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Hi All,


I need to repair the oil pan plug threads, and removing the oil pan may not be option at this point (the engine has to raised, too much work). I have been doing some research on this site as well as others, but I'm having a hard time deciding what is the best method.


Presently, the oil pan has the cheap universal drain plug, but its not doing a very good job of sealing it up (maybe I overtightened it?).


The four options I have run into are:

  • self-tapping drain plug- seems to be the cheapest and easiest method, and I've read a couple of reviews where the owners have used them with no issues.
  • Heli-Coil- Aside from drilling, the Heli-Coil seems pretty easy (using this video for reference: How to Repair Threads with A Heli-Coil Insert), but I have read concerns that it may leak (though users seem satisfied). The other concern is how to get the shavings out, or keep them from getting inside the pan. (One member on another forum suggested using grease on the drill.

Right now, I am leaning towards trying the self-tapping plug, but I would like to ask the opinions from the members here first.


Thanks,
 

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grease will only work if you keep the drill bit cool. Id go with a rubber plug that pops into the hole and tightens with a wing nut. Ive used it in the past with success. If you drill or tap the hole you must take the pan off to get the metal shavings out unless you just don't really care about the engine.
 

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OS drain plug

Don't mountain climb over mole hills.

Purchase an oversize repair drain plug at any local parts store and screw it in.. Those repair plugs work fine and will not leak a drop, if you don't over-torque them. It is recommended that you also use a rubber lined steel washer. Silicone rubber lined: GM-14090908 ($18.52, 5-pack) or a nitrile rubber lined: Dorman 097-021 or 365274 ($1.12 each). The GM washer is expensive but it is lined with silicone rubber and will last longer for many more oil changes before it need to be replaced.Never use a cheap fiber washer because they absorb oil and are for one time use only.

Never torque a drain plug more than 15 lb/ft.

Stay away from those quickie oil change "strip" joints. They torque drain plugs to 50 lb/ft to cover their ***.
 

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I've had good luck with the rethreading plugs. Sometimes you can get larger sizes depending on what you're working on and how badly it's damaged. All the threads have to do is hold it in place. The washer does the actual sealing so if your pan is solid around the hole it should work fine. Once it's tapped, it's best to put the plug in, add a quart or so, pull the plug and let the oil wash any shavings out.
 

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lt1silverhawk said:
Hi All,


I need to repair the oil pan plug threads...
Actually the rubber expanding plug you are using- if used correctly- will work fine.

The type of plug I'd use for a more permanent repair (without removing the pan to do a "proper" repair) is to use a first OS "Plug-in-a-plug", an example is shown below from the link you provided. With that type plug the threads in the oil pan won't continue to be stressed by removal of an oversize plug- the portion in the pan stays in the pan, only the center plug is removed to drain. Some oil will remain in the pan due to the design (unless the plug is drilled at the same depth that the pan is thick to allow all the oil to drain), a non issue if you maintain a frequent oil change schedule.

 

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MouseFink said:
Don't mountain climb over mole hills.

Purchase an oversize repair drain plug at any local parts store and screw it in.. Those repair plugs work fine and will not leak a drop, if you don't over-torque them. It is recommended that you also use a rubber lined steel washer. Silicone rubber lined: GM-14090908 ($18.52, 5-pack) or a nitrile rubber lined: Dorman 097-021 or 365274 ($1.12 each). The GM washer is expensive but it is lined with silicone rubber and will last longer for many more oil changes before it need to be replaced.Never use a cheap fiber washer because they absorb oil and are for one time use only.

Never torque a drain plug more than 15 lb/ft.

Stay away from those quickie oil change "strip" joints. They torque drain plugs to 50 lb/ft to cover their ***.
Good advice right there. I had a problem with the quicky oil changers, they stripped the pan 3 times, ran out of oversized bolts. by this time I was disgusted with them, chewed them out for a while and went home, drained the oil into a clean container, wrapped the bolt a few times with teflon tape,stuck it back in, never leaked a drop. Used this method til I sold the truck, doing my own oil changes.
 

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I have used all the methods mentioned here and most work with some degree of success. I don't much care for the plug in a plug because they drain so slow and you have to make sure and use a back up wrench or it will want to turn out. The expanding rubber plugs do seem to work about the best but I have had a few of those that dripped a little too, plus the sharp edges of a stripped hole will eat them up after a couple of times in and out. The oversized plugs used to come in 3 over sizes and I have used them with success but they don't always work that good. It is easy to get one started a little crooked and then they don't seal well. I have also welded on a lot of oil pans with the pan on the car but you better know what you are doing to try that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey roysaric,
roysaric said:
grease will only work if you keep the drill bit cool. Id go with a rubber plug that pops into the hole and tightens with a wing nut. Ive used it in the past with success. If you drill or tap the hole you must take the pan off to get the metal shavings out unless you just don't really care about the engine.
The rubber plug is the one I have in there now, but it is still dripping oil. I think I may have overtightened it and will have to check.




Hey MouseFink,
MouseFink said:
Don't mountain climb over mole hills.

Purchase an oversize repair drain plug at any local parts store and screw it in.. Those repair plugs work fine and will not leak a drop, if you don't over-torque them. It is recommended that you also use a rubber lined steel washer. Silicone rubber lined: GM-14090908 ($18.52, 5-pack) or a nitrile rubber lined: Dorman 097-021 or 365274 ($1.12 each). The GM washer is expensive but it is lined with silicone rubber and will last longer for many more oil changes before it need to be replaced.Never use a cheap fiber washer because they absorb oil and are for one time use only.

Never torque a drain plug more than 15 lb/ft.
Thanks, I will definitely keep that in mind and I really appreciate the part numbers.




Hey KMatch,
KMatch said:
I've had good luck with the rethreading plugs. Sometimes you can get larger sizes depending on what you're working on and how badly it's damaged. All the threads have to do is hold it in place. The washer does the actual sealing so if your pan is solid around the hole it should work fine. Once it's tapped, it's best to put the plug in, add a quart or so, pull the plug and let the oil wash any shavings out.
That's an interesting trick, and good to know about if I ever decide to go that route.




Hey MRTS33,
MRTS33 said:
You could also use a magnet to draw any shaveing out.
I've got the magnetic end of a telescopic magnet stuffed inside a rubber fuel line hose. I wonder if that would be strong enough for the job.




Hey cobalt,
cobalt327 said:
Actually the rubber expanding plug you are using- if used correctly- will work fine.

The type of plug I'd use for a more permanent repair (without removing the pan to do a "proper" repair) is to use a first OS "Plug-in-a-plug", an example is shown below from the link you provided. With that type plug the threads in the oil pan won't continue to be stressed by removal of an oversize plug- the portion in the pan stays in the pan, only the center plug is removed to drain. Some oil will remain in the pan due to the design (unless the plug is drilled at the same depth that the pan is thick to allow all the oil to drain), a non issue if you maintain a frequent oil change schedule.

I am gonna check on the rubber one again. The car isn't at my house at the moment so its just whenever I can get to it. I did see this over-sized plug as well and the only drawbacks I've read are the same as what willowbilly3 posted. If I can't get the rubber one to work, I would consider this at the next step.




Hey Runnin'OnEmpty,
Runnin'OnEmpty said:
I'd use a Helicoil to repair the threads, then install a
Fumoto oil drain valve. You can even seal the threads
to prevent possible leaks.
I'll have too look into the Fumotor oil drain valve as I am not familiar with it. As to sealing the threads, are you recommending that in conjunction with the Heli-Coil?




Hey dinger,
dinger said:
Good advice right there. I had a problem with the quicky oil changers, they stripped the pan 3 times, ran out of oversized bolts. by this time I was disgusted with them, chewed them out for a while and went home, drained the oil into a clean container, wrapped the bolt a few times with teflon tape,stuck it back in, never leaked a drop. Used this method til I sold the truck, doing my own oil changes.
Lol! I seriously thought about using the teflon tape, but didn't know how well it would do to stop the leak. I says its worth a shot now.




Hey willowbilly3,
willowbilly3 said:
I have used all the methods mentioned here and most work with some degree of success. I don't much care for the plug in a plug because they drain so slow and you have to make sure and use a back up wrench or it will want to turn out.
Well if it does the job, I suppose using a second wrench to hold the OS plug in place isn't too bad.


willowbilly3 said:
The expanding rubber plugs do seem to work about the best but I have had a few of those that dripped a little too, plus the sharp edges of a stripped hole will eat them up after a couple of times in and out.
That's the same issue Im having right now. Im going to remove it to check to see it its damaged in some way.


willowbilly3 said:
The oversized plugs used to come in 3 over sizes and I have used them with success but they don't always work that good. It is easy to get one started a little crooked and then they don't seal well.
Yeah, I have a huge phobia of starting 'em crooked. I might've done it with the present bolt without even realizing it.


willowbilly3 said:
I have also welded on a lot of oil pans with the pan on the car but you better know what you are doing to try that.
I've seen the welded method on this forum here and I personally have no welding skills whatsoever so option that is off the list, unless the pan is removed.




At this point, it seems a majority of you recommend the rubber plug with wings as the best solution (at least until the oil pan is removed for repair or replacement). I will check on the one in the car first chance I get, thought it may be a while.


I've been speaking to a friend of mine and we may just tackle the task of removing the oil pan, but only if I decide to install the headers (the engine still has to be lifted).




Thank you guys so much for the helpful tips and pointers. Im glad I always ask you guys before proceeding with anything heavy duty. Although all of your experiences somewhat vary in this case, the information you provide is always helpful in making the right decision. :thumbup:
 
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