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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone –*went to do routine oil change today on my 05 M3 only to have trouble tightening the drain bolt back in. It hand tightens fine, but any more leverage causes the bolt to spin in place, and I'm not able to tighten to 18 ft-lbs. Looked into it a bit closer and seems like the oil pan is stripped...not what I wanted to see. I didn't do the last oil change and the drain plug was very tough to remove...wondering if it was overtightened last time. I'm wondering two things:

1.) Assuming a no, but is there any chance I can get away with just hand tightening and driving the car until I settle on a better fix?

2.) I think I should be able to just repair the thread with a time sert or heli-coil. Any experience using those for oil pans? Don't have either kit so would have to purchase.

Thanks for all the help.
 

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You could try a longer bolt, if you're lucky the stripped threads are only in the front and the longer bolt would tighten using the threads in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You could try a longer bolt, if you're lucky the stripped threads are only in the front and the longer bolt would tighten using the threads in the back.
Thanks, good idea. Will try tomorrow.
 

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I bet the previous oil change was done by a oil change shop like jiffy lube. I bet all of the threads are fubar’d as the plug was screwed in all the way. I would find a suitable replacement plug (try www.mcmaster.com) and then tap the aluminum pan to the new bolt’s specs. The big job here is to make sure that metal shavings don’t remain in the pan when all is said and done.
 

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The oil pan is VERY thin there and any overtightening will see the threads pull. You need to fix it before driving. Want to risk a 15-20K engine?

We have two methods. Drill/tap and use the MB 14 mm drain plug. Or use a timesert.

A longer drain plug unfortunately (good thought) only accomplishes sitting higher in the oil. Again it's incredulous how thin it is there.
 

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Having spun in my own oil once,

I'd fix it.

I inherited a 'oil pan repair assortment' that has a whole range of plugs in it.
I used one, once- found one that was about right, went and bought a tap for it,
and tapped the hole for it. Worked just fine.
As Don says, there's not a lot of metal to go much oversize.
And thread insert kits make you go several sizes over.

Chips aren't a huge deal- grease helps, but the aluminum chunks from tapping
will just sit in the pan. Maybe throw a quart in and let it drain out to flush, if you're paranoid.

t


t
 

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Agree on the chips. You can make a hooked wiping tool with bent wire and a succession of rags to repeatedly wipe out the area around the drain hole, the use a $60 borescope from Harbor Freight to check your work, or perhaps even a small dental mirror as the access is pretty good to look IIRC. Grease on the tool is also smart.

Bummer that happened. Reason #457 that it's better to do your own work. Last week, I had to do some heavy wrenching on a tight schedule on our LandCruiser which is in another state. I haven't touched it for 160,000 miles except for oil changes. Because I did all the work on the car and used copper based antisieze on literally every nut and bolt some 12 years ago, everything came off perfectly. When you do your own work, nothing gets overtorqued or damaged by a shop in a hurry. Sorry that happened but I agree if it popped out, you're going to destroy the engine in about 3 minutes flat.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All makes sense, thanks for the help guys. Leaning towards just timesert at this point...
 

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Timeserts are excellent. Used on stripped Audi sump.
 

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As said above several times, make sure there's enough aluminum to allow for the oversize hole the timesert requires.

t
 

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Timesert/helicoil is a good way to go, but if you are really lucky you can run the same size tap through as is standard, and sometimes that will give you enough to bite on just by cleaning up what is there.
 

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Put an additional copper washer or two on there and see if you can snug it up and call it a a day until you can completely fix it....
 

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i did this on my s54 mcoupe. Lost my mind. The timesert kit was a permenent and great fix. I was super paranoid about shavings and ran my drained oil through the motor to get everything out.
it went well!
 

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My brother-in-law had that problem with an aluminum oil pan in an Intrepid. We went to a real parts store and they had an assortment of oversize that tapped the hole themselves. Easy fix.
 
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