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timidhermit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 6, 2011
366
3
The heads of the screws holding the hard drive to the drive carrier in my Mac Pro are badly stripped. I have tried numerous methods such as using a rubber band for added grip, different screwdriver heads, different screwdriver head sizes, and so on. None succeeded.

The heads are quite thin (it is a MacPro4,1) not the thick ones like MacPro1,1, so it is alost impossible to grip the head on its edge with a pair of pilers.

I am going crazy... Can someone please help?
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,621
312
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
If a quality and correctly sized screwdriver doesn't work .... how about a disposable screwdriver and some epoxy to get it out? Then replace the carrier with a new one.
 

jbarley

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2006
4,023
1,894
Vancouver Island
In the past I've had success by heating the screw head with a soldering gun, this causes the screw to expand and once cool if you're lucky the mechanical-sticky bond between the screw and screw-hole will have broken making removal possible.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,283
557
You can also try a can of "freeze mist" to cool the screw so that it shrinks enough to detach from the hole. Basically what jbarley suggests but done differently.

I wasn't quite clear from your description; are the screw threads actually stripped (screw turns but nothing happens), or is the screw head damaged so that you can't get a solid grip with a screwdriver? If the latter, I second hfg's suggestion, with the proviso that I'd try superglue before epoxy.
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,621
312
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Aren't these screws actually held in rubber-like grommets and have limited depth threads on them. Possibly it is the rubber that is binding the head, and a little lubricant might be of some help here. I don't know if simple water, or something like WD-40 might help lubricate the rubber washer surface.

Hopefully, they don't have a Loctite thread-lock glue on them!
 

Parigot

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2011
64
25
Montreal
Use a large enough rubber band. Put it on the stripped screw and put the screwdriver on it. Works most of the time.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
553
479
Pardon me for asking a simple question, but what kind of screw head is this? Phillips (cross type)? Almost everyone uses the wrong size screwdriver for philips screws. The correct size superficially looks way too big, but is the largest one that will fit in the slots. Using smaller ones (the ones that "look right" and superficially fit) is the usual cause of trouble.

Of course, it may be too late to try the correct size. Most metals expand when heated, so I'm slightly sceptical about the "apply heat" idea, but it could work. Between the two, the freeze idea may be better. A tiny bit of penetrating oil such as WD-40 (don't squirt, use a toothpick or something like that), or one that's more specific to removing stuck screws, applied to the threads could help a lot. One other somewhat desperate trick trick is to epoxy a cheap screwdriver or something similar to the screw, wait a day, and then carefully twist. Otherwise, an expert machinist can do something for you.

(Edit: I see a responder already suggested epoxy. Good for you! And I hadn't heard of the rubber-band trick before. I'll remember that one!)
 
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jbarley

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2006
4,023
1,894
Vancouver Island
Most metals expand when heated, so I'm slightly sceptical about the "apply heat" idea, but it could work. Between the two, the freeze idea may be better.

What part of the words "once cool" in my post didn't you understand?
The whole point of heating and cooling is to get the metal to move (expand then contract) in an effort to break the mechanical bond between the screw threads and the screw hole.
 

Ph.D.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
553
479
What part of "it could work" did you not understand? Yes, I know that the goal is to break the mating surfaces free.
 
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