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I have a lot of these plastic expanding fasteners that need to be removed to make some repairs behind the shower in my RV. They all out in the open and easily accessible, but require I remove the expanding pin in the center for the fastener to be removed.

My thoughts were to use super glue onto the pin and extract, then pull out the fastener, but I feel like that could cause trouble if the pin became glued to the fastener.

Is there an easier way to remove the fasteners without causing any damage?

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  • 2
    Buying a new box of fasteners might be cheaper and easier than trying to preserve them. Nov 5 '21 at 19:55
  • Idea not worth a full answer - hot glue the head of a small nail to the fastener to pull out the plunger. The hot glue should peel off once the fastener is out. Easier than superglue, and more removable.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 5 '21 at 20:00
  • There's almost certainly a specialty prying tool to make it easy, (check an RV site if this is RV-specific stuff) but an appropriately small pry-bar or flat screwdriver should slip into the gap and pry up the ridge on the pin head.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 5 '21 at 22:57
  • This is n motor vehicle repair question and belongs in mechanics.stackexchange.com
    – Jasen
    Nov 5 '21 at 23:47
  • Next time, buy 'scrivets'. Same insert method, but they'll unscrew [sometimes]. My usual method for getting these off [I used to deal with a lot of them, you can almost never get them out whole & still look pretty] was have a sharpened pair of pincers that would just lop off the entire head in one go, push the rest inside, or remove them once you have the entire face off.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 6 '21 at 12:06
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If you only had a couple of these to remove, I would try some of the suggestions to remove them non-destructively. But since you say you have a lot, I would just buy new ones and remove the old ones however it is fastest.

These clips are very inexpensive, and the replacement ones you can buy would actually be removable and reusable. Search for something like "plastic fender rivets white" on google/amazon/walmart, etc and you will find various sizes and styles.

Regarding the destructive removal of the existing ones if you were to follow my suggestion, it would probably be easiest and safest to drill out the pin. This should carry the least risk of damaging the wall material.

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Punch the pin through and then pull the outer bit out - with luck you might find the pin.

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  • One caveat: This tends to mash open the hole behind, so if it's soft (like drywall) the new fastener may not grab as well.
    – isherwood
    Nov 5 '21 at 20:04
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Non-destructive (or only slightly): Press the points of two knives under the pin head and pry it out.

Destructive: Slide a putty knife or chisel under the flange and pop it off. Push the remaining shaft through the wall surface.

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  • Wonder if using a screw in the pin might be better than knives.
    – crip659
    Nov 5 '21 at 19:59
  • You wouldn't want to reuse the thing after poking a hole in it.
    – isherwood
    Nov 5 '21 at 20:02
  • Just thinking knife points have a habit of snapping off, maybe into an eye(eye protection good) and probably want new ones anyway.
    – crip659
    Nov 5 '21 at 20:36

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