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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
changed the oil on my 04 fourtrax 4x4 400 today and now the drain bolt wont get tight anymore. it gets tight when it first goes in but not tight enough so i keep tightening and it just keeps getting loose. i removed the bolt again to find metel pieces on the bolt but the bolt threads were fine. what is happening here?
 

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From what it sounds like and from what I read if your seeing metal on your plug then you good sir have stripped out your drain bolt hole, or close to on it way out. You can draill and retap for a new bolt. DRILL 1 SIZE UP (DEAD STRIGHT, GOING SLOW AND AS FAR AS YOU NEED TO), then retap with a course tap that matches your old threads on your plug (DO IT DEAD STRAIGHT AND HAVE CUTTING OIL ON HAND, ONLY GO AS FAR AS YOU NEED TO) then find a bolt that matches your threads and a sealing washer. (DONT I REPEAT DONT TORQUE THE PLUG, JUST ENOUGH TO SEAT THE WASHER THEN 1/8th TURN MORE).
 

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The best technique for tightening bolts prone to stripping is to screw it in finger tight and then tap the spanner/ratchet with the top (not palm) of your hand, I guarantee you’ll never over tighten using that technique, it hurts!
 

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Look inside the hole, sometimes the plug is shorter than the threads, you may be able to find a longer plug to get into the unused threads, but not a permanent fix. The auto parts store has kits for stripped oil pan plugs. A torque wrench and the proper spec is best.
 

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You could also try some plumbers thread tape. Wrap it round the bolt threads. See if you can snug it up with no leaks.
Does your bolt look more damaged than the drain hole threads?
Metric thread taps come in two thread spacing 1.0 and 1.75
If you don’t know how to use a tap, better take it to a machine shop
Here’s what a tap looks like
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yes ive tapped before....the bolt is in perfect condition,i think i will just try some plumbers tape first. if not i will weld it on and use a vac pump in the future!
 

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I hope it works out for ya :)
 

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yes ive tapped before....the bolt is in perfect condition,i think i will just try some plumbers tape first. if not i will weld it on and use a vac pump in the future!
Hi from across the Bay.
After applying the tape clean the area real good and apply some silicone caulking around the bolt.
 

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Steel bolt into aluminum crank case ...... the bolt always wins.
Torque wrench is your friend. Worth your while to get one, and learn how to use it.
Good luck with the repair.
 

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Steel bolt into aluminum crank case ...... the bolt always wins.
Torque wrench is your friend. Worth your while to get one, and learn how to use it.
Good luck with the repair.
Torque wrench is the last thing you wanna use on aluminum unless it's a high stress area, at least that's what I learned. To easy to strip. I seen veteran mechanics do it by mistake and not mean to. I even done it by mistake on my 300 when I didnt know and thought "oh its gotta be tight to the spec." That's why I dont like em especially for oil drains. Snug then 1/8th turn it good enough. You want it to seal then just a little more (not much).
 
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yes ive tapped before....the bolt is in perfect condition,i think i will just try some plumbers tape first. if not i will weld it on and use a vac pump in the future!
Rather than using plumbers tape which can break down, use Leak Lock or Gasoila PLS2 . It is good up to 400 F and is made for this type of leak. Good Luck.
 

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A torque wrench is a tool that tells you how tight a bolt or nut has been tightened. If the book tells you a bolt should be torqued to 20 inch pounds, you adjust the wrench to 20 inch pounds, and when you are tightening the bolt the wrench will "click" when you reach 20 inch pounds and you will not overtighten the bolt, EVERYBODY on this site should own one.
 

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We seem to see this quite often, drain plug threads being chewed up. Seriously considering making some aluminium drain plugs, for sale only from this forum.
The alloy plug would be softer than the casing, that way if it stripped the thread it would be a matter of running abtap theough and fitting a new plug.

Any interest from members?
 

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Has anyone used a quick drain plug on their ATV?

https://goo.gl/images/fo1jhF
I asked about those a while back and I think a senior member told me that they woudl either leak or not work, (I think). But I love the idea myself cause my plug is kind of a pain with the skit plate threading it in with fingers.
 

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On a 300 I’d say those quick drains would be pretty darn close to the skid plate, I wouldn’t want a stick to catch it and open it or snap it off. A small leak I could deal with but total oil loss would be devastating.
Those quick plugs would be ideal in an Argo cat though!
 

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I never used them because they stick out too far.
At one point I rounded off the flats on my Honda cars drain plug don’t know how it got so tightly installed. I’m thinking the techs were never removing it—they were using the crankcase vacuum. I told them to fix it on the lift I’m not crawling under there with a drill.

Corrosion isn’t usually a factor here, but over tightening, lack of crush washer and use of worn 12 point socket seem to be factors in rounding the flats. Sometimes ya go backwards too lying on yer back

After that I bought a set of good impact sockets and use breaker handles to ease off bolts—especially valve cover bolts. Ratchet handles would be Ok too but most folks use the too small 3/8in handles. The ratchet increases the distance from the bolt head and more likely a sloppy angle which leads to rounding the head
 

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Here’s a pic of the spark suppression bolt off the back of my muffler. Brass. It was solidly corroded in there; used pipe wrench, drilled and used every easy out I had. Got a good center now need a 14mm tap in 1.75 to clean it up.

Sam aluminum might not be best cause it’s brittle. How bout nylon?

Say how do you folks across the pond size your ratchet handles? We here in US size ours by 3/4 1/2 3/8 1/4 etc.
 

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Good point raised Goober, alluminium will work harden, I should have realised that! Nylon could work I suppose, depends how much the crankcase expands when upto temperature though as the Nylon wouldn’t expand.
I’ll do some research into alloys suitable for the job. I had considered making the hexagonal end of the plug over length though, more like 3/4” so as there is a lot of plug in the socket when removing. I can source hexagonal aluminium quite easily, I’ll speak to the supplier and see which alloy would be best for the job.

We size our ratchets exactly the same funnily enough, it’s quite odd actually as we took on the stupid Metric system years ago! Imperial measurements seem to be creeping back in slowly though, it seems only big engineering companies are sticking to the metric system.
 
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