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Old 11-14-2019, 02:45 PM   #1
RMcG
 
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Oil pan plug threads apparently stripped

I almost always get my oil changed at walmart. I went yesterday and had the oil changed and the manager told me when they tried to tighten the drain plug it just spins. They said they checked it and it is not leaking, even when the oil system is pressurized. They recommend "Panthread service before next oil change." I am personally worried it's going to leak long before the next oil change or even just let go and essentially run out.

We looked back at the previous oil change (done by Walmart 5K miles ago). There were no comments about the drain plug being faulty. In fact the comments appear to say they torqued the plug to 28 foot pounds, which I think is what they say they usually do.

QUESTIONS: Do you guys recommend putting new threads in by tapping the plug hole?

Or should I have a new pan installed?

How much will these kind of jobs cost?

Do you think I have any hope of getting Walmart to cover the cost of these jobs?

Thanks,

R.
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:01 PM   #2
myfirstyota
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Shouldn't cost anything if the car always goes to the same place. I had this problem with mr lube. They said to me " your oil plug is stripped" I said "cool, when you plan on fixing that? You've done the past 5 services without issue, clearly you stripped it" they said "when can you bring the car in so we can helicoil it?" The repair was free.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:46 PM   #3
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+1 on probably their fault and force them to fix it. A helicoil would probably work as a repair but you'd risk introducing metal shavings into the engine to do that. The pan is super easy to swap, like 12 10mm bolts and like 25mins of labor.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:39 PM   #4
myfirstyota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brighton View Post
+1 on probably their fault and force them to fix it. A helicoil would probably work as a repair but you'd risk introducing metal shavings into the engine to do that. The pan is super easy to swap, like 12 10mm bolts and like 25mins of labor.
You're most likely right with the metal shavings.
That was a 2002 300m special I had the issue with. I hit 534,000km with that car and original engine. I got lucky I guess and didnt have an issue
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brighton View Post
+1 on probably their fault and force them to fix it. A helicoil would probably work as a repair but you'd risk introducing metal shavings into the engine to do that. The pan is super easy to swap, like 12 10mm bolts and like 25mins of labor.
Thanks Brighton and MyFirstToyota,

I went back to Walmart today and they pretty much committed to paying, but want some kind of statement from a garage that the threads are damaged due to abnormal usage, not normal wear and tear. I told the manager at Walmart I have had six cars and almost all of them I have driven over 100K (one was drive over 200K) and none has ever had this problem, so I think the normal wear and tear theory does not hold water.

I have an appointment to get the problem fixed at a garage here that has a good reputation. The guy I talked to said the pans on my Yaris are not very heavy metal, so he said they may not be able to just re-thread the hole.

QUESTION: Does anybody have an opinion about the pan of the Yaris not being particularly suited for re-threading?

I think if they take the plug out and can see clear stripping or cross threading damage, then Walmart should pay. In fact the garage said they'd give me the old pan to take to Walmart.

QUESTION: Does anybody have any comments about getting this type of evidence of negligence?

Re. DIY installation of a new lower pan, I do not have a garage for doing this myself, it's rainy & getting colder here in the Pacific NW and I worry about messing up the gasket & seal of the lower to upper oil pans. I went to a good garage here and the estimate is 124 USD parts & 246 USD labor. And Walmart should pay (I hope & think).

Any other comments from anybody will be welcomed.

Thanks,

R.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:25 AM   #6
myfirstyota
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I would argue that they want you to take the car to a garage for inspection. Sounds like another expense and a waste of your time. If you had the car at walmart for the past 3 or 4 consecutive services, without issue, it's clear they stripped the plug. I've never heard of 'normal wear and tear' for drain plugs. Remember that this bolt is probably removed and reinstalled more than any other bolt on the car amd I'm sure manufacturers are aware of this.
Walmart has good customer service. I'd tell them I'm not paying for a garage to inspect my car before they pay to fix it.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:20 AM   #7
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Usually the bolt strips out first, maybe chase the threads of the pan and get a new plug. Flush it with oil too.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:03 PM   #8
RMcG
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-x-fire View Post
Usually the bolt strips out first, maybe chase the threads of the pan and get a new plug. Flush it with oil too.
thanks to everybody for their replies. Walmart told me they would essentially pay for an inspection, i.e., an oil change so that a shop can look at the threads. I am not sure why they cannot do this themselves. Maybe they want a garage to say there is damage.

My inclination is to get the entire pan replaced if there is clear damage to the threads, because I have heard that the re-threading does not always work and you can have leaks.

QUESTION: Does anybody have any comments about the reliability of re-threading procedures, like helicoil?

Here is a discussion of the various solutions that looks pretty good
https://ricksfreeautorepairadvice.co...il-drain-plug/

Here is an interesting DIY solution that is relatively simple that looks like it might work. It involves JB Weld, see link

I expect that there will be clear damage to the threads, because they (Walmart) can no longer torque the bolt, it just spins.

Any other comments will be welcomed.

Thanks,

R.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:46 PM   #9
myfirstyota
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I did 300,000km after mine was helicoiled. Engine blew before the helicoil gave way. And I kept bring the car back to the mr lube that stripped it. The oil pan was aluminum.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:33 PM   #10
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The oil pan is easy to change too.
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMcG View Post
thanks to everybody for their replies. Walmart told me they would essentially pay for an inspection, i.e., an oil change so that a shop can look at the threads. I am not sure why they cannot do this themselves. Maybe they want a garage to say there is damage.

My inclination is to get the entire pan replaced if there is clear damage to the threads, because I have heard that the re-threading does not always work and you can have leaks.

QUESTION: Does anybody have any comments about the reliability of re-threading procedures, like helicoil?

Here is a discussion of the various solutions that looks pretty good
https://ricksfreeautorepairadvice.co...il-drain-plug/

Here is an interesting DIY solution that is relatively simple that looks like it might work. It involves JB Weld, see link

I expect that there will be clear damage to the threads, because they (Walmart) can no longer torque the bolt, it just spins.

Any other comments will be welcomed.

Thanks,

R.
If you go on YouTube and type in "Toyota Rav4 2AZFE Stripped Head Bolt Repair" you will see a 5 part series by a mechanic in upstate New York using helicoils to repair stripped out headbolts on an engine! Helicoils are incredible when done properly. I have also seen them used to repair blown out spark plugs and have heard of them being used for glow plugs on diesel engines.

Worst case - you could source an oil sump from the scrap yard and swap it.

Chances are it was an oil change place using a half inch impact gun to zap the bolt in. I have heard all sorts of horror stories about these oil change places over on your side of the pond.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:17 PM   #12
RMcG
 
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Thanks to everybody for their responses. The garage I took it to said that they could not back out the plug, it just spins rather than backs out. On the invoice they said "FOUND OIL PAN DRAIN PLUG STRIPPED AND JUST TURNS- NEED OIL PAN REPLACED." The garage did not want to put on the invoice that the damage was not due to normal wear and tear. The garage did not even try a helicoil. I'm not sure if they had just pulled out the plug if that would have made the hole so large it could not have been repaired with a helicoil or not. In any case, they replaced the lower oil pan and they stated on the invoice that the threads were stripped.

Walmart paid for the entire cost of a new lower oil pan replacement, total cost (parts plus labor + new oil) $415 USD. I was told that if the cost of the job is under $600, then Walmart can reimburse from in store funds, without having to go outside the store, which apparently takes longer.

I supplied Walmart with the garage invoice and credit card receipt for the pan replacement job. I told them I changed the oil every 5000 miles in accordance with the instructions in the owner's manual. And I wrote them a short note saying that I had had the oil changed at Walmart the last 3 times (at 95000 miles, 100000 miles and 105000 miles a few days before). I noted that Walmart told me they had had trouble removing the drain plug before the last recent oil change at 105000 miles. And I stated that the most likely explanation for this was that Walmart had over torqued the plug at the previous (100000 mile) oil change or had mistakenly turned the plug clockwise when trying to loosen the plug at recent the 105000 mile change. Walmart had access to all three invoices (as well as many more, since I had had the oil changed there probably at least 15 of the 21 total times the oil has been changed on the car). They checked the last two previous oil changes to see if there had been comments to the effect that the plug appeared stripped and there were no such comments. The two previous Walmart records did state that the plug had been correctly torqued to 28. Whether this is accurate or not I do not know.

In any case, I feel Walmart handled it well and I will continue to take my car there. I used to change my own oil myself years ago, but the convenience of getting somebody else (with a pit or lift, etc) to do it is important to me and they get a good price on the oil and filter, so the materials & labor are reasonable cost.

Thanks,

R.

P.S. The repair garage gave me the old lower oil pan with the drain plug still in place.

Last edited by RMcG; 11-24-2019 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:14 AM   #13
myfirstyota
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Great to hear!
Sounds like my mr.lube experience. No muss, no fuss, good customer service.

I know here in Ontario, it's the customer's legal right to request their old parts, if wanted.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:34 AM   #14
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That's impressive customer service from Wal Mart.
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