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Old 11-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
Rivet Master
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,142
Self Drilling/Tapping Screws that will not wring off

I am trying to cover some belly areas on each side of the steps. I want to put self tapping screws in those areas for easy access in the future. The problem is that even with a pilot hole the frame material is harder than my 18-8 stainless steel sheet metal screws and they usually wring off. I have thought about self drilling screws but I might have the same issues with them. I would also drill a pilot hole for them. I am about to just get a 10-24 tap and thread the metal and just put in a machine screw. I am all about maintainability and I hate having to drill rivets to get back into an area.

I know some folks think that the only way to fasten the belly skins is with rivets. I want a reusable fasterner that will allow me to attach to the frame as well as the sheet metal to sheet metal areas. I may end up tapping the frame and outrigger areas. Many of the existing rivets have worn/corroded through the sheet aluminum. On the rear belly skins I used 1/4"-20 hex head stainless screws to hold on the belly pan. It would be nice to have a self drilling screw that can be installed in mild steel frame members and in sheet metal.

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Old 11-11-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
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1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Perry, drill a larger pilot hole.You can drill larger than you'd think in metal, shouldn't strip or wring off. Test one first.

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Old 11-11-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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I like the tap idea.

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Old 11-11-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
Rivet Master
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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I drill and tap. Use SS machine screws. I often tap for so called self tapping screws and I drill for self drilling screws. I hate breaking screws off in the exact best location for whatever I am installing which is where the first hole goes. The Airstream steel seems pretty hard and coarse. Maybe that is why it rusts so badly.
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