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Old 12-15-2006, 08:44 PM   #1
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Lenoir City , Tennessee
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Angry interior demolition and cabinet removal

Hello, I'm starting a complete interior demolition. This includes removing cabinets, beds, bath, closests and everything else in between. I'm noticing that the closets and and frames are secured to the floor with rusted flat head screws. What makes matters worse is that the screws are completely rusted and are impossible to unscrew even by hand. This puts me in a delima because I cannot remove the furniture (e.g., the bed frame) without taking my sawzall and cutting it loose. Does anyone have a suggestion on how I might demo the interior in a gentler fashion. I wish to keep as much of the original cabinetry for refinish or to use as templates. Thanks!

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Old 12-15-2006, 08:59 PM   #2
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why not use a chisel to gently cut through the rusted screws?


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Old 12-15-2006, 09:02 PM   #3
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can you grab them with vise grips? Maybe soak over night with PB Blaster first.
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:03 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums. You might want to tell us the model and year of your trailer in case someone has specific experience with your issue.

Have you tried an impact driver or hammer drill on those screws?

Are the screws straight slot or phillips? If phillips, I have had some luck with a screw extractor tool designed for this purpose.

Do you have room to grind down the heads of the screws, remove the frames, and then take the screws out with vice grips (this is what I had to do with a deck we demo'd this summer.
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:03 PM   #5
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or drill them out?
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:36 PM   #6
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Try the above suggestions regarding chisels, gringing head off, vice-grips, etc. It has been my experience that a left handed drill bit works about the best if you have to drill them out. Extractors work many times, but are less effective IMO.
First center punch the bolt, then drill a pilot hole using a bit 1 or 2 sizes smaller than the left handed bit. Then use the left-hand drill bit to remove bolt, applying firm pressure. The bit should grab the bolt, removing it. The heat from the drilling proccess seems to work to loosen them prior to extraction. Some penetrating oil applied a few minutes prior won't hurt either. If the bolt won't come out with the first attempt, use the next larger bit and repeat. For this reason you don't want to start out with the largest bit that fits the bolt.
Left hand bits are available from Snap-on Tools, and, I'm sure from other vendors.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:06 AM   #7
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I also use a Dremel tool with a cutting disc in it, it allows you to get right on top of the screw and gives you better control. FWIW most of mine were installed with Phillips head screws, so a shot of Kroil and a hand held impact driver did the trick on most of them.

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Old 12-16-2006, 06:10 AM   #8
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I cut mine with a zip wheel it is 4" cutting wheel, same idea as the Dremel but faster.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:06 AM   #9
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Hi beaker, and fellow Tennessean. Just curious, what year and size Airstream are you working on? Sounds like you've got a major project going there.
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:21 AM   #10
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Left handed drill bits

I have had good results with left handed drill bits. They seem to heat the screw and it will screw itself out befor you finish drilling.
Good luck
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:19 AM   #11
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am working on a 65 overlander and had similar problems. bedframes were secured with slotted screws which were all rusted to varing degrees. used a very long screwdriver to which i clamped a vise grim on the shaft. padded the top of the screwdriver and used my shoulder to apply down pressure and was able to loosen some of them that way. some just twisted off. on all the others, i used a hammer driven impact screwdriver. once the heads of the screws cleared the top of the frame i just applied a vise grip and removed them. for the ones which twisted off, once the frames were removed i was able to remove the screw shafts with a vise grip as well. managed to remove all of my frames intact to reuse later. regards, dave
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:06 PM   #12
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I am in the same process of tearing a 1977 AS down. I think you have a number of good ideas. I found that using an air harmer, the thing you take tires off with, with the right screw head had some luck. If that did not work, I just drilled them out, but will try the easy out tool. I had used it on a Jeep and I had forgotten at how well they work.

good luck, I know I will need ome...
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:34 PM   #13
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I separated some of my cabinets from the floor with a pry bar, where a few screws were impossible to remove.

Oh wait, you wanted a gentle approach!

Actually it did very little damage to either the floor or the cabinets in most cases, if you go gently.

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