws and bolts. Get stainless steel to avoid the rusting issue. If you are in an urban area, you may find a specialty shop that deals in fasteners but Ace is the Place.

Take one of the ones you remove to match size. Be sure to drill a pilot hole before screwing in the new screw. You probably know that but just to be sure.

I replaced all the screws on the ladder for this reason and now you have me heading out to check the tail light fixtures.

Thor used the same screws in and out of the MH. Getting quite a collection.
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Old 04-03-2021, 03:46 PM   #8
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X 2 for stainless.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:38 PM   #9
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Our last RV a Vegas, had same issues with screws rusted out. I dug around them till I could get mini vice grips on them and got them out. then I patch the plywood and sealed. Thor uses the crappiest screws! Been changing them out little by little on our Hurricane.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:40 PM   #10
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Eventually; you'll have enough screws lying around: to build another Thor...
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Eventually; you'll have enough screws lying around: to build another Thor...
I've been doing home improvement for 40 years. I have enough screws.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bill in Redlands View Post
Ace Hardware usually carries a wide variety of screws and bolts. Get stainless steel to avoid the rusting issue. If you are in an urban area, you may find a specialty shop that deals in fasteners but Ace is the Place.

Take one of the ones you remove to match size. Be sure to drill a pilot hole before screwing in the new screw. You probably know that but just to be sure.

I replaced all the screws on the ladder for this reason and now you have me heading out to check the tail light fixtures.

Thor used the same screws in and out of the MH. Getting quite a collection.
Went to ACE the other day after work, wearing a red shirt. Think I sold 3 things before I left.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:16 PM   #13
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They should let you work there on a commission basis.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by standerson View Post
I've been doing home improvement for 40 years. I have enough screws.
Me too, and they're all loose!
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Old 04-04-2021, 01:28 PM   #15
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Doing about half (3) holes as I can. Need to have operating tail lights because the concrete company will be here sometime in the next couple of days to tear up the driveway and pour a pad for the RV and we will have to drive it to the storage place.
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Old 04-06-2021, 02:05 AM   #16
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Tried drilling around them, didn't work. Ended up using a 1/2 drill bit and drilled thru them, about 1/2" to 3/4" deep. Took a piece of 1/2" dowel rod to plug the hole. Cut grooves in the dowel before putting the epoxy on it. I mixed the epoxy with sawdust to give it some more body.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:36 AM   #17
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After 2 years this is what I pulled out of mine. I didnít bother digging the short piece out as the new screw drove right in past it.
Click image for larger version

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Old 04-07-2021, 08:50 PM   #18
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McMaster-Carr.com has just about everything hardware. Good selection of stainless steel fasteners. Sells in packaged quantities, maybe too large a package size for a small project.
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by standerson View Post
Started the project of replacing the rear tail lights with LED's. First problem is there are 4 screws rusted off in the plywood. Thinking about going after them with a small bit on a rotary tool. Any better ideas?

Thanks.
Been there done that.

The easy way is to offstet the lens by a min. of .5 inches to the left or right and use ss screws. You can use compound to polish the gel coat to not have a color mismatch. Redrilling the holes is difficult and you have to refill some material. This assumes the plywood backing is good.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:10 PM   #20
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I ended up using a carving bit for the Dremel to carve around the broken screws, then using needle nose to pull them out. I drilled a 3/8" hole about 3/4" deep. Took a dowel rod and ground several grooves in them (to hold epoxy). I then fit the dowels into each hole, marked them and cut each.

I mixed up 15 minute epoxy and sawdust. Filled the holes and rolled the dowels with epoxy and put them in the hole.

While that was setting up, I wired the light in.

Then I put up the light, leveled it and drilled the dowel rod inserts. I ran sealer around the light. Might add, several layers of sealer.
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