Thank goodness I found this via google! My daughter's 4th gen 8GB ipod Nano was barely a year old, she had barely ever used it and one day click wheel just quit responding, it would allow us to do the reset though. The hold button worked too, we tried the toggle thing, we tried reset on a flat surface repeatedly, we tried cleaning it gently with rubbing alcohol and rubbing the edge of a pill pack into the tiny crevices around the click wheel in case crud got in it or in case it got moist somehow, also putting it under a warm area and even in a bowl of rice, nothing worked. It would still play on the dock and it would still shuffle when shook and rotate images when turned and still register with itunes when plugged into the computer. But the menu was inaccessible, it would not scroll or click.
So we contacted apple online tech support and they made us do a restore, which wiped out much of her library (the stuff not bought through itunes) and then it was stuck on set language and so now it no longer worked on dock even and it could no longer be shuffled with shake it just stuck on set language screen and drained the battery. They told us since warranty had (conveniently) just expired, to just send it in for recycling and we could get 10% off new ipod at apple retail store (it is a 4 hr drive to the nearest one of those) or go to local store and just buy one as it would cost almost as much to send it in for repair. Ugh. I left it sit dead in a baggie in a drawer for several months whilst trying to figure out what to do.
I am a full time student and freelance artist = aka a poor person. This ipod was an extravagant gift from 'Santa' actually (really thanks to a large tax return that year). So, I could not replace it and just go get another one just like it, that is a LOT of money to me. And now that the newer versions are out (we do not want a touch shuffle that they now call the nano) it would cost over $200 to replace for exact same kind online, more than it cost in the first place!
I have always been good at fixing stuff around the house and working with tiny details in my art, so when I found this page, although I was a bit nervous at making it worse and not sure what I was doing and some of the tech speak had me nervous, I took to the task anyway thanks to feeling somewhat confident after browsing the guides about disassembly and assembly and reading a lot of the threads here.
Sure enough after lots of other troubleshooting, I had got it to where it clicked and scrolled for a bit and let us set things up but when I downloaded new songs it quit working again, at least now it was synced and back to playing on the dock and with earbuds with shake for shuffle, but still no menu, scroll, click or way to turn it off.
Finally, what worked was the credit card trick by fun4us above --- when I cut a tiny piece of an old gift card (about just under maybe 3/4" wide and maybe a bit over 1" long and I curved the edges so there would be no sharp corners) and I carefully held my breath and slowly at an angle wedged it into the back of the casing from the bottom of the ipod after taking off the metal plate on the bottom... and I tried the click wheel out, very skeptical... for a second or two it seemed to work on the sideways screen but not upright, but with a little tweaking of the piece of gift card being shoved further in and patience with scrolling and clicking 3 or 4 times, it worked perfectly again!
I cut the excess of the card off with my x-acto knife and carefully wedged it in far enough the aluminum plate would fit back in, put the screws back in their proper places with an old eyeglass repair phillips screw driver I had in my tool kit and put it on the wall charger for safe measure and it is good as new, probably better!
Thank you so much for this fix! My daughter is 14 now and so music is really important to her and she plans to use that thing 24/7, there is no way I could have replaced it on my small income. This site is awesome, you made me a "genius-hero-mom who can do anything", in her eyes!