Rounded torx end fastener

Hi everyone I am having trouble with a star end fastener that won’t break loose. I rounded it and now a T40 bit won’t work. A T45 is too big and because the fastener is in a super tight space,( idler pulley under alternator), I cant hit a bit on with a hammer. Looking for any suggestions here on alternate methods. I have tried so many different bits and went to many stores looking for torx bits and have had very little luck finding much bigger than a t40. Thanks everyone in advance !

Are you sure you’re not dealing with a Torx Plus fastener?

Because if you are, a regular Torx bit will strip out a Torx Plus fastener in no time.


Not sure, at one point I was able to lock a regular torx bit on, but I was using bad methods to get leverage so I ended up knocking it off a lot of times which rounded it.

Use an easy-out tool like this.

I don’t know the exact placement problems that exist. If the bracket that holds the pulley is removable, you may have to remove it to give you better access to the bolt, where you can use heat, drill, or use the best method to remove a stripped bolt. Or radiator removal for access.

Craftsman sells a fastener extractor for stripped heads called Bolt-Out.

If you can tap the extractor on the fastener head, the reverse spiral flutes grab the head tighter as you try to loosen the fastener with the extractor.


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Or, lift motor to clear frame rail. Sometimes you might have to unbolt motor mount

I don’t think a different sized torx bit is gonna work at this point. I’d give up on that idea. You might could file flats at 180 degrees on the outside and try a wrench. If you try that method, liberal applications of rust- penetrating oil , letting it sit for a day or two, than apply heat just before the heave-ho would give you the best chance. Try rotating it in the tighten position a little first, before trying to back it out.

Make the job as easy as you can be removing all the stuff that’s in the way as is practical. Removing the air cleaner box, intake boots up to the throttle body, heater hoses, battery, alternator, all that sort of stuff is often easy to remove, takes very little time, and frees up a lot of space.

If that doesn’t work I think your best bet is to tow or drive your VW (or just the affected part if you can remove it) to a local well-recommended automobile machine shop. They’ll know what to do, and the fee might be surprisingly reasonable. They’ll have all sorts of tools you just don’t have access too for problems like this. It might only take them 15 minutes to get it done.

It may be time to start considering methods to cut this fastener off… A Dremel with a cut off wheel and or a carbide metal cutting bit can come in handy in times like these. I’ve had to cut off hundreds of nuts and bolts and always have these tools at the ready it is always a PIA no matter what method you are able to employ, especially in areas of tight confines. Good luck

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Before cutting or drilling I would consider checking if it is possible to spot-weld a regular [rusty] hex-nut over the fastener and get it off this way. It might be faster/safer than drilling in tight place.

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It might be time to just let a shop handle it. One thing though is that seems to me some of those bolts are left handed.

Yes, just did a Ford truck last week, left handed tensioner bolt with torx.

Before you do anything you need to find out if it’s left handed. Maybe find a VW forum online or go to a shop that specializes in VW and ask them. If it’s right handed the extractors that @Tester recommended should work unless the head is flat.

Often times the bit itself will round off before the fastener. Have you tried a new bit? Or take the bit to your grinding wheel and grind the tip down to a fresh, clean end. Also, put a dab of valve grinding compound (fine) into the head of the fastener, then put the bit in squeezing out excess compound. This will fill the tiny gaps between the bit and the fastener and the tiny metal abrasives in the compound will help grip the fastener. This actually works surprisingly well.

Are you sure it’s Torx fitting or since it’s a VW could it be a Triple Square fitting.? Kind of similar looking unless you look real close.