Leaky Aluminum Drain Plug Gasket

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Because in most cases I've seen, they don't leak when you re-use them.
I can't see why that would be hard to understand.
Interesting. I think the inability to understand here is your inability to understand that a reused gasket is more likely to leak.

Not leaking 100% every time. But certainly more likely. So to guard against that higher likelihood, the suggestion is that you replace the gasket every time.

EZPZ.
 
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The aluminum and copper ones need to be pretty snug.


My experience with the aluminium friction washers is that you snug them up tight with one hand. That’s it. I’ve never had issues doing that. That is with a 16” ratchet.
 
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If the aluminum (or copper) washer isn't properly annealed, it's not going to seal very well. Just because it's an aluminum washer, that doesn't mean it's a crush / sealing washer.

Subpar quality products means a lot of crush washers on the market have not been properly annealed. Take the variety pack copper washers from Harbor Freight. If I ever need to use one of those, I'm going to anneal it myself:


Why not reuse them? Because if you understand what's happening to the aluminum in order to make a proper seal, you'll understand why they should not be reused. Anyone insisting on reusing one, best to anneal it first.
 
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I really don’t understand why anyone would reuse an aluminium or copper crush washer.
As a BMW owner/tech, things are much simpler when oil filters are sold as complete kits, with all o-rings and washers included, OE or aftermarket.

That, and top-mounted cartridge filter canisters tend to spoil you when doing OCs.

It's not practical to bundle washers with the typical generic multi-application canister filters, so they require their own effort to procure, which can be problematic, if rarely. I once ran into a situation where the effen dealer didn't have stock of one of the two common sizes that the OEM used on its engines. Of course, out-of-stock size had to be the size I needed. Struck out at NAPA, and had to resort to a carded Dorman, which seeped. Stupid, and frustrating in comparison.
 

Mr_Luke

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I think the inability to understand here is your inability to understand that a reused gasket is more likely to leak.

But as I said in previous replies, reusing drain bolt washers has never caused a leak for me.

I should reword that, in all cases I've seen, a used washer has not caused a leak, and if there was a leak, you change out the gasket.

EZPZ
 
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If the aluminum (or copper) washer isn't properly annealed, it's not going to seal very well. Just because it's an aluminum washer, that doesn't mean it's a crush / sealing washer.

Subpar quality products means a lot of crush washers on the market have not been properly annealed. Take the variety pack copper washers from Harbor Freight. If I ever need to use one of those, I'm going to anneal it myself:


Why not reuse them? Because if you understand what's happening to the aluminum in order to make a proper seal, you'll understand why they should not be reused. Anyone insisting on reusing one, best to anneal it first.


I’m not a metallurgist but how would annealing aluminium improve the seal? I was under the impression that softer metals are better for this purpose and wouldn’t annealing harden the metal?
 

Mr_Luke

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If the aluminum (or copper) washer isn't properly annealed, it's not going to seal very well. Just because it's an aluminum washer, that doesn't mean it's a crush / sealing washer.
I understand.

Aluminum and copper are softer metals than the drain plug and oil pan thread metals.
The Al and/or Cu will crush before the threads are in danger of being stripped, I'd say.
 

Mr_Luke

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Why not reuse them? Because if you understand what's happening to the aluminum in order to make a proper seal, you'll understand why they should not be reused. Anyone insisting on reusing one, best to anneal it first.
How do you feel about plastic drain bolt washers?
 
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There is no reason you cannot reuse a drain plug gasket that is in good shape. Again, this has been done hundreds of millions of times without issue. That's a lotta evidence. I have no stats, but my guess is more have been reused at least once than not.
If there is any question of its condition, toss it.

From the looks of that gasket, it's trash. Probably reused numerous times and overtorqued.
As others have said, using a new gasket is cheap insurance. Not a bad way to go.
We have all fixed a number of nasty drips by installing a new warsher on leaky engines.
It ain't rocket science, as they say.
 
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You can use as many hands as you want when you do it properly with a torque wrench. ;)
I will admit, I have on occasion used a 3/8" drive, torque wrench on certain applications (BMW and Toyota). I had an oops moment on my brothers old 740i several years ago, I couldn't believe how little torque it actually needed to seal (copper gasket); it was a close call to say the least. Otherwise, in most cases, it's just hand tight.
 
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But as I said in previous replies, reusing drain bolt washers has never caused a leak for me.

I should reword that, in all cases I've seen, a used washer has not caused a leak, and if there was a leak, you change out the gasket.

EZPZ
You were on borrowed time. That gasket was trash.
Personally I would never use the plastic ones, for that matter.
 
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Because in most cases I've seen, they don't leak when you re-use them.
I can't see why that would be hard to understand.
Aluminum (and other soft metal) crush washers are meant to be used once. Just because you and others re-use them successfully doesn't change their design intent. Going to give you little tidbit of information on what can happen if you re-use them.... ready ?? They can leak ! :oops: I can't see what that would be hard to understand. 🤷‍♂️
 
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I will admit, I have on occasion used a 3/8" drive, torque wrench on certain applications (BMW and Toyota). I had an oops moment on my brothers old 740i several years ago, I couldn't believe how little torque it actually needed to seal (copper gasket); it was a close call to say the least. Otherwise, in most cases, it's just hand tight.
Yup. 18 lb.ft is very little. It does not make much more than that before you could be looking at a $3000 oil pan.
 
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Aluminum (and other soft metal) crush washers are meant to be used once. Just because you and others re-use them successfully doesn't change their design intent. Going to give you little tidbit of information on what can happen if you re-use them.... ready ?? They can leak ! :oops: I can't see what that would be hard to understand. 🤷‍♂️
They can only leak if they are damaged or installed incorrectly. Otherwise they will work as intended.
But I see your point.
 
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