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Stripped oil pan drain hole

Hi all i wanted to get some advice about this situation of a stripped oil drain hole. First some background, the car is a 1993 tempo 4 cylinder. It was my cousins car but she got a new one and i needed a car so she gave it to me. It runs pretty good have a valve cover gasket blown out that i had repaired. was fine after that till i decide a week later to change the oil. First thing i noticed was the drain plug was not the original, it was a big hex head on it. I found a wrench that would fit and begin to loosen it.

The second thing that set off a warning was when i was loosening it it felt wrong, grabby and grating. I started to panic and sure enough once it came out I saw it was a double oversized threading plug. I wanted to cry. Well i put a new washer on it and prayed it had some threads left in the hole, but it didnt look good esp with all the aluminum pieces that came out on it.

Now my poor car will not hold oil, mechanic says they cant time sert it, not enough material to hold it. Cant replace the pan there are none, not even from a junkyard, and they stopped making them years ago.

What can be done? My idea was to just seal the pan up and top drain from now on. But mechanic is iffy on that. He said they may be able to put a nut in the pan and try a new bolt. But honestly i dont think a normal weld will hold. I dont have a lot of money thats why i took the car. It runs good , but cant drive it now because the oil just pours out the drain hole when you do.

Go to NAPA or a good parts store and get a rubber expanding plug. Know how big your hole is to make sure its big enough. I’ve never done it but others have.


I asked the mechanic about that and he said no go. That it would be dangerous if that thing came out while driving. I looked at one of those at the parts store the day i found out the pan was stripped. He said he dont trust them, not sure i want to chance loosing all my oil driving and that came out. But thank you for the link, worked out for that guy.

I am sure a good mechanic can make new treads using a tap and die set.There are lots of oil pans on Ebay for the V6 but none for the 4 cylinder.

I’ve used the rubber expanding plugs that @Bing suggests. Sure they’re not the preferred solution, but they never let me down.

If it were me with a 25 year old vehicle and low on funds, I’d consider it again.

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It’s situations like this that motivated me to replace the drain plug with a valve on all of my vehicles. It’s usually one of the first things I do on a new vehicle. When I get to work later today I’ll post a link to one I recommend.

It sounds to me like your mechanic is being over cautious because he is in a position where, if his recommendation goes wrong, you might hold him responsible, so he’s better off recommending nothing than recommending your best options in this scenario. If he isn’t willing to cut new threads to fit an oversized drain valve, find another mechanic who is willing. I had a mechanic do this for me on an old motorcycle, but he was only grudgingly willing to cut new threads and install the drain valve if I agreed to take responsibility if it failed. I followed up by sealing the edges of the valve where it meets the pan with a high temperature putty epoxy. More than a decade later, it’s still holding.

EDIT: If you can find one, the item I recommend is a Fram Sure Drain kit. Unfortunately, Fram stopped making and selling them several years ago, but some are still on the market. If you can find one, buy the largest one you can find and have new threads cut to fit it: FRAM SD3 SureDrain Fast Access Oil Change Drain Plug System

The nice thing about the Fram Sure Drain kit is that it comes with a hose, making it easier to use without getting oil on your hands. Also, it’s harder to accidentally open it since you have to screw on the actuator to open the valve. The bad thing about this kit is that if you lose the actuator, you have to try to find and buy another kit.

I currently have this device installed on my motorcycle and my car’s manual transmission.

If you cannot find a Fram Sure Drain kit, or you can’t find it in the right size, I recommend this valve: Fumoto F-104 Engine Oil Drain Valve

Again, buy the largest one you can find and have new threads cut to fit it. I currently have one of these installed on my car’s oil pan, and although it is harder to open without getting oil on my hands, it works just as well. Just make sure it’s installed with the small lever pointed upward so it doesn’t stick out.

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I would use a rubber expanding plug. I use one on the bilge of my boat, like most boaters, and it holds tight. I also use the same kind for my live well. The bilge plug inserts horizontally and the live well inserts vertically. If you are concerned that your oil pan plug is upside down and might vibrate out, after inserting and expanding, use a piece of wire to insure it never falls out.

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@Dinna I assume the vehicle is at the shop now. I would try this: have a notarized letter stating that you will not hold the mechanic responsible for the repair you authorize. . Such as installing a plug or removing the pan and sealing it with a bolt and nut or whatever the two of you decide to put the vehicle back in use.
Your thought of pumping the oil out the top in the future makes sense also.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I didnt hardly sleep last night thinking about this lol. This morning a friend came over and I showed him the video that Bing posted. He said he never seen one on a car before but it may work for a while. So we looked up the part at oreillys , and he saw this too and thinks it would hold better.!+65109+Oil+Drain+Plug

I have ordered both and will see what one works best for now. @corollaguy if you mean tap and die kinda like a heilcoil or time sert he said they cant. Not enough material around the hole, so i dont know. I guess a good welder with the right setup for aluminum could seal the drain or make a new one. But no one around here does that kind of delicate work. My mechanic said if it was steel he would risk welding it, but even then the oil gets into the metal and he said its hard to get it cleaned up enough to bond.

The sad thing is if someone had not kept using a double oversized self threading plug on this thing it could have been fixed. He said everytime they took that plug out and put it back in they kept recutting the hole in the drain and crossthreading.

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If you can find someone who has a TIG welder, an aluminum bung can be welded to the oil pan, and then a pipe plug can be used.

But before they weld on the vehicle, the battery has to be disconnected, or an Anti-Zap connected to the battery.


It’s a '93. Not worth extensive (read expensive) repairs when a bung plug will work fine for the remainder of its life.

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Oh i will ask him about that welding. He was afraid we cant find a tig welder, and he dont do that.

@Twinturbo you are right its not worth all the hassle but its all i have to drive. I would be happy to seal the drain shut permanently and top drain the oil from now on. But apparently no one knows how to seal the hole on an aluminum pan and keep it from leaking,.

Just use the rubber bung plug and keep an eye on it until you get tired of looking at it and not finding a leak :wink:


:rofl: Thats what i will try first. I dont know a thing about them but my friend thinks the long one that goes inside the pan will work best. He is Leary of one that pops in, it may pop out :open_mouth:

I am leery of that one too because the oil system is pressurized. I am also leery about the one that comes with a wing nut and pushes the rubber plug out at the sides when you tighten it. I tried one of those on a lawnmower once and it didn’t hold oil.

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lol yeah i must be thinking of Dennis. But really i am trying the one with the wing in the oilpan because at least if it fails it wont just pop out all at once. Still waiting on mechanic to call me back too.

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I think you have to gamble a bit here. While this car is the only transportation you have, and of great value to you, it’s not worth spending a bunch of money on it. I’d put in the plug you decided to get, and then change the oil with a pump from now on. If you are very worried about it you can set up a search on ebay for a used oil pan, or maybe you can ask the local recycler to keep eyes open for a replacement pan. This car has a limited life expectancy now so it all might work out OK.

A tap and die is different from a helicoil. Tap and die would be cutting new threads in the hole in the oil pan, and then putting in a new bolt with matching threads. This may not be practical if the oil pan itself is jacked up - rust, for instance.

Ive never heard of aluminum rusting.


I was thinking of this guy.


The one you posted has an anchor on the back, that goes inside of the pan, and I approve of that one. It’s not like the one I was describing. Yours presses against the outside of the of the pan rather than on the outer walls of the hole.