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#1
Old 10-21-2009, 09:40 AM
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Location: Farmington, MI
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Leak from oil drain plug, already replaced with oversize....

My wife drives an '02 Ford Escape XLT V6 4x4. She takes it to Big Ray's Quick Lube for oil changes since this one time, right after we were married, I had a particularly hard time changing the oil on a completely different car and ended up in the garage for about 6 hours. Well, I alternated between the garage and the auto parts store.

Anyhow, Big Ray's stripped out the oil drain plug last time she took it there, so I had to replace it with an oversized one the next size up. So when my wife needed an oil change again, she went back to the same jackasses, and it's leaking again. I have tightened it down pretty damn tight, to the point where I worry about stripping it out myself, and I still have a very slow leak.

(For reference, very slow means at 10:30 last night I cleaned the area around the plug, and this morning there was a trace of oil seeping out, but no drips on the floor)

So, my plan is to go to the parts store and get yet the next size up, and some oil, and see if tightening it down will get me what I need (and if it strips, I have a new one to put in).

Anyone with some expertise have some alternate advice for me? Taking it back to Big Ray's is out of the question. I simply do not have the time to mess with idiots who screwed this up twice already. I have already told my wife that, based on her experience I will be doing her oil changes from now on, or we will take it to the reputable mechanic down the street who has done work for us in the past.
#2
Old 10-21-2009, 09:55 AM
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Depending on how your drain plug is shaped, a rubber washer?
#3
Old 10-21-2009, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Anyone with some expertise have some alternate advice for me? Taking it back to Big Ray's is out of the question. I simply do not have the time to mess with idiots who screwed this up twice already. I have already told my wife that, based on her experience I will be doing her oil changes from now on, or we will take it to the reputable mechanic down the street who has done work for us in the past.
Since I had pretty much the exact same issue, I can pretty well answer it: There is no magic answer. You can live with it as long as you check your oil regularly. Maybe if you want, they can replace the whole oil pan, and with a newer car that might be worthwhile.
#4
Old 10-21-2009, 10:12 AM
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If you are pulling down hard and it is leaking then there is a problem with the sealing surfaces. Change the gasket or O ring on the plug. I doubt that you will beable to keep going up in the size of the oil plug with out drilling and retaping. And I doubt that the pan will take that.
#5
Old 10-21-2009, 10:16 AM
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My Honda maintenance requires a new metal washer for every oil change. We went to a non-Honda place and they didn't replace the washer and it dripped. I bought extras to leave in the car when we have it changed (in case they don't have the right size). Try a metal washer (perhaps your maintenace manual has the specs).
#6
Old 10-21-2009, 10:25 AM
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Put a rubber plug in it. Start changing the oil by sucking it out the dip stick tube.

Last edited by UncleRojelio; 10-21-2009 at 10:27 AM.
#7
Old 10-21-2009, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantara View Post
Try a metal washer...
Not just any metal though -- copper or aluminum, which are soft enough to conform to the sealing surfaces.

In re: the OP -- if there's any question about the washer, replacing it is the place to start. If you're lucky, that will take care of it.

If that doesn't do it, see if a double-oversize drain plug is available. Run it in without a washer to tap the threads on the pan and then wipe the threads on the pan and the washer. Install it with a proper washer.

Double-oversize is the largest I've heard of, and may not be available for all sizes. If at some point you can't get a larger drain plug and it still leaks, the options are to tap the hole in the pan to a larger plug size (if possible), replace the pan, or get a rubber plug. Rubber plugs are not considered as reliable as threaded metal ones.
#8
Old 10-21-2009, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
Rubber plugs are not considered as reliable as threaded metal ones.
Anecdotal single data point: I had one in a old Thunderbird and it never leaked a drop in 4 years.
#9
Old 10-21-2009, 10:57 AM
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Location: Farmington, MI
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Rubber plugs, huh? Never heard of that one. I might give it a shot. I don't remember if I replaced the washer when I replaced the plug, but knowing myslef I would hope I was not stupid enough to just hope I could use the old one.

I will consider different washer types....would a rubber\silicone one be more advisable than copper/aluminum, or not?
#10
Old 10-21-2009, 12:32 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Good luck with a fix as the labor cost for replacing the oil pan will be substantial. Unless I know the "mechanic" personally, I avoid the "Quikie Lube" places for just the problem you cite.
#11
Old 10-21-2009, 03:42 PM
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Location: Auburn, WA
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I had a 69 Dodge pickup that I owned for about 15 years. It was strictly a work truck and maybe had the oil changed 5 times when I owned it. I noticed the first time I changed the oil that the drain plug was rounded off and it leaked. I made a gasket from an old tractor tire inner tube and tightened it the best I could using a pipe wrench. That truck never leaked a drop of oil after that and I used the same rubber gasket with each oil change.
#12
Old 10-21-2009, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
I will consider different washer types....would a rubber\silicone one be more advisable than copper/aluminum, or not?
Definitely stick with a soft metal washer. If you get something slippery on a rubber or silicone washer (like motor oil), they can easily squish past the plug as you torque it down. They can work fine if you're careful, but if you're not committing to doing all the rest of your own oil changes, stick with a metal one.
#13
Old 10-21-2009, 04:26 PM
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Go to a site like Rockauto and you should be able to put in your vehicle info and they'll tell you what kind of gasket/washer to get for your drain plug.
#14
Old 10-21-2009, 04:58 PM
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Location: Farmington, MI
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I'll probably go to my local NAPA or non-big-box parts store where they have people who know a little more about cars and aren't afraid of questions.
#15
Old 10-26-2009, 12:26 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Farmington, MI
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So, it was stripped, and they do not make a double-oversized plug for this model. I ended up using a rubber plug as suggested upthread, and the leak has stopped. The plug says not recommended for re-use, does thi mean I am going to need to spend 8 extra bucks with each oil change, or are there reusable ones?

Last edited by crazyjoe; 10-26-2009 at 12:26 PM.
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