Torqued Oil Drain plugs


Living Legend
Nov 25, 2006
Heart of Dixie (Alabama)
I'm amazed the amount of torque specified for the oil drain plugs. That's all three plugs.
I'm not a metric user. The stated torque is 25nM. I take that is newton meters. Converted to my own standard that's 18+ foot pounds. That's a lot of torque, in my book!

I had to use a 15" cheater bar to break the factory applied torque on all three plugs. I'm inclined to say far more than 18#'. But! 18 in my book, Oh, I already said that.

I've read here or there snippets about "being careful" applying torque on reinstallation of the plugs???

Could it be that uncalibrated torque wrench at the factory, or specified torque that's way overboard, has stressed out threads; so that subsequent installs are resulting in stripped threads. Wouldn't suprised me with 18 foot pounds.:confused: 10 tops:confused:

It's my experience, that when lubricated oil plugs won't thread into lubricated thread holes using fingers only to their seating position, there is an issue. Or there's going to be one.
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I have come across quite a few over-torqued and a few cross-threaded fastners on mine. I have also found some that have worked their way loose.

I didn't do my first service so I'm not sure how the drain plugs were, but the last change I did they seemed fine. But I'm not surprised yours were that tight. One reason it'll be ok with that much torque is because of the crush washers. That is why they are supposed to replaced at each change.
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I recall installing the Rivco Risers on mine. I cut the "bad end" off my SK allen wrench twice before I decided to protect the gas tank & apply heat to the darn screw. That did it! I've noticed other fasteners used to hold the same item on (say, four screws to hold a cover on) that appeared to be tightened to different levels of torque. After I received the bike from the dealer, the capscrew that holds the front of the fuel tank was just about to fall out. Kinda wishie-washie as far as applying torque porperly at the factory & dealership.

See ya.
When I mounted the Leather Panniers I found a rear fender strut bolt that looked to have been over tightened. Longer bolts came with the bags and I was able to chase the thread back to semi normal. :(
I have a few loose screws too.

The socket head that held my gas tank to the steering head was loose when I got the bike too. I kept noticing a thump sound as I went down a bumpy road. It was the almost empty tank biuncing. I put a little Loctite 232 Threadlocker on the threaded part and tightened it down.

Oil filters are put on with a dry gasket at the factory and are a real bugger to get off the first time. The first time on my Bonnie necessitated a screwdriver through the casing for added torque.

One thing about the bonnie is that the sump extension casting is a thin wall, pressure die casting and over torquing the drain plug will crack the casting. That's well documented elsewhere. The sump pan on the R3 seems much more robust so it should take a bit more abuse.

In as much as the bikes are assembled on a assembly line, at each particular assembly station, pre-set air torque drivers are most likely utilized on the fasteners. It's not economically feasible for someone on the assembly line to use a torque wrench on each fastener.
"Oil filters are put on with a dry gasket at the factory and are a real bugger to get off the first time." Flip - U are certainly correct about that! I didn't have the correct sized filter removal tool to fit the OEM filter. The Scotts filter comes with one but it's larger than the OEM filter. I was just short of stuffing a screw driver through it; but chose a pipe wrench with a fair bit of grunt, to get it off instead.

And I'd be willing to bet your pay check that the amount of factory applied torque has in fact stressed the threads, so that reinstalling the plugs to the hilt by means of finger strength only is not possible.
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"And I'd be willing to bet your pay check that the amount of factory applied torque has in fact stressed the threads, so that reinstalling the plugs to the hilt by means of finger strength only is not possible.

If you are referring to the sump plugs, in theory you couldn't stress the internal threads on the sump plate because the sump plate is pressure die cast aluminum just like my Bonnie. The main difference is the boss surronding the plug is more robust (I had to get on the ground under both bikes to make this observation and the floor is cold this time of year). If you torqued the plugs past the factory specified torque of 25nm appreciably, then all you'd do is strip out the threads or possibly crack the sump plate casting. Pressure die cast aluminum is brittle by it's very nature so any deformation in the internal threads will cause them to fracture. I'd venture to say that most likely, you'd pull the threads before the plug cracked the boss. Just the opposite is true on the T100.

Either way, I'd be sure to apply a little bit of never sieze to the plug. Aluminum threads have a bad habit of galling and fracturing anyway. Same goes for sparkplugs. There is nothing like the sinking feeling of backing a sparkplug out of an aluminum head and it's gets tighter and tighter on the way out. When you get the plug out and look at the threads, bits of aluminun are stuck in the V's. You peer in the head and all you see is mangled threads. Been there and done that and the only cure is pull the head and install a Heli-Coil. Never sieze practically eliminates that.

If you are unsure as to the condition of the internal threads, you can always chase them with a plug or bottoming tap in regards to the sump plate. Heads aren't that easy.
If you are adventurous like me, you can always MIG the hole shut and re-machine the hole and thread it.

The drawback to a Heli-Coil is it has to lock in and the tang has to be broken off cleanly or it to will back out. I've seen guys chase a sparkplug hole with a re-threading tap and then start the engine to blow the chips out. Works really well with a Ford.:D