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New oil pan -- is my mechanic ripping me off?

Old 07-27-17, 05:16 PM
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New oil pan -- is my mechanic ripping me off?

Just heard from my wife that the mechanic said when the drain plug came out, he saw that the threads were all jacked up, and we need a new oil pan: another $400 dollars and don't get the car back today. (This in addition to the $500 for the new starter, which is why we had to take it in in the first place).

So (a), the only person that has touched that drain plug in the last at least 2 years is that shop. Shouldn't he have to replace my oil pan, because one of his jr mechanics cross-threaded it last time they put it in?

(b) Is there not a cheaper solution, tap the hole slightly larger and put in a larger drain plug? Or helicoil or something, like they can do on bicycle crankarms?

(c) FYI 2005 Honda Odyssey with >150K miles. Every time we take it in for an oil change, another $500 problem turns up. Is it time to get rid of this car, or is THIS the end of the wave of repairs that will get me another 50-100Kmi?

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Old 07-27-17, 05:17 PM
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(a.5) what words do I use to ask the mechanic about (a) without pissing him off?
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Old 07-27-17, 05:24 PM
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Is it time to get rid of this car
Or time to get rid of the mechanic...
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Old 07-27-17, 05:28 PM
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He seems like a good guy, for the last few years it's seemed he's been turning up problems that make sense for a car with this many miles on it, but for a regular customer of a couple years, is it normal for a mechanic to not point the finger first at himself for a crossthreaded drain plug?
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Old 07-27-17, 05:36 PM
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There are a number of solutions, including a threadless plug and a number of threaded valve plugs, whicheck, once installed, never need be removed. So odds greatly favor you being able to solve the problem without replacing the pan.

As to laying the blame on the mechanic, dealership, it would depend on the service history. If you have good service records showing regular oil changes at the same place, they would be compelling evidence that that shop should be liable for any damage to the threads.

There's always the option of a junkyard oil pan, which shouldn't cost much.

BTW - what kind of platinum plated starter costs $500?
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Old 07-27-17, 05:39 PM
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I've had several Hondas. My current is a 2013 Pilot. It replaced a 2000 CRV with 180,000 mi that had few problems. I got rid of it because it was looking pretty bad after 13 years of commuting to include many Michigan winters.

I think you should consider another service provider.
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Old 07-27-17, 05:45 PM
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this is why i fix my own stuff
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Old 07-27-17, 05:50 PM
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I fix some things myself, recently changed spark plugs, forward O2 sensor, attached hitch, but replacing engine mounts, power steering, starter etc are more than I can deal with. Starter I could probably actually have done, but ain't nobody got time for that!

I used to do all my own oil changes, but then I got too lazy. That's why I don't think a stripped drain plug is my problem
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Old 07-27-17, 05:59 PM
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Short answer, yes, he is sticking it to you.

Long answer.
If you look in the service manual for any car you note that things need to be done along the way at regular intervals. Even cars that aren't being driven need things done from time to time. Add in the wear and tear from going down the road, as well as the lessening quality of (certain) parts and you are bound to run into a guy you are paying for service pointing out things that need to be done.
Aside from that aspect, the guy is (hopefully) trained, certified, has a shop he can do the work and a **** ton of money in tools you don't own. So, unless you happen to have a garage you can use to put the truck up and get the oil pan out and tap/rethread it, while changing the starter, then you pretty much are at the mercy of the people who can.

I consider an oil pan plug a wear item in the long run, particularly when you don't do your own changes. No one else has any motivation to give a **** about parts of your car you don't see or know anything about.
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Old 07-27-17, 06:09 PM
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Got the guy on the phone, since my wife had already authorized the fix, he's got the thing all apart already, getting ready for the replacement pan tomorrow. He said the threads are not 'stripped' but worn from heat/age, and because it's an aluminum pan, not steel, they can't weld in a thread repair kit, and full replacement of the pan is the only solution he can warranty/stand behind.

I guess I'm just gonna have to bend over on this one.
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Old 07-27-17, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Got the guy on the phone, since my wife had already authorized the fix, he's got the thing all apart already, getting ready for the replacement pan tomorrow. He said the threads are not 'stripped' but worn from heat/age, and because it's an aluminum pan, not steel, they can't weld in a thread repair kit, and full replacement of the pan is the only solution he can warranty/stand behind.

I guess I'm just gonna have to bend over on this one.
In all likelihood that's horse ****, and I say that as a professional mechanic with many years behind me now. 99% chance they over torqued the threads either last time or one or two or three times ago, and if not the last time they finally gave out from the damage this time. Things happen in this field, it's pretty brutal, mistakes happen often due to the complexity and frantic nature of what goes on, but it's still their fault, and what they have told you doesn't jive up to reality.

If they said that repair kits are welded, they have utterly exposed their incompetence and/or dishonesty. That is something you never ever do. Repair kits consist of enlarged threads on replacement plugs, and they will self tap into aluminum splendidly and often work for many many years without issue, regardless of why the threads went bad. And yes, if the threads are hosed you can use the threadless universal plugs, but they need to be used carefully due to being more frail than standard plugs, but just the same they do work.

You sir are getting ripped off, conclusively with a zero percent chance of error if they didn't offer to attempt to use an oversized plug. It sounds like you really need to find a new shop.

Last edited by Michigander; 07-27-17 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 07-27-17, 08:27 PM
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and thats why i have 2 torque wrenches
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Old 07-27-17, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by windhchaser View Post
and thats why i have 2 torque wrenches
You will rarely find a mechanic who isn't on his first two weeks on the job or working on an exotic car with an exotic light weight plug who will use a torque wrench on an oil drain plug. About 10 pounds, no more or less, and in almost every case it'll be good to go, and with experience it can be felt pretty well. But even still, it's never a bad idea to look up specs and use a torque wrench.
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Old 07-27-17, 09:01 PM
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yeah i use my 1/4 torque wrench for light work. im a back yard mechanic and computer builder because i had a mechanic rip me off it sucked
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Old 07-27-17, 09:44 PM
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thx Michigander, he kept insisting a replaced oil pan is the only repair he could stand behind and warrantee. So either he's taking advantage of me, or he's got high-end standards that don't match my low-budget, rough&ready sensibilities. Either way, sounds like I need a new mechanic.
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Old 07-27-17, 10:27 PM
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I worked at a dealer and put them in routinely.

He may be telling you the truth, and it's company policy to insist on a new pan, or to discourage over sized plugs due to warranty issues or something. No matter who's fault it is, it is a bad and sleazy business practice to not offer it, because it's significant money you had a legit option to not spend.
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Old 07-27-17, 10:35 PM
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Not a dealer, thats why we started going to this guy, because he's an independent honda mechanic.

Before about 120Kmi, I didn't need to have a mechanic, because I changed my own oil, and it's a Honda, nothing went wrong. But then the old age started to catch up to it, had to replace engine mounts, spark plugs, front o2 sensor, timing and other belts, power steering, now the starter and apparently (not) oil pan...
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Old 07-28-17, 01:18 AM
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Old 07-28-17, 01:58 AM
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And the mechanics sounds like an ex-wife, screwing the OP for every cents he's worth.

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Old 07-28-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post

BTW - what kind of platinum plated starter costs $500?
The kind that has to come from the OEM, and the dealer has to install.
Ask me how I know.
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Old 07-28-17, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
The kind that has to come from the OEM, and the dealer has to install.
Ask me how I know.
That's why I never went beck to dealers for service. It might make sense on a relatively new car, but I've never had to make serious repairs on new cars. Then when cars are older, I don't think it makes sense to spend more than the car's general age and condition warrants.

IME - replacing an oil pan over a stripped drain plug is rarely warranted. There are plenty of fixes, and IF a replacement is necessary, a used pan will likely outlast the car.

BTW - all this makes a case for replacing the plug with a valved plug with the first change. Then if anything fails, it'll be an inexpensive, easily replaced part.
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Old 07-28-17, 11:24 AM
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My vote is to find another mechanic and go back to changing your own oil. Don't forget a new crush washer if you're using synthetic oil too.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:14 PM
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Who needs an oil pan? A cookie sheet and some JB Weld ought to do just fine!
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Old 07-28-17, 06:25 PM
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Agree with FBinNY... why use OEM on a cara with 150,000 miles? It doesn't make any sense at all. I sure don't do it.

The thing about this story is that the mechanic is saying he couldn't guarantee his work if you did a thread replacement job on the original pan, and that is why he has to replace the entire pan. Yet he isn't paying for HIS mistake in putting the original plug back in cross-threaded and causing the problem.

Yep, royally screwing the OP, who just seems intent on going back for more and more.
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Old 07-28-17, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Agree with FBinNY... why use OEM on a cara with 150,000 miles? It doesn't make any sense at all. I sure don't do it.
Just depends on if it's a keeper. I've seen a cargo van with over a million miles on it.
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