Can't loosen screws on old footbraces

I bought some new Seadog Footbraces but I can’t get the screws out of the old ones. WD40 and a strong arm couldn’t break them loose. Any ideas?

I’m not sure how I could apply the usual tricks (heat, vigorous tapping, etc) without damaging the boat. It’s a carbon layup.


I was thinking “just use an impact driver”( more or less a screwdriver you hammer on and it turns and loosens otherwise STUCK things) till i read the “carbon fiber” part and went EEEEEEEEP.

My advice, find THE BEST fitting screwdriver socket and use it with a rachet,that seems to work the best(short of impact driver). If that fails and you can’t get a grip on the head with vice grips,then drill them out. I wouldn’t go hitting them with anything hard,asking for trouble and light tapping won’t do any good.

Liquid Wrench
Look for that in a hardware store. It’s better than WD40.

Are the screws into plastic ?

– Last Updated: Jun-02-07 4:52 PM EST –

Makes a difference .....

If I remember correctly, you are not giant ..... maybe get a biger person to give it a try ....

Plastic question above might apply.

Aluminum and Stainless?
If you have aluminum rails for your current footbraces and stainless steel screws holding them in, you may need to drill them out.

Aluminum and stainless will pretty much “weld” together over time. If this happens, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get them apart.


Aluminum and Stainless
Yes, the rails are aluminum and the bolts are stainless with a phillips head (not the easiest to keep contact with the screwdriver bit. I had my husband try and he couldn’t budge them either.

Hmmmm, might have to drill them out . . . yuck


Step away from the drill … : 0
Any rubber washers in between the boat and screw head ? These 1/4" X 20 phillips head machine screw have a pretty big and protruding head … easy to get a pair of vice grips on them … even easier if you pick out the rubber / neoprene washer. I know it might sound insane but once you get the VGs on them you might try tightening them first … once you get a little movement in there, there is a very good chance the ‘weld’ will let go and you can back them all the way out … if that does not work, much easier to just keep turning ( loose ) 'till the heads twist right off.

Drilling is a nightmare waiting to happen against the hull … you might also take a look inside the boat to see if the bolts are long enough that they can be grabbed from there to attempt / tighten / loosen micro movements.

Anyone else reading this with Yakima type foot braces might just go out and give those bolts a turn just to keep them free. Better yet, get a drop of antiseze or other in there just for the long run.

To drill or not to drill -

The bolts are not really “pan head” but a really flattened dome shape - and no rubber or neoprene washer on the outside. It will be very hard to get vice grips on them.

The footbrace rails are threaded - there’s no nut on the inside - and the bolts don’t protrude much through the rails - plus they emerge in the bottom channel of the rail track where you can’t get at them very well.

I appled Liquid Wrench on them tonight from the inside and will see how they do in the morning.

Yes, I’m nervous about the prospect of accidents trying to drill them out. Maybe as a last resort we could drill them from the inside and collapse the bolt.

That will freak everyone out!!!

I have a air powered grinder/buffer with a 3m twistlock course pad (the red ones).

You could buff/grind the head off then remove the tracks,this should allow for vice-grips on the remaining stud.



Don’t expect ya to go out and buy it!

But,in theory it will work…if you can access the screw head

Stainless screws are very soft,they will break very easy,but, then you may still have to drill them out…

grind vs drill
Honestly, unless you’re REALLY,REALLY good i wouldn’t even think about using a cookie(3’’ screw in sanding disk) on something like WILL slip and scratch up the hull. Drilling them out is a fairly easy job because the center of the phillips slot is a natural guide. start small and go bigger. use a SHARP drillbit. Dull bit will not only make for more aggrevation than good, it’ll also run hotter.

Try heatng the rails

– Last Updated: Jun-04-07 8:39 AM EST –

I would think you could use a propane tourch and heat the aluminum rail from the inside. You would lay the kayak on it side on horses. Use the tourch on a slightly upward angle on the rail so you are not aiming it at the hull.

It may or may not work but heating the rail will expand it and hopefully ease the tension on the screw. Then place the screw driver in the screw and give it a whack or two with a hammer. If you could have another person under the rail press with a piece of metal or 2 x 4 scrap as you whack it, that would help. From there - good luck.

One last trick: if the screw head is proud, you can cut a slot in it with a hack saw. Then you can place a thin piece of metal in it (kind of like a very wide screw driver) to get more twisting leverage. If you destroy the philips groove you can try that.

Something different that
works sometimes…

I’ve taken a piece of dry ice and caused fasteners to contract enough they’ll break loose from corrosion.

You can also simultaneously heat the nut with a soldering iron while using the dry ice on the screw.

Personally, I would have used a flex shaft or Dremel with a corundum cut off disc and gently cut off the screw head, slowly with water to keep heat down below plastic melting temp. Duct tape around the screw head to keep from maring the boat. Cut across the top of the screw head in multiple ‘slices’ and not from under it.

Here’s how
I got mine to come off - I have a phillips head screw driver attachment for a 3/8" socket wrench. The attachment is for larger phillips head screws and fits the footbrace screw well. After spraying with WD-40 and giving it a while to soak in, I got on the screw with the socket setup, and voila! This worked for two frozen Yakima screws on my Aquanaut. Good luck!

Google “3/8 socket phillips” and you’ll get the craftsman version.


Screw extractor
You might want to investigate a device known as a screw extractor, sometimes called an easyout. This is a wedge-shaped screw with a left-hand thread. You drill a pilot hole in the screw and then wedge the extractor into the hole and turn it with a wrench. It has worked for me.

Good luck.

dremel and cut off disc
i’ve cut a few off of sailboats without marring the boat, its not that hard to do if you are patient. i cut several slices into the screw head until the screw head falls apart.

I gave up . . .
Thanks everyone for your suggestions . . . I finally gave up and returned the SeaDog footbraces I was going to install. It’s not worth the headaache and possible damage I could cause trying to remove the Yakima footbraces. There wasn’t anything wrong with them - I just wanted the convenience of easy adjustment while on the water . . .


NOW the screws will break … : )

Too bad…
You had to return them. In reality, all you had to do was use a couple different sizes of Ti-coated drill bits (about a buck-or-two each at your local hardware store), and carefully drill them out, beginning with a small diameter starter-hole. Not a big deal at all! SS is actually quite easy to machine/drill.

It is trying to mechanically loosen chemically welded fasteners that is asking for trouble, as the vise-grips/screwdriver will slip off the fastener and make vigorous contact with your hull…

Check inside
…had a similar problem, til we looked inside. The forward screw had a plastic wingnut on the inside of the kayak. Once off, the screw came right out.