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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There are so many threads about stripped drain plugs and cracked cases due to over-torquing of drain plugs that something must be done. I, mean, think of the whales and children here. It's a travesty.

Unfortunately, the new KLR owner and inexperienced wrench is going to learn of these precautions when he does a web search loosely related to "I've stripped my case, what the **** do I do now?".

The torque spec on the Gen1 drain plug was 17 ft-lb. The Gen2 was upped to 21 ft-lb for reasons that remain in the hallowed halls of KHI.

The drain plug is an M12 X 1.5 with a 17mm head on it, and the normal torque for a bolt that big is on the order of 65 ft-lb. It's a big-ass bolt! People look at that thing and figure "it needs to be 'friggentite'". Or they rely on an inaccurate torque wrench (that is two feet long) to do the job.

At best, the threads strip out of the hole. At worst, the case gets cracked. It seems that thread stripping is cumulative damage while case cracking comes from over torquing a case with good, solid threads in it.

We wouldn't have these problems if the head of the bolt was a wee 8mm thing, now would we?

All that is needed to torque the bolt so it won't leak is an eighth of a turn past finger tight. That's about 10 to 12 ft-lb. The Gen1 spec was pretty good; it added a bit of ooomph to make sure it wouldn't vibrate out.

The use of a steel/neoprene washer would probably permit even less torque being used, but there's always that specter of the bolt falling out.

The idea that the bolt is going to come out if not set in quite tight is easy to overcome with about a half-hour's worth of work and an extra 15 minutes (tops!) work at each oil change. (By the by, I've always done the '1/8 turn past finger tight' and my plug has never become loose. Take it for what it's worth)

At your next oil change, drop your skid plate so that you have access to the oil pan and drain the oil.

At the case bolt, just aft of the drain plug, look for a head face that would be easy to thread safety wire through and mark it:


Remove that bolt and cross drill the head through that face with a 1/16" / 1.6mm drill and de-burr the hole with a drill bit that is about twice as large as the hole.


Cross drill the drain plug in the same manner:


Re-install the drain bolt and install safety wire:


Safety wire pliers make this easy and inexpensive ones are available from Horrid Fright and work just fine. Get the larger ones, though, as the small set is a bit harder to work with.

Using a pair of pliers or Vise-Grips to do the safety wire is fine, too. What's important is that the wire be pulling in the right direction and that it be taut enough so the bolt can't possibly back out. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if it's ugly just don't show nobody.

You want to have a bit of wrap of the safety wire around the bolt. If you are an air frame mechanic you have a spec for how much. Let's just say that less than half a wrap and more than an eighth of a wrap will do. You don't want it coming straight off the bolt.

Unless you're very nimble, you'll need to drop the skid plate at each oil change.

I think another couple of good items is the steel/neoprene washer and a low-profile drain plug. If you can find one that is already drilled, so much the better.

"Yeah, I'm all wired up now", Tom said nervously.

Tom
 

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I like the idea, except for the part about dropping the skid plate every oil change. (i know, I'm lazy) :)
 

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Good idea using that other bolt as an anchor point. I just wire mine to the skidplate itself after drilling a small hole near the edge of the drain plug access hole. It's not really a good angle because bolt head and anchor hole are on different planes.

I do it that way because I'm too lazy to take off my nasty-ass skid plate every time, but your technique is truly the way to go to get that safety as perfect and effective as it can be.
 

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I could do that! And it kinda fancy too. Like low flying aircraft fancy!
Sweet. That drain plug goes in soft and I'm always worried!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
In hindsight, the hole in the drain plug should be drilled as close to the bottom of the head as possible so it will be less likely to slip off as you're twisting the wire. Safety wire holes usually go through two adjacent hexes, but that's almost impossible in the typical home shop without a drill press and special fixture. Next best might be drilling the hole through two opposite flats but as close to one side or the other as possible. Going straight through the head is the greatest recipe for success.

Keep the drill speed up, use a fair bit of oil, , clear the chips frequently by retracting the drill, and mind that the drill stays as straight as possible up and down and right and left.

A good mechanic would blow chunks at the sight of that safety wiring, as the bolts are in two different planes and the wire at the case bolt is not snugging the bolt.

It'll work for our needs, though.

Tom
 
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Discussion Starter #6

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A good mechanic would blow chunks at the sight of that safety wiring, as the bolts are in two different planes and the wire at the case bolt is not snugging the bolt.

It'll work for our needs, though.

Tom
IMHO, considering the odd arrangement, I think that safety's about as good as it could get. The main thing is, is that bolt going to work loose? No, it's not and that's all that matters. It does make it a lot easier when you have multiple holes/options for running the wire through the bolt head.

My aftermarket drain plug just has one hole through the head and it always seems to wind up in the worst possible orientation for doing a good safety.

The drain plug thing actually torques me off (pun intended) more than the engine balancer issue.
 

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I like the idea, except for the part about dropping the skid plate every oil change. (i know, I'm lazy) :)
I need to drop the skid plate any way to adjust the Doo. I know I could grind a piece out of the skid plate but I'm lazy too.
 

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Nice Tom... Looks slick..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Cabrito. I think that thing at Dennis Kirk looks like a good idea, too.

Tom
 

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Tom looks good....I'm guessing you were an A.M.E. in a different life weren't you??
Never far from their rolls of lock wire! Ha ha
 

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lol... Can't do this with the Eagle Mike oil drain plug..... Which I just ordered...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've since changed to an AE Motorsports low profile aluminum plug with an internal hex. I drilled it for safety wire.

These days I'm using a neoprene washer and just a couple of foot pounds of torque.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I had ground down an original EM bolt and cross drilled it before I discovered the AE Motorsports bolt.



Tom
 
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