My brake pads were put on so tightly that I stripped the screw while attempting to remove them. I tried a brand new allen key, a pair of pliers, and a pair of vice grips. My brake pad is now crooked, unable to move, and my bike is functionally unrideable.
If you can’t get any leverage on it, then you will have to drill it off. You want to use a drill bit that is the same diameter as the bolt-shaft… you drill down through the head of the bolt and when the drill gets to where the head connects to the shaft, it should snap off and allow you to either pull the bolt-shaft through the other end or expose the shaft enough to get a pair of vice grips on it.
At this point, it isn’t a job for an unpracticed hand. You have to be precise with the drill and if you still need to unscrew something after that, you are going to want to use a penetrating fluid like liquid-wrench.
Can you loosen the brake cable the way that you would remove the wheel? If you can get leverage on the pad itself you could try twisting that with a pair of pliers. You’ll need a new pad afterwords, but you should be able to twist it from the other side. Use some liquidwrench first.
^Good advice above. You could also remove the wheel and see if you can put the vise grip on the brake pad, and unscrew it that way (i.e., using the vise grip). If you are in a bind and need a drill and drill bit, give a call at 412-six five one four six three four. My shop is near the South Side Slopes. We have tools and are happy to help.
Gah; I think I’m going to see if I can replace all the hex screws on my bike with Robertson screws; lubricating screws helps with that problem too though, but I’m not sure if that should be done on brake pads; perhaps a blue thread lock would serve the same purpose in preventing the screws from corroding
Gah, finding metric, stainless square drives doesn’t seem so easy
jonawebb wrote:And you should use an anti-seize grease, which contains sacrificial metal, to prevent bonding.
I think regular old grease is fine (I use marine grease for the extra water resistance)… you just want to create a barrier from oxygen and prevent metal-to-metal contact. Anti-sieze is great stuff, but I can’t think of any reason to pay the extra $$$ to use it on a bicycle. I think of it as more of a high temp/ high pressure system solution. Certainly it’s OK to use… but it seems like overkill to me.
If the screw head is just stripped (as opposed to the screw being seized), another approach is to take a file and flatten the sides of the head. Then you can use an adjustable wrench to turn the screw out. Best pic I could find with a quick search
If the screw head is just mangled like Marko82 shows above, they also make a tool that I believe is called an easy out. It looks bit like a drill bit. The bit has sharp edges that will catch on the mangled screw as you use the drill in reverse. Once it catches, the screw backs out fairly easily. They even work if the head of the bolt is off but you might need to drill a hole first. I bought mine at Sears, three sizes to a pack. $10, I think. I’m less nervous about snapping a bolt now.