Seized rear number plate screw

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by Sp!ke, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    One of the 4 rear number plate screws was seized and the screwhead has snapped off in the bolt that goes through the boot panel.

    I suppose I could have a battle and try and get this out somehow but I thought it would be easier and a cleaner look if I just attach the number plate with adhesive pads.

    The only thing I'm wondering is whether the bolts that go through the boot project out a bit from the boot panel and whether I'd need thick adhesive pads to pack the number plate out a few mm or not.

    Is this normally necessary and if so, where can I get thick enough adhesive pads from?
     
  2. ss201

    ss201 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Assuming this happened on your W201, I've had the same issue. On the rear panel, behind each screw hole for the rear number plate there is a raised round section approx 1/8 inch deep. Suggest you unscrew the other three bolts, slide the number plate to one side and peer behind. Also, lift out the plastic panel in the boot directly behind the rear number plate. You'll be able to see the threaded alloy pieces that secure the screws (they're actually bolts). I drilled through the snapped bolt head, cut off the alloy retaining piece and fitted a replacement bolt onto a nut with a suitable washer and spacer. If you try to stick the number plate on with a number plate adhesive pad (available from any motor factor that supplies plates) you'll have to remove the three other bolts, leaving unsightly holes in the number plate. Time to get the drill out and raid the nuts and bolts jar!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually this is on my R129 but the bolt arrangement loos the same as on the W201.

    I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and start looking if the snapped bolt can be easily removed.

    I'm not worried about number plate holes as I've just bought a new registration number and ordered new plates.
     
  4. High-Lo

    High-Lo Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Same happened to me. 2 screws came out and 2 got stuck. Used my Dremel to cut the screw heads off to minimise protrusion and used double sided adhesive padded tape and folded it several times over to create a thick pad about an inch in length and 3-4mm thick. I made up 5 pieces and attached the plate with a pad on each corner and one on the centre. I would have quite a job pulling it off now if I wanted to.
     
  5. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    I just went out to the garage for a look. Removed the number plate and gripped the spacer really tight with mole grips. The alloy it is made from is really really soft and pliable and the pressure of the mole grips was almost enough to separate spacer from inner bolt alone.

    A bit of a wiggle and off it came. I'll be removing all four using the same technique when the time comes to change my number plate. This way, I can attach it flush to the boot panel with adhesive pads.
     

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  6. jefrs

    jefrs Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Pro-engineering method.
    Drill straight down through the middle CL of the screw with a small drill.
    The head will fall off and the remains of the screw can be peeled out, then run a tap through it to clean threads. If the screw really won't come out, re-drill to tapping size and tap.

    Another good grippy tool for these little buggers is a hefty pair of end cutters, or nail pincers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  7. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Well you culd try that but it came off in less than ten seconds my way with mole grips so... not sure why you'd bother drilling the thing out. (especially as it turns with the drill bit)
     
  8. EDZ649

    EDZ649 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The first thing I do whenever I buy a Merc is drill out all four screws and captive threads and stick new plates on with adhesive pads. I hate the look of screws in my plates, or anything else for that matter.
     
  9. jefrs

    jefrs Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Drilling is for when it refuses to budge with the grips or you pull the head off:eek:

    That's why I mentioned the nail pincers which are a wheency bit better than the old moley at getting hold of little screw heads.

    Other cool tool is the engineer's clamp.
     
  10. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    they are total garbage.... I remove them like sp!ke has done.
     
  11. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Interesting thread......same problem with my SL. My plate holder is now fixed to the spacers (glued with CT1) but worth knowing that the spacers are easily removed.

    Mic
     
  12. reflexboy

    reflexboy Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Is there anything CT1 cannot do?
     
  13. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    They are deliberately weak as they are installed full length and tightening the screw crushes the shank so it grips the panel without damage.

    They work similar to a pop rivet or plasterboard fixing.
     
  14. Pontoneer

    Pontoneer MB Club Veteran

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    I'm fairly sure replacements would be quite cheap , from MB . Alternatively , original bolts with a nylock nut spun up on the rear of the panel - this would still look original and would also have the advantage that no one could just unscrew your plates and put them on another car , since you would need to hold the nut steady from behind to remove the bolt .

    Another option , more secure than sticky pads , would be to use pop rivets through the original holes , with a suitable sized washer on the rear of the panel .
     
  15. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Yes good concept but in reality the screws seize in all the time.
     
  16. 350_Coupe

    350_Coupe Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Interesting thread, i have one bolt on the rear plate on my car that has sheared off and i need to remove and replace
     
  17. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    It is a very good adhesive and void filler in the same way as is Gripfill.......you must read too many of my Posts !!!***???.......anyway we have found it to be a very useful product in the building trade.....it is a truly excellent sealant around sanitary ware.
    Did you do your wheel arches?

    Mic
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    You are best off removing all 4 and using the double sided number plate tape - a much more astheticly pleasing look if you ask me.
     
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