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View Poll Results: Would you use the torque wrench for oil drain plug?
Yes, set at 25 NM 15 50.00%
Yes, but set a bit lower 3 10.00%
No, use feeling and best judgement. 12 40.00%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-02-2017, 09:15 AM   #1
pgib8
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oil drain plug to torque or not to torque

First of all I apologize for even asking this but I probably spent nearly an hour looking through the oil change posts on the forum.

I want to do the best possible job and there is clearly a risk of over-tightening the bolt.

Some people say "don't use a torque wrench" other people say to use one.

I guess the main thing to watch out for is that the washer on the drain plug will begin to compress when the bolt gets tightened and that you should stop at that point. I guess some torque wrenches are not as accurate and don't click at that point until it's too late.

If I do use the torque wrench (I have Tekton 24335, which goes down to 13.6NM), it's probably better to set it a bit lower?
I read that the torque for the oil drain plug is 18.5 foot-pounds / 25 NM.

I'm going to conclude that it's better not to use the torque wrench and instead use a fine touch and go by feeling. Start compressing the washer just a little bit, then stop. Is that correct or are people divided on this subject?
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:05 AM   #2
tritron
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Why not use oil extractor https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...er+Oil+Changer
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:19 AM   #3
pgib8
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I read about that, I might try that at some point in the future. But for now I want to do the plug because the new plug has a magnet in it and I want to use it.
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Old 04-02-2017, 12:06 PM   #4
Loaded325i
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I dont use torque wrenches much except for headgaskets or wheel nuts. I guess experience counts here.
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Old 04-02-2017, 01:33 PM   #5
mtnbimmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgib8 View Post
Some people say "don't use a torque wrench"...
Some people aren't particularly knowledgeable.

Why would you even want to take a chance with this? If you don't know how to correctly tighten the drain plug, use a torque wrench. Simple.
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Old 04-02-2017, 01:44 PM   #6
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There are two goals of the drain plug, keep the oil in, and not to fall out. It takes 18 ft. lb. to accomplish this, I do not use my torque wrench here because it takes far more than 18 ft. lb. to strip the bung that the plug screws into, and oil will be held in with nowhere near the torque that's needed to destroy the bung. The oil plug is a static load, the oil is not pressurized. You could use a cork from a wine bottle if it came down to it. The spark plugs are torqued to 22 ft. lb., but they are not a static load and the opportunity to destroy expensive stuff is huge. Always use your torque wrench on spark plugs. So, use your torque wrench on the spark plugs, but it's not so important on the drain plug.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:14 PM   #7
IamMe
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I always used a torque wrench on the oil drain until I developed a feel for the right tightness. You'll know it when you get there. Until then, use a torque wrench. If you're really worried, back down the torque setting a couple of ft-lb, but 18 is so low there's really not much risk even if you go over by a little.
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:59 PM   #8
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I have used a torque wrench before set to 25Nm, but when I have gone to drain the oil next time the crush washer is not crushed.

I now used a 17mm box end wrench and do it by feel. You will reach snug then go a little more and you will feel the crush washer give just slightly. Does not take excessive force.

Either way, I have never had any oil leakage from the drain plug.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMe View Post
I always used a torque wrench on the oil drain until I developed a feel for the right tightness. You'll know it when you get there. Until then, use a torque wrench. If you're really worried, back down the torque setting a couple of ft-lb, but 18 is so low there's really not much risk even if you go over by a little.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpriest View Post
I have used a torque wrench before set to 25Nm, but when I have gone to drain the oil next time the crush washer is not crushed.

I now used a 17mm box end wrench and do it by feel. You will reach snug then go a little more and you will feel the crush washer give just slightly. Does not take excessive force.

Either way, I have never had any oil leakage from the drain plug.
^Not everyone has this. It takes experience wrenching on a car to develop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnbimmer View Post
Why would you even want to take a chance with this? If you don't know how to correctly tighten the drain plug, use a torque wrench. Simple.
Bingo. If in doubt of your ability to feel the tightness, use a torque wrench.
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Last edited by Spannerhead; 04-02-2017 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:48 AM   #10
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Install using a torque wrench to proper spec!

I've been on this forum for a while, you know how many boneheads here snap the head of the non-M engine drain plug by installing "by feel". I'm not saying everyone will snap the head off not using a torque wrench. But many have and continue to.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:02 AM   #11
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Do I personally? No.

A 3/8 drive standard length ratchet and the use of general caution while tightening have served me well over the years.

Unless you have a higher-end torque wrench, the risk of the calibration being off is there and you can generate a dangerous amount of accidental leverage as a result.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:33 AM   #12
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Use torque wrench at least until you gain some experience.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:26 AM   #13
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I always use the torque wrench especially if the bolt goes into softer materials i.e. aluminum
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:40 PM   #14
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Torque wrench is great if you know how to use it. I used mine 2 days ago when tightening down the intake manifold, supposed to be 11fp. I stupidly assumed the 10 mark is actually where the 10 is written and not where the line meets the center line running down the wrench. In this stupidity I set the torque wrench to 21fp. My gut feeling kept telling me, these bolts are way tight enough already but the wrench didn't click yet, so I kept at it until *snap*.
If you think that was stupid, the next day I was letting the car idle while it was dumping a quarter tank of gasoline on the ground because I didn't connect the fuel line correctly to the rail.
I usually don't make mistakes but man... maybe a sign of getting old?! I sure hope not or I'm going to be worthless soon!
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:42 PM   #15
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the one time I did 25nm it leaked. I said "I'll do it like a professional because I care" and it turns out going by feel is just the best way
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Old 04-06-2017, 02:40 PM   #16
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I have always used a torque wrench on my engine oil drain plug on all the cars I have owned - Hondas, VW, BMW, Hyundai. I prefer using a torque wrench because it is more repeatable and consistent than my muscle memory will ever be. If muscle memory were good enough, you wouldn't see torque wrenches on the BMW assembly line.

Generally, I use a torque wrench on all suspension, drivetrain and brake components. I will skip the torque wrench only if access is limited or the fastener is non critical bolt, such as one that holds a bracket in place or does not influence a fluid seal.
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:09 PM   #17
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the one time I did 25nm it leaked. I said "I'll do it like a professional because I care" and it turns out going by feel is just the best way
Check your torque wrench.
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:23 PM   #18
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To whoever's worried about it, why not just buy one of these and not have to worry about torque again?

http://www.ezoildrainvalve.com/

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Old 04-06-2017, 03:36 PM   #19
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To whoever's worried about it, why not just buy one of these and not have to worry about torque again?
http://www.ezoildrainvalve.com/
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because they still need to install that one at some point
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:24 PM   #20
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^Right, but that's once vs. dozens of times over the lifetime of the car.
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