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Freeing a stripped drain plug

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by elshauno, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. elshauno

    elshauno LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I have a stripped drain plug that is stuck on. Ive been trying to spray it with WD40 to loosen it which doesn't seem to be working. I tried a stripped bolt kit which just totally rounded the bolt. So now all I can think of is taking a torch lightly to the drain plug heating it up and going at with heavy duty vice grips. Or maybe angle grinding down the sides of the bolt to reestablish the edges then doing the aforementioned torch with a wrench. If that doesn't work I guess I'll have to drill but I don't really want to risk putting shavings in the engine. Any ideas throw them my way. Thanks
  2. Gmgbo

    Gmgbo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    what kind of engine?
  3. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    Visegrips. Not the knock off ones but the real ones. I have grinded flats on bolts and nuts on more than one occasion.
  4. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    pipe wrench
  5. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    First try Kroil penetrating oil. Seems kinda weird that an oil plug gets stuck, doesn't it. If the Kroil doesn't work, punch the plug with a center punch, then drill through with 1/8" bit, then keep drilling through with larger bits, till you can get the smallest pipe type easy-out in the hole. Then put the easy out in with a couple of taps of a hammer. Then use an air impact to remove the plug. By the way, when that 1/8" bit breaks through the plug, you are going to get some oil on your hand, sleeve, drill etc, so be prepared with a pan, rags, etc. After plug is out, clean around the pan with a magnet wrapped in a paper towel, to remove stray chips.:) :)
  6. SLR

    SLR LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,210

    How about a little heat 1st & then the pipe wrench.
  7. hdtvluvr

    hdtvluvr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 507

    Why does everyone try heating bolts, etc. that are stuck? It seems to me that heating a stuck plug would do 2 things since heated metal always expands.

    1. The plug would expand causing it to be bigger and thus tighter in the hole.
    2. The metal around the hole would expand causing the hole to shrink in size - also making the plug tighter.

    Why not try a little dry ice? This will cause the plug to shrink, as well as shrink the metal around the hole. If the metal around the hole shrinks, the hole will be a little larger. plug smaller, hole larger would seem to make it easier to remove.

    What am I missing?

    BTW, I was told about this trick when I was trying to replace a hub on a JD garden tractor. Cooling both allowed the hub to simply slide on instead of me trying to hammer it on and possibly damaging the axle / transmission.
  8. SLR

    SLR LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,210

    But i think using the heat method actually causes tiny movements to the froze part,thus starting the removal proccess a tinnsy fraction.

    Last year i did my balljoints,but found the new balljoints a hair to big so into the freezer the new ball joint went for 3hours,then heated the control arm abitwhere it goes into. End result: balljoints required very little tappage to seat.
  9. mini14

    mini14 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 236

    if u got an impact, get yourself a set of stripped bolt head extracters from sears or whoever else. thats what is used to remove wheel locks when the key is lost. when u finally get that off do yerself a favor and put a brass finger drain plug on it and u will never ever have a prob. again...i have em on ALL my engines.
  10. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Dry ice??

    I have NEVER encountered a broken/stripped bolt or stud that cannot be removed with heat. Heat em' up cherry red. Even old farm machinery that is rusted up tight. Even exhaust manifold studs. An oxy/acetylene torch is one of the most important tools one can have.

    Heat to remove. Cool to install.

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