Sump plug woes (by )

It's time I changed the oil (and the oil filter) in the van, since it's been over a year now.

So I bought myself some new oil, and a new oil filter, and prepared to do the deed according to the instructions in my Haynes manual.

The first step is removing the plug in the bottom of the oil sump, that lets the oil out. It looks like this:

The sump and its drain plug

Naturally, when you remove it, lots of hot oil comes running out (you do this with the engine warm so the oil flows well). So you do it with a bucket underneath!

However, I've not gotten as far as that step yet, because the head of the sump plug (which is hexagonal, like a bolt) is rounded. You can see in the pictures how the corners of the hexagon have all come off. They're shiny where I've been trying to grab them with a spanner, which just rotates when I apply enough force... and it doesn't take very much force.

A closeup of the sump plug Another closeup of the sump plug A direct side view of the sump plug

So I went out and bought a special thing for undoing damaged nuts and bolts. It'll make a mess of the sump plug, so I bought a new sump plug, too. The magical nut remover looks like this:

The magical nut remover

The spiral grooves inside are rifled so that when you put it onto a nut and turn it (such as with the big adjustable spanner in the background), the points grip into the metal of the nut, and the spiral pulls the socket onto the nut as it twists it out, so that it can't push the socket off. Most stripped nuts and bolt heads are rounded towards the top, so tend to push spanners and sockets off as they are twisted; this thing pulls itself onto the nut with the spiral shape, thus counteracting this.

However, my sump plug bolt head is already far enough gone that the special socket rotates on it (shaving off little curls of shiny metal as it goes) when I turn it, again with surprisingly little force - but the next size of socket down doesn't fit onto it...

Perhaps the sump plug was made out of lead or aluminium or something?!?

I guess the next thing to try would be getting under there with a file and shrinking the head down to the next size by putting new flats on it.

But, since it's freezing outside and I've nowhere inside to work on the van, and we need the van ready to do a long drive in a couple of days (which I'd rather not do with the current black oil in, in this punishing weather), I think I'm going to take it to a garage and ask them to sort it out for me... I can give them the oil, the oil filter and the replacement sump plug I've already bought and just ask them to do the hard part!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

WordPress Themes

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales