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Evil Oil Drain Plug
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rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Evil Oil Drain Plug Reply with quote
The oil drain plug has been the nemesis of many on this board due to stripped threads in the case or cracked cases. The plug is equipped with a 'washer' but it actually performs service as a gasket. It is quite soft, can be misshapen and will then leak. The typical response to the leak is to over-torque the plug and strip the threads.

During my last oil changed I noted the crappy condition of my gasket and had purchased replacements. A day late and a dollar short, as when I attempted even the slightest tension on the plug, it very neatly stripped the case threads. This prompted a response akin to an Irish wake ... I got a cold beer and cried in it Crying or Very sad

The plug is 14 mm hex head, 10 mm x 1.25 pitch, with a stem 9.5 mm (3/8") long. I could tap the case to 12 mm and buy a new plug, but there isn't much 'meat' down there, so an steel insert like a Helicoi or EZsert is in order.

This is going to be a very expensive hole to make, but it should eliminate problems in the future. Perhaps someone out there has one of the kits and would be willing to share? I'd be happy to rent and return it.

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:56 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
AtLarge



Joined: 04 Aug 2008
Posts: 265

Post Reply with quote
I feel your pain. Sad

What about using one of the oversized plugs I see at all the auto parts stores? They have them in 14mm. I realize you have to have threads to begin with but maybe there is enough left to dig in to? Also, I see the rubber expandable style. Seems like a reasonable alternative to a helicoil. Not to mention the potential of cracking the case. Just a few thoughts.

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:50 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
hkabik



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 50

Post Reply with quote
I've got the same issue.

I haven't worried about it, just using some compound to keep it sealed right now. But I'll be watching this thread to figure out a better permanent fix. I've thought about helicoil, but an expanable rubber plug sounds like an easier option. any one have any experience with them?
Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:10 pm View user's profile Send private message
matty_x



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 1065

Post Reply with quote
I don't trust that drain hole plug.

Since I change my oil about 4 times a year, I drain my oil from the oil filter hole 3 times a year.

I only drain from the drain hole once a year. I tighten it to finger tightness when I'm done and then give it 1/4-18 turn with a wrench. If it leaks after a week or so, I give it another 1/8 turn.

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:46 pm View user's profile Send private message
hkabik



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 50

Post Reply with quote
How do you drain oil out of the filter hole?
Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:56 pm View user's profile Send private message
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
Well,

CenTel did finally get their 'issue' fixed late last night, and since then I have been researching the stripped thread/how to repair issue. I am by no means an expert now, but I do know far more than I did yesterday:

Permanent Fix:

This requires tapping a larger hole, with 3 options -
... 1) Buying a 12mm plug
... 2) Inserting a steel wire insert (Helicoil, Perma-coil) and installing original 10mm drain plug
... 3) Inserting a solid sleeve insert, EZsert, and installing original drain plug.

I have read various opinions and posts on the numerous types of fixes, and the "quality" of each, this repair does not require 100's of pounds of torque, nor is it holding two parts together under tremendous pressures. Be are basically talking about a glorified bathtub drain Wink Yes, the oil and case will get hotter than your average sauna, but a bath drain none the less.

Temporary Fix:

hkabik apparently has some compound which at least semi-seals and holds the drain plug in place. Let's call this the McGyver fix. May look ugly, but it's cheap and works for him. You go to war with what you got.

Long Term Temporary Fix:

Read this from Ray and Tom Maliotti, known as Click & Clack the Tappet Bros:
http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/1995/October/02.html

These guys do not generally give bad advice. I'll do some looking on this topic.

SmittyScoots has made an interesting offer on a permanent fix and turned me onto a cheap source for a Perma-Coil repair kit, and I happen to have the tapping handle and drill bit needed that are NOT supplied in the cheapo kit.

I have also found a source for a magnetic replacement plug ($4 +shipping) that I am also considered purchasing. This will trap ferrous metal bits on the magnet that might not be caught by the mesh debris trap of the scoot.

Paz

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:32 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
cowboyrob



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 831
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post Reply with quote
My case cracked when I used the helicoil.

On my new engine the drain hole stripped again the day I was putting my engine in my scoot. I never posted about it because I was too shocked depressed and suicidal.

On my new engine I was able to find a guy that specialized in small engines on Racing carts. He said that his bet was that the aluminum on the case was sub-par for the drain plug they used and the amount of material around it. He said it was a bad idea to use a helicoil there because helicoils put out a good amount of outward force on the hole you tap.

He tapped it to the larger drain-bolt size he had. He put an air compressor on the case to vaccum it out while he tapped it. He also flushed out my case by running the engine for about ten minutes and immediately draining the oil.

I found hardly any metal shavings at my first oil change after that on the new engine- less than the original engine had. Since then I have used the oil filter hole on a slope in my driveway to drain. I drain the oil HOT. I put a mark on the oil drain plug to moniter if it loosens. I had a light leak at first because I did not tighten it enough so i went and tightened it a wee little bit more and it has not loosened since.

F**ck oil drain plugs. Something so simple ruins your life for a couple of months. OK- I am being a little over the top! Laughing

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:00 pm View user's profile Send private message
SmittyScoots



Joined: 30 Jul 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Portland, OR

Post Reply with quote
Keeping my eye on this one...sounds like a repair that is more "when" than "if" it is going to need to be done.
Anyone know about the plugs in the above Click and Clack article? That might be handy to have ahead of time.
Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:02 pm View user's profile Send private message
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
cowboyrob's kart dude wrote:
his bet was that the aluminum on the case was sub-par for the drain plug they used and the amount of material around it. He tapped it to the larger drain-bolt size he had.


Rob, You are being remarkably restrained. I'm glad that you are able to post the truth, let's hope it has "set you free".

Let's talk about the stock engine case and drain plug. First let me say I spent almost 20 years at GE working as part of the engineering crew. Yes, IT was so new they deemed it engineering! Casting and especially aluminum casting is one of the black arts of manufacturing. We made A/C motors from the ground up which included casting the motor end plates and the rotors.

As I stated earlier there is not much "meat" down there for any kind of plug. First, only 1/4" (6mm) of real depth is there for the plug threads to grasp. The threads are M1.25 which is a 'fine' thread so there is no thread depth. The plug is steel and the different expansion rates between alum case and plug contribute to long term fatigue on the threads. The plug is equipped with a flat metal 'gasket', it is not rigged with an O-ring seal, nor is it a two piece compression gasket like on a spark plug. I would not blame "Wrinching Deficiency" on any n00b who stripped the damned thing. To me, it seems designed to fail at some point in time.

Heilcoils, Perma-coils, .. all the wire steel inserts DO exert pressure on the surrounding case when you torque down the drain plug. There are "self-tapping" drain plugs and they are even worse Evil or Very Mad The EZsert is a complete sleeve which once tapped does not expand as you torque down the drain plug. These should work ok but only IF there is enough meat on the case to hold them.

The only thing that looks safe to me is to tap out the hole to the next largest size which is 12mm, and tap to M1.50 threads which is a 'course' thread. Think pipe threads. Install a plastic, O-ring, or rubber gasket which would compress before torque tears out the threads. Properly gasketed 12mm x 1.50 drain plugs are available at local auto parts stores for <$5

I stopped at O'rry and picked up a universal rubber oil drain plug from Dorman Products. $5.39 I might get a 1/2" rubber device inserted into a 3/8" hole, maybe.

Honey, pass me a tub of duck butter and an Oklahoma persuader, I'm goin' wrinchin' Cool

EDIT: Here's a blurry pic of the rubber drain plug with the plug stacked on top. I'm gonna have to grind the tip of the rubber plug to get it into the drain hole. Not sure this is gonna work Confused


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Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:03 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
scootermike



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 525
Location: portland,oregon

Post Reply with quote
I have the same problem I used plumbers tape to put the plug back in and drain my oil using a pump has worked fine for about a year.
Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:13 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
hkabik



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 50

Post Reply with quote
I wonder if there's any chance of a slightly longer drain bolt working, maybe it can grab onto some undamaged threads further back. stack a rubber gasket or two on there as well.

I may just leave my ugly fix as is and figure out a way to drain the oil from the dipstick hole. It's been rigged for about a year and hasn't leaked a bit.
Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:18 pm View user's profile Send private message
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
hkabik wrote:
I wonder if there's any chance of a slightly longer drain bolt working, maybe it can grab onto some undamaged threads further back.


Unfortunately the answer to that is a big NO. The stock bolt goes entirely through the case, it grabs all there is to grab. If your McGyver fix has lasted a year then you must have done a pretty good fix. McGyver would be proud. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I have used the mustard jar & dipstick hole to fill mine since day 1. Plugging the drain hole and draining thru filter outlet or dipstick hole may be a solid long term way to handle the issue.

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:50 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
cowboyrob



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 831
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post Reply with quote
rufusswan wrote:
hkabik wrote:
I wonder if there's any chance of a slightly longer drain bolt working, maybe it can grab onto some undamaged threads further back.


Unfortunately the answer to that is a big NO. The stock bolt goes entirely through the case, it grabs all there is to grab. If your McGyver fix has lasted a year then you must have done a pretty good fix. McGyver would be proud. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I have used the mustard jar & dipstick hole to fill mine since day 1. Plugging the drain hole and draining thru filter outlet or dipstick hole may be a solid long term way to handle the issue.


You also have to be very careful with the drain-bolt you choose.

It is hard to see with your engine still on the scoot, but directly beyond the hole in your case there are metal gears. Too long a drain bolt and it would grind or be grinded, either of which leaving metal shavings inside your engine at the least, and possibly far worse damage. The drain-bolt the guy used on mine was too long so he had to trim it to make sure it gave the gears clearance.

P.S. The plug the cart-mech replaced mine with was the coarse thread variety that rufus mentioned. It also has a magnetic center to grab particles of steel. Oh, and by the way, from what I have heard thse gears in the engines are the most expensive replacement part, SO practice your shift-foo and check the clearance of your new plug if you ever have to replace it.

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:12 am View user's profile Send private message
Threegoofs



Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago- Western Suburbs

Post Reply with quote
OK - so if the drain plug is so evil, why not just drain your oil thru the filter hole? If I remember a post here a while ago, it should drain off just about 100% of the oil, right?

Or do I have to worry about stripping that too?
Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:55 pm View user's profile Send private message
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
3goofs,

You do not have to worry about stripping the the filter plug for several reasons. It is a much larger 'bolt' with course/deep threads so you would have to torque the crap out of it in order to strip the threads. Where the bolt head mates with the case you will see that both the bolt and the case have a machined O-ring seat with ring. As soon as you snug this bolt past finger tight it is sealed and the O-ring stops any leaking. If it ever does, just replace the O-ring.

The drain plug is not a machined fitting at the sealing point and requires torque to compress a flat metal washer (under lots of pressure) in order to maintain a seal.

Compare the two next time your drain your oil. It's easy to tell which one contains the inherent beauty of thoughtful engineering and which one doesn't.

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:15 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
Threegoofs



Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago- Western Suburbs

Post Reply with quote
Paz-

So why should anyone ever mess with the drain bolt? Maybe that should be a sticky post on the maintainence section...
Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm View user's profile Send private message
hkabik



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 50

Post Reply with quote
Threegoofs wrote:
Paz-

So why should anyone ever mess with the drain bolt? Maybe that should be a sticky post on the maintainence section...


I do wish I had known about it before my "incident".
Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:34 pm View user's profile Send private message
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
hkabik wrote:
Threegoofs wrote:
Paz-
So why should anyone ever mess with the drain bolt? Maybe that should be a sticky post on the maintainence section...

I do wish I had known about it before my "incident".


The reason to mess with the drain bolt is the first and most important thing that should be done to any scoot is to change the oil and change it often. I do not think this is bad advice.

As to a "Fair Warning" concerning the delicacy of the drain bolt, I do agree. If I may speak for CowboyRob, his farking drain bolt went sha-fizz the first time he used it on a brand new motor, yet most others have no problem at all. We don't want to overly frighten young children nor make n00bies cry in their beer Wink

That does sound like a useful sticky though. "Before you start Wrinching: Read This First" .. "Find Your Topic Fast" .. hmmmm

Maybe rufuskeet would be willing to expand his librarian skills ..... Rolling Eyes

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:32 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
AtLarge



Joined: 04 Aug 2008
Posts: 265

Post Reply with quote
rufusswan wrote:
I'm gonna have to grind the tip of the rubber plug to get it into the drain hole. Not sure this is gonna work Confused


Or maybe just shave it ever so lightly with a razor blade going from the top to the bottom making it slightly conical Question

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:55 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
rufusswan



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 1786
Location: Taneyville, Missouri

Post Reply with quote
It's sorta hard to tell from the photo above, but on a 1/2" one of these, that round brass tip that pulls the rubber taut in the hole is a bit too big to fit in the hole. It's the brass tip that I have to make smaller. I woulda bought a 3/8" one if I could. I think I can man-handle the rubber portion, IF the whole dam thing is not too long.

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:14 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
scootermike



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 525
Location: portland,oregon

Post Reply with quote
I made the mistake of using a longer bolt. the gears cut the bolt. thank god my gears are fine I have been riding all summer since then with no issues I now pump out the oil what little is left from opening the filter plug and leaning the scooter over a little. the gears sheared the bolt clean at an angle should have never listened to a vintage vespa mechanic what does he know about oil drains [ nothing]
Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:40 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Threegoofs



Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago- Western Suburbs

Post Reply with quote
rufusswan wrote:
hkabik wrote:
Threegoofs wrote:
Paz-
So why should anyone ever mess with the drain bolt? Maybe that should be a sticky post on the maintainence section...

I do wish I had known about it before my "incident".


The reason to mess with the drain bolt is the first and most important thing that should be done to any scoot is to change the oil and change it often. I do not think this is bad advice.



Let me clarify.... if you can drain all (or almost all) of the oil from the oil screen opening, why bother with the risk of stripping the drain bolt? Just pretend the oil screen IS the drain.
Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:27 am View user's profile Send private message
cowboyrob



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 831
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post Reply with quote
Threegoofs wrote:
rufusswan wrote:
hkabik wrote:
Threegoofs wrote:
Paz-
So why should anyone ever mess with the drain bolt? Maybe that should be a sticky post on the maintainence section...

I do wish I had known about it before my "incident".


The reason to mess with the drain bolt is the first and most important thing that should be done to any scoot is to change the oil and change it often. I do not think this is bad advice.



Let me clarify.... if you can drain all (or almost all) of the oil from the oil screen opening, why bother with the risk of stripping the drain bolt? Just pretend the oil screen IS the drain.


The reason you should drain with the bolt is that it is the lowest drain hole in the case. Sludge may collect there. BUT, the oil filter hole is also very good. When I always used the oil drain plug I also always got additional oil out when I cleaned my filter.

Now, I drain my oil after I have ridden my scoot a little and my engine is warmed up/oil hot. I think this would help get the sludge that may occur because it would be mixed in the other oil. I also put my scooter on the jack and tilt my scooter to the side to get ALL the oil I can out of the filter hole. I always pull the filter right out with needle nose pliers after I take the cover off the filter hole to drain.

Matty said he drains periodically with the drain bolt but mainly with the oil filter hole. This would allow him to get any small metal particles out and sludge.

The first oil change on my new engine, I drained through the drain plug. As I stated it was relatively clean. I had planned on draining periodically through it, but I now think I will stick with draining through the filter hole due to my horrible and $$expensive$$ experiences with the oil drain hole.

I once read where Al Kolvites said they had not seen trouble with the engines from a lack of oil changes, they had seen trouble with engines that had a lack of oil or running low on oil.

So, I think you are all right if you keep your oil level checked and change it on schedule. Whichever hole you like.

[Robby's opinion follows] It does frighten me a bit when I read of people changing oil every 100 miles. I mean the oil being changed is fine but you are taking a bolt out 12 times by the time you ride 1,200 miles. That puts the stress and wear on those threads that they would see in 33,000 miles according to the manual. Now I change my oil more often than every 3 thousand. I change it every 1000. But I think every 100 is overkill and I can tell you that an engine that does not hold oil is alot worse than one with 1000 mile old oil in it! [Rob's 2 cents]

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:55 am View user's profile Send private message
Rabid_Wombat



Joined: 11 Jun 2008
Posts: 143
Location: Overland Park, KS

Post Reply with quote
Couple thoughts:

It would be wise to use the stock aluminum drain plug vs a steel or other, wouldn't it? This should help "match/mate" and avoid stripping vs steel. I wouldn't suggest buying after-market steel plug bolts (am I off here?). Not that anyone is suggesting this, but something to think about.

The other thing I have noticed in my short 1K of miles is that I have had some dents in the sides of my bolt and the washer. I just did my 1K change and the washer really wanted to stick to the plug bolt. Looks like something hit it hard, maybe a rock, but I hadn't run over a curb, etc, so ?? It could be possible that damage is happening to the bolt while riding too.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:03 pm View user's profile Send private message
cowboyrob



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 831
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post Reply with quote
Rabid_Wombat wrote:
Couple thoughts:

It would be wise to use the stock aluminum drain plug vs a steel or other, wouldn't it? This should help "match/mate" and avoid stripping vs steel. I wouldn't suggest buying after-market steel plug bolts (am I off here?). Not that anyone is suggesting this, but something to think about.

The other thing I have noticed in my short 1K of miles is that I have had some dents in the sides of my bolt and the washer. I just did my 1K change and the washer really wanted to stick to the plug bolt. Looks like something hit it hard, maybe a rock, but I hadn't run over a curb, etc, so ?? It could be possible that damage is happening to the bolt while riding too.


It suggests somewhere in a maintenance manual that you replace that washer every time you change your oil. The really funny thing is, I haven't talked to a Bajaj dealer yet that stocks that washer.

The dent on the side of your washer is probably caused by it widening as it flattens out with use. It then hits the machined ridge by the hole which puts stress on the threads.

Regarding the washer sticking to your bolt: The washer is going to continue to want to stick to that bolt. Mine had bonded with it when it stripped the threads out of my old engine, and it appeared that the threads had bonded the the washer. I suspected it may have been caused by saltwater splashing up off the streets during winter riding- some kind of electrolysis galvanized metal bonding reaction- but I don't really know much of things like that. It is only speculation on my part. There is much said about it on marine sites you can find on the world wide web.

Regarding the curb: When I emailed Argo asking for some help on my STILL under warranty scooter the reply I got said that the only time they had seen an engine case crack was because of someone hitting it on a curb. I had explained why mine cracked (helicoil), and how putting that in was a response to my engine threads stripping, which the dealer (not Scooterworld) who had sold me that Chetak said was NOT a warranty issue.

A rock could fly up and hit your engine and do the same thing I imagine.

The drain bolt currently in my scooter has a rubber/plastic washer.

P.S. I was told by the guy who told me the stripped threads were not a warranty issue that I could pick up a soft aluminum washer to replace that one at any hardware store. See how easy it is for you to find one that fits. I had no luck and ordered ones that were too wide from a specialty washer shop and filed one down to fit. But that was to go in my helicoil repaired engine - that is now cracked.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:28 pm View user's profile Send private message
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