How to Easily Repair an Oil Pan Drain Plug
Stripped Oil Pan Drain Plug Threads
Have you ever gone for an oil change and been told the threads on your oil pan drain have been stripped? The very next thing you are told is you need a new one. This is quite an expensive repair and one that you can avoid.
After a few hit and miss attempts at solving the problem, it seems that the leak has been stopped! I say this with fingers, toes, and all that can be crossed, of course, because only time will tell if the solution is a permanent fix. The self-threading piggyback oil pan drain plug, cold welded in place is the answer! Read on to learn more.
Does a Rubber Oil Pan Drain Plug Work?
Sadly, the answer to this question is: Not very well.
My son has a '99 Dodge Intrepid. When he got his oil changed, they said the plug was rusted so badly that they had to forcefully remove it. They replaced it with a rubber oil pan drain plug and advised that the only real solution would be a replacement of the oil pan to the tune of $650.00! Very costly, especially for a college student.
There was a small but steady leak with this rubber plug. He drove to the Wisconsin Dells and left his car parked for two days. When he was ready to return to Madison, he saw a huge puddle of oil had leaked under his car. The rubber plug practically fell out with just a touch!
After a quick trip to the store for 5 quarts of oil and a funnel and a final "tightening" of the rubber plug (a rubber plug does not have threads, so it is basically shoved into the oil pan drain) he was on his way, filled with fear that the plug would simply fall out, drain all the oil, ruin the engine and leave him stranded on the side of the road.
Until we could come up with another solution, he had to tighten the rubber plug on a daily basis, check the oil, and perhaps add some more if the level was low. This was stressful, to say the least, and it created a bit of a mess wherever he parked the car.
The Self Threading Metal Oil Pan Drain Plug
An auto mechanic friend suggested a Self Threading Oil Pan Drain Plug. We discovered that the Dodge Intrepid does not have a standard oil pan plug size. Even knowing the year, make, and model does not clear that up.
So, we bought a few different sizes of the self tapping metal plugs. It took a little experimentation to find the right size. We finally ended up inserting an Over-sized (OS)14.0 mm/1.5 in. self tapping oil pan drain plug. The leak slowed down considerably but did not stop completely. The nagging thought of installing a new one was looming.
It was then suggested we get a Self Threading Tapered Piggyback Oil Pan Drain Plug and some JB Weld to cold weld it in place. This turned out to be a great idea, an easy process and hopefully a final solution to the problem.
- Drain just about every drop of oil from the car. This can take awhile.
- Jack the car up in the front, so it tilts away from where the oil pan drain is located. Any remaining oil will pool in the back of the pan, well away from the oil pan drain
- Clean the drain plug opening thoroughly with brake cleaner or acetone and let the car sit in that position until the oil pan drain opening is perfectly dry
- Mix the JB Weld. Squeeze equal parts of the steel and hardener onto a paper plate and mix thoroughly
- Remove the center part of the plug and set aside.
- Apply JB Weld to the threads of the oil pan drain plug, both sides of the attached gasket, and the drain plug opening in the oil pan.
- Screw the oil pan drain plug into place. We used an artist's paintbrush to apply the JB Weld to the plug, gasket, and oil pan drain opening and we applied some JB Weld around the plug once it was inserted, for added security.
Important Notes and Afterward
- It is very important to thread the oil pan drain plug straight in. Make sure it is not on an angle before you start threading it in. Tighten it with a wrench.
- Let the JB Weld dry overnight (approx.15 hours)
- Apply Anti-Seize to the center part (the Piggyback) and thread it into place. The Anti-Seize will keep the metal from rusting or locking so tightly that it can't be removed for an oil change.
- When you go for an oil change, make sure they are familiar with the oil drain plug you have inserted. They need to know that only the Piggyback Center Bolt is removed for an oil change. If they attempt to remove the whole plug you will, with certainty, need a new oil pan!
- Anti-Seize should be applied to the Piggyback Center Bolt after every oil change before it is threaded back into the drain plug
The oil leak has not returned as of 04/3/2015!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
where do you find the piggy-back drain plug?
I believe we went to AutoZone. They can be found at most auto parts stores, or they can order it for you.Helpful 21
Did you get any metal shavings in the oil pan using this method?
No I did not!Helpful 2
In the solution described in this article, what is "the center part of the drain plug"? I have never seen a drain plug that wasn't just a bolt which did not have parts.
The center part is the piggy back that is removed for an oil change. It does look like a bolt.Helpful 1
© 2011 Sandi