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Old 04-03-2012   #1
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Drain plug stripped

After changing the oil in a 2001 EX the drain plug was inserted and tightened by hand. Used a torgue wrench set to 30 ft-lbs and the plug would not tighten enough to reach the 30 ft-lbs recommended, just kept turning. Put teflon tape around the plug and tightened by hand.

At this point I see four options. Easiest and cheapest is a single oversize drain plug. Better option is a Time-sert which seems to be a permanent fix but the kit is expensive (just under $200) but the company claims it is better than original. Another option is a Fumoto valve. Using Locktite or gasket compound it should be possible to seal the valve to the pan threads but I don't care for the idea of a drain valve, just another point of failure. Last and most likely solution is a new oil pan. If someone could point me to a good source for a new pan I would appreciate it.

After searching other sites about stripped drain plugs it seems somewhat common for Honda. The thought seems to be the recommended 30 ft-lbs is high and over time will cause wear and failure.

Has anyone run into this problem and what are your thoughts or solutions?
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Old 04-03-2012   #2
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Re: Drain plug stripped

I see it a lot, usually from rookies overtightening the drain plug every oil change. You can only do that so many times before all the threads pull out.

The spec is 29 ft-lb, but I don't even know what I tighten them to.
I do it by FEEL.
I use a NEW sealing washer (OE) that is made of soft aluminum, and I only tighten the plug until the washer starts to crush. Probably about 60 degrees once the plug makes contact and stops turning with your fingers. (If I had to, I could reuse the washer 3-6 times.)

(On my own cars I tend to use a rubber lined washer or a drainplug with a rubber gasket. That way I only need to tighten it enough that it won't FALL out. The rubber gasket does the sealing without a bunch of stress on the threads.)


IDK if your oil pan is steel or aluminum. (I guess aluminum)
Easiest and cheapest option is a rubber drainplug plug insert (we call them butt plugs at work, and there are several cars that have them).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdAvBAJaBwQ

This is like what is in the video:
Click the image to open in full size.

Here's another type I see that is probably a little more secure:
Click the image to open in full size.

Whichever one fits will work for quite a while.




Next option might be the oversized plug IF the casting is thick enough to support it.

A GOOD dealer may have invested in the time-sert tool for repairing yours, and the price would probably be about half of what a new pan would cost, or half of what the tool would cost. Call around and ask. (Note: the dealer I work at does NOT have this tool!)

Realize that the proper repair is a new oil pan, about $210 for the part here if I picked the right car: http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/...LOCK+-+OIL+PAN
And don't tighten the drainplugs so tight next time.

HTH
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Old 04-04-2012   #3
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Re: Drain plug stripped

I've always done it by feel, especially on an aluminum pan, and never had a problem.

I've also seen people use the same rubber gasket for years.

If you need a new pan you can also try your luck with a salvage one for $50-100 here: http://www.car-part.com/ or craigslist is a good place for parts. I would only buy one you can inspect in person so you don't run into the same problem.
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Old 04-04-2012   #4
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Re: Drain plug stripped

I do mine by feel as well so x3 on that. I replace the washer when it starts looking crappy (I tend to push things on my car). However, the best time to tell if youve over tightened it is when you actually remove it. If it takes a lot of force to remove it you know it's been overtightened. I've had friends get their oil changed at quick lube places and the drain plug was on so tight I had to use my 3' breaker to loosen it. That's RIDICULOUS. Do that a few times and your threads will be gone for sure.
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Old 04-04-2012   #5
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Re: Drain plug stripped

Whatever I do I don't think I will be using aluminum crush washers anymore.

I thought I was safe using a torque wrench and following Hondas directions for two reason. First, you need to deform the crush washer for it to work and second I didn't want to overtighten the plug and strip the threads. Looks like I was wrong on both counts.

I called a couple of local places and none of them do the Time-sert. One of the local performance shops I have used in the past said they would remove the pan, drill it out and tap it for a larger drain plug. If you have to pull the pan it makes more sense to replace it.

I did have an idea that might be interesting to try. I thought about picking up an single oversize plug and 'chasing' the threads with a die. The goal would be to create a 'half' oversize plug or a plug with the threads to the maximum diameter. If the old plug just wore the edges of the threads the new plug should have enough of the threads left to hold. I hate to dump 4 qts of new syn oil so I may try an old trick. You attach or have someone hold a shop vac over the oil filler opening and turn it on. When you remove the drain plug the vacuum pulls air in the drain hole and no oil comes out.
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Old 04-04-2012   #6
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Re: Drain plug stripped

An oversize plug cuts its own threads as you turn it in. They are self tapping. The ones I have seen will not match up with any standard thread size.

Your trick with a shop vac sounds interesting, but I"d think it would also pull in any metal chips during the tapping process. Good or bad???
Dump the oil into a clean gallon jug and reuse it.

Did you call a couple of "places" or a couple of Honda dealers? Average places are not going to have the Time-Sert kit through the Honda tool program. Same thing if you were looking to put Time-Serts in a Northstar engine block, more than likely only a Cadillac dealer is going to have the kit to do it.

Quote:
you need to deform the crush washer for it to work
This part is true, I just don't think it takes 30 ft/lb to get the job done. One of these days, I ought to check just how tight my "feel" really is.
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Old 04-04-2012   #7
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Re: Drain plug stripped

I use the fumoto valve in all of my vehicles and have for about 10 years. Never had one fail or leak. It's a 1/4 turn ball valve and very well made.
A lot cheaper and easier than installing a new pan.
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Old 04-05-2012   #8
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Re: Drain plug stripped

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezone View Post
An oversize plug cuts its own threads as you turn it in. They are self tapping. The ones I have seen will not match up with any standard thread size.

Your trick with a shop vac sounds interesting, but I"d think it would also pull in any metal chips during the tapping process. Good or bad???
Dump the oil into a clean gallon jug and reuse it.

Did you call a couple of "places" or a couple of Honda dealers? Average places are not going to have the Time-Sert kit through the Honda tool program. Same thing if you were looking to put Time-Serts in a Northstar engine block, more than likely only a Cadillac dealer is going to have the kit to do it.


This part is true, I just don't think it takes 30 ft/lb to get the job done. One of these days, I ought to check just how tight my "feel" really is.
I called two Honda dealers and a performance shop that specializes in imports, all places I have used in the past.

I have not used an oversize plug before so I can't say I'm familiar with them. Since they do list a M14x1.50 single and double oversize I thinking the thread diameter and pitch should match the original drain plug just a little larger. It's the just a little larger part I'm not sure about. If I can either buy or make a plug with a thread diameter that is at the maximum tolerance it should work if there are still some threads left in the pan.

The trick with the shop vac is only for something like replacing the washer if you forgot it or possibly switching a rubber washer for an aluminum one. You are right, there is no way I would do anything that might create metal shavings without draining the oil.
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Old 04-05-2012   #9
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Re: Drain plug stripped

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezone View Post
I just don't think it takes 30 ft/lb to get the job done. One of these days, I ought to check just how tight my "feel" really is.
Umm, apparently it does.

I just checked my "feel" against a torque wrench on an oil drainplug with a fresh washer..... It took 33 ft/lb to move the bolt after tightening by hand. So my "feel" is damn close to 30 ft/lb.

LOL
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Old 04-05-2012   #10
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Re: Drain plug stripped

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjb3 View Post
I have not used an oversize plug before so I can't say I'm familiar with them. Since they do list a M14x1.50 single and double oversize I thinking the thread diameter and pitch should match the original drain plug just a little larger. It's the just a little larger part I'm not sure about. If I can either buy or make a plug with a thread diameter that is at the maximum tolerance it should work if there are still some threads left in the pan.
The oversize plugs are made for times when there are no threads left in the pan.
The plug could have any thread diameter and pitch that someone chose to put on it.
Like I said, it is self tapping.

The plug chosen should closely match the original pitch though. I was under the impression that a first oversize metric plug is .5mm larger diameter, that's why I said it probably isn't a standard (commonly available) thread.

But I'm not an expert in that area. Maybe a JizzyLube pro can chime in here....
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