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Our friend Rick wrote to us about a problem he was having with his PS40-2. It seems he found out what happens when you use a straight bit in a quick change chuck.

I’ve got a little bit of a dilemma. So I had let my brother-in-law borrow my Bosch PS40-2 (The Impactor) When I gave it to him I only gave him the bit so he could use it with a 3/8″ socket set for his brakes.

Anyway – today I was over at my in-laws and he still had it and I needed to screw some sheetrock screws into some plywood and figured I’d use my handy dandy PS40-2. Problem was I didn’t have any quick change Phillips bits. So I used a regular bit (half inch tall one, or 3/4″ or whatever the normal ones are). I screwed in a few screws and everything worked great – I even pulled it out once or twice. Well at some point between the 4th and 8th screw, it seemed to sink into the quick change chuck a little more than it had been – and when I was done I could no longer get the bit out. I’ve tried everything – but there’s barely anywhere to get some purchase to grab it. I’ve gotten a good hold on it with a needle nose pliers and still no dice. The Quick Change chuck only comes up a little – but it doesn’t pull up all the way to completely disengage.

So that’s my story. Do you have any ideas? Is there anyone at Bosch who might have any idea, short of taking the damned thing apart? I checked online, thinking “I can’t be the first d-bag to do this” But I haven’t found anything…any ideas?

Since we’d never done it either, we thought perhaps a set of vice-grips, but that’s about as far as we got. So we called in the crew at Bosch to see if they had any experience solving issues like this. Here’s their response.

Most likely what has happened is that the bit edge has slipped below the detent ball on the inside of the shaft. Depending on whose bit he used they could be cut a little higher or lower but we did some rough side by side measurement and it looks like it is right on the edge of some of our bits.  With a little impact it sunk into the shaft a little further as he stated below and that is likely what pushed it behind the detent.

Don’t think there is a solution to help him get it out because even if you can get a good grip with pliers like he said, the bit likely does not have a nice rounded/smooth edge to ride over like the groove in the quick change bit.

Not surprisingly, the most common reaction from the guys at Bosch was “Use the right sized bit to begin with.” However, to be fair, I will say this could’ve happened to me on another day had I been in the same situation. So I suppose the best answer is get it out of there any way you can, destructive or not, and take your chances — or relegate it going forward to the Bosch #2 Phillips drill.

We put it to you the readers: have any of you dealt with this type of thing before and gotten out alive with the drill intact? Let us know in comments.

Note* The drill in the picture is not the PS40-2 but a PS20 with the correct Bosch bit in it. We really didn’t want to replicate this one for the sake of a picture. 

PS40-2 Impact Driver [Bosch]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon


33 Responses to Reader Question: Bit Trouble

  1. Galadriel says:

    This may be the obvious answer, but as the drill is a much more valuable piece than the bit, I’d be willing to destroy the usefulness of the bit to get it out. If it were mine I’d probably start with grinding a couple notches in it to make it possible to get a good grip on it. Also obvious, of course, is that they should be very shallow so the bit doesn’t break leaving you with just a stump.

    Since the bit “doesn’t have a nice rounded/smooth edge to ride over like the groove”: would it be possible to push something in (temporarily) on the side of the bit–something very thin and flat, but strong–to bridge the groove so it’s no longer a problem?

  2. Joel Spangler says:

    I’ve never inspected any of these quick change drivers, but I know for a fact that most “regular” drills have a fairly easily removed head or chuck. I’m thinking that you’re going to need to get at that bit from the other side… I know it sucks to have to disassemble a fairly new tool, but its probably the easiest/safest way to remedy your problem.

  3. jeffrey immer says:

    all right i have experience with this not once but twice (sometimes i get novices) now they were in dewalt impacts but similar idea the first on was a 2 inch smooth bit i put it in a vise and pulled with all my might and luckily it came out and i fell square on my fourth point of contact.
    the second time it was a socket adapter apparently not meant to be put in an impact that sheered off right at the base and twisted itself in such a way that the quick connect was no longer engaging, so i drilled a pilot hole straight in with a cheap ass bit and some lube, then i drove a screw into the hole and prayed to the all mighty that it would come out. i pulled with a pair of pliers and someone pulled the drill (could substitute someone with vise) and it came free i still have the bottom of the bit, with screw inside i think it was either a 3.5 or 4 mm screw, either way both impacts still both work like champs i did not have to vigorously beat someone.

  4. jeffrey immer says:

    joel i thought the same thing, but if he’s anything like me, plenty of tools have come apart, very few have gone back together or oddly enough i have “extra” oh dam it parts left over.

  5. ToolGuyd says:

    This is not an enviable position to be in. If strong pliers aren’t enough, or if the insert bit is too deep in the bit holder, an adhesive or build-up compound or wax might work.

    As for drilling a hole into the bit – that’s going to be damn near impossible.

  6. jeffrey immer says:

    As for drilling a hole into the bit – that’s going to be damn near impossible.
    i did it with a set of skil cheap ass bits, it was easy, i will take a pic of the nub tomorrow and show ya.
    as for these impacts i love and hate them. i can drive 1/4 x 3 1/2 screws through oak all day (besides the fact that the drill itself get to like 10 billion degrees in like 5 minutes) but i’m not sure any bits are strong enough for these for any period of time. not that it surprises me but i have destroyed every dewalt number 3 and 2 bits i have, and countless others have twisted. now so far the kobalt ones have held up but are there special hardened bit just for these tools?

  7. Assen Popoff says:

    What about mixing up some epoxy, inserting it into a plastic straw, and slipping that
    over the drill bit? You could then force the epoxy with a chopstick or some other
    dowel-like item from the open end to ensure better bonding.
    Have enough epoxy to make a handle to pull with.

  8. NickC says:

    Try hooking it with the claw end of a claw hammer since it is built for putting leverage on pulling stuff out. It may help to file shallow grooves on the sides of the bit first.
    You can also try spraying the bit with an upside down can of canned air to freeze the bit and make it contract a small amount. Careful of frost bite.

  9. Thanks guys for some ideas.. Like Jeffrey said, I’m reticent to take apart the chuck since I have been in the unenviable position of having parts/screws left over.

    I considered welding something to then of the bit to pull it out, but it’s so close to the chuck, I’d be concerned about damaging the chuck itself. There’s not enough bit past the end of the chuck to get a claw hammer on it -even if I were to be able to grind the bit down.. I’m going to see if can sacrifice a set of feel gauges to slide those down and see if I can’t disengage the detent ball.

    I’ll report back if I’m successful.

  10. NickC says:

    You could also try finding a screw that the bit fits really snug into and try gluing it onto the bit. That would give you a better grip. I’m not sure what kind of glue I would recommend the bond metal on metal. I would guess standard super glue wouldn’t be strong enough. If you have an arc welder you could try welding the screw to the bit, but that could prove harmful to the chuck.

  11. NickC says:

    I clearly don’t type as fast as Rick. Or to quote the late great Don Adams: “Missed it by that much.”

  12. Shawn says:

    I had this exact problem. Used a thin metal grinder to notch the bit, then vice grips to remove. Not easy.

  13. Ross says:

    I had this happen with a Dewalt impact driver once. I ended up buying a new andvil (chuck part) for $15, taking the drill apart, and replacing it. All my efforts with cobalt drill bits and screw extractors were useless.

  14. Jim says:

    Why not just put it in a bench vise (clamp the bit down not the drill) and just tug on it hard?

  15. Brian says:

    Please take the drill to the nearest Bosch Service factory service center, or authorized service center in your area. This was a common problem with the original PS20-2, pocket driver. When bosch updated the tool recently the addressed this issue. The new PS20-2A comes is equiped with a holder for both 1/4″ drive power bits and standard bit tips.

  16. fred says:

    Never had the problem with this tool – but had similar problems.
    If you have a friend in the medical profession – a mosquito hemostat or an ear polypus


    might do the trick

  17. Robert Blackmon says:

    I use straight bits in my Makita impact occasionally and they sometimes get stuck but a few light taps with anything makes it let go, but maybe the Makita chuck is different.

  18. Fletch says:

    I’m gonna need some pliers and, ahhh, a set of 30-weight ball bearings.
    Now you prepare that chuck with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads!
    And I’m gonna need about 10 quarts of antifreeze, preferably Prestone. No, no, make that Quaker State.

  19. dcdude says:

    Same thing happend to me with a phillips tip. I guess I never should have put it in there. I had to take it to a repair shop. Bosch agreed to warrant it. They could never get a new chuck, so they shipped me another PS40. It took about a month to wrap it all up.

  20. kif says:

    Here are some untested theories: clamp the end of the bit in a bench vise, then take something that vibrates, like a pad sander and hold it on the other end of the vise jaws. Run the sander while applying pulling pressure on the Impactor. Or, get a quarter inch socket onto one of those impact drivers you whack with a hammer. Slide it over the bit. Get someone to hold the Impactor on a bench while you use the impact driver to exert blows counter to the force applied to the chuck when tightening screws. Or, apply some quick shots of liquid Nitrogen to the bit while the Impactor is pointing towards the floor and pressure is applied to retract the chuck, wear gloves.

  21. bob says:

    If you were to ignore Brian’s good advice you would probably want to disassemble it ourself by 1) googling ‘disassemble bosch ps40-2’, and reading through hundreds of postings until you find the page that has pictures. Someone has probably walked this path and posted a how-to page. If not, 2) Use a digital camera to take pictures from every angle every step of the way. 3) Take detailed notes as you go, numbering parts. 4) Don’t force plastic casings if they have to be split. I hope the others are joking about extra parts.

  22. Theron says:

    People have asked – I did buy a set of impact driver rated bits made by dewalt. They are black and hard. I haven’t broke one of them yet in my Makita. The set came with some deep well sockets and a socket adapter. The sockets work great on toilets, they are all the right sizes.
    It looks like you will have to take it apart to take it to a service center and have it done. I looked inside my Makita chuck and it looks like what happened to you can’t happen to me, different design. So if you have to end up buying a new unit, the Makita is good for not doing that, and mine also stays cool to the touch (you or someone had mentioned that they get hot).

  23. Theron says:

    I found it – the DW2169. Amazon it.

  24. Joel Spangler says:

    I was googleing for the DW2169 and actually found a link back to this site http://toolmonger.com/2008/03/03/dealmonger-dewalt-38-piece-impact-driver-accessory-set-24/

    Is now on my amazon wish list (which I use as a gift idea repository for the wife – so she knows what I want/need)

  25. Zathrus says:

    Those black impact driver bits/nut drivers are actually not as hardened as the standard chromed/grey bits. The difference is that when they fail they’ll deform instead of shattering — which is a lot safer for anyone and anything nearby!

  26. Trizguy says:

    What about trying the Freeze and Release product reviewed on Jan 20th. If you froze the bit, it might contract enough to allow you to break it loose with vice grips or other ideas presented here.


  27. Zeros says:

    if you are going to take it apart, here is the parts breakdown:


    And the replacement chuck is $62. Damn thats expensive, but not as much as a new PS40-2 I suppose.

  28. makes_stuff says:

    Rick, $62 for a new gearbox/chuck is nuts (thanks Zeros, for the link).

    Since it sounds like the release collar still works, I propose super gluing a new screw to the bit (like NickC said). Clean the screw and bit tip well and keep the screw as the lowest part during alignment so you don’t drip glue into the chuck. I don’t know how the bit forced its way past the locking detent bb’s, but if the chuck is undamaged, not that much force should be needed to pull the bit. After the super glue cures overnight, PULL STRAIGHT OUT ONLY, NO BENDING. This technique has worked for me on a few cheap headphone plugs that came apart in jacks.

    Oh yeah, in case the groove inside the release collar is damaged, try rotating the release collar 90 degrees before the attempt.

    Good luck.

  29. Hah.. you guys Rock!.. good call on the parts breakdown.. I will study that this weekend and report back.

  30. John E says:

    Screw philips head screw into a board. Dab some super glue on the top of screw head. Wait a minute or two, this is the hard part. Pull.

    If you can get some WD-40/lube around the sides with out getting it on the head of the bit, it’ll help.

  31. Joe says:

    Been there done that.

    1) Get a can of computer keyboard spray air.
    2) With the can upside down and with the straw in the nozzle, spray the bit holder with the frosty liquid that comes out. Not a scold as liquid nitrogen, but cold, safe and cheap enough to do the trick.
    3) Retractthe bit holder flange and with a pair of small hemostats, like the mosquito wing hemostats/forceps someone else suggested, pull out the bit.

    Another satisfied customer!

  32. Matt says:

    Hammer the shit out of you driver… It won’t fix it, but should make the problem go away with some entertainment value…

  33. casey says:

    i have the makita 18v, and have had a few get real stuck a few times. most of the time i can knock it on something and the bit falls out.

    sometimes i have had to clamp some visegrips on the bit in a way that allows me to knock on them with the hammer straight away from the driver. i find this to work better than putting the bit in a bench vise as you can deliver blows straight to the bit which is stuck, rather than just trying to pull.

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