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Ask Fred about torquing oil drain plugs........just sayin'

I torque the critical stuff.......not oil drain plugs.
Been changing oil on cars, trucks, and motorcycles for over 45-years and never used a torque wrench on the drain plugs. Just use common sense feel...
Never had one fall off, leak, stripped, or unable to get off the next time.

That's what I am doing, going with Fred's suggestion...then again, I am a Fred Harmon disciple. I have burnt candles on an altar where his maintenance (entertainment) tapes hold the high place...which incidentally, I highly recommend.
 

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All the years I've been riding, 50yrs now, using torque spec for drain plugs I've never had problem. What size bolt is it? I think on my 08 the thread is 14mm and spec at 25ft/lb. No way in the world you will damage a 14mm thread bolt using 25ft/lb. Don't know what the 2018 uses, but go by the torque recommended and you won't have any problem.
new ones have smaller bolts.
 

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The drain plug bolts on my Wing are subject to the same two stresses every bolt are subject to when tightened.

In my 43 years as a helicopter mechanic, I've torqued a lot of fasteners. Stainless, titanium, inconel, monel, aluminum, you name it. And in all those years I've never seen hardware stripped when applying torque in accordance with a manufacturers torque specifications. This leads me to believe something else is going on here.

1. Crappy torque wrench that was not properly maintained or calibibrated?
2. Torque wrench used to remove fasteners, causing internal damage?
3. Failure to exercise and zero torque wrench before putting away after use?
4. Failure to account for positive or negative offset?

I could go on, the point being... all of the above are failures of the user, not the tool.

In the end, some will choose to forego the torque wrench, others won't. Me. I'll continue to torque the Drain Plug Bolts as well as the DCT Oil Filter Cover Flanged Bolts.
 

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You forgot to add one:
* higher torquing-tolerance parameter for helicopter bolts...perhaps?
In most Physics and Biological environments the synergy of calculable spectrum do not transfer from one environment to another.
I am wondering if this dis-similarity is applicable to engineering designs. IE: what worked on the mechanical synergy on a Heli may not apply to motorcycles...just wondering...can I wonder?...its ok to wonder, ain't it?
 

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Inthewind, the problem is not the bolt threads, but rather the female aluminium threads of the cases. Ain't always the gals? ;-)

The problem may also not be so much with the motorcycle parts as it is with wrenches and wrench selections. I cringe when I hear somebody boast their wrench is calibrated from "0 to 100 foot pounds and they use it for 6 foot pount hardware. Even with correct range tool, some wrenches are finicky, no, better word is unreliable. For small hardware, drain plugs and such I will trust my experience unless the proper high quality tool and reliable spec is available.

prs
 

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You forgot to add one:
* higher torquing-tolerance parameter for helicopter bolts...perhaps?
In most Physics and Biological environments the synergy of calculable spectrum do not transfer from one environment to another.
I am wondering if this dis-similarity is applicable to engineering designs. IE: what worked on the mechanical synergy on a Heli may not apply to motorcycles...just wondering...can I wonder?...its ok to wonder, ain't it?
Whether a helicopter, airplane, automobile, or motorcycle, it doesn't change the fact that a bolt takes two stresses when tightened. One being tension, the other torsion.

Of the two, tension is the desired stress. This is true regardless of whether the value is 5 lb-ft or 5,000 lb-ft.. In both instances, a large percentage of the applied torque goes to overcoming friction, yet only tension remains after tightening. And it's that tension that keeps the drain plug bolt from loosening and falling out.

There are other variables that need to be considered when determining the amount of torque to apply to a given fastener. Dry install. Wet install. If wet, the type of wet lubricant used being the most common.

The mfg's engineers are responsible for providing the torque values and variables I use for installation of a rotor head, swashplate, tail rotor hub, Gold Wing engine oil drain plug bolts.

Unlike the manuals I work with, which clearly identify whether a fastener is to be installed dry or wet and the type of lubricant used, the Gold Wing Service Manual doesn't indicate whether the value specified for the drain plug bolts is a wet value or a dry value.

Knowing there is no way to ensure the threads of the engine case are dry and oil-free when installing the drain plug bolts after an oil change, experience instructs me to reduce the torque value by 25%, which is standard practice when only a dry torque value is provided.

As stated earlier, there are those who will forego the torque wrench, and those who will not. As I do all of my own maintenance, what others do bothers me none in the least.
 

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@HeloMech
How do you do your drain bolt on the wing? by manual, by feel, or 25% of the manual.

I got think, an oil drain job would entail a 'wet' torque value...
 

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@HeloMech
How do you do your drain bolt on the wing? by manual, by feel, or 25% of the manual.

I got think, an oil drain job would entail a 'wet' torque value...
@Nando. Knowing there is no way I can ensure the threads of the engine case are dry and oil-free when reinstalling the drain plug bolts, I treat them as a wet install. This means reducing the dry torque value by 25%. Thus, I set my torque wrench to 16.5 lb-ft..

Note: that's a 25% reduction, not 25% of the manual as you stated [which would be 5.5 lb-ft.].

Some here use 14 lb-ft, which is a 36 percent reduction. I happen to use 25%, because that's what I was taught back in the day.

What's important is being cognizant of when something is a dry or wet install and treating the install accordingly.
 

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@Nando. Knowing there is no way I can ensure the threads of the engine case are dry and oil-free when reinstalling the drain plug bolts, I treat them as a wet install. This means reducing the dry torque value by 25%. Thus, I set my torque wrench to 16.5 lb-ft..

Note: that's a 25% reduction, not 25% of the manual as you stated [which would be 5.5 lb-ft.].

Some here use 14 lb-ft, which is a 36 percent reduction. I happen to use 25%, because that's what I was taught back in the day.

What's important is being cognizant of when something is a dry or wet install and treating the install accordingly.
I bet the Helos you worked on had steel inserts in the aluminum material. :)
 

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I bet the Helos you worked on had steel inserts in the aluminum material. :)
That's true. On components that require frequent disassembly and assembly, you'll typically find Helical Coil or Twinsert Inserts are used to reduce the chance of damaging the component. Items made from magnesium, such as gearbox liners and housings are usually assembled using Ring-Lock Studs and Locknuts.

Helical Coil Inserts, Twinserts, Slimserts, Ring-Lock Studs, Ring-Lock Inserts, Press-Lock Fasteners, Swage-Locked Fasteners, Hi-Lok Fasteners. I've had the pleasure, and at times the displeasure of seeing them all at one time or another.

Compared to some things in the aviation community, working on my Wing is a dream! :)
 

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This is all very interesting. I always assumed that the service manuals would specify correct torque knowing the drain bolt will be covered in oil, because that will always be the case. So we should reduce cam cap torque, the bolt on the bottom of the fork legs ect 25% also because of oil on the threads?
 

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FWIW, the service manual does say to apply engine oil to SOME of the fasteners, locking compound to SOME of the fasteners, grease to SOME threads. brake fluid to SOME and has no note on other items.

Oil filter calls for engine oil on threads and gasket. Engine oil to a new O-ring on the DCT filter cover.
Drain plug has no note.
 

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@Fluke189. That's not what's being said at all.

The op stated in part, "The manual says 22 ft/lb for the drain bolt, but I couldn't bring myself to tighten it that much. I set the torque wrench to 22, but before it "clicked" I just got the feeling that I was tightening that little bolt waaaay too much." He went on to ask whether he misunderstand the specs, or was just being overly cautious.

Some call for not using a torque wrench. I simply stated what my experience has shown. The reader can take from that what they will.

I stated the manual does not specify whether the value provided for the drain plug bolts is a dry value, or wet value. Knowing the case is not dry and oil-free, I know the bolt is installed wet. And knowing the case is aluminum, my preference, unlike some here, is to use a torque wrench, but reduce the specified torque value by 25%.

There are three Drain Plug Bolts, and two DCT Oil Filter Cover Flanged Bolts. According to the "Machinery's Handbook", the "by feel" method of applying torque has an error of +-35%.

If you don't care about consistency or the possibility that you're doing more harm than good, by all means... use the palm of your hand and give the wrench a good whack. I on the other hand am a bit more fastidious, and therefore choose to use a torque wrench.

Lastly. If you look in the Service Manual you will find the manual states to "Apply engine oil to the threads and sealing surface" of the Camshaft Holder Bolt. Therefore, the torque value provided is clearly a wet value and the type lubricant specified. Thus, no need to reduce the value by 25%.

In closing. If someone wants to torque by feel. Fine. If someone wants to apply anti-seize to the rear wheel studs, or spark plug threads. Fine. I would certainly advice against it and point out why they shouldn't, but it's ultimately each persons choice to make. But to claim someone who chooses to use a torque wrench on drain plugs shouldn't be changing their own oil? WOW!!!!
 

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I can't believe there are 34 posts on the torque of an oil drain plug. I've learned a lot about torque and torque wrenches as well as torquing the oil plug to 14 ft lbs. Shows you how much technical info can be found on this site.
 

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This is all very interesting. I always assumed that the service manuals would specify correct torque knowing the drain bolt will be covered in oil, because that will always be the case. So we should reduce cam cap torque, the bolt on the bottom of the fork legs ect 25% also because of oil on the threads?
Not always.

What if GoldWingrGreg disassembles the entire engine. He then cleans, inspects, repairs, and later assembles the engine. The engine case having been cleaned is now dry and oil-free. He refers to the Service Manual for the torque value to be applied to the Drain Plug Bolts. Nowhere in the Remarks column of the Service Manual does it specify the use of a lubricant. Therefore the torque applied is assumed to be a dry value.

It is not my job as a mechanic to read into what is written, something that is not there. If Honda did not specify a lubricant, I have to assume the torque value provided is a dry value.

Now, don't get me wrong. How Honda would expect someone changing their oil to have a dry oil-free case drain is beyond me. Hence the reason I reduce the value. Until I know for certain which one the value is, I prefer to err on the side of caution as others are doing. I simply choose to use a Q-wrench when doing so.
 
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