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How to avoid boogered up Phillips head screws


Bryan Bosch

We all have one or more Philips head screw drivers in our tool boxes. It's pretty much impossible to be a DIY'er without them. But, if you own an a vehicle that was manufactured of Asian origin, chances are, the screws on it are not "standard" Phillips head. So, if you find that your Phillips head screw drivers are ruining your fasteners, it very will might be because you're using the wrong tool for the job.

Lesser known is the Japanese Industrial Standard (AKA JIS). Bottom-line, a standard Phillips driver will not go into a JIS screw all the way because the corner radius of the screw is smaller than that of a standard Phillips driver. Because of this, it leads to what is referred to as "cam-out". In fact, the standard Phillips was created to allow this, so that you know when max torque has been reached, avoiding over tightening or worse, snapping fasteners.

The differences between Phillips and JIS are not easily seen, so this illustration should help.

jisvp.png

Sometimes screws will be identified as being JIS if there is a dimple or dot on its head. But, this isn't always the case. But chances are, if you're working on a Japanese machine, the Philips head screws will be JIS.

dot.jpg

 

JIS screw drivers are not hard to find, ranging in price from the mid to high $20.00 for the budget stuff, on up to 3x (or more) that for the good stuff. Good tools, if taken care of can last a lifetime and the right tool for the job saves time and money in the long run. We run Vessel brand JIS in the TT shop and they are probably the best screw drivers we've used.

Edited by Bryan Bosch

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Steps I've always used:

  1. try with appropriate screwdriver, if it slips once;
  2. ratchet with a screwdriver tip, if it slips again;
  3. impact driver with appropriate screwdriver tip.. if that doesn't work;
  4. torch.. good luck holding on to anything if your liquid you S.O.B... 

Disclaimer, I'm not responsible if you set your bike on fire.  Oh, and replace the screw.

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On 4/15/2014 at 1:58 PM, WoodsPro said:

I find that even when using the correct screwdriver, sometimes the head still cams out and causes the driver to slip. If i know that the screw has been in the part for a long period of time, I will dip the end of the screwdriver into some valve grinding compound to eliminate all slippage. (Especially when removing engine case screws that have endured many heat cycles and are covered in oil)

Besides the wrong driver style, the second most common mistake is not getting an exact shot at the fastener head.  Trying to loosen a screw from an angle will bugger the head in an instant.  You can tell if you got the right tip and right angle when the screwdriver locks into the head.  Learn that feel! 

For many things, I try to use an impact first (battery powered), a hand impact second, and a manual screwdriver third, unless it's a simple thing like a lever screw.  I'll have to look for JIS bits for my mag screwdrivers for when I get the Yammer.

Edited by ljake

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A good hardware store will have JIS driver bits , usually in a case behind the counter.  When floatbowl screws give me crap, I just grab them with needle nose vice grips and replace them with socket head.  Why socket head? because ball end socket wrenches.

Edited by highmarker

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As mentioned, the first thing I do once I have to do anything with my carb, is to replace any of the screws on my carbs with Allen head screws.  Problem solved

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40 minutes ago, bossco2222 said:

As mentioned, the first thing I do once I have to do anything with my carb, is to replace any of the screws on my carbs with Allen head screws.  Problem solved

Yes this.  

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On 6/9/2014 at 6:23 PM, Fehdjack said:

Best value I've found is the Hozan (Japan) drivers on Amazon, work the best on Kehin and Amal carbs for me

Hey wait, Amal isn't Japanese it's bloody Limey......~~=o&o>.......

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On 10/17/2019 at 9:11 PM, KDXGarage said:

I'll pass on adding heat to something that holds gasoline. 🙂

Heating screw heads makes the threads expand. I would assume penetrating oil might be better.

Been doing this for 30 years. Taught by my grandfather. You use a soldering iron/gun, so no exposed flame. 

Yes, the threads will expand, but they will also contract when they cool, this in turn can break loose the corrosion that has the screws stuck. I have heated with the soldering gun, then sprayed with penetrating oil to cool them. 

It also works if loctite has been used, like on bar end weight screws on street bikes. 

 

Side info... If you have a leaking gas tank, with a pinhole in it. Clean the area well with light sanding, then use a soldering gun/iron to solder a penny over the hole. IF everything is clean, it will last forever. 

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As stated above by RK-REX but take your time vs buggering up or worse yet snapping off a screw.  Just last evening working on a pair of Keihin carburetors (84 XR & 85 XL 350's) the fuel enrichment lever (choke) mounting screw is impossible to remove and Keihin didn't use Loctite. Heat gun with penetrating oil hot and cold several cycles (carefully as there is a plastic washer involved) plus while still hot and later when cold with a 1/4" shank Philips tip (end slightly ground down) giving the bit a sharp wack with a small ball peen hammer. While still hot or cold a no go unless snapping the screw off is the plan, hell no!. Torquing the screw tighter slightly flexing it but not snapping it off then loosening a couple times it then popped loose rather easily and below the torquing event earlier. This a three hour project letting the penetrating oil do its thing, time is your friend. "Been doing this for 30 years", RK-REX, you must be a young pup my friend, had to tease ya. I'll be 67 in 75 days, still learning things everyday hopefully more than I lose everyday. Learned tricks from dad starting 58+ years ago, dad was a bike nut and dry lakes speed run racer long ago. Kroil penetrating oil has been my go to penetrating oil when restoring old Hit & Miss engines with the assistance of heat and time ......~~=o&o>........

Quote

 

 

Edited by ThumperHead
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there is a screw head called a Pozi head that is similar to a Philips, and a Pozi drive screwdriver is needed. Is this the same as a JIS type. ??

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2 hours ago, dirtrut said:

there is a screw head called a Pozi head that is similar to a Philips, and a Pozi drive screwdriver is needed. Is this the same as a JIS type. ??

No.. pozi has extra little fins in the corners if you look closely

Dont ever use pozi on non pozi because using pozi on non pozi will pozitively ruin the screw 

Edited by Tim86

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Actually HIGH quality #2 phillips bits work just fine.  I even use them to remove throttle shaft butterfly screws!  Technique matters ,clean out the the head, I use stainless steel strip from windshield wipers ground in the needed shape for many projects.  Get down force on the driver. Never let the twist force exceed the down force.  Use a driver bit give it a hammertap  or two, both to seat the bit and shock the threads. If the screw won't loosen try to TIGHTEN it  Always be listening for that sweet "tink" of the threads releasing and victory!  Even after it starts to unthread never relax, if the screw resists, STOP, thread back in aways, apply (more) rust buster then loosen. 

Edited by gggGary

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15 hours ago, gggGary said:

Actually HIGH quality #2 phillips bits work just fine.  I even use them to remove throttle shaft butterfly screws!  Technique matters ,clean out the the head, I use stainless steel strip from windshield wipers ground in the needed shape for many projects.  Get down force on the driver. Never let the twist force exceed the down force.  Use a driver bit give it a hammertap  or two, both to seat the bit and shock the threads. If the screw won't loosen try to TIGHTEN it  Always be listening for that sweet "tink" of the threads releasing and victory!  Even after it starts to unthread never relax, if the screw resists, STOP, thread back in aways, apply (more) rust buster then loosen. 

 

15 hours ago, gggGary said:

Actually HIGH quality #2 phillips bits work just fine.  I even use them to remove throttle shaft butterfly screws!  Technique matters ,clean out the the head, I use stainless steel strip from windshield wipers ground in the needed shape for many projects.  Get down force on the driver. Never let the twist force exceed the down force.  Use a driver bit give it a hammertap  or two, both to seat the bit and shock the threads. If the screw won't loosen try to TIGHTEN it  Always be listening for that sweet "tink" of the threads releasing and victory!  Even after it starts to unthread never relax, if the screw resists, STOP, thread back in aways, apply (more) rust buster then loosen. 

I would first grind down the flared or staked (center punched) end of the screws sticking out beyond the throttle shaft before doing anything preventing the brass screws form seizing up and or damaging the threaded brass throttle shaft. Flared or staked screws for a reason, not being ingested or swallowed by the engine should they become loose and vibrating out. As for striking the screw head to seat the bit I would caution that procedure unless the back side of the throttle shaft is supported like a piece of brass stock with a small hole allowing the threaded screw which is sticking out to enter into that drilled hole and the shaft solidly supported by the brass stock. No need to have the brass stock smashing down flaring the end of the screw more than it is. Another reason to grind down the end of the screws first and applying proper techniques and precautions. The shaft is soft brass and can be bent or bowed hammering on it. Caveman techniques are for Harleys......~~=o&o>........ 

Edited by ThumperHead

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Did somebody say throttle shaft screws?

Once spent a couple of days getting 2 out of my hyundai veloster throttle body, most annoying screws i ever had to take out of anything.

Would recommend not going at them like a caveman indeed as these can (depending on what youre working on) be a total pain in the ass

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Have been using one of these since the late 70's, That's when I purchased my first YZ. Tool is inexpensive and always works. If a screw is all jacked up then just file a flat groove across it an use the flat bit.

https://www.sears.com/craftsman-impact-driver/p-A028780632?gclsrc=aw.ds&&sid=SLIAx01191011x000001x1979005196&utm_campaign=9033614&utm_group=71283841136-352491908817&utm_term=pla-761465361272&gclid=CjwKCAjwxt_tBRAXEiwAENY8hdXxgC4yPJxAQI0pbT-Wf575PEij1iIni0RyDQRNAwxh1LBmN479iRoCqHUQAvD_BwE

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3 hours ago, Leftdagrid said:

Have been using one of these since the late 70's, That's when I purchased my first YZ. Tool is inexpensive and always works. If a screw is all jacked up then just file a flat groove across it an use the flat bit.

https://www.sears.com/craftsman-impact-driver/p-A028780632?gclsrc=aw.ds&&sid=SLIAx01191011x000001x1979005196&utm_campaign=9033614&utm_group=71283841136-352491908817&utm_term=pla-761465361272&gclid=CjwKCAjwxt_tBRAXEiwAENY8hdXxgC4yPJxAQI0pbT-Wf575PEij1iIni0RyDQRNAwxh1LBmN479iRoCqHUQAvD_BwE

must add it's one of the better looking impact drivers out there able to fit between tight spaces. Great Christmas gift idea for the gear headed friends without one. How can one live without one I ask? My impact has been beat on for 40 years, why hasn't it died? Question I have for the past several years is how long will Sears be hanging around before going out of business? On line shopping reshaped a big chunk of the buying market, sad......~~=o&o>........

Edited by ThumperHead

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36 minutes ago, ThumperHead said:

must add it's one of the better looking impact drivers out there able to fit between tight spaces. Great Christmas gift idea for the gear headed friends without one. How can one live without one I ask? My impact has been beat on for 40 years, why hasn't it died? Question I have for the past several years is how long will Sears be hanging around before going out of business? On line shopping reshaped a big chunk of the buying market, sad......~~=o&o>........

Gotta love the internet for price shopping. If I remember correctly mine was $19.99 decades ago. 

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16 minutes ago, Leftdagrid said:

Gotta love the internet for price shopping. If I remember correctly mine was $19.99 decades ago. 

Yeah and your $19.99 purchase back then would be around $49 plus in today's dollars.  The old impact I have it has a big nasty square ring like 3/16" body sticking out around the tool body. I'll give it a shot of Sta-Bil fogging oil once and a while if I can remember which is also great on air powered tools besides engines and door hinges around the house......~~=o&o>......

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When someone says 'impact tool' a couple very different items can be meant: (1) a powered (air or elec) wrench, or (2) a hand held cylinder that is hit (more later) with a hammer. Totally different animals. #1 only rotates with an intermitant (sorry bout the spelling) impact that only rotates. #2 rotates as above but also adds a very important inward impact force that forces the threads apart, hopefully separating any corrosion. #1 is perfect for breaking loose a nut (like a wheel stud). #2 is The tool for screws. A screw can't handle the torque that a nut can, so breaking the corrosion bond really allows it to turn easier. Whew. English is an eloquent language, but words with double meanings really f up understanding. A magnified picture of how threads tighten together would explain this, but I don't know how to post such a thing.  

About #2. Hitting a screw with the tool applies the force down the screw which can create space between the contacting threads. So it turns easier. A sharp blow (not a dead blow hammer) with a 12 - 16oz hammer works for me, not the heavy blow that relieves frustration. Wish I could explain it better.  I also found that a 3/8" impact tool with a 3/8" socket (with what ever end needed, #2 phillips or whatever) transmits the necessary force better than a bit with multiple metal to metal connections.  Commentary welcome.

 

 

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