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rusted screw

My problem is that the top of the screw for the shower strainer(drain) has rusted off and i can't get it out to replace it with a new one. apparently, i didn't use a stainless steel screw. i tried spraying with wd40 but this really didn't do anything because there isn't anything left of the screw head to get a hold of. is there a way to get it out to replace it?

Re: rusted screw

It's probably a bronze screw. Drill off just the head and set the strainer aside. Then maybe with a gas torch and vise-grips you can get it free. If it's a fiberglass shower don't set it alight. If heat fails, use a small drill bit right through the center so you don't damage the threads on the drain fitting, and use a proper-sized screw extractor tool (easy-out) to unscrew it.

Re: rusted screw

Whatever you do, don't break/grind the screw in such a way that it will become impossible to remove.

Re: rusted screw

Agreed on not damaging the flange, but sometimes that *&^[email protected]* screw just won't budge, and an ez-out isn't working. Find a similar-sized screw, then select a drill bit that is he same size as the minor diameter of the screw thread. This is the narrowest part between the thread's ridges. Drill a smaller pilot hole to guide the other bit and drill carefully with the larger one, keeping it centered and straight. Now use a dental pick, bent nail or something similar to pick out the remains of the old screw. Be sure to get them all because anything left behind will interfere with the new screw going in causing you another headache.

Another method is to use a left-hand drill, this time as large as you can but always smaller than the minor diameter, put your drill in reverse with no lubricant. With any luck the friction between the bit and the old screw will catch before it drills through removing the old screw with it almost like magic. I'd try this first.

If all else has failed, or if you can't get all the pieces out with the first method, use a thread tap carefully to make new threads. I've tapped one-size-larger holes to fix stripped screws in PVC flanges but then you've got to find a screw that doesn't have anything that might leave a sharp edge when seated in the strainer. A decent junk box helps there but lacking that any hardware store will have an appropriate replacement.

Just remember that replacing the flange usually means removing the fixture to get to it unless you have access from underneath. Unless that access is easy, don't damage the flange!


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