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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did my first oil change yesterday at 600km. I wanted to do it around the time I figured most of the parts had worn in. I did find a significant amount of metal bits in the oil, and some flecks almost 1mm x 1mm (maybe a little less). So I'm glad I changed the oil when I did.

However, BEFORE I even touched the drain plug I looked at it and noticed a fairly large drip hanging off it. It appeared to be oil, and was somewhat dark - indicating somewhat (but not highly) dirty oil. I immediately suspected oil was dripping from the drain plug, but I also remembered I had washed the bike 2 days prior, and considered the possibility that it COULD have been some water dripping down with a bit of road grime and it just happened to collect on the drain plug. However, it was not consistent in colour or consistency with road grime suspended in water - in fact it matched the colour of the oil I subsequently drained from the engine.

Besides, it has been hot and sunny with perfectly dry roads since I got the bike 1 week ago; I only once road through a bit of water running across the road from someone watering their lawn. When I washed the bike, it wasn't to take off any road grime, there wasn't any, really. It was because I hadn't yet washed it from new, and there was a bit of dust and whatever oily stuff they cover the bike in for shipping to preserve it, and keep it looking shiny and new.

But I kept it in mind and went about 100km again after changing the oil yesterday. When I got back, I looked under the bike again, and sure enough there was a drip of oil there. This time the drip matched exactly the colour of the new oil I had used when changing the oil.

Could it have, while filling the oil, dripped down the right side of the engine and travelled all the way over to the drain plug? I do not believe it would be physically possible to do that, but maybe; except for the fact that I was hyper-meticulous in wiping the one or two drips that did escape (I was using a funnel, and I was even able to 'thread' the plastic funnel into the filler hole a bit) before they were even able to make it down the side of the oil cover and to the bottom corner. I also saw no traces on the bottom of the engine. Nor did it seem likely that the drips were coming from the left side of the engine.

The engine is not losing oil, as I have been watching the little window vigilantly. So, it's not like a fast leak. However, there is certainly oil coming from somewhere, and collecting on the oil drain plug.

Conclusion: the oil drain plug is seeping oil.

As for torquing it correctly, I bought a BRAND NEW inch-pound torque wrench half an hour before doing the job, and set it to the appropriate setting. I used a brand new washer (I'll have to take it on faith that it was in fact a "crush" washer), and the original washer also certainly had indications that it was a crush washer, as you could make out a slight crush line on it. So, it appears that the washer and the torque are correct.

So what do I do? Is this normal, or is there a warranty issue here? How do I stop it from seeping; and SHOULD I be trying to stop it from seeping?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Back the plug off 1 turn,
spin the washer 180 degrees,
then retighten.
 

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Do as aufitt says or just replace the washer.

Also if the torque wrench is a "clicker" type, torque the bolt at a lower setting and click it a few times, then dial it up to final torque and click it once more. The clicker wrenches are convenient, but if they're new or haven't been used in a few weeks/months, the pawl mechanism may be a bit 'stuck' due to sitting for so long.

The 'crush' of a 'crush washer' will be *very* apparent. It's not just a line, the entire washer will flatten out to fill the seat and make a seal. With time you'll be able to feel the washer being crushed and can do away with using a torque wrench on low-torque fittings that use them.

Example:
 

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You can guess at 18 ft-lb if you want to...I don't like to guess.
Using a torque wrench is fine, just make sure you're using it correctly if you're going to use it. I use mine on parts where consistent torque is important, like lug nuts/bolts, suspension parts, head bolts, things like that. I've never used one on a drain plug (oil, transmission, or diff) though, and I've never had one leak or break off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Aw man, I meant to put this in the maintenance section. Any chance of it getting moved there?

I'll try rotating the washer as suggested, but what is the theory behind that?

Allen, it IS a new washer that did the same thing as the original; I can't see replacing the washer would fix it.

Would increasing the torque by a certain percentage hurt? I'm concerned about stripping the engine. <------ that would apply to the poster who said not to bother with the torque wrench, too. Besides, I'm the sort who just cannot have a light touch when it comes to tightening bolts. I tend to crank everything down with no feel for how much I'm putting on it. So I'm glad to have a torque wrench.
 

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Allen, it IS a new washer that did the same thing as the original; I can't see replacing the washer would fix it.
They aren't meant to be reused as they take on the form of the surrounding parts once used. It won't "fix" the issue, but you have already "crushed" the new one once. Doesn't matter if it's been on the bike 6000 miles or 6 miles, once it's been used, you "need" a new one.

"need" is in quotes because, sometimes, you can reseat the washer as Aufitt said and it will work fine. It's hardly something to bank on when a new washer is so cheap though.

Would increasing the torque by a certain percentage hurt? I'm concerned about stripping the engine. <------ that would apply to the poster who said not to bother with the torque wrench, too. Besides, I'm the sort who just cannot have a light touch when it comes to tightening bolts. I tend to crank everything down with no feel for how much I'm putting on it. So I'm glad to have a torque wrench.
I said that once you're comfortable/familiar/experienced with crush washers, you can tighten the bolts in front of them without a torque wrench. It doesn't take long to develop a feel for when the washer has crushed adequately, and that's all your after on the bolts that need them.

As for your tendency.. well you'll have to change that, or just keep using the torque wrench on everything, which of course is fine.

You did say you bought an INCH-pound torque wrench, are you sure you dialed it up high enough? The torque spec on the drain plug is 18 FOOT-pounds, which is 216 INCH-pounds (18 * 12).
 

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On the upside, lobsterclaws make it easier to drill and tap a new drain hole after you've JB welded the last one shut... people make a bigger deal out of broken oilpan drain bolts than it really is. ;)
 

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dealer told me to change out crush washer every 3 or 4 or so oil changes..

phhsst..it only costs pennies...so change it every time....and i still need a torque wrench....so far the snug it up real good plus another quarter turn has worked magic
 

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On the upside, lobsterclaws make it easier to drill and tap a new drain hole after you've JB welded the last one shut... people make a bigger deal out of broken oilpan drain bolts than it really is. ;)
I'm sure it gets easier with a lot of practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They aren't meant to be reused as they take on the form of the surrounding parts once used. It won't "fix" the issue, but you have already "crushed" the new one once. Doesn't matter if it's been on the bike 6000 miles or 6 miles, once it's been used, you "need" a new one.

"need" is in quotes because, sometimes, you can reseat the washer as Aufitt said and it will work fine. It's hardly something to bank on when a new washer is so cheap though.

You did say you bought an INCH-pound torque wrench, are you sure you dialed it up high enough? The torque spec on the drain plug is 18 FOOT-pounds, which is 216 INCH-pounds (18 * 12).
So are you saying that the one I put on was faulty? Or that once you tighten it a bit, it can't be tightened more? So far it hasn't been loosened, moved, rotated, etc. If it's not faulty, what would a new washer offer that this one didn't. I really am just being confused here, not trying to be difficult. I just don't understand what putting a different crush washer in there would accomplish that wasn't accomplished with the first one. Is it that the engine has run for a few minutes, and that somehow affects the ability of the crush washer to do it's job?

And, yes, I mentioned it was an inch-pound torque wrench to indicate it's sensitivity. I actually used the N*m scale at the appropriate setting stated in the Owner's Manual (24 N*m), if I recall correctly.

And considering my wrench was about 12 inches long it did feel like I was putting ABOUT 18 pounds of force on it.
 

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It should have sealed...go tighter at your oun risk, shouldn't be necessary. Next time you have it off, look at the surfaces of the plug flange and the face of the drain hole to make sure they look flat and undamaged. Wipe it all clean when you put it back in.
 

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So are you saying that the one I put on was faulty? Or that once you tighten it a bit, it can't be tightened more? So far it hasn't been loosened, moved, rotated, etc. If it's not faulty, what would a new washer offer that this one didn't. I really am just being confused here, not trying to be difficult. I just don't understand what putting a different crush washer in there would accomplish that wasn't accomplished with the first one. Is it that the engine has run for a few minutes, and that somehow affects the ability of the crush washer to do it's job?
Again I am not saying a new washer is going to fix your problem. It might well not. I am saying that if you DO decide to take the plug back out, do not reuse the washer you have.

The one you have has already been crushed. Maybe it was defective (thin in a spot), maybe it was off center, or maybe you didn't go tight enough. Maybe you or someone else cross-threaded the plug and you're boned now. I don't know.

What I do know is that those crush washers are single-use disposable items. If you take it off, you should replace it. It's not worth the hassle to try to reuse one that has already been crushed unless you have no choice.

And, yes, I mentioned it was an inch-pound torque wrench to indicate it's sensitivity. I actually used the N*m scale at the appropriate setting stated in the Owner's Manual (24 N*m), if I recall correctly.
Ok, just checking. Most inch-pound torque wrenches do not go that high; Most top out before 100, I've seen one or two that go up to 200. I haven't personally seen or used one that goes to 216. Clicker types (which I assume you are using, since you don't 'set' beam types, and the digital ones are expensive) are also not known for their accuracy towards the low or high ends of their range.

Inch-lb torque wrenches are also usually not marked in N*m, they are marked in dNm and/or cm-Kg.

And considering my wrench was about 12 inches long it did feel like I was putting ABOUT 18 pounds of force on it.
It's possible it's not the plug leaking, as you said. It could just be crap thrown up from the road, crap flung off the chain and then running down the block, a leak somewhere else, or who knows what else. If you don't know for sure, just clean it off, and slap a bit of high-temp duct tape over it. Go ride around, then peel the tape off and look for oil inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again I am not saying a new washer is going to fix your problem. It might well not. I am saying that if you DO decide to take the plug back out, do not reuse the washer you have.

The one you have has already been crushed. Maybe it was defective (thin in a spot), maybe it was off center, or maybe you didn't go tight enough. Maybe you or someone else cross-threaded the plug and you're boned now. I don't know.
Ahh, ok, gotcha.

It does seem strange that it occurred both directly from the factory, and with mine, however.

Ok, just checking. Most inch-pound torque wrenches do not go that high; Most top out before 100, I've seen one or two that go up to 200. I haven't personally seen or used one that goes to 216. Clicker types (which I assume you are using, since you don't 'set' beam types, and the digital ones are expensive) are also not known for their accuracy towards the low or high ends of their range.

Inch-lb torque wrenches are also usually not marked in N*m, they are marked in dNm and/or cm-Kg.



It's possible it's not the plug leaking, as you said. It could just be crap thrown up from the road, crap flung off the chain and then running down the block, a leak somewhere else, or who knows what else. If you don't know for sure, just clean it off, and slap a bit of high-temp duct tape over it. Go ride around, then peel the tape off and look for oil inside.
Yeah, I'm looking at my torque wrench now, range is from 25 - 250 Inch-Pounds (3.61 - 29.03 NEWTON-METERS {stamped right on the shaft}: I'm from Canada, Eh! | * |). So, I was up to about the 85% point of the torque wrench.

That idea about the high-temp duct tape is brilliant! But if you couldn't gather from my original post, I'm virtually POSITIVE it was engine oil. Otherwise it wouldn't have had a nice 'clean oil' look after the oil change and the 'matching in colour to the old oil' look before the change. The point of my original narrative was to indicate I'd considered those possibilities and eliminated them.

I know for certain I didn't cross thread it, and though I don't remember, I MUST have wiped off the face of the drain hole - I went through so many shop towels! Next time I'll take a look at the face of the drain hole, and the flange of the bolt. In the meantime, I'll rotate the washer and 'work up' to the right torque and maybe go a few pounds more.

I'll get back to you, it's supposed to rain here for the next 6 days, so I won't be able to tell anything before then.
 

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This is the last time I will caution about going a few pounds more. They don't give you the spec for nothing. 18 ftlb is plenty. But do what you want.
 

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I wouldn't over-tighten it either. A "few pounds" is a lot on a bolt with such a low spec. With a steel bolt and an aluminum oil pan, you know which one is going to fail first -- it's not going to be the bolt.

Also, in the "is it plugged in" department, make sure you didn't accidentally end up with two washers on there. I know you removed one, but it's possible there were two there to start with. They can sometimes stick to the block rather than coming out with the bolt.
 

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Also, get out there and ride in the rain.. better to do it on purpose when you're expecting it than to have it catch you by surprise and play hell with your nerves. The stock tires are great in the rain, just give yourself extra time and distance as you do with any vehicle. Be a little more careful around manhole covers, tar lines, and crosswalks; slippery when wet applies. ;)
 

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Back the plug off 1 turn,
spin the washer 180 degrees,
then retighten.
Did you try my 30 second fix ?

9 times out of 10 it works.
Common practice. and no I wont explain the rocket science behind it.


*Aussie inginuity.. we like the K.I.S.S. principle.
 
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