StromTrooper banner

Damaged oil drain plug

3361 69
Please relieve my mind and tell me I am not screwed!!

I have a 2014 Suzuki VStrom 650 with an oil plug that’s really really tight. How it got so tight I don’t know since I did my last oil change and never tighten it that much. So unfortunately the bolt is now rounded off, lessened learned I guess.
Any thoughts or suggestions are welcomed on how to remove the bolt. To make matters worse I am not the brightest bulb on the tree. I have done oil changes with basic tools on it before but that’s it. I am no where near a mechanic .

I bought a damaged bolt and stud extractor tool 1/4 - 1/2 (6mm -12mm) but it doesn’t fit.

Please, no rude or mean comments. I feel stupid enough as it is. I also don’t want to pay a dealer if I can help it.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
41 - 60 of 70 Posts

·
Administrator
Queensland, Australia
Joined
·
10,859 Posts
Possible, but they have been around for years and are used in industry.
Most reviewers seem pleased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
On the diesel in my last commercial fishing boat the oil drain plug was a "stand on your head in the bilge and have a second elbow in your arm" location. I installed a stainless pipe nipple and ball valve bringing that out where it was reachable. Put a safety wire on the ball valve handle and a pipe plug in the end.

I'd not trust a valve on the bottom of a moto engine to always stay closed with vibration and stray objects brushing past it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
I’ve never measured, but memory says it has about 1 inch of nice, clean, well-made threads. Again, I’ve never looked, but I’d expect similar thread length, in the engine casting.
No way. The sump is thin-walled aluminium and it would lead to a sizeable stand-off pipe inside the casing to create a 1-inch thread. Which in turn would ensure that you can't ever drain all the oil. I have not looked either but I expect that the sump only has maybe 5-8 mm (maybe 5 threads) of thickness at that location.

That's part of the problem. People look at the big steel oil drain bolt and apply a correspondingly big torque to it. Yes, the bolt can take it, but the sump threads can't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
That drain tap would protrude too far down for my liking.Hit some thing & it would pull the threads out of pan or crack it

At this point this question may be offside, but has buddy chimed in lately about any progress?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
I think some of us are getting their mechanics of materials (a branch of physics) a little bit confused. I’ll just concentrate on the sealing (crush) washer.

- it doesn’t experience any fatigue. Fatigue is a cyclic failure mode (think bending a coat hanger back and forth until it fails). If you use it twice, don’t flip it over. The drain bolt has a smooth face, the engine case is less flat. The crush washer engraves itself into the surface irregularities. Leave it installed the same way, or live like a king and buy several crush washers.

- the sump threads do fatigue. Because you are routinely tightening and loosening the drain bolt.

- Teflon tape is used on straight threads as well as tapered. I have turned wrenches on Harley’s and Teflon paste is what is use. It’s not necessary on Jap bikes.

- it takes some exotic aluminum alloys to even approach the properties of steel. The main one concerning oil drain plugs being steel has very high fatigue strengths and aluminum does not.

Yeah, I know. The next post will be I reuse crush washers for the life of my bike, torque wrenches strip bolts, and any oil is fine in your bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,907 Posts
No way. The sump is thin-walled aluminium and it would lead to a sizeable stand-off pipe inside the casing to create a 1-inch thread. Which in turn would ensure that you can't ever drain all the oil. I have not looked either but I expect that the sump only has maybe 5-8 mm (maybe 5 threads) of thickness at that location.

That's part of the problem. People look at the big steel oil drain bolt and apply a correspondingly big torque to it. Yes, the bolt can take it, but the sump threads can't.
If only 5-8 mm of engine / casting / female threads, then why a bolt with ~25 mm of threads? Not arguing, just wondering…

I’ve spent a lot of time, here, and, offhand, I can’t recall a single stripped oil-drain hole. In this instance, I understand the guy has a damaged bolt head - not damaged engine threads.

As I said, I’ve not looked, but I’m guessing there’s lots of threads, in that hole. About 3/4 the length, of the bolt threads, would be my guess. Maybe slightly more.

My next oil change isn’t planned, for about 10 more months (next fall), but, I’ll try to remember to take a look. Might be difficult, to see…

FWIW, I’m envisioning the engine casting being thick, in that, local, region. Planned that way, I’d guess, to preclude stripped oil drain threads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,002 Posts
I think some of us are getting their mechanics of materials (a branch of physics) a little bit confused. I’ll just concentrate on the sealing (crush) washer.

- it doesn’t experience any fatigue. Fatigue is a cyclic failure mode (think bending a coat hanger back and forth until it fails). If you use it twice, don’t flip it over. The drain bolt has a smooth face, the engine case is less flat. The crush washer engraves itself into the surface irregularities. Leave it installed the same way, or live like a king and buy several crush washers.

- the sump threads do fatigue. Because you are routinely tightening and loosening the drain bolt.

- Teflon tape is used on straight threads as well as tapered. I have turned wrenches on Harley’s and Teflon paste is what is use. It’s not necessary on Jap bikes.

- it takes some exotic aluminum alloys to even approach the properties of steel. The main one concerning oil drain plugs being steel has very high fatigue strengths and aluminum does not.

Yeah, I know. The next post will be I reuse crush washers for the life of my bike, torque wrenches strip bolts, and any oil is fine in your bike.
For the sake of discussion and entertaining and learning, I am not disagreeing with any comments above, just pointing out alternate views and fun things to think about
::
The crush worker does "Work Harden" so it has a limited number of uses. One use is ideal, two is passable. BUT, depending on how tight it was made the more its compressed the harder (and less likely to seal) it becomes. Flip it or not is up to you. Work hardening occurs most when a surface is "deformed" so hypothetically the side where the steel bolt slides over the washer may harden more than the side against the engine case. (Purely hypothetically for the sake of discussion....:) ) And the surface on the engine case is machined well and is pretty smooth as a rule.

Yes you can seal straight threads with Teflon tape. Its not as effective as it is on tapered treads like pipe threads however as the taper threads "jam" up as they get higher up on the taper. Standard straight treads have different classes of fit and some are very sloppy with their tolerances. There is a gap between the threads with the "pushing" side being tighter and with a gap on the other side which leaves a nice spiral passage for fluids to work their way around. This is why on some engines where the head bolts go into "wet holes, that is they go into a water jacket or into the crank case, we actually are required to put a sealer on those bold threads. (Think head bolts on a small block Chevy V-8 for example). If you forget the sealer and can have coolant or oil, whatever, come right on up around the bolt threads and lead out under the bolt head. Seen it many times.

As for torque wrenches: Torquing of fasteners in metals is important but can be less than accurate. That's right, you can go wrong with them under certain conditions:
" Torque readings (friction) are affected by thread quality, composition of lubricant, and surface finish of the bolt spot-face machined on the cap of the rod. Beyond the friction variables, not all torque wrenches – or users for that matter, are created equal" In other words, two different people could be torquing a bolt to a "factory spec" and actually be "off" as far as ideal torque due to these conditions. Also, bolts actually stretch and aluminum cases can compress. Fasteners do have a maximum amount of torque they can handle before they start stretch too far and lose their holding properties or even break or tear off the treads themselves. You can find tables that will give the maximum about of torque for a given size bolt of a given material. This varies due to thread pitch and the "class" or strength rating of the bolt. One some items we use "torque to yield" where we torque the bolt to a certain value and then turn it a certain number of degrees. These bolts "give" and act almost like a spring as they can allow for expansion or parts during temperature changes, etc. (These bolts are normally replaced when the assembly is take apart as they have a limited number of times they can be "stretched" before they fail. Since you don't know how many times they were stretched in the past we just replace them to be safe. When installing some bolts, like connecting rod bolts, we will sometimes use a dial indicator set up and actually measure the stretch of the bolt to a certain specification.

And this is why some of us working with compression washers go by "feel". My wife and fellow workers over the years know I have better than average "feel" for tightness of a drain plug. After sixty years of doing many thousands of these you learn the feel of it. Think of an oil filter. Instructions stay to lightly oil the rubber seal then screw it on by hand until the seal touches. Then turn it an additional distance like one half or three quarters of a turn. (No torque wrench required). Same for a crush washer. you can run it down until it touches and then actually turn it and feel it crushing. Some of us have done so many we can judge the amount of the "crush" by feel. Of course many of the DIY people only do this job once a year and don't get a chance to develop the "feel". Torque wrench works for them and that is why they show that in the manuals. Its not a super critical part like a connecting rod bolt in a high stress race engine or airplane engine.

This is all for fun, don't take it too seriously. There is a lot to know about these things if you are an engineer but for the average Joe working on his bike this goes beyond what you need for normal maintenance work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
I’m a little lost in the translation @Hanz. If used correctly, a torque wrench will give the same (within instrument precision) reading for me as you. I assume we both know where to hold the handle. Torque is effected by friction, but is actually an indirect measurement of tension in the bolt. In critical applications engineers get around the whole issue with “turn of the nut methods”. We do it at work on structural steel. We set a bolt to minimum torque, then use the bolt’s thread pitch and degrees of rotation, to directly calculate the bolt’s stretched length and tension.

I have previously bored people here discussing how to take into account the use of lubricants in your torque values, so if you need grease or thread lock on a fastener, you can account for that in your mechanical work. You also need to have washers in place if the connection calls for one to get the correct torque.

To the poster above, yes we have been over the installation of thread inserts in engine sumps on this forum. Guess why. We have extracted our fair share of broken fasteners here too.

If you have an understanding of how to use a T wrench, you are ahead of the pliers and hammers gang. If you just use the smallest drive ratchet you have for a given bolt (use the 1/4 drive before the 3/8) you will break less stuff.

I learned years ago I am a chronic over-tightener. I often hear about getting a “feel”for correct torque. I got my feel by having stripped bolts and/or a few things loosen up. I got tired of fixing stuff I broke. I am also fascinated by the complexity of simple things many take for granted. It’s a mental defect I’m sure.

What really has me chuckling in my coffee is, I would bet the OP got confused when he was working inverted, and may have been pulling the wrong way on the wrench.

I’m heading to the oil thread now 😉
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,002 Posts
Torque wrenches do vary a bit, I see that in my own collection of various styles. Also, as a technical instructor who watched hundreds of people use torque wrenches I found the way they used them caused variations. Some do the slow pull while others do a quick hard pull. That alone will really change the readings. Some will start and stop and that really screws up the readings as if you say stop at 45 lb ft. and then start to turn again the fastener will "stick" and it may take 60 lb. ft. to "break it loose" and get it turning again. Also, did they clean the threads, oil them or put anything on them? What about the washer under the head? So while the wrenches themselves may vary only + or - 5% the operators technique can make it much more a variation. You and I have used these tools a lot and keep that in mind. Less frequent users seem to have the most issues. As for the "feel" of things, I am highly sensitive. My students use to be amazed at how close I could be. Years of doing fasteners repeatedly all day, every day. 8 to 10 lbs on a six mm bolt, 24 lbs on an 8mm, etc. Even so I always use torque wrenches on critical parts like a conn rod bolt, an engine case, bearing caps, cylinder heads, etc. These parts often require two or three "steps" in doing the bolts. Now, on my ship the "crab" bolts that hold the cylinder assemblies into the block...those are 1,400 ft pounds. And the flywheels, the manual from 1942 says to get four strong men and a long bar and make it as tight as you can! (These are EMD 12V-567 diesels, basically the same as a rail road locomotive). We actually use a sprecial gear reduction unit on those.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dravnx

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
@Hans471

I still am not seeing eye to eye with you and that’s just fine. If your students couldn’t master a T wrench, they would be making the same mistakes with a ratchet.

I have wrenched for 50 years, some of it professionally. I am confident in my sense of “feel” too. I still take the time to use a T wrench.

We have some torque wrenches at work that use multiplier gear driven reducers, that take two big men to use. One of them is around 2500 ft-lbs. Our industry is transitioning to load indicating washers that deform to validate the tension. That way 100% of a structure’s bolts gets tested. Current structural codes only require us to check 10% of fasteners (unless we find loose bolts).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Never use a 12 pt socket on tight stuff. As they age they are more apt to round off bolts. See if a 6 pt will go on. If not try filing bolt head faces Just enough to tap socket on. Then try it. If you round it further go to vise grips. You have to Clip it on as tight as possible. Which means turning adjuster till you can just get it to clip on. Its a well lubed bolt. It should go. Plan C for me would be dremelling a slot and trying tapping It CCW. By this time things would be getting uhly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,002 Posts
6 or 12 point socket? Snap-On tools, one of the best and used by aerospace and professional automotive people tells us the the 12 point socket (provided the bolt head is in good shape, has the capacity to hold greater torque than a 6 point. How can that be you ask. Well, again with a properly sized both head and socket, the socket actually only pushed on the end of the hex actually only using a small part of the area of the bolt and of the socket. Since this is the case the 12 point socket gives you twice the "push points" to transfer torque. You can prove this by getting a good quality bolt with a properly sized head. Then get a quality socket. Put die makers blue on the head of the bolt and then torque down on it. Note the actual contact points of the socket to the bolt head. End of story.
Now, if the bolt head or socket are worn than all bets are off. In those cases the six point can win due to the points being worn off of the bolt head.
BTW: I fun fact for you: When you are using a socket on the head of a bolt be sure you have the socket completely down on the bolt head and insure that its "square" with the head. Many bolts, especially Asian machines have bolt heads that are tapered in at the top. This helps make factory assembly fast as it makes it quicker to apply a drving socket on a power tool over the head of the bolt. If you are not careful you can accidently not get your tool firmly down tight on these bolts or be "cocked" a bit to one side and this will result in quickly rounding off the head ot the bolt. Impact drivers help with this as they firmly push the socket down tight against the bolt and keep everything aligned properly.
 
41 - 60 of 70 Posts
Top