Stripped Well Nut

Hello…I have a Necky Manitou II tandem that I bought used. One of the (hex-shaped) well nuts into which the stern strap eye is fastened is stripped, with the screw in there. In other words, I am trying to remove the screw and the entire well nut turns, making it impossible to remove the screw. And I can’t get at the well nut with pliers or vice grip to hold it in place.

All I want to do is to remove the screw to replace the strap eye (with a stainless steel one as the plastic one broke).

Any thoughts?

Thanks to all,


How exposed is the screw head?

– Last Updated: Jun-03-16 10:51 AM EST –

Does the head of the machine screw extend beyond the surface of the hull? It may be recessed within the housing of the eyelet that you want to replace, but with any luck, the head of the screw is not recessed into the hull. If that's the case, I'd cut or grind off the head of the screw, which will likely destroy the eyelet, but that shouldn't matter since you are throwing that part away. Then punch the screw shaft and well bolt out the other way, and replace the whole fastener.

A hacksaw may do the trick for cutting through the eyelet and top of the screw. Another trick is a piece of a hacksaw blade held with Vice-Grips. Put the blade section through the jaws at an angle such that the unused end of the blade wedges against the base of the jaws when pressure is applied to the working end (this is the only way to keep the blade from pivoting at the location where it is gripped by the jaws). This method provides a lot more control than you get with a full-size hacksaw, and also works in restricted spaces. If the nut is so unrestricted that the screw spins while sawing, get a helper to insert a screwdriver into the screw head to prevent that.

If you use any kind of grinder, work slowly while continuously flooding the site with water, so the hull does not melt. A tiny grinder like Dremel might allow you to grind off the screw head even it's slightly recessed within the hull.

Oh, a little grease on the threads at assembly will likely prevent this problem from recurring. By the way, I'm not sure this is truly a "well nut" if it's hex-shaped, but a true well nut might be a good replacement since it sounds like the recess is stripped. Otherwise, a "taller" nut might be in order - one that extends far enough from the recess on the inside that you can grip it somehow.

Well, since no one answered, you can heat it with a torch which will allow the bolt and nut to be pulled free, but you’ll have to be very careful to not scorch or burn the hull, wet rags on the hull around the stud would be a good idea. You’ll then have to epoxy (Gflex) the nut back in place since the plastic will be deformed. If the bolt is heavily waxed the bolt and nut can be epoxied in place without gluing the bolt to the nut.

Do this at your own risk or take to a pro.

Bill H.

what a pain…
You could try drilling thru the middle of the head of the screw head - the idea being to separate the screw head from the screw shaft - if it’s a recessed screw, but grinding off the head and the end of the eye pad (if necessary) as mentioned above might be the best bet. There are cut-off wheels for Dremel tools that work well for small jobs like that if the eye pad is recessed in the deck.

Another option (for a really beat-up boat) might be to install a new eye pad near the old one, and just ignore the old one.