Oil drain plug question

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SW Indiana
Now that I have my Nissan copper crush washers for my drain plug, how hard should I torque it down? Should I tighten the plug until the washer just begins to crush, or should I tighten it all the way down, so that the washer is completely crushed? TIA!
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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18-22 N*m shoul be about right. They will compress slightly, and will deform slightly if the contour of your drain plug is so inclined... JMH
 
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Oklahoma
Just tighten it so that it can't back up with reasonable force. Just like oil filters...hand tight and then quarter turn with the oilfilter wrench.
 
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North Texas
I'm sure there is a torque spec for your drain plug, just like there is for mine, but i've never used a torque wrench on my drain plug:P I think mine is 25 ft lbs. You don't want to strip it out, and you dont want it to leak either. I tighten it with my fingers, then tighten it with the wrench, but when i hit real resistance, i prolly just tighten it one more umph. So far no problems. If you have your car on a lift and are standing under it tightening the plug, my guess is it would be a lot easier to over tighten it than if you are laying under your car (the way i do it) in the driveway. In addition each time i change the oil i dont use a new washer, but i do turn the old one around. I can usually get 3 to 4 uses out of one before it looks too bad. This has me thinking. Maybe next oil change i'll use my torque wrench on my oil filter (I think oil filter torque on my car is 15) and drain plug and see how close my usual way is to spec.
 

Al

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Elizabethtown, Pa
I use 22 ft. lbs. I put a new one on maybe every 4th time. But they will literally go dozens of times. I changed oil at least 40 times on my 1980 datsun and only changed the washer a couple of times. Just inspect the washer surface and make sure its still smooth.
 

LouDawg

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quote:
Originally posted by Al: I use 22 ft. lbs. I put a new one on maybe every 4th time. But they will literally go dozens of times. I changed oil at least 40 times on my 1980 datsun and only changed the washer a couple of times. Just inspect the washer surface and make sure its still smooth.
Is this true even on a "crush washer"? I've just started doing this, but my last one was crushed, literally, to pieces. If I'm going to use one washer many times, I'm going to have to NOT tighten it very much, I think.
 
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My Mazda seems to be easier on crush washers than my old Jetta. However even on my Jetta the crush washers, when turned over each time, could go 3 or 4 uses with no problem. My guage of when it is time to replace the washer is if when taking it off to turn it over, the washer needs to be "unscrewed" instead of just falling off the drain plug, then it gets a new one.
 
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Well, i've voiced my opinion on this many times in the past.. i see no good reason not to change the washer every single time. if you go 15k a year, with 5k oci, youre looking at anywhere from .20 cents to $3 for crush washers. Cheap insurance. *Although let me add it varies depending on your car. The washers on my civic are ruined after one use, i would never reuse them since they are made of such a soft material. Now on the other hand, my mothers old volvo with a b230 had heavier duty copper crush washer. Those, i could see you reusing once or twice. But still, as i said earlier, they arent very expensive so why not just swap them out often.
 

Al

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quote:
Originally posted by LouDawg: Is this true even on a "crush washer"?
I use a crush washer. The first time I tighten it to 22 ft lbs, the second to 22 ft lbs, the third to 22 ft lbs...........................
 

Al

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quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: 18-22 N*m shoul be about right.
That might be a bit low for Nissan's requirement. 18-22 ft. lbs is closer.
 
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Newtown, PA
quote:
Originally posted by hominid7: In addition each time i change the oil i dont use a new washer, but i do turn the old one around. I can usually get 3 to 4 uses out of one before it looks too bad.
Top advice, I was just gonna suggest the same thing. As for torque, you're over thinking it, you'll be able to feel the washer crushing and then everything snug up like a normal drain plug. Then just torque it however you like it.
 
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Southern California
I've never replaced or turned a drainplug washer - and that includes one Accord. Call me lucky or a liar, but it's been a non-leaking non-issue on all my cars' engines. I just use the ol' seat-o'-the-pants torque "wrench": snug it 'til it feels tight, then snug just a scoche more.
 

LouDawg

Thread starter
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SW Indiana
quote:
Originally posted by sxg6: Well, i've voiced my opinion on this many times in the past.. i see no good reason not to change the washer every single time. if you go 15k a year, with 5k oci, youre looking at anywhere from .20 cents to $3 for crush washers. Cheap insurance.
Unless you don't have a dealer or ap store close by that carries them, or if at the time you change it, you happent to be out of them. But otherwise, you make a good point.
 

LouDawg

Thread starter
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SW Indiana
quote:
Originally posted by Al:
quote:
Originally posted by LouDawg: Is this true even on a "crush washer"?
I use a crush washer. The first time I tighten it to 22 ft lbs, the second to 22 ft lbs, the third to 22 ft lbs...........................

Yes Al, I think I see the pattern. I'm trying to picture the deformity on the washer to see if it has any adverse effects. I guess when I do it more times, I'll know.
 
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Salisbury, MD
quote:
Originally posted by LouDawg:
quote:
Originally posted by Al:
quote:
Originally posted by LouDawg: Is this true even on a "crush washer"?
I use a crush washer. The first time I tighten it to 22 ft lbs, the second to 22 ft lbs, the third to 22 ft lbs...........................

Yes Al, I think I see the pattern. I'm trying to picture the deformity on the washer to see if it has any adverse effects. I guess when I do it more times, I'll know.

I breezed though the replies. I've a '97 Nissan Maxima and it's important to point out, the Nissan crush washer is a true crush washer. It's like a mini copper accordian (just two pleats). You screw it on the drain plug first by hand up to the plug bolt-head gasket surface. The washer is about 1/8" thick at this point. When you tighten the drain plug to the oil pan, the wasker gets crushed to about 1 milimeter thick, very thin. My Hondas and Mazdas have solid aluminum washers which "crush" hardly at all. Not so with the Nissan. I wouldn't reuse a Nissan washer normally but did once when I ran out. Wasn't a problem, but its not good practice. It actually works well by hand because you can feel the washer being crushed and have a better feel for when its on tight as compared to a solid aluminum washer if that makes any sense. However, go ahead and torque it to 22 ft-lbs or so if you so choose.
 

LouDawg

Thread starter
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1,483
Location
SW Indiana
quote:
Originally posted by ex_MGB: I breezed though the replies. I've a '97 Nissan Maxima and it's important to point out, the Nissan crush washer is a true crush washer. It's like a mini copper accordian (just two pleats). You screw it on the drain plug first by hand up to the plug bolt-head gasket surface. The washer is about 1/8" thick at this point. When you tighten the drain plug to the oil pan, the wasker gets crushed to about 1 milimeter thick, very thin. My Hondas and Mazdas have solid aluminum washers which "crush" hardly at all. Not so with the Nissan. I wouldn't reuse a Nissan washer normally but did once when I ran out. Wasn't a problem, but its not good practice. It actually works well by hand because you can feel the washer being crushed and have a better feel for when its on tight as compared to a solid aluminum washer if that makes any sense. However, go ahead and torque it to 22 ft-lbs or so if you so choose.
Thanks...I felt like something was missing here, and you may have just filled in the gap for me. I couldn't imagine this thing not deforming to the point that it would be simple to reuse it... [Cheers!]
 
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Location
Boston
ATTENTION WASHER FLIPPERS...You have been flirting with disaster. You are probably using this technique on a newer vehicle that hasn't had the drain orifice abused yet. If you think about it, you would want to install the washer the same way it went before as it has crushed to a nice seal. I accidently flipped one time and had a leak on an auto-tranny plug and determined that the flip made it leak, due to a microscopic burr. Save yourself the aggravation of a drip leak and buy those new washers. Does anyone know of a website that caters to these washers?
 
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