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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So my wife's 01' VW Gulf has a stripped out oil pan drain for the second time since she's owned it. The first time it was stripped it was because we took it to a quick lube place and they overtightened it. We deserved that one for being dumb enough to trust a quick lube with a German car. We had the oil pan replaced and leanred our lesson (about 400$ parts and labor).

Today our VW mechanic who we've taken it to for the past 4 years calls after I drop it off for an oil change saying the drain is stripped again and won't take the plug :madmax:. The reason we started going to this fancy shop that only works on VW, BMW, Porche Audi, was to avoid things like this.

After researching this I've found that many German cars use aluminum oil pans because they are lite and cool off faster, but because of the aluminum you need to torque it less than a traditional steel pan.

I'm a little dumbfounded by this. Is it really that easy to strip an oil pan? Is 4 years reasonable wear and tear on an oil pan? I find that hard to believe. It seems like the only way you can strip out a drain is to cross thread or over tighten.

Since they were the only shop to ever touch that bolt for the past 4 years I think they should pay and have told the manager so. I'm now waiting for the call back. EDIT: Actually my wife called and told them that. I hate conflict :)
 

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I have changed oil on at least two cars with aluminum oil pans and have never had a problem. The drain plug does not need to be that tight, it doesn't hold the car together it just holds the oil the pan, and there is no pressure on it. You may not need to get a new oil pan though. They make a larger plug. You just thread it into the existing hole and it taps new treads as it goes. I think the car I used that on had a steel oil pan, but should also work on the aluminum one.
 

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And I don't mean the band
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That's exactly why I change the oil myself. I hardly trust anybody to do work on my car at all.

Took it in once, had to put a 3 foot piece of pipe on my wrench after that because the plug was torqued so tight. That was the last time. :skep:
 

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Happened on my F150, though luckily it was the plug that stripped and not the threads in the oil pan.

Often the pan may be aluminum, but the threaded bung that the plug threads into is steel. That can be re-threaded to a larger size (obviously the oil would have to be changed again).

Alternatively, you can get a rubberized expandable gasket that pops in and expands when you torque the head. This is not a perfect solution, but it works well for some folks. Good luck.
 

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I have to repair these all the time for customers, ---------I will generally 'Time insert' or 'Heilecoil' the threads , or sometimes I will weld it and re-cut the threads , or just drill and re-cut new threads for a larger bolt .

You do not need to change the oil pan .

Bob , the big thing is do not ever let anybody change the oil in your car accept you , I get so many vehicles screwed up because of the hack work that gets done to them .:madman:
 

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My other ride is your mom
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My vote is that the shop fixes the problem on their dime...you pay them to change the oil....your expected level of service is that they do that....without damaging the car. It's their responsibility if they employ folks who can't thread a plug right.....

Can you imagine taking your bike to a shop to have the shock serviced...only to have the manager inform you that they stripped the threads on one of the shock bolts when re-installing the shock and that you'd need to buy another one?
 

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Maadjurguer said:
Can you imagine taking your bike to a shop to have the shock serviced...only to have the manager inform you that they stripped the threads on one of the shock bolts when re-installing the shock and that you'd need to buy another one?
Especially when one speciality bolt generally comes in a $70 dollar kit they do not have and will not have for 10 days at best,

I end up making a one off bolt , servicing the shock and getting her going that day to keep people happy.

When I run acrost a stripped oil drain bolt or screwed up chassis bolt in a bike or something, I just fix it correctly whithout even bringing it to the customers attention .

The customer will just think I did it anyway , and I just find it better to fix it and go on .:thumbsup:
 

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One concern with having the shop repair it, are they capable? You don't want a bigger problem than you have now. As mentioned already, there are repair options available!
 

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trb2929 said:
One concern with having the shop repair it, are they capable? You don't want a bigger problem than you have now. !
Unfortunatly this is a sad but very true question that needs to be addressed .

Since they made a big deal about the bolt being stripped always makes me wonder about any real craftsmanship or exsperiance . ( or the tooling to do this kind of work )

Like I say , they should have just fixed it like there was nothing wrong anyway .

Bob, if it turns out to be a pain and they want to floorjack you up off of your wallet , PM me and I will repair it for you .
 

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I agree with other's in both that the shop should fix it, and that it should be repairable with a Time-sert, no new pan needed.



I hate oil change places. Always take the company car in, until this last time when I said f-it, easy to do myself, and I want to run synthetic. First thing I noticed? I could not possibly get enough torque with te 3/8 ratchet to get the drain plug out. Grabbed the 1/2 inch and had to reef on it. Lug nuts torrqued to 110 ft-lbs usually seem easier than this!
Second thing I noticed? They wrote the date, mileage, and "10W-30" on the filter, as well as the airbox lid. Too bad the thing takes 5W-20, and says so right on the fill cap in giant yellow font.
 

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I had the same problem in the same model year car. The company that stripped it paid for a new oil pan. It was a lot of conflict, but saved me $400. Choose wisely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the advice all. The shop owner has been contacted and I think he's going to make good on this. It sounds like he understands that one of his technicians probably overtightened the bolt. I he wants me to pay for anything more than a bolt and an oil change I'm out and will try one of the mentioned fix methods.

I'll change the oil and do simple maintenance in our past cars and our 4Runner, but the VW is a total PITA. Everything is out or reach and has some annoying extra step. The battery cover and bottom clamp are especially frustrating, even changing the headlamps is sucks. There will be no VW's in my future.

thanks again.
 

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Don't feel too bad...I just got a call back from benzo on my ML430....my ski-vehicle.....Two cracked catalytic converters....$2600 parts and labor, Door lock malfunction (ongoing problem), $530 parts and labor and Brake sensor light preventing me from getting it into drive....$225 parts and labor. There goes my Whistler hopes for this winter......
 

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Maadjurguer said:
Don't feel too bad...I just got a call back from benzo on my ML430....my ski-vehicle.....Two cracked catalytic converters....$2600 parts and labor, Door lock malfunction (ongoing problem), $530 parts and labor and Brake sensor light preventing me from getting it into drive....$225 parts and labor. There goes my Whistler hopes for this winter......
ML430.....is that your wife's ski vehicle....? :+)
 

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windrider
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referral and info?

chongoman said:
Thanks for the advice all. The shop owner has been contacted and I think he's going to make good on this. It sounds like he understands that one of his technicians probably overtightened the bolt. I he wants me to pay for anything more than a bolt and an oil change I'm out and will try one of the mentioned fix methods.

I'll change the oil and do simple maintenance in our past cars and our 4Runner, but the VW is a total PITA. Everything is out or reach and has some annoying extra step. The battery cover and bottom clamp are especially frustrating, even changing the headlamps is sucks. There will be no VW's in my future.

thanks again.
Chongoman, thanks for the (t)h(r)eads up on this matter. My '04 Passat is about to need some attention and I found one shop that I am considering going to but I am curious about the one you are using. I try not to use this forum for throwing around referrals or warnings so if you get to this and have the time would you pm me or post here who you're using? "Conscientious auto repair shop" is almost an oxymoron and I am searching. I do everything myself on my other 4 wheeler (a '61 Willys Utility Wagon) because I can but that is not the case with the VW. If I lived where the summers were more temperate the VW would have been gone long ago.

Thanks,

BRM
 
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