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How to Repair a DeWALT Cordless Drill/Driver – Part 1

This project explains how to repair a cracked frame and broken switch on a DeWALT® DC987 18V cordless drill driver with J-B WELD® epoxy while waiting for replacement parts to arrive.


I was working on the ladder when I dropped my DeWALT cordless drill about a dozen feet on the concrete floor. The motor and gears were undamaged, however the clamshell body was badly cracked and the internal switch lever snapped in two. Since I was in the middle of a job and really needed my cordless drill, I repaired the plastic case and switch level with J-B WELD epoxy so I could keep working. J-B WELD is ideal because it bonds almost anything, cures hard and can be filed, drilled and machined.

DeWALT Cordless Drill Disassembly & Inspection

The motor and gears still worked fine, but only in forward mode because the forward/reverse switch lever was broken and rattling around loose inside the drill body.

After removing the battery, I dissembled the DeWALT cordless drill by removing the torx screws from the end cap, gear box and handle to inspect the damage. The clamshell case cracked on both sides just above the trigger and the forward/reverse switch lever had broken off at the rear post as indicated by the red arrows.

Dewalt Cordless Drill: Cracked Clamshell Case and Switch Lever

J-B WELD® Epoxy Repair

I lightly buffed the inner and outer surfaces of the clamshell drill case with sandpaper to “break the shine” to create a better bonding surfacing for the epoxy. Do not sand inside the crack itself because the broken edges are a “new” surface that needs no additional preparation and you want to maintain the “jigsaw puzzle” mating surfaces.

J-B WELD was applied to the clamshell case and switch lever as indicated by the red arrows. The gear box was reattached to align and hold the clamshell case together in perfect alignment along with a bungee cord wrapped around the back of the case. A bar clamp is applied to hold the cracked case together while the J-B WELD cures.

DeWALT DC987 Cordless Drill/Driver Repair

The switch lever (blue line in the above photo) is an internal part that fits on top of the “Switch, V.S.R.” unit. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend up heavy copper tab on top of the copper heat sink so I could access the lever that fits over a rectangular post.

Being a major holiday all the stores were closed and I only had the 15 to 24 hour slow-cure J-B Weld on hand. If I were to do this again, I’d use the J-B QWIK® which sets in 4 minutes and fully cures in 4 hours.

DeWALT Cordless Drill/Driver Reassembly

Reassembly was straightforward, with two minor points:

  1. After installing the internal switch lever on the V.S.R. trigger switch, I put the V.S.R. switch in the
    bench vise and slowly closed the vise to bend the copper tab back down over the lever. It took
    some finesse to arrange the copper heat sink such that pressure is only applied to the
    body of the heat sink
    while not contacting the plastic switch case; otherwise the plastic switch
    would be crushed.
  2. Turn the torque setting to the lowest value to relieve the pressure on the clutch plate before
    reassembly, otherwise you’ll be fighting the spring pressure of the clutch as you try to
    mate the gear box to the motor.

The drill is working fine again and the forward/reverse switch operates correctly. The clamshell case still has a gap above the trigger due to internal stresses from getting bent when I dropped it, however the gap is cosmetic and this is a short-term fix until my replacement parts arrive.

DeWALT Cordless Drill/Driver Working Again!

DeWALT Parts and Service

I surfed over to DeWALT ServiceNet® – “The official site for Parts and Service” to identify and order the replacement parts to make my DeWALT cordless drill almost as good as new.

DeWALT ServiceNet is user-friendly and after entering my model #: DC987, it’s a “Type 1″ version – I was shown a detailed parts diagram, part list, photos and prices ready to order. I thought it interesting there were photos of the clamshell and switch – I’m guessing these parts get broken regularly as I had done.

DeWALT ServiceNet® Parts and Service

I ordered the following replacement parts:

  • “Clamshell Set”, Part # 620711-02 for $9.28
  • “Switch, V.S.R.”, Part # 152274-19 for $52.97

I’m can also track my order status at DeWALT ServiceNet.

This repair is continued in Part 2.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

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