I have a shower handle similar to this one and need to replace the shower cartridge.

I'm using this video but am getting stuck on the first step trying to use my Allen wrench to take off the handle. From what I can tell I think the screw is stripped (I shouldn't be surprised, from what I can tell the original builders did everything they could to make it impossible to replace/fix things)

Does anyone know of a way to remove that screw, preferably with the least amount of destruction possible and without having to buy too many new tools. I would say my general level of comfort for home improvement projects is pretty beginner still.

This is the best picture I was able to get.

It almost looks like I need a special tool, but can't find anything on the Delta website saying that.

  • Providing a clear, focused picture of your screw will help people come up with ideas to get it removed. There are loads of ways to remove screws with stripped heads, and, if you search this site, you'll see many of them. That picture will help focus people on a good solution for you. As a matter of fact, a couple of minutes of searching came up with:
    – FreeMan
    Mar 25, 2021 at 12:05
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? How to remove screws with stripped heads?
    – FreeMan
    Mar 25, 2021 at 12:08
  • Yep that answer to Freeman’s linked question is how ii would .proceed. Be slow careful deliberate in this like a surgeon And saturate the little bugger with penetrating oil for a few hours before hand
    – Kris
    Mar 25, 2021 at 12:31
  • @FreeMan Sorry. I don't actually think there's a way to include a picture with where it is. I'll have to look at the answer you linked, my biggest concern is causing difficult/permanent damage.
    – Eabryt
    Mar 25, 2021 at 13:09

3 Answers 3


Are you sure it's not a star drive or Torx screw head? BTW, in addition to using screw extractors, which can be a bit fiddly and prone to breakage, I've found that some Torx drivers can be a tight fit for a partially-stripped Allen-head bolt.

  • I'm not 100% sure actually and did have that thought. The video did say Allen Wrench though which is why I leaned that way. Maybe I'll see if I've got one of those bits that might help.
    – Eabryt
    Mar 27, 2021 at 11:14

I had this problem on a moen. The plumber cut through the plastic cartridge between the handle and the valve and was then able to replace the cartridge and re-use the handle.

For a stripped allen/grub screws I've had decent luck with micro grabit.


For a Delta Monitor 1400, try a 3/16" left-hand drill bit. The drill bit will be long enough to clear the handle and the bit OD will be small enough that it won't damage the threads in the setscrew hole. With the drill in reverse (the cutting direction for LH drill bits), use short, slow speed burts and check regularly to see if the setscrew has loosened. Be careful not to drill through the brass stem on the cartridge. This worked for me and the handle and setscrew were reusable.

  • 1
    Also, if you're planning to replace the cartridge because of leaking at the spout, consider replace the seats and springs in the cartridge instead. This could save you a lot of money.
    – Scubadoo
    Apr 27, 2022 at 0:43

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