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Old 08-15-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
707 posts, read 962,459 times
Reputation: 429
Default Removing those pesky screws in Japanese brake rotors

Anyone who has changed brake rotors on Honda and other Japanese cars knows how difficult those small Phillips-head screws can be to remove. Below is a 6-minute YouTube video by EricTheCarGuy showing a simple way of removing them. BTW, Eric has about 200 videos, some up to 1/2 hour in length, on all aspects of car repair and maintenance at his web site Ericthecarguy.com. He's a sharp guy and the videos are very well made.

Personal observations:
  • I have never been able to remove the screws with an impact driver alone. I used an "easy out" screw extractor in the past.
  • The ball-peen hammer method takes about a minute and works about 75% of the time. The remainder have to be drilled out or removed with an "easy out." Brake shops usually just drill the screw head off.
  • Because the screw head is near a wheel stud, a smaller ball-peen head can be better centered over the screw head. I have a 16-oz ball-peen hammer and an 8-oz ball-peen hammer. The hammer with the 8-oz head works best.
I this helps someone out. And don't forget to check out the videos by EricTheCarGuy.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Suffolk County, NY
875 posts, read 1,405,851 times
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OR you can do like I do and heat it up and then remove the screw easily with a large screwdriver.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:57 AM
 
7,886 posts, read 19,810,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egobop View Post
OR you can do like I do and heat it up and then remove the screw easily with a large screwdriver.
Bingo!

Why mess around with all the small stuff and just cut right to the chase?

I assume that these screws will be stuck and if they won't yield easily on the first try with an impact driver, I head right to the gas ax. Heat the screws up cherry red and splash some cold water on them, usually gets the screws loose on the first try.

FWIW, striking a hardened ball pein hammer with another is a good way to break chips off a hammer which can be hazardous. I use a "dead blow" 4lb compothane hammer on my impact driver or ... if I'm going to do the hammer on hammer trick, I'll use a brass hammer to strike the smaller ball pein hammer.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,737 posts, read 20,561,569 times
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BMW and VW cars have a Phillips screw holding the disc to the hub, maybe it's a bigger screw - I usually don't have any problem getting them out - a quick tap with an impact driver is all I usually need.

I love a non-rusting climate. Really, I do.

Probably because it's so obvious to the pros, no one has yet mentioned that all the above festivities require wearing safety glasses.

I would assume heating the screw to red hot and then throwing water on it means replacing the screw, I do make it a habit to have new screws on hand and if the old ones have burred heads from previous work, I put in a new screw with a bit of anti-seize on the threads.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: WA
3,940 posts, read 12,275,384 times
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I have always used an impact driver like this one...
Sears: Online department store featuring appliances, tools, fitness equipment and more
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:44 PM
 
7,886 posts, read 19,810,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Probably because it's so obvious to the pros, no one has yet mentioned that all the above festivities require wearing safety glasses.

I would assume heating the screw to red hot and then throwing water on it means replacing the screw, I do make it a habit to have new screws on hand and if the old ones have burred heads from previous work, I put in a new screw with a bit of anti-seize on the threads.
The OP's video showed the use of safety glasses, although they won't do much for the flying chips from a hammer coming up into your face ... don't ask how I know about this one.

Heating the retaining screws doesn't always damage them, but it's a good idea to have replacements and Nevr-Seeze on hand for the brake rotor installation. Way too many times I'm not the first person to work on a car and I assume that the prior work was subject to ham-fisted tactics ... that's why I just plan of going to the gas ax from the outset.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
707 posts, read 962,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Heat the screws up cherry red and splash some cold water on them, usually gets the screws loose on the first try.
Heating the brake rotors red hot is not a good idea. The rotors have a tendency to warp. I don't know of any brake shop that uses heat. Their interest is getting the job done fast, and they always drill the heads out.

But maybe you know better.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:07 PM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
707 posts, read 962,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdelena View Post
Or maybe this one at half the Sears price:

Great Neck® Impact Driver Kit (IMD5) - Screwdrivers & Nutdrivers - Ace Hardware
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:32 PM
 
7,886 posts, read 19,810,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zea mays View Post
Heating the brake rotors red hot is not a good idea. The rotors have a tendency to warp. I don't know of any brake shop that uses heat. Their interest is getting the job done fast, and they always drill the heads out.

But maybe you know better.
You've missed the point of the technique ... I heat only the screw head to red hot very quickly with a oxy/acetylene torch in perhaps 3-4 seconds. The heat is intense enough to heat the screw head ... not the brake rotor, but strictly the screw head which has much less mass than the surrounding rotor material. By quenching the screw head quickly with cold water, it shrinks back from the surrounding material and also breaks the rust free along the threads.

And if you think that the small total amount of BTU's applied here will warp the rotor ... you've got no torch skills at all. In terms of speed ... I'll bet that I can have a difficult screw in this situation removed faster with a torch than they can drill the screw head off and then extract the remaining screw so they can install a new one. The real reason many shops don't have a torch on the premises anymore is because of the risk of fire and increased insurance costs.

You've obviously never seen real pro's at work in metalworking ... I've watched many who could shrink or expand sheet steel with nothing more than an appropriate torch and a bucket of water. Perhaps these are rapidly becoming lost skills in the automotive bodyworking trade.

FWIW, if you'd ever been in a shop working on heavier vehicles, like 18 wheelers ... you'd know that what I'm suggesting is standard practice for rusted component disassembly. You simply cannot work on much of their suspension components without a torch for heating and then shock cooling the parts.

I've only been doing this stuff for 50 years now ... and I haven't warped a good rotor on any vehicle yet. But maybe you know better, right ?
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
3,280 posts, read 4,609,866 times
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It's never crossed my mind to torch 'em. I usually can have them out in a minute with a hammer and chisel at just the right angle.
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