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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-11-2007, 05:35 PM
lesaroka lesaroka is offline
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'92 325i-- oil drail plug stripped HEEEELP!

Hello BMW people.
I recently bought a 92 325i with an oil leak. Today I discovered that the oil is coming from the oil drain plug. I was really happy until I tried to tighten it. I discovered that it doesn't tighten. I have never dealt with this problem before and I could really use some advice on what to do. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2007, 05:41 PM
Ethirtysicks Ethirtysicks is offline
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find a slightly oversized plug at either a hardware store or maybe even autozone. OR get a heli coil kit, bust out the tap and dye if its not too bad....or time for a new pan. good luck buddy.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2007, 01:33 AM
bobbobb bobbobb is offline
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just find out what thread you have on your oil plug get the next size up and drain your oil tap the new thread put new plug in and jobs done

you may be lucky and it may be the threads on the plug thats stripped and not you sump in that case run a correct size tap and put new plug in
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2007, 03:10 AM
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Agreed on helicoil. The oil pan is made of aluminum, and if some moron at a Jiffy Lube over-torques the plug, its screwed. Am sure its the pan and not the bolt, but of course be sure to check the bolt too, just in case. Lastly, there's always the chance that someone put a bolt from another car in and gave someone else yours, so perhaps be sure its the correct size, compare with a brand new one at BMW, if they are the same size, time for helicoil.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2007, 10:33 AM
SCANDINAVIAN13 SCANDINAVIAN13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethirtysicks View Post
find a slightly oversized plug at either a hardware store or maybe even autozone. OR get a heli coil kit, bust out the tap and dye if its not too bad....or time for a new pan. good luck buddy.
I advise using a helicoil. It fixes the issue, unlike an oversized plug. That just slaps a bandage on it until you need another oversized plug.
A new pan is expensive, so look into a helicoil. You will need to pull the pan off of the car to fit the new coil, however, as you don't want to risk sparks around that area. Gas and oil aren't too friendly when it comes to sparks.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2007, 01:53 PM
bobbobb bobbobb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCANDINAVIAN13 View Post
I advise using a helicoil. It fixes the issue, unlike an oversized plug. That just slaps a bandage on it until you need another oversized plug.
A new pan is expensive, so look into a helicoil. You will need to pull the pan off of the car to fit the new coil, however, as you don't want to risk sparks around that area. Gas and oil aren't too friendly when it comes to sparks.

a oversized plug correctly tapped is not a bandage its as good as the real thing,

also dont know where the sparks are coming from a helicoil as to do it correctly you do it by hand and on a ali sump then there cant be sparks.

all a helicoil is a simple way to get the thread back to where it should be, so if the plug is 15mm and the thread pitch is 1.5 then you need a 16.5mm tap and helicoil thus taking it back down to 15mm when fitted but if you can get a bigger plug then all you do is tap the pan (sump) to that size eg 17mm

sems very simple and easy to me (but then again i do work in engineering) job should take no more than 30 mins including draining oil and refilling
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2007, 06:47 AM
SCANDINAVIAN13 SCANDINAVIAN13 is offline
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I didn't mean 'bandage' as 'temporary'. I know it's rather permanent, but it doesn't address the problem, it just creates a new situation, thus 'bandage'.

I agree with you that there shouldn't be any sparks, but any time you have metal trying to gouge out metal, you have a chance for a spark. In that area of the car, that's not such a good thing.

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all a helicoil is a simple way to get the thread back to where it should be, so if the plug is 15mm and the thread pitch is 1.5 then you need a 16.5mm tap and helicoil thus taking it back down to 15mm when fitted
+1
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2007, 09:43 PM
ctim ctim is offline
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i just had to buy a used pan from Bavarian Auto Recycling. $250. USED! Ridiculous. Do whatever you can to avoid that.
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2010, 09:39 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Originally Posted by ctim View Post
i just had to buy a used pan from Bavarian Auto Recycling. $250. USED!
Oh my, that's the MOST EXPENSIVE solution I've found to date to solve the broken bolt or stripped oil drain pan problem!

Here is the search result for broken oil pan drain bolts:
- How not to change your oil in your E39 (stripped drain plug)
- Broke the plug....
- Oil Plug Stripped! Now What ??
- URGENT: engine oil drain plug broke
- Broken oil plug & Broken oil plug!
- I Literally Want to Cry....
- Broken Oil Plug 0n E39 1998
- Magnetic oil drain bolt broke in half

Here is the search result for stripped oil pan threads:
- Drain plug / oil pan stripped on 2.8 Z3
- oil plug bad
- '92 325i-- oil drail plug stripped HEEEELP!
- Oil pan stripped (use level sensor as a drain plug)
- Oil pan stripped (weld plate over hole)

Here is a good cn90 DIY on changing your oil the gravity feed way:
- DIY: E39 Changing engine oil made simple

And, read this BEFORE you select a vacuum extractor:
- DIY - BMW E39 Oil & Filter Change (vacuum extraction method)
- Why I don't recommend the Motive Vacuum Oil Extractor ...

Note the bevy of potential solutions:
- Use a 6mm wide screwdriver to spin the broken half out
- Use an EX-4 screw extractor (aka easy out) to spin the broken half out <-- recommended
- Reverse drill the steel broken half out of the aluminum oil pan
- Retap the stripped threads in the aluminum oil pan (but generally the bolt breaks before the threads strip)
- Wrap teflon tape on the threads of a new bolt and screw it in abutting the broken bolt half
- Heli-coil the stripped threads in the aluminum oil pan
- Drop the E39 V8 il pan to access the bolt if it fell through (dropping the E39 I6 oil pan is a nightmare)
- Weld over the hole and use the MightyVac oil extractor from the dipstick forever more
- Weld over the hole and use the oil level sensor as the drain plug instead
- Access the broken bolt inside the oil pan through the leveling sensor opening
- Buy an aftermarket oil drain bolt (e.g., EAS Tuning magnetic, or ?)
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2010, 09:40 PM
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Oh good lord.
Thanks for the info though
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2010, 02:32 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Lou, the thread is three years old............
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2010, 07:46 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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But bluebee bumped it yesterday (and I just did so again...) There's a lot of good research there. Maybe Ed will put those links in the stickies......
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  #13  
Old 10-08-2010, 10:01 PM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Already there.
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  #14  
Old 07-29-2013, 04:39 PM
patrick12 patrick12 is offline
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Thumbs up Who'd have thunk it - stripped hollow bolt is the answer

Thanks Flash,

A stripped hollow bolt was my problem, as you stated is typically the problem with these cars. Your pointer proved invaluable for me.
I backed it out by apply some pressure under the head with a thin screwdriver while using a socket wrench to unscrew it.
Then I stuck in an inexpensive bolt extractor from Canadian Tire and eventually got the bottom half of the bolt out.

I initially assumed the pan threading was stripped too, but nope, it was the bolt. Who'd have guessed it?

Needless to say, I'm breathing a big sigh of relief right now!
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