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Old 08-08-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
tdicola
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Rounded off my oil drain plug bolt, god damnit!

Don't you love it when a simple job turns into a much harder job? I went to change my oil today and the drain plug was on much tighter than I remember putting it last time, after a couple good tugs with a box wrench I felt something move but it was too late and the head was partially rounded off.

I aborted the oil change until I can get a new drain plug, but I'm wondering what's the best way to get this bolt off without more damage? There's one good side left that I can get an open ended wrench on. If that doesn't work should I try one of those gator grip sockets? Maybe just some vice grips?

I'm really not sure how the bolt got on so tight though, would letting the car cool for a couple hours do it? (I was rotating my tires and other stuff before changing the oil)
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:07 PM   #2
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Get vise grips on real tight, then remove vise grips and give that screw a little twist. Now, use a lot of muscle to squeeze them on that bolt, remove bolt and replace with new one from autozon/kragen whatever.
Key is that you might just get one shot and you want the visegrips to be on so tight that they don't slip and strip off more bolt head.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:12 PM   #3
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Yea, basically get the vise grip on there until you can barely physically get it on. Honestly tho, you're putting the plug/bolt on there WAY too tight if you're even beginning to mess up the bolt head. I see it all the time and it pisses me off, because when I do put the plug on with the right amount of torque, it will come back with a leak a few weeks later because some dumbass who doesn't know shit about cars decided to have a tug-of-war with the drain plug and smurfed up the threads. Honda's are notorious for having shitty plugs, yet the one on my own with over 50 oil changes on it just needs a twist of the wrist to keep it sealed shut.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:21 AM   #4
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You can buy a new one with a magnet at any parts house. I think it is M12x1.75. Buy 2 and use one in the rear diff.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #5
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use a 6 point socket before the vise grip. Stop using the 12 point box end wrench.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 700Rocket...View Post
use a 6 point socket before the vise grip. Stop using the 12 point box end wrench.

^^^ Amen ^^^

You might want to buy a torque wrench too...especially if you plan on replacing your own spark plugs in the near future.

Gerry
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:37 AM   #7
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Absolutely, a 6 point box wrench or socket. You can also try a small plumber's pipe wrench. They are designed to bite into a smooth surface, like a pipe, so it will get that drain plug out. When you replace, I suggest you spin it down and when it stops turning go about 1/4 turn or so further. Start car, check for leaks. That should be tight enough.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:16 AM   #8
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+1 on the torque wrench for the spark plugs, that won't be pretty.


I must have done 25,000-30,000* oil changes in my life, and I'm being conservative, and have never done this.


*= at least 5 a day for over 22 years.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:36 AM   #9
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You have quite a few options, the first being what has been mentioned about a 6 point socket. To make it easier, the engine should be hot (or apply heat directly to the bolt) and first use a brass punch and hammer(or just a hammer) and smack the bolt in order to shock the threads.

Visegrips
External extractor
Weld a nut to the bolt
.......


The open end of a box wrench should only be used for light duty, and a 12 point socket should only be used for 12 point hardware.

If once you break it loose and the bolt does not freely spin out, you may have previously cross-threaded it or it has galled and you will need to inspect the threads to see if an insert is needed.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:51 AM   #10
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Mine did that @ two years ago. Everyone was saying "Righty tighty-Lefty Loosey" crap like I didn't know the difference.
Anyways, You can get a set of these at Pep Boys and then return them or like me, keep them for that rare occurance that it happens again.
http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/...rwinProd100512
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOT1GOAT...View Post
Mine did that @ two years ago. Everyone was saying "Righty tighty-Lefty Loosey" crap like I didn't know the difference.
Anyways, You can get a set of these at Pep Boys and then return them or like me, keep them for that rare occurance that it happens again.
http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/...rwinProd100512

A person can know "Righty tighty-Lefty Loosey", and make fun of people who use torque wrenches all they want. An oil drain plug still doesn't overtorque itself.

Having said that, I guess I'm a hypocrite. I've never used a torque wrench on a drain plug.

Gerry
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:29 AM   #12
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I think you can use a 12 point on it if it is a good, not-made-in China wrench (they'll round) and you don't tighten the nut as if you are in an arm wrestling match.
I have been using 12 pointer's on oil drain plugs for years, never had a problem, the heads on the bolts look fine.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:13 AM   #13
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Thanks guys for the advice, I'll try vice grips with a warm engine. Unless someone got under my car and torqued the hell out of bolt, I really don't remember putting the plug on this tight. Usually I would turn until it stops and then give it a good 1/2 turn or so until it feels snug. However the last time I changed the oil the car was pretty warm, I remember having to wear gloves because it was pretty hot. This time when I went to undo the bolt the car was cold, it had been sitting inside with the hood up for about 3 hours so I think that probably contributed to the problem.

I do have 6 pt. sockets but once the bolt was rounded off the 13mm one wouldn't fit. I can slip a 14mm on but there's some play and I don't trust giving it some torque. Why I didn't use the 6 pt. in the first place? Too lazy to get up and pull them out of the trunk.

edit: I do have some cheapo HF torque wrenches but only used them on my oil drain plug once because my friend laughs at me "what kind of person has to use a torque wrench on their oil drain??". Oops, apparently this kind of person.

Last edited by tdicola; 08-09-2009 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87LC2...View Post




+1 on the torque wrench for the spark plugs, that won't be pretty.


I must have done 25,000-30,000* oil changes in my life, and I'm being conservative, and have never done this.


*= at least 5 a day for over 22 years.

22 years and you never got promoted past Grease Monkey!?
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lothar...View Post
22 years and you never got promoted past Grease Monkey!?



through out the course of the day as a line tech you will do at least 4-7 oil changes. During a 30,000 you change the oil, 15,000 you change the oil, etc. If a car comes in and the lube sticker says it's due, I up-sell an oil change, that's a half hour pay for me. Changing oil is part of working on cars.





...and if I was a grease monkey and only did 5 oil changes a day, that would be 12 and 1/2 hours pay a week.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:13 PM   #16
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Alright thanks again for the advice, I got a new bolt and put my biggest vice grips on the still warm drain bolt. Popped it free on the first try and it came out by hand immediately. Lesson learned, the new one I tightened by hand and then a quarter turn by wrench. The old bolt is pretty much toast though, nice and round corners with vice grip marks all over. Almost like the bolt was made of silly putty.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:06 PM   #17
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You could have always tried a standard socket on it then. If it was rounded the standard would probably have worked.

I know it sounds stupid, but I torque my drain plugs.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Culley...View Post
You could have always tried a standard socket on it then. If it was rounded the standard would probably have worked.

I know it sounds stupid, but I torque my drain plugs.

Gene,check your email when you get a chance please,I need some parts asap Thanks
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:29 PM   #19
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There's nothing wrong with using a torque wrench to tighten the oil drain plug. I torque mine to 18 ft/lbs (per the manual and other members here).
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:03 PM   #20
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If you can't get it off with Visegrips by themselves, go pick yourself up one of those blue small propane torches from the parts store/Wal Mart. Put it on very low flame, and let it cook the bolt for a min or two. On a low flame the propane won't get hot enough to bother the pan, and should help snap the bolt loose. I've done this many times. Even used heat before mangling the head of the plug, and was still able to reuse it with the correct TQ specs.

I've dealt with this in the past while working on a GTO (and several other cars) because the owners want to save a buck and take it to the $19.99 oil change place. There's a reason it's only $19.99 people.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Culley...View Post
I know it sounds stupid, but I torque my drain plugs.

Smart man. That makes two of us.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:23 PM   #22
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I don't see why vice grips or at the worst, a bolt extraction kit would not do the job. If neither of these work, then stop taking your car to the incredible hulk for oil changes.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:57 AM   #23
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Wow, it took 22 replies to get to bolt extractors? On top of torches and welding a nut to the bolt?

A set of bolt extractors will grab right onto the head of that bolt and have it out in a few seconds. No mess, No extra tools required, No torches or Welding.
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:44 AM   #24
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He fixed it....and has a new bolt....lol.

Having said that, I think it was a cold engine that was your issue. I always change the oil when the engine is hot because the oil comes out easier anyways....only thing is you always find a way to get hot oil on you
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:32 AM   #25
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We went to do an oil change for a friend of ours after doing some other work on her 4th gen. Her local shop had changed the oil previously.

The oil filter was on very tight, but we were able to remove it, but when it cam to the drain plug, no dice. It started to round, so we broke out the vise grips, no dice. We put a torch on it, no dice.

We ended up tapping a one size smaller impact socket on, and using a breaker bar.
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:31 AM   #26
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He fixed it....and has a new bolt....lol.

Having said that, I think it was a cold engine that was your issue. I always change the oil when the engine is hot because the oil comes out easier anyways....only thing is you always find a way to get hot oil on you

I usually wait until the morning (after the car sitting in the garage all night) to change my oil. This way, at least in my head , most of the oil has drained down to the pan.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:00 AM   #27
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All the impurities in the oil settle out when the oil cools, when you drain the cold oil, all the bad stuff is left in the pan. If you change the oil hot, the oil is completely agitated and all the contaminates will come out in the oil.
It's always best to change the oil after the engine is warmed up. Warm oil flows better and will drain faster.
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:12 PM   #28
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Gene,check your email when you get a chance please,I need some parts asap Thanks

Thanks for contacting me.
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron2215...View Post
There's nothing wrong with using a torque wrench to tighten the oil drain plug. I torque mine to 18 ft/lbs (per the manual and other members here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gm4life...View Post
Smart man. That makes two of us.

Thanks guys. When I tell some people I do that they say dude, I just do it until it is tight, that is dumb. But... I am picky!
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