Another Stripped Threads On Oil Pan! (1968 Galaxie)

First: I’ve read all the other threads on this situation. That said…

Okay, so here’s the problem: last time we took William’s 1968 Ford Galaxie 302 V-8 to our mechanic for an oil change, I was told: “The threads stripped on the oil pan - we couldn’t re-thread it, so we used a rubber plug - we’ve used them before, and they’re good for 2 or 3 oil changes”. So far, so good - except, the next time we took his car in, Mark (our mechanic) told me: “Your oil leak is coming from the plug” (the car has a slow dripping oil leak).

Four questions:

1. Why wouldn’t it be possible to use a time-sert or helicoil to re-thread the pan?

2. Is it normal procedure to use a rubber plug, in such a situation? Are rubber oil pan plugs safe?

3. If the pan can’t be re-threaded, then does the motor have to be removed to install a new pan? How hard IS it to replace the oil pan?

4. Was it Mark’s fault that the oil pan drain plug threads got stripped? Or do those things “just happen”? It should be noted that I’ve known Mark for over a decade, and that he is an honest, forthright guy - also, other mechanics worked on the car, before he ever got it.

5. Should I just ignore the drip under the car, and fix it at a more opportune time? Or fix the problem now, before my son takes the car off to college?

Thanks for your advice.

regards, jeff

  1. It’s a cheap way out of the problem for the one that caused it. - I wouldn’t accept it.

  2. Those things don’t “just happen.” Someone screwed up. If the same shop is the only shop that has touched it for the last several times, then it was them.

  3. Fix it now before the oil runs low (or the plug suddenly falls out) and engine damage occurs.

I don’t know about your car, but for the most part, the cars that have have the engine removed to replace the oil pan are newer front wheel drive cars. I wouldn’t imagine yours is one of them.

Has anyone besides Mark changed the car’s oil? If not, Mark should be footing the bill for this repair.

Chances are, the only way (and, incidently, the proper way) to fix this is to replace the pan. Then, make sure whoever changes your oil knows the proper torque spec for your drain plug, and uses a fresh crush washer and a torque wrench each and every time. This kind of thing doesn’t “just happen.” It is the result of ham-fisted carelessness.

Here is a link to a product that has been used by folks on this board:

If that doens’t work, I would replace the pan. I don’t recall the job being very hard on that motor.

Given the fact that probably a whole lot of people probably changed oil on this car for the past 40 years, I would certainly cut the mechanic some slack. He may well be the victim and not the problem.

Since the oil pan is made from stamped steel, it wouldn’t be all that hard to weld a bung to the oil pan so a pipe plug can be used as a drain plug.


If it was mine, I’d probably do it right on the car. Coat the drill bit in vaseline and buzz out the old threads. Grind the face clean and weld the new bung right to it. Dump some of the drained oil through it again to flush out any metal not trapped by the vaseline and viola! Assuming an insert wasn’t an option…

I’d do it on the car too. But I wouldn’t mess with gnarled threads in the pan. I would remove the drain plug, center the bung over the drain hole, weld it to the pan and thread in the pipe plug.


I’d cut new threads oversize. I don’t think it’d need a new bung welded on.

Thanks everyone, for the sage advice. I’m going to talk with Mark tomorrow - in a non-confrontational way - and ask HIM how HE would fix it in a more permanent manner… I mean, he has always been honest in the ten years I’ve known him - but this cheesy fix - using a rubber plug -well, not so good! Anyways… if the hole can’t be re-threaded, one of my buddies suggested getting a larger aftermarket pan - yes or no? In any event, if Mark won’t pay for the whole amount, then maybe I can him to split the cost - whatever. As my friend said, “If he’s not willing to negotiate, maybe it’s time for a new mechanic?”

ah, no.

Dont dump the old oil back in.

Bad move.

I see nothing wrong with using an aftermarket pan, as long as it fits and is properly installed.

Thanks - as an addendum to all this: went over and talked with Mark this morning. He said “The previous mechanic overtightened the drain plug… we had a heck of a time getting it off!”. Do I believe him? Well, the LAST “official” oil change I have record of (prior to this one) was at his shop - but - my other son (who owned the car previously) did his own work - so, who knows? Anyways, Mark is going down to Kragen to find out about using a Time-Sert or re-threading the pan (removing the old pan is labor-intensive, since a cross-member blocks the pan - the motor has to be lifted up). Conclusion: mechanic says it is not his fault. Customer is unsure if it’s true. I mean, it sounds reasonable, and I’ve never had Mark lie to me… but still, lingering doubts… Time for a new mechanic?

It would be best if you didn’t have to drill them out. I suspect that the new plug OD would interfere with the old bung ID. I’ve done this a few times before and I had to buzz out the damaged bung to allow the new one to fit through it. If not, one less thing to worry about!

hilander, if you’re so paranoid about freshly drained oil going back through the head straight to the pan, then use fresh oil by all means but it’s not necessary. I’m not talking about using the sludge from the bottom of the pan here. This is the same oil that was circulating through the engine moments before…

TSM, the tough part about cutting new threads is you have to be perpendicular to the old face or at least close enough the crush washer can take up the difference. In my experience it’s actually been easier to just weld a new bung in place and it’s guaranteed to be a good seal. It’s a wash timewise and eliminates the risk. YMMV of course!

The car’s 42 years old. I’d be reluctant to place the blame for this on the current mechanic.

Thanks - yeah, it’s always a tough call: “Is the mechanic screwing me, or is it just bad luck?” - Virtually ALL of the mechanics in our small town are crooks (popular game: Rip Off the Tourists), so I’d hate to lose Mark - but with the tough economy, there are some mechanics who will “bend” their ethics, when it comes to repairs. Mark has always been straight with me, although, sometimes, it has appeared that he screwed up or used poor judgment (like when he replaced the timing belt on my Subie, but DIDN’T replace the idler pulley - so, of course, the idler pulley self-destructed, 30,000 miles later!). But, who knows? Maybe someone else over-tightened the bolt? Guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt!

before you go nuts drilling, tapping, plugging, etc. on most oil pans the threads in the pan are a lot harder metel than the plug, so that the plug strips before the threads in the pan do. buy a new plug and see if it threads in. i had the same problen. the plug should strip a long time befoe the pan threads, unless some clown used the wrong bolt(plug)in your pan.