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Extracting broken foul light cover bolts


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  • Extracting broken foul light cover bolts

    For today's installment in my ongoing series of "How the hell do I do *this*?", we have, as the title says, the bolts that hold down the foul light covers -- typically on the division capping where the reflectors sit.

    Of the ones that need work, pretty much all of them are broken flush with the approach surface. What I've done in the past, with limited success, is to carefully drill around the broken bolt section (but not too far, so as to leave something for the new bolt to grab onto -- this is a great way to break drill bits, let me tell you) and try to grab the bolt piece with a pair of duckbill pliers. More often than not, the pliers will slip off the bolt, I'll pinch my hand, and start bleeding all over the place. Not my idea of fun.

    If there were a hole saw the same diameter as the outside of the wood screw in question, I'd be using it. Failing that, can anyone come up with some ideas as to where to go from here?

  • #2
    I ended up welding plain 1/4" nuts to a large washers and securing that (nut up) with thick gauge screws to the approach through holes in the washer. Trimming of the bottom of the foul cover is needed, but once the cover is screwed down with a new 1/4" bolt it's rock solid again.
    Factory & Converted A-2 (US, Ger, Jap)
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    • #3
      Sounds like you're not even removing the broken bolt chunk, but fabbing up your own nut plate, bolting that to the approach, and attaching the (somewhat) modified foul cover to that. Did I get that right?

      After doing a quick bit of googling, according to the site of a large home improvement chain here, I have indeed been doing it the way they suggest. Probably should use a bigger drill bit to open up enough space to get the vise-grips in there, but... as for the nut plates, I know they sell those in the parts catalogs. I'm guessing I'd need a MIG welder to fab up my own; problem here being is a) We don't have one; b) I lack welding skills; and c) If I'm not mistaken, the Powers That Be (tm) don't want us welding anyway. Fire hazard. Nevermind that we can do it outside on the sidewalk behind the shop.


      • #4
        Zot #420182


        • #5
          I have used the Zot hold down kits. They work very nicely, leaves a nice clean professional look that keeps the covers down tight.

          Mike Wilson
          Bowl-Tech Inc.


          • #6
            The repair kit suggested looks like it works very well. If you are determined to get the bolt out however, center punch the broken bolt, drill and use the bolt extractor. They are available pretty much everywhere. Never heard of the bolts breaking, must be some angry bowlers kicking the covers??

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            Everything has to be Somewhere !!


            • #7
              I've seen people trying to duplicate trick shots they see on TV, launch balls right into the covers. OUCH!
              Mike Wilson
              Bowl-Tech Inc.


              • #8
                Now that I can believe
                Everything has to be Somewhere !!


                • #9
                  Timber approach. Use a router to remove enough material around broken screw to allow you to grip screw with vice grip pliers.

                  A continue routing out board and replace with fresh timber. or

                  B Use body filler or similiar to fill routed area.


                  • #10
                    Try using left twist drill bits and extractors. Most times the broken screw or bolt comes out while drilling.


                    • #11
                      ok lets work the solution not the problem. I checked your profile and you do not state the lanes you have, IE wood syn. ect. I am guessing that you have Bruns Syn lanes? If so they are a B****h when the screw breaks. For what ever reason Bruns panels love to shear screws. Now what I have had great success with AMF and Bruns. repairs is as follows. Drill next to the edge of the broken screw with a pilot bit at an angle to drill along side the broken screw. Use a bit that is smaller than the screw you want to use to secure with. Now in my center they use F*** 3 inch or longer screws. you do not need that much screw to hold said item down. I buy inch and 1/4 screws from my local bolt co. the strongest they offer or AMF lane screws. You will be able to secure your covers.
                      NOTE, I do the same procedure when repairing a broke lane panel screw. On AMF you need to slice the plug in half { because you are running the screw in at a slight angle } so the plug does not stick up.
                      You do not have to extract the broke screw.
                      I hope this helps and yes I have done said repairs on my Syn burns. lanes and approaches. Also on AMF for decades
                      Good luck!
                      Later Chief


                      • #12
                        There is a screw extractor for wood screws. It's like a small hole saw and cuts around the outside of the screw. You should be able to find them at a woodworking store, try rockler or woodcraft online. You will have to use a larger screw. If that's not possible, drill the hole larger and put in either a dowel for a wood screw or a threaded insert for a machine screw.


                        • #13
                          Sorry for the delay in replying, but I've been getting over... something... and this whole thing kinda got pushed aside.

                          I've seen the Zot plates; Quality sells their own version. I don't know if it's my drill bits or the screws that were used, but I've not had much luck trying to drill into the screws to use an extractor. I can try sharpening some bits up and giving it another go if the opportunity presents itself.

                          As for what lanes we have, it was originally... oh, I want to say Anvilane, the center dates back to the 1990s... but they've since had 3/8" overlays bolted to them. And yes, they do love to shear screws.

                          I'll look into that screw extractor, JJW. I was hoping to remove as little material as possible so as to be able to reuse the hole, but if I can't, I can't.

                          Many thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I've been doing a lot more at the center than I have in the past, and it's been a bit of a learning curve.


                          • #14
                            If you replace the screw with 1/4 20 wood anchors then the bolt breaks but the anchor stays put. then your extractor will work.
                            Similarly...I have seen well-nuts used to anchor the caps. They're semi-flexible and won't damage the panel when they do break off...
                            "Don't expect too much and you'll never be let down..."


                            • #15
                              Quick update.

                              Remember how in my initial post I said "If there were a hole saw the same diameter as the outside of the wood screw in question, I'd be using it"? Well, guess what...

                              A while back I was talking to a guy who used to run the pro shop at our center (back when we had a pro shop), and he suggested using tile bits to get the hole started for the extractor. Okay, fine. I go down there, go to the flooring section, find the bits. I'm waddling back up front and go through the tool aisle. Guess what I find? Mini hole saws - exactly what I was looking for. Grabbed the 3/8 OD, because the ID fits neatly around the wood screw, and went to work. Got the one repair kit installed on the lane where the cover sheared and left the reflectors exposed, and replaced the broken bolt on another until I can get some more repair kits.

                              I'm slowly making progress. Yay.


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