The treads on my oil pan plug hole are stripped. Can the oil pan be tapped in place or does it have to be removed. I am concerned about any filings being introduced into the oil pan. One service station says that will not be a problem because the oil pan is aluminum and easily tapped. Honda will not tap and will only put in a new oil pan.
First double-check the threads on the plug to be sure they're okay. Threads in aluminum pans are usually pretty deep to avoid this problem. Many auto parts stores have rubber oil pan plugs that you just push in. I don't think those are meant to be a permanent fix but they do work. They will also have Heli-Coil kits. Those involve tapping the hole to a specific oversize, then you run in a stainless steel spring that fits the thread you just cut, and the plug fits the thread on the inside. Those are a lot stronger than the aluminum threads.
When you tap the hole most of the chips are going to fall out. Very few will get pushed inside the pan. For those that do, put some thick wheel bearing grease on a stick or Q-tip and wipe it around inside the opening to collect those chips. You can use a vacuum cleaner too but that can get messy.
It may seem like the dealer is just interested in making more money by replacing the pan with another one that can develop the same problem, but they are accustomed to doing warranty work for a manufacturer, and most of them require cars in warranty be repaired in such a manner that it returns them to "like new" condition. Mechanics at independent repair shops don't have those restrictions to work under so they become good at repairing things to do the job they were intended to do, regardless whether they install new parts, make old parts work, or modify something to do a better job than the originals did.
September, 17, 2013 AT 9:05 PM
I agree. An independant shop will be the best at tackling this job with a heli-coil. However, I need to ask. Who changes your oil, and who stripped the threads out? If its a garage, bring it back, and they should do it at no charge.