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Some caution about tightening the oil drain plug. I’ve been changing oil in my cars for almost 30 years, so I know what I’m doing. The dealer put the plug on very tight the first time. I figured they must have used a torque wrench. So just for the heck of it, I’ve never used one before, I bought one. A Craftsman, which generally makes good quality American made tools. And just to be extra careful, I set the wrench to about 18 ft-lbs. Much lower than the owner’s manual spec, which is 31 ft-lbs. Stupid me, I didn’t read the directions. I figured when the torque setting is reached, the wrench would just free turn, without turning the nut. Just like my power drill. :bitchslap Not! Turns out at the lowest settings, the only indication of hitting the torque setting is a “gentle release”, without any audible click. It will keep turning as long as you keep going, it doesn’t actually prevent you from over tightening. You have to stop when you feel it give. I didn’t feel it, and fairly gently kept turning the wrench. I didn’t have much fear of over-tightening it, the dealer had put it on so damn tight in the first place. Well it’s a long wrench, so you get a lot of torque with little effort. I stripped the damn threads! Lesson learned: I’ll never use a torque wrench on the oil plug again. Snug tight, like I’ve always done, is good enough.

One other thing. I learned that the washer on it is a crush washer. If you put a new washer on, you should feel it gradually getting tight. First time I changed the oil, the dealer had tightened it such that the washer was completely crushed. I couldn’t feel it getting snug, it just kind of stopped hard. I’ve had cars which used plastic washers, which give you a good feel that it’s gradually tightening, and it makes it tougher to strip it. Washers are cheap enough, I’ll probably change the washer with every oil change.

I hope this helps prevent others from the same headache I got from a simple oil change. Don’t use a torque wrench unless you are comfortable using them, or practice first on something harmless.
 

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I love Craftsman tools, but unfortunately I purchased a cheap torque wrench from Harbor Freight. It clicks audibly and tactilely when the desired torque is reached. Perhaps yours is defective. Otherwise, it would seem that there was some operator error. You may have performed oil changes numerous times but according to you this is your first experience with a torque wrench. You should feel and hear a "click" when the desired torque is achieved.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Young said:
I love Craftsman tools, but unfortunately I purchased a cheap torque wrench from Harbor Freight. It clicks audibly and tactilely when the desired torque is reached. Perhaps yours is defective. Otherwise, it would seem that there was some operator error. You may have performed oil changes numerous times but according to you this is your first experience with a torque wrench. You should feel and hear a "click" when the desired torque is achieved.:)
Yes, this was my first experience with a torque wrench. The directions on the Craftsman I have, actually says that at the lowest settings, "the release is gentle and there is usually no audible click signal". Lesson is practice first, or don't use it, at least with this type of torque wrench.
 

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Thats common for torque wrenches, the 'click'. Older types were just bars that bent a certain way per torque and you read it on a scale, kinda primitive but effective. Also, I haven't read the manual on this particular subject, but I am quite certain the factory put that bolt in dry. Torque values are, unless specified otherwise, are dry. I was an aircraft mechanic for years, and I know what I'm talking about. Giving a dry torque value for your drain plug is almost criminal. There is no way you're going to get that dry, thats the catch-22. Putting dry torque on a thread that has oil on it over-torques and strips it, as you have seen. Best thing to do is like you mentioned, tight enough to seal, not tight enough to strip. Sorry for your troubles!
 

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BlueZ6 said:
Washers are cheap enough, I’ll probably change the washer with every oil change.

+1. People should change their crush washer every time they change their oil. But make sure you get an actual crush washer. Crush washers are usually made out of copper and are designed to be "crushed" and sealed.

Anyways, what did you end up doing with the stripped threads? You're not gonna have to replace the oil pan are you? Now that would be expensive.
 

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heres an idea..ready? just snug the fucker up. it wont backout and you wont have to replace an oil pan. never used a new crush washer myself (15k-fz6, 30k on the r6)
 

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I never had a crush washer on mine when i bought it and in four oil changes i've never put one on, never had a problem! And i used a torque wrench every time!
 

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ped said:
heres an idea..ready? just snug the fucker up. it wont backout and you wont have to replace an oil pan. never used a new crush washer myself (15k-fz6, 30k on the r6)
+1 ... never replaced a crush washer and used a harbor freight, no-name el cheapo click type torque wrench. I just set it a bit lower than the spec, never had a problem.

:edit and I didn't even sleep at holiday inn.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
groovyg said:
Anyways, what did you end up doing with the stripped threads? You're not gonna have to replace the oil pan are you? Now that would be expensive.
I would have just tapped the threads, but couldn't, because I saw a small crack in the pan. If you look carefully at the pan, there is a seam where it was cast, that runs to the horizontal center of the drain hole. That seam had a small hairline crack at the drain hole. The pan runs around $100 (no, there were none on ebay). Since I have the Yamaha YES warranty, I decided to have the dealer change the pan, and fortunately Yamaha agreed to pay for the pan, which I think is the right thing. It was my fault, but the threads should have just stripped, not crack the pan. Changing the pan is not that hard, looks like the toughest part is dealing with the removal of the pipes.
 

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Bar Torque wrenches are still the best way to go for anything under 40 or 50#s IMO. They are alot more accurate if you have a good one and make sure it doesn't get bumped around.
 

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vaanen said:
I never had a crush washer on mine when i bought it and in four oil changes i've never put one on, never had a problem! And i used a torque wrench every time!
You've probably got one, but it's smashed so flat by now that it looks like part of the drain bolt. I had to use a knife blade to separate mine from the bolt the first time I changed it, and could barely even see it.

Also, I wouldn't recommend using a click-type wrench down near the end of its range. I'd guess 18 ft-lbs is almost at the lowest setting, and it's not very accurate down there. Get an in-lbs one for the smaller torques.
 

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ster1 said:
Torque values are, unless specified otherwise, are dry. ... Giving a dry torque value for your drain plug is almost criminal.
What's the math here, then -- if the service manual lists a dry torque @ 31ft/lbs, what equation is used to convert that to a wet torque (sic) value?

BTW: I own this wrench, it makes a nice klik-klak for me:
http://colehardware.com/cgi-bin/hlimages/display_all.cgi?sku=2023919
 

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rivviepop said:
What's the math here, then -- if the service manual lists a dry torque @ 31ft/lbs, what equation is used to convert that to a wet torque (sic) value?

BTW: I own this wrench, it makes a nice klik-klak for me:
http://colehardware.com/cgi-bin/hlimages/display_all.cgi?sku=2023919
There is no conversion as far as I know. If the manual states dry ya gotta make it dry (if you care, that is). For the most part, on a motorcycle you can get away with German Torque - gutentight. There are, obviously exceptions like cylinder heads, etc. But for 90% of what 90% of us do ourselves, tight enough works. IMHO.
 

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Sounds like my first toque wrench experience about twenty years ago. I only stripped the head off an exhaust bolt on my Suzuki GP100. It was easy to use a screw extractor and put a new bolt in so it was a cheap lesson. Still have the same torque wrench and I still remember how to use it!
 

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Oil plugs should never be torqued. Thats why there's a crush washer. Just tighten it by hand against a new crush washer then give it a quarter turn with the wrench. Run the motor and check for leaks. If seepage occur, just give it another 1/4 turn and you're good.
 

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As a certified motorcycle mechanic the things I've read in this thread horrify me yet make me realize why I have such great job security. Follow the service manuals and learn how to use tools. If you don't that is your choice but you will be bringing your bike to guys like me to get it fixed once it fails and you will be paying more than you were wanting to begin with (example: Harley mechanics can make around $100.00 an hour or more not including parts). Further more if your bike is under warranty don't do your own work on it, you will void the warranty. If they decided to keep it under warranty it is most likely because they get more money by claiming it as warranty work. As for those claiming that you shouldn't use a torque wrench...thanks for the easy money.
 

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As a certified motorcycle mechanic the things I've read in this thread horrify me yet make me realize why I have such great job security. Follow the service manuals and learn how to use tools. If you don't that is your choice but you will be bringing your bike to guys like me to get it fixed once it fails and you will be paying more than you were wanting to begin with (example: Harley mechanics can make around $100.00 an hour or more not including parts). Further more if your bike is under warranty don't do your own work on it, you will void the warranty. If they decided to keep it under warranty it is most likely because they get more money by claiming it as warranty work. As for those claiming that you shouldn't use a torque wrench...thanks for the easy money.
You do have good job security. So don't lie. :cautious:
Further more if your bike is under warranty don't do your own work on it, you will void the warranty.
That's a lie. And if you actually work for a dealership, you know that's a lie.

In the US there we have the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. OEMs can not require you to have them do the work to maintain warranty. Dealers can't deny warranty claims based solely upon non-dealer work. They can deny your claim if you screwed something up yourself and are trying to make a warranty claim for it. That's not the same a saying you will be void a warranty because you worked on your own vehicle. It does clearly state "The federal minimum standards for full warranties are waived if the warrantor can show that the problem associated with a warranted consumer product was caused by damage while in the possession of the consumer, or by unreasonable use, including a failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance." That protects the dealer from unreasonable warranty claims. Also included is protection for consumers. If you keep your receipts and document your work and maintenance it is nearly impossible for a legitimate warranty claim to be denied.

And labor rates may be $100/Hr or more, but that's not what the Tech is getting paid. That's what the shop is charging. That covers a lot of other things besides paying the tech. You sound like an unemployed "certified motorcycle mechanic" that's never been employed in that job title. There are jobs out there that pay $100/hr, but they aren't motorcycle mechanics.

In regards to this thread, there have been a lot of good posts with accurate info. And some not so good ones. Torque wrenches are only as good as the calibration. As has been correctly mentioned, most torque wrenches are not accurate at the ends of their range. (low and high). Anyone that's calibrated a torque wrench will tell you that you calibrate it for one specific point in the range. A quality torque wrench will only vary a small percentage across it's range if it is in excellent condition. Easily 10% or more on most brands. Even the best tool will vary widely if it's been abused or left with the spring compressed. This makes beam type torque wrenches a good choice for people that don't use them often, since it naturally goes to neutral when not in use. Clicker type wrenches should always be stored in the lowest setting or just under that to relieve pressure on the internal spring when not in use. This can prolong the period of accuracy, but does not eliminate the need to have the tool calibrated on occasion. Shops typically calibrate annually. Some more often, like aircraft manufacturers and hydraulic manufacturers where tolerances are more critical.

You sometimes see spec for oiled threads, but unless it's specified that way, assume dry threads are what is spec'd. Some suggestions will tell you to use 60% of dry thread torque on oiled threads, but there is no hard and fast rule due to the variables involved.

Crush washers come in two basic styles. One is hollow and is considered a one time use washer. (Yes, I know you have re-used them w/o issue.) The idea is that when you tighten the bolt/drain plug/spark plug you snug it down, then continue to tighten and crush the hollow washer. When you feel the increased resistance as the washer becomes fully crushed, you stop. Torque wrenches are pretty much useless with this type of washer as you don't get the feel necessary to understand when to stop tightening. I've seen a lot of under-tightened spark plugs from people using torque wrenches on new spark plugs and not crushing the hollow crush washer. they may have reached the torque spec with the cheap wrench they were using, but didn't crush the washer.

The other is a solid washer made from a softer material than what ever it's screwing into. Aluminum and Copper are the most common, but I've seen plastic ones too, as odd as that seems. The solid washers serve one purpose. To give you a buffer if you over tighten the drain plug. You crush the washer a small amount every time, if you're doing it right. If you're doing it wrong and over tightening, that crush washer will get thin quickly. If you're doing it right, you can re-use the washer many times before it gets noticeably thin and should be replaced.

FWIW, I'm a retired machinist that's worked as an auto tech and gunsmith, knife maker and other trades. I might have a tiny clue about these things. ;)
 

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You do have good job security. So don't lie. :cautious:

That's a lie. And if you actually work for a dealership, you know that's a lie.

In the US there we have the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. OEMs can not require you to have them do the work to maintain warranty. Dealers can't deny warranty claims based solely upon non-dealer work. They can deny your claim if you screwed something up yourself and are trying to make a warranty claim for it. That's not the same a saying you will be void a warranty because you worked on your own vehicle. It does clearly state "The federal minimum standards for full warranties are waived if the warrantor can show that the problem associated with a warranted consumer product was caused by damage while in the possession of the consumer, or by unreasonable use, including a failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance." That protects the dealer from unreasonable warranty claims. Also included is protection for consumers. If you keep your receipts and document your work and maintenance it is nearly impossible for a legitimate warranty claim to be denied.

And labor rates may be $100/Hr or more, but that's not what the Tech is getting paid. That's what the shop is charging. That covers a lot of other things besides paying the tech. You sound like an unemployed "certified motorcycle mechanic" that's never been employed in that job title. There are jobs out there that pay $100/hr, but they aren't motorcycle mechanics.

In regards to this thread, there have been a lot of good posts with accurate info. And some not so good ones. Torque wrenches are only as good as the calibration. As has been correctly mentioned, most torque wrenches are not accurate and the ends of their range. (low and high). Anyone that's calibrated a torque wrench will tell you that you calibrate it for one specific point in the range. A quality torque wrench will only vary a small percentage across it's range if it's in excellent condition. Easily 10% or more on most brands. Even the best tool will vary widely if it's been abused or left with the spring compressed. This makes beam type torque wrenches a good choice for people that don't use them often, since it naturally goes to neutral when not in use. Clicker type wrenches should always be stored in the lowest setting or just under that to relieve pressure on the internal spring when not in use. This can prolong the period of accuracy, but does not eliminate the need to have the tool calibrated on occasion. Shops typically calibrate annually. Some more often, like aircraft manufacturers and hydraulic manufacturers where tolerances are more critical.

You sometimes see spec for oiled threads, but unless it's specified that way, assume dry threads are what is spec'd. Some suggestions will tell you to use 60% of dry thread torque on oiled threads, but there is no hard and fast due to the variables involved.

Crush washers come in two basic styles. One is hollow and is considered a one time use washer. (Yes, I know you have re-used them w/o issue.) The idea is that when you tighten the bolt/drain plug/spark plug you snug it down, then continue to tighten and crush the hollow washer. When you feel the increased resistance as the washer becomes fully crushed, you stop. Torque wrenches are pretty much useless with this type of washer as you don't get the feel necessary to understand when to stop tightening. I've seen a lot of under-tightened spark plugs from people using torque wrenches on new spark plugs and not crushing the hollow crush washer. they may have reached the torque spec with the cheap wrench they were using, but didn't crush the washer.

The other is a solid washer made from a softer material than what ever it's screwing into. Aluminum and Copper are the most common, but I've seen plastic ones too, as odd as that seems. The solid washers serve one purpose. To give you a buffer if you over tighten the drain plug. You crush the washer a small amount every time, if you're doing it right. If you're doing it wrong and over tightening, that crush washer will get thin quickly. If you're doing it right, you can re-use the washer many times before it gets noticeably thin and should be replaced.

FWIW, I'm a retired machinist that's worked as an auto tech and gunsmith, knife maker and other trades. I might have a tiny clue about these things. ;)
GREAT post!!
 

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GREAT post!!
Yes, great post. LOL I started this thread 13 years ago and didn't even remember writing it. Learned a lot since then. Today I have a wonderful electronic torque wrench that beeps and lights as you near the setting. Even a dumb ass like me couldn't screw up with this one.
Good job digging this one up (y)
 

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Welcome back @BlueZ6 🤟 In regards to your original post, even pros make errors like that sometimes. I worked in the Hydraulic tools industry for decades as a machinist. One day a co-worker comes over to my area and wants to borrow a torque wrench. He's worked there for over a decade, I know he's a stand up guy and not some dork, so fine, I loan him a 0-100 in/lb torque wrench that he's needing for a job he's running on his CNC Horizontal mill on the other side of the plant. He comes back in 30 minutes and says it's broken, do I have another one. I'm not sure WTF, but we work three shifts and I hadn't used that torque wrench that shift, so I dig out another in the same range and give it to him, then tag the other one for repair and turn it into the tool room. 30 minutes later the borrower comes back again and says the second one is broken too. Now I'm really curious what's going on. I take my personal torque wrench and the second company wrench and we go over to his work area so I can see what he's doing.

Now, this guy works on a huge horizontal CNC milling machine that normally mills large castings and billets that can be 4-10 feet tall and as big as 4'x 4' around. He normally uses torque wrenches every day to tighten fixtures securing parts, but he's usually torquing to 125 ft/lbs or more, sometimes as much as 600 ft/lbs so these large parts and billets don't move while being machined. When you reach torque setting on a 600 ft/lb setting, you get a huge snap/click and the wrench, which is 4' long deflects enough that there is no question you reached the torque setting.

Well, he's got this new to him job that requires some small fixture nuts to be torqued to 50 inch/lbs. He's never torqued anything that low before and never used an in/lb torque wrench before. I test the second wrench I loaned him and yes, it's broken. Badly. I hand him my personal wrench and tell him to show me what he's doing. He climbs into the machine, puts the socket on the nut with the torque wrench and then I watch him brace himself with feet spread apart and prepare to torque the nut. I quickly yell at him to STOP! He froze, (thankfully). I climb into the machine with him and tell him to watch me torque the nuts on the fixture. I reach over and put the socket on the nut again, then using two fingers on the handle of the torque wrench, torque the nut. I tell him that at this torque setting, you barely feel the wrench deflect, you can't hear any click in the shop with all the machine noise and with hearing protection, so it's all by feel. You don't need your whole hand, never mind both hands like on the 4' monster he normally uses. Two fingers does the trick. The look on his face was priceless. He broke both of the other torque wrenches because he was using his body weight to pull the wrench like he normally does and waiting for an audible snap/click to tell him he reached the torque setting. He just had no concept for what 50 inch/lbs would feel like. After that, he did fine, but he was pretty embarrassed that he broke the other two wrenches.
 
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