Motor Screws

We occasionally strip the Phillips heads on the tiny gearbox cover screws.
What size Phillips driver works best with these screws?
Is there an easy way to remove tight screws that have been stripped?
Is it legal to replace the originals with another screw type?

Screwdriver size – I’ve seen teams use those teeny-tiny watch-adjustment screwdrivers to open the motor case, and then strip out the screws. This is wrong. Use a regular #1 Phillips screwdriver, and push IN firmly while turning the screw out. Most rounding is caused by spinning the screwdriver like a drill bit. Two warnings: never use a power driver on a motor screw, and always use a screwdriver with a good quality tip in the very best shape.

Stripped screws – There are several steps to try:

 Use a good #1 Phillips screwdriver with a perfect head and push in hard while turning very slowly.  This works nearly every time.  

 If the first step didn't work you will need to get vicious by either drilling out the screw with a tiny bit (I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea and won't work, but it is the classic method), or sacrifice the motor back or face plate and cut the plastic away from the screw so you can grab the motor screw with pliers.  This is why you never throw any VEX parts away -- you might have a motor that has burned up in heavy use and can then salvage the face plate to replace the one you destroyed by stripping the screw.

OR, even better, just leave the screw in place and use the motor as-is. Unless something is wrong with the motor and you HAVE to open it, just giving up after stripping a screw head and using the motor is a better option than mutilating the case.

As for legality, it’s better to post that kind of question in the Gateway Official Q&A forum.

Giving someone patient (REALLY patient) a motor with a stripped screw and a pair of nose pliers will usually work. Other people like using a small pair of sidecutters instead of nose pliers, but I wouldn’t because you’ll end up with blunt sidecutters.

With the pair of nose pliers we own you can only get about a 20 degree rotation on each turn and you have to squeeze the screw really tight, but it works. If you’re putting the top back on use a screw from a broken motor that isn’t rounded.

We’ve never had any need to drill the screw out or cut away the plastic.

We take our Dremel and cut slits into the screws then take a flat head screwdriver and take them out easily. It takes us only 5 minutes or less to do that, and that’s also setting up the Dremel.