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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I over-tightened the oil drain plug on my 2019 Yamaha R3 and stripped the thread in the oil pan. I am aware this means I'm an idiot. I have zero mechanical knowledge and, well, these things happen when you don't know what you're doing. (I didn't know what a torque wrench was, or that the service manual specifies all the torques, or that many people even choose to tighten below spec on the oil plug).

I'm not exactly in the position to offer advice, but I couldn't find anything else written about this, so I thought I would share my experience in case it can help someone else in the same situation. Hopefully, someone with more know-how than me can point out what I could have done better. (But please bear in mind I did this in a parking space using a mini tool kit my mother won in a village raffle).

I should maybe mention that the first thing I did was order a new oil pan, oil plug and a couple of crush washers (total cost was less than $100 including delivery, which is like the price of a sandwich here in Zurich). I forgot to order a new oil pan gasket, but the old one is still immaculate. The problem is they're going to take at least a couple of weeks to arrive. So I ordered one of these M12 x 1.5mm Helicoil-style thread repair kits from eBay UK (for about £20 including international delivery), which arrived within a few days:

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I've seen YouTube videos of people fitting these to oil pans still installed in the bike/car. I didn't do that for 2 reasons:
  1. I don't have the skill to tap a straight thread at the best of times, let alone while lying under a vehicle.
  2. Drilling out and re-tapping the thread produces a lot of metal debris that I don't want my R3 to eat.
So, I had to take the oil pan off. This was quite time-consuming because I had to remove all the fairings (both sides), the exhaust system and the kickstand in order to remove all the bolts on the oil pan.

The fairings are mostly straightforward to remove. This YouTube video is a useful reference:


However, that guy seems to have after-market indicators (turn signals), so my wiring is slightly different. I managed to snap one of the wires by pulling on the wire instead of the connector, so I would advise extra care. I have a soldering iron, so this wasn't really a problem for me.

The exhaust system was a little trickier to remove. First, I took off the muffler (only 2 bolts) like this guy:


Then I removed the 4 nuts attaching the 2 exhaust pipes to the front of the engine (and slipped off the 2 flanges). There are 2 bolts attaching the exhaust system to the chassis. One of them (left side of bike) was easy to access, but the other (right side of bike) is hidden behind the right foot peg / brake pedal. Removing the hex bolts that secure the right foot peg was sufficient to gently push aside the brake cabling and access the bolt.

The exhaust was then free to come off. There are 2 big copper rings between the exhaust pipes and the front of the engine that might fall out. However, what made this tricky is that there is a cable connected to the exhaust (see photo). I'm not sure what this is, but it seemed to be screwed on pretty tight, so I didn't remove it. To avoid damaging the cable, I tried to keep it propped up off the floor, but this wasn't always easy as I moved things around.

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Up until this point, I had the bike on the kickstand. However, the last bolt on the oil pan couldn't be accessed without removing the kickstand. Luckily, I have a rear paddock stand, otherwise this would have been really annoying.

Anyway, the oil pan eventually came off. The oil strainer fell straight out (as far as I can tell, it's only held up by the oil pan). I drilled out the stripped thread using the drill bit from the thread repair kit. Next was the hardest part: tapping the new thread. I have seen loads of YouTube videos where people are able to do this easily by eye, but with my total lack of skill, I really struggled to get the tap in straight. I tried to use a couple of nailed-together pieces of wood to guide it in, but even then it wasn't perfect:

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Also, I don't have a tap handle, so I just had to use a 9mm spanner (wrench), which probably wasn't ideal.

Anyway, the oil pan was now full of metal shavings, so I cleaned it out. I rinsed the bulk of it off with water, but a lot remained stuck in residual oil, so I used some chain cleaner to remove all the oil. I wiped it dry with paper towel and used my wife's hairdryer to make sure it was clean and dry.

I put in the coil insert and screwed the old plug back in:

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Obviously, it's not quite straight. And I'm reusing the old crush washer, so I'm not expecting a good seal. Still, I poured some oil in the pan to see what would happen:

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After a couple of hours, nothing had seeped out. So I put it back on the bike, refilled the oil and ran the engine for 5 minutes. Still nothing seeped out. So, the next morning, I went for a 15-minute ride. Afterwards, everything looked okay, but running my finger under the oil plug, I got a tiny smudge of oil. Not even half a drop, but a leak nonetheless.

Maybe a new crush washer would be enough to seal it, but since I'll have a new oil pan arriving at the same time, I may as well fit it. At least this will get me back on the road in the meantime.

EDIT: The new oil pan arrived (along with 3 new crush washers). I thought I'd just try out a crush washer and it seems to have formed a perfect seal. I rode yesterday for 15 mins and today for an hour and there wasn't even the tiniest smudge of oil afterwards. So I won't even bother fitting the new oil pan yet - the repaired thread seems totally fine (and probably even stronger than the original).
 

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Great tutorial man! Helicoils are a lifesaver for these kinds of situations. Had to do one for my friend's KTM frame once cause he ripped the skid plate off his dirtbike in a particularly nasty crash. Always a good idea to have a kit handy. Also, dont worry about the threads leaking if you put the helicoil in right and replace your crush washer.
 

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Nice write up. Just curious, was the plug that you stripped OEM or aftermarket? The aftermarket ones definitely need to be under torqued as they are usually made from a lighter less dense metal.
 

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Great job. On the slow leak you have now, you might want to wrap teflon tape around the threads. That may be all you need. Looking at the end of the threads you would wrap the teflon tape in a clockwise motion, about 4 wraps should do it. Then reinstall the plug with a nice crush washer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice write up. Just curious, was the plug that you stripped OEM or aftermarket? The aftermarket ones definitely need to be under torqued as they are usually made from a lighter less dense metal.
The plug was the original one and its thread still looks totally fine. Ordering a new one was probably excessive, but it was only a couple of $.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great job. On the slow leak you have now, you might want to wrap teflon tape around the threads. That may be all you need. Looking at the end of the threads you would wrap the teflon tape in a clockwise motion, about 4 wraps should do it. Then reinstall the plug with a nice crush washer.
Yeah, I was thinking about teflon tape. As far as I understand, it should (ideally) be possible to get a perfect seal between the new crush washer and the oil pan. However, a little teflon tape as a precaution probably makes sense in this case.
 

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There is also such a thing called a "piggy back" plug. It's an over sized threaded plug that screws into the hole with some thread sealer. The piggy back plug has another bolt that then becomes the new drain bolt. I had to do it one time and it took 15 minutes and it worked! Minor draw back is that the oil take longer to drain.
 

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On a side bar off topic I once mentioned to my Harley Davidson rider friend that his Harley was leaking oil. His reply was it was a Harley Davidson engineering design feature to assure the owner that the motor had oil in the pan. If there was no oil leaking, then you should refer to the owner's manual for the nearest HD dealer for service.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
On a side bar off topic I once mentioned to my Harley Davidson rider friend that his Harley was leaking oil. His reply was it was a Harley Davidson engineering design feature to assure the owner that the motor had oil in the pan. If there was no oil leaking, then you should refer to the owner's manual for the nearest HD dealer for service.
My previous car had a similar feature. The warning lights on the dashboard were there to assure me that the warning light bulbs were still working. Actually, they were about the only thing that always worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is also such a thing called a "piggy back" plug. It's an over sized threaded plug that screws into the hole with some thread sealer. The piggy back plug has another bolt that then becomes the new drain bolt. I had to do it one time and it took 15 minutes and it worked! Minor draw back is that the oil take longer to drain.
I heard about these, but couldn't find any that could be posted to Switzerland on a sensible budget and within a sensible timeframe.
 
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