Drain plug stripped--self-tapping plug?

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by Carlin, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. Carlin

    Carlin Guest


    I have a 2006 Yamaha FZ6 and decided to do an oil change myself for the
    first time. It was a struggle to get that oil filter off, but I finally
    put a screwdriver through it and succeeded.

    However, I ended up striping the oil pan with the drain plug. *sigh*

    I talked to the local Yamaha dealer and they said that I need to replace
    the oil pan, which would cost nearly $300 including parts and labor.
    (They sell the part for about $45 more than RonAyers.com, and wouldn't
    budge on that price, along with $90/hr for 1.5 hrs.) He recommend against
    Helicoils or the like, but I'm not sure why. In doing some web research,
    I've read about self-tapping drain plugs for cars and bikes alike, and
    people seem to accept that this is a simple, cheap, functional alternative
    to replacing the pan. Another option is a special expanding rubber plug.

    Are these viable options for the long term, or are they just stop-gap
    solutions? I have the service manual for this bike, and it doesn't seem
    *too* complicated to replace the pan if I'm not missing something. Take
    off the exhaust assembly, then I can remove the oil pan itself. I believe
    the only complication on the oil pan that I have to also remove is the oil
    level sensor. I believe I can leave all the other stuff in that area alone
    (except I need to replace the gasket). Should it be pretty simple?

    I don't have much experience with mechanics, but am cautiously willing to
    learn. (I just take a long time :) )

    Any insight would be appreciated!

    Carlin, Aug 16, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. Carlin

    Anonymous Guest

    Yeah, I'll agree completely. Just exactly, how did he
    strip the drain plug? Certainly, this could have only
    been an accident. After all, anyone willing to drive a
    screwdriver through an oil filter for removal, surely
    would exercise the greatest caution with the drain plug.

    OP.... Take the bike to the dealer, pony up the bux to
    get it fixed right, and retire from the oil change trade.

    Anonymous, Aug 16, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. I've had a helicoil put in a stripped sump bolt. No worries.

    best of all, when I bought a Honda 125 single that turned out to have a
    stripped sump bolt (held in place with glue and tape....), I got an
    engineering shop to build up the area around the drain hole with alloy
    weld, and then drill and re-tap for the plug (the 125 doesn't have a
    separate sump pan, you see - the drian bolt goes straight into the

    Cost me the equivalent of about 70 bucks, admittedly some years ago.

    Don't bother removing the sump pan. Any competent engineer can put in a
    helicoil with it in situ. It'll cost a few dollars and yes, it will be a
    permanent repair.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 16, 2007
  4. Er, for sump bolt' in the previous posting, read 'the hole it goes
    into'. Obviously.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 16, 2007
  5. Did you do anything about the aluminum bits left over from
    expanding and tapping the sump hole ? My inclination would
    be to flush some oil through the crankcase to try to wash
    any junk out.
    Rob Kleinschmidt, Aug 16, 2007
  6. I knew someone would say that!

    Yes, not a bad idea, but given the oil filtration in modern engines,
    probably unnecessary. Any swarf will be caught in the filter screen or
    filter itself.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 16, 2007
  7. A "Time-Sert" would be a viable alternative to the classic Helicoil:


    Yes, agree absolutely.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 16, 2007
  8. Carlin

    Carlin Guest

    Hello, all,

    Thanks very much for the quick replies.

    I agree that I need to be careful about what work I decide to do myself.
    :) But, we learn from our mistakes, right? I'm not sure that I want to
    throw in the towel on my first mistake.

    Right now, I'm thinking along the lines of Fake here--since the pan is
    already damaged, I might as well try one of the replacement plug ideas
    before replacing the pan.

    Regarding Helicoils or Timecerts, I found Timecerts to be $60-80, which is
    almost as much as the new pan. I'm thinking a cheaper simple solution
    would make more sense, then replace the pan if that fails.

    BTW, I stripped it by overtightening. Yes, I should use the torque wrench
    I have. I didn't realize it would strip _that_ easily.

    Carlin, Aug 16, 2007
  9. Carlin

    Dave Emerson Guest

    Grease on the tap will capture the swarf and gravity is on your side anyway.
    Dave Emerson, Aug 16, 2007
  10. Carlin

    ottguit Guest

    Your Bike is new, have it fixed professsinally and then buy an old
    junker to practiceon.
    ottguit, Aug 17, 2007
  11. Carlin

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Just taking a wild guess here but maybe next time you should use a
    wrench/socket with a shorter HANDLE ???? If your hand is pretty much on
    top of the socket, it's pretty hard to strip much of anything. Torque
    wrench is good too! ;-)
    Ken Abrams, Aug 17, 2007
  12. Carlin

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Got a chuckle from that!
    Is your bike still under warranty?
    If yes, and you value that warranty at all, you will think twice before
    making any non-standard repairs.
    Ken Abrams, Aug 17, 2007
  13. Carlin

    Carlin Guest

    Those are both good points. I got the bike used and it is out of
    factory warranty. However, the previous owner got a third-party warranty
    until 2010.

    Perhaps I should bite the bullet on the $300 repair in case something
    _really_ bad happens down the line, so that I can still use that

    I really appreciate everyone's input! Lots of good info and suggestions
    from all angles.

    Carlin, Aug 17, 2007
  14. Do you really, really think that repairing a stripped thread will
    invalidate a warranty (Apart from if it fails and blows the engine,
    which it won't)?

    "My brake caliper has disintegrated due to a faulty casting"

    "Well, you used a timesert in the sump, didn't you?"
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 17, 2007
  15. Yes, *but you don't need to remove the pan*. Or anything else. I don't
    know whether you need to remove the exhaust to drop the pan on your
    bike, but you certainly do on some.

    And you quoted $300 for the sump replacement.

    A timesert replacement, here, is a few pounds/dollars. Including the
    dirlling and tapping, it's maybe £20. Anyone charging you $80 is having
    a laugh.

    Don't fanny about - get the thread repaired, and ride.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 17, 2007
  16. Agreed. Get a professional to repair the thread.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 17, 2007
  17. I can. I can foresee that you'll make another silly posting. Just for
    the record - it won't invalidate the warranty.
    chateau.murray, Aug 17, 2007
  18. Agree, but there's still *no need* to remove the pan.

    Timeserts and helicoils are things that I actually enjoy using,
    because they're so simple, so tough (as you say), and effect a
    permanent repair. In fact, you've reminded me that I've only got one
    or two left, so I'd better get another kit, I think.
    chateau.murray, Aug 17, 2007
  19. I could be wrong, but does'nt the filter sit downstream
    from the pump so the pump can pressurize it ? More
    of a theoretical/religious objection than anything else.
    You'd probably get away with it with no problem.

    Also, it's way easy to drill out a hole slightly off from 90
    degrees. Probably not a big deal for a drain plug with
    crush washer, but can be an enormous problem in some
    helicoil applications such as for long cylinder studs.

    Considering the OP's skill level, I think he might do
    better to drop the pan, bring it to a shop that knows
    what they're doing, then figure out how to get the
    pan bolted back in place. Probably less challenging
    than a helicoil.
    Rob Kleinschmidt, Aug 17, 2007
  20. Given his skill level, I don't think he ought to touch the thing
    himself, not at all.
    The Older Gentleman, Aug 17, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.