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  #1  
Old 08-18-2014, 03:58 PM
sseebart sseebart is offline
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Stripped threads on rear main bearing cap

Working on sealing up my engine after installing a new rear main seal, I installed the oil pan only to discover that the threads for the oil pan bolts in the aluminum bearing cap are pretty stripped. They will hold a bit of torque, but not enough for my comfort.

Looking through my disassembly photos, I see that the metal there is pretty thin and open directly to the crankcase. (i. e. no drilling/helicoils)

Click the image to open in full size.

I was hoping it was a little deeper and longer bolts might be able to grab some decent threads.

Aside from disassembling everything again (Ug! Would add a week+ to this project, waiting for replacement gaskets, etc), any ideas on making sure this area stays sealed?

~Steve
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:02 PM
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That is a MAJOR bummer. Visit your local machine shop guy and see if he has any suggestions.
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:09 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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I don't see why a helicoil wouldn't work. It's either that or tap to the next size and use larger studs. Or replace the retainer. Studs should be used in those two holes.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:21 PM
sseebart sseebart is offline
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My experience with helicoils is all secondhand--but I was under the impression that the holes needed to be drilled out before the helicoil could be installed (and everything pulled out to do it.)

~Steve
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:05 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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Just about any way you do it will require drilling or disassembly. You will need to remove the oil pan at least. You should be able to do it if you're careful. Remove all of the chips you can before you put it back together.

Another thing, you shouldn't torque oil pan bolts. Watch the gasket as you tighten it. You will see the gasket squish out slightly when it is tight enough. Use studs on the seal reatainer, like original. If you can get those nuts that tight, it will be fine. Use thread sealer on the studs, in the seal retainer.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:36 PM
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Sorry, I misunderstood the issue. On hand are many seal retainers. I can get one to you for not much, and within 3 days via priority mail. Mike
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:13 PM
sseebart sseebart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
Just about any way you do it will require drilling or disassembly. You will need to remove the oil pan at least. You should be able to do it if you're careful. Remove all of the chips you can before you put it back together.

Another thing, you shouldn't torque oil pan bolts. Watch the gasket as you tighten it. You will see the gasket squish out slightly when it is tight enough. Use studs on the seal reatainer, like original. If you can get those nuts that tight, it will be fine. Use thread sealer on the studs, in the seal retainer.
Thanks. The manual calls for something like 10-12 ft/lbs or something equally ridiculous like that. My torque wrench doesn't even go that low. I used a 1/4 drive socket and proceeded as you outlined. The bolts on the retainer are almost, but not quite, as tight as the rest.

I'm going to take my chances with the assembly as it is, knowing that I can still redo the whole thing with the engine back in the truck. The only real risk is a little oil on the clutch, which would suck, but I suspect I'll have weeping, if anything, and not the flood of oil I was seeing before.

If I do need to re-do it, I'd pull the whole retainer and do the drilling on the bench to avoid any chance of contamination.

~Steve
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:06 AM
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Make sure you put sealant on the studs/bolts on the retainer as since they go thru they themselves can be a source of a weepage.
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:44 AM
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Make sure you put sealant on the studs/bolts on the retainer as since they go thru they themselves can be a source of a weepage.
Good call--hadn't thought of that.

Do you, btw, happen to know the recommended torque for these? Couldn't find it in the manual.

~Steve
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:59 PM
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Tap it to the next larger size.

Put in bigger bolts.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by sseebart View Post
Good call--hadn't thought of that.

Do you, btw, happen to know the recommended torque for these? Couldn't find it in the manual.

~Steve
Sorry Steve I don't. I just tighten them 'snuggly'.

I remember back a ways that someone installed metric studs/bolts. Don't remember what size but it was just slightly larger than the striped hole but smaller than the next SAE size. May hold you over until you have to drop the pan again.

Good luck.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:41 PM
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The engine gods apparently want me to pull that pan off.

Snapped a bolt deep inside the timing cover while torquing the bolts down. Gotta pull the pan to get the cover off and fish out the broken end, so looks like I'll have an "opportunity" to drill the retainer and tap for studs.

~Steve
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:03 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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You don't have to remove the pan for the timing cover. A timing cover kit includes the front portion of pan gasket.

Assuming you are using the correct length bolts and torquing them properly, you should replace all of those bolts because they will not snap if all is well. If one failed, then the rest may follow.

Some of the timing cover bolts will contact the cylinder if they are too long. This can result in improperly torqued bolts and possibly severe engine damage. You should be able to thread them all the way in by hand and then torque them. If more than hand strength is required to thread them, find out why.
Use thread sealer on the bolts that go through to the water jacket. Do not use RTV for this purpose.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:44 AM
sseebart sseebart is offline
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Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
You don't have to remove the pan for the timing cover. A timing cover kit includes the front portion of pan gasket.
Well, now that I have two reasons to pull the pan, I think it's worthwhile. Nice to know for future reference, though.

Quote:
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Assuming you are using the correct length bolts and torquing them properly, you should replace all of those bolts because they will not snap if all is well. If one failed, then the rest may follow.
I first thought that my torque wrench had gone south on me, but in testing it yesterday, it seems fine. I'll pick up some new replacements today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemccraney View Post
Some of the timing cover bolts will contact the cylinder if they are too long. This can result in improperly torqued bolts and possibly severe engine damage. You should be able to thread them all the way in by hand and then torque them. If more than hand strength is required to thread them, find out why.
Use thread sealer on the bolts that go through to the water jacket. Do not use RTV for this purpose.
I was not aware the bolts went through that far! I'll check out the thread sealer and clean up the threads as well.

Many thanks for the tips.

~Steve
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by stuart1 View Post
Tap it to the next larger size.

Put in bigger bolts.
In the end, this was the only way to get the pan tightened up. I tried to clean up the old threads, but there wasn't enough metal left to make that work. I drilled out the holes and tapped them for 3/8" coarse threads, then installed 1" studs. I had to drill out the holes in the pan, too, of course, and be very careful installing the gasket so it didn't rip. It's still possible to get a socket on the bigger nuts, as they stand proud of the pan lip a bit, but any larger would be a problem.

I noted, though, when I pulled the pan off, that the pan to retainer seal was weak, so glad I took the time to fix this.

~Steve
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:47 AM
 
 
 
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