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Wrecked a drain plug

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:26 pm
by scan
Back before the end of the last season I changed my oil and when I put my plug back in I tightened it too much. I didn't actually discover the problem until the next oil change. I looked at the plug and there were threads loose on the plug. I knew that was bad. I tried to put the plug back, and had a slow leak. A couple drips an hour, be enough that it would not be OK to leave as is. I had to fix it somehow.

One thing was to replace the pan. $600 or $700 with labor. Another was to remove the pan and have the hole built up again by a welder. Still a couple hundred to have the work done anyway. I wanted to find something else. That was a big bill for a small mistake.

So ZooTech, a previous member of this board, who was banned for some silly banter on his part, suggested a few things. He mentioned these inserts that could be put into the hole, which would compress both inside and outside the hole, and would have a bolt that could be removed from this sleeve, which would make a new drain hole, although smaller.

He also mentioned an oversize bolt, which was made for automotive applications, and also had an alternative thread, and was self cutting. This was a very cheap fix, and I gave this one my first try. It did work. I threaded it in a bit, and backed it out, and cleaned it. Did that several times until I felt the threads were cut and I was putting no metal bits in the pan. Once I tightened it down though, I was afraid to remove it again for the fear of finding threads loose again. The pan is pretty soft, at least on my bike.

Since this next season started I've been afraid to change my oil for fear of wrecking the pan. Another idea Zoo had mentioned was a product from Fram, called Sure Drain. It would go in place of the oil plug and it puts a new fitting in its place. Once installed you never have to unscrew the oil plug again. You just hook on a special drain tube, and the oil comes out through the check valve. I'll add some pictures later. It also has a cap to go over the fitting to protect it between changes. Since I was nervous about my pan threads, I added thread tape when I installed the new fitting, and there is no leak. In the future I will never fear messing up the pan.

Once I get a picture from my bike I'll cross link this to the product reviews.

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Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:51 pm
by storysunfolding
That's a smart addition. I'd do something like that if I could ever keep track of things like that hose.

I didn't know that about Zoo. It's a shame because he was an amazing resource.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:14 pm
by xb12rMatt
storysunfolding wrote:That's a smart addition. I'd do something like that if I could ever keep track of things like that hose.

I didn't know that about Zoo. It's a shame because he was an amazing resource.
What happened to "Zoo"?

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:19 pm
by scan
xb12rMatt wrote:
storysunfolding wrote:That's a smart addition. I'd do something like that if I could ever keep track of things like that hose.

I didn't know that about Zoo. It's a shame because he was an amazing resource.
What happened to "Zoo"?
To keep this thread from getting too "hijacked", basically he got into some sarcastic word-play with some members of the board, and Mike felt he was not meeting the friendly charter of this board. Basically. He was warned a few times. I don't make those calls myself, but I do agree he had a lot of good to offer as well.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:03 pm
by paul246
The best permanent fix is the Heli-Coil. Get a kit (about $50.00) and do it yourself. You will need a kit that matches the thread size of your new drain plug. Once this is done you will not have to worry about stripped threads (within reason of course) as the heli-coil is made of stainless steel.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:07 pm
by Skier
Also check out a Fumuto Valve:

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Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:01 pm
by scan
paul246 wrote:The best permanent fix is the Heli-Coil. Get a kit (about $50.00) and do it yourself. You will need a kit that matches the thread size of your new drain plug. Once this is done you will not have to worry about stripped threads (within reason of course) as the heli-coil is made of stainless steel.
Yeah, I forgot to mention this as one of the options. Again, the right way to do a Heli-Coil would have been to take the oil pan off. To do it on the bike would really not be appropriate since you need to drill out the hole. I grant you that it is the best way to do the job, similar to build up welding, but it is also labor intensive. If I was to do the Heli-coil, I would still install the new fitting.

So anyway, my little fix is still holding, and it is a good way to do easy clean oil-changes without having to use an oil plug. I recomend it highly. Also the oversized plug worked in my bikes case, but not all plug sizes would have an over-size car application oil plug. I was just lucky there.

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:14 pm
by niterider
Once the threads are ruined they need to be repaired, but to keep this from happening again use a torqe wrench and look in the manuel to see how tight to get the plug. I change oil on big rigs for a living and there are different torqes to different type metal pans. Cats aluminum is 35 ft. lbs., cummins steel pan 65 ft. lbs. and so on.
A cheapy torque wrench is good enough to use on a drain plug.
I am glad you were able to fix it.
We sell those valves for the rigs 40$ each.

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:34 pm
by scan
niterider wrote:Once the threads are ruined they need to be repaired, but to keep this from happening again use a torqe wrench and look in the manuel to see how tight to get the plug.
So right you are. It seems stupid to get a torque wrench out for an oil change, but as I found out, it is easy to estimate by feel incorrectly. It seemed like it needed just a little more of a snug to be safe, but it did not. But if you want to never have to do it again, you add that little thing I bought. Then you don't have to use the torque wrench or estimate.

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:25 pm
by scan
Just to update everyone who might be interested, I used this for real for the first time. It was installed during my last oil change, but it was after all the oil was drained.

It worked well, but slow. It does not let the oil flow like removing the plug. It flows at about a quarter of usual. It was a low mess affair removing the oil though, and I didn't have to worry about tightening the plug again. I would certainly recomend installing one if you are concerned about stripping threads on your drain plug.