Greeting folks,

Got a truss rod nut with a wallered out allen head.  (Wallered out is a technical term in Georgia)  The Stew-Mac oversized allen wrench is no help.  This nut is really worn out!  Looks like I'll need to ream out the plug at the headstock to access the nut?

What do you all do in this case?




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Hi Greg.

Luckily, I speak a bit of Georgian. It's not that much different fro the dialect spoken in West Central Illinois.

It's an easy fix and it's coincidental that I'm preparing to do what I'm about to describe on a Fender style bass this afternoon.

Take an expendable hex key that will fit in the wallered-out nut and epoxy it into the hex nut.  Use appropriate cautions to keep it from gluing itself to the neck. Let it set for a day. Then, using the hex key as a handle, unscrew the nut from the rod & order & install a replacement.

I just remembered a second fix for this:

Take an expendable hex key and coat its business end with a drop of oil about a 1/2" up its shaft.

Next, slide a 3/8" sleeve of electrical shrink tubing around the hex nut so it extends about a 1/2" past the end of the nut. It will act as a mask to keep the material described in the next step from sticking to the neck.

Now, work a blob of JB Weld or LabMetal into the wallered-out (in Illinois, it's hyphenated) nut and jam the hex key into the nut.

Let it dry for 48 hours, pull out the key & shrink tubing mask, trim the excess material away and you should have strong enough enough 'new surface' to make the nut operational pending a replacement. If it's a very inexpensive instrument, you've actually completed the repair.

This method works especially well when you don't have a few days to source a replacement. Of course, in all cases, proper industry standards call for the eventual replacement of the hex nut.

Best of luck, man(:

Thanks Paul, and you know I was thinking of doing that very thing.  However I'll still need to ream out the walnut plug from the headstock in order to extract the truss rod nut?  Then replace the nut, re-plug and touch up finish...right?  It's Fender Custom Shop Tele neck.

BTW the Blackhawks are looking strong this year. (I'm a big hockey fan originally from Pittsburgh.)


one other thing; remove the tension on the truss rod before trying to turn the nut. if ham handed owners would do this before they tried to make adjustments they would avoid a lot of repair bills.

another clue;  don't use ball end allen keys!!!

Yes, you'll have to drill away the dark colored guide. The part about the walnut plug confuses me. There shouldn't be a walnut plug in the headstock..... like on a skunk striped neck.

But just to make sure, the truss rod adjusts from the peghead using a 1/8" hex driver, right?   But, if those facts are correct, yessir, you have it down (-:

I'll wait for this confirmation/clarification before continuing (:

I'm 250 miles from Chicago but only 50 miles north of St. Louis, Mo.  Being this far south in Illinois, they're Blues hockey fan around here. But then again, I don't follow any sport so it's OK to root for your favorite (-: "GO [insert your favorite team here] !!!!!!!! The only sports fact I'm aware of is: if visiting central Illinois during baseball season, it's best NOT to wear a StL Cardinals OR a Chicago Cubs t-shirt.  The rivalry is like the Hatfields & McCoys.  There IS a body count come world-series time!!!!

Before removing the plug, it is always good to remind folks that the hex sockets on these Fender nuts are peined shamefully shallow. Generally they are around 1/8" workable depth or less, which is woefully insufficient for a 1/8" key to bear any load. It does however, leave possibility that nuts that seem stripped can still have a bit left to grab with the right tools. 

Ball end wrenches are useless here, as the tapered edge leaves only tiny bit at the end of the nut where it actually grips. Most flat end wrenches are only a bit better, as they often still have a rolled off or slightly beveled edge which lessens the bearing surface as well. Then of course worn corners and/or cheap construction of many wrenches only worsen the problem.

What this means is that there's still some chance that the wrench that stripped the socket head of the nut may not have stripped it all the way through - often times there is still a bit of a clean hex at the very bottom where most wrenches can't reach to strip it. 

Make sure your 1/8" is wrench is of good quality, hard steel and no wear at all. Then file the end to make sure the tip is fully squared with sharp corners and no bevel at all. I keep a special wrench ground this way for Fender nuts, and regrind down the tip regularly whenever it starts to show the any wear. More often than not, my wrench can still turn most Fender nuts that others have written off as stripped. Not always, but I would say well over half the time I can still adjust the nut, though I will admit that this may only be delaying the inevitable replacement. 

Even if you do decide to pull the plug and replace the nut, this can often allow you to pull the plug by more conventional means (score finish, heat plug, press plug out by backing out nut rather than attempting to ream it out cleanly). No guarantees it will work, but make sure to try a clean, squared-end good 1/8" key before writing it off. 

And of course if you're not sure the best way to do this, most shops that do a lot of Fender warranty work will be fluid with this as a relatively common (or at least not terribly uncommon) repair. Good Luck!

David, I'll give that try if I can get a good grip on the nut with a quality allen wrench. It be great if the plug backs out with the nut. I was also considering using the next larger metric allen and filing it to get a good fit on the nut. Greg
I've succesfully used a long drill bit and hand drill to remove the plug.

I've seen a number cases on Fenders where the nut is not completely worn out, but has been turned so tight that the truss rod threads limit wrench engagement.  Combine this condition with a ball end hex wrench (as Mike states) and you have an issue.  Once you extract the nut and assuming that the over compression has left enough structural support to make the truss rod work, you may be able to repair it by making a small cylindrical spacer from steel rod. 

You are kidding, right? Instead of using glue, or whatever funky ideas are posted here, why not do what any good automotive tech would do? Just use and "Easy Out," to remove the stripped truss rod nut. For those of you unfamiliar with an Easy Out, it's a self tapping screw that once inserted clockwise, bits into the damaged nut, and then the nut will come off counterclockwise. You can buy an Easy Out kit at any automotive store : Ace, True Value, Home Depot, or eBay. It's the same idea as using glue, JB weld, making slots, or shrink tubing etc, except, it doesn't cause a mess, or run the risk of potentially gluing everything together so it will never come apart, or damaging the neck by trying to make a slot for a flat head screw driver (another bad idea.) All you need is the proper size Easy Out, and a drill. It will cost you, $10.99 at Sears, $6.99 on eBay, for the Easy Out kit, which will include four or five different sizes of the tool so you can fix other bunged up nuts you've been putting off fixing around the house, because you didn't know how to fix them. Then, once the damaged nut is removed, all you need is a replacement nut for $6.99. The whole procedure will take you less than a minute to drill out the old nut using the Easy Out, and replace the damaged nut with the new one; three minutes if you're high. It's really that simple! 

"Instead of using glue, or whatever funky ideas are posted here,..."

Pretty disrespectful first post.

Just sayin'


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