Homemade Nylon Washers Might Fix Stripped Oil Plug Leak

I read over all the stripped oil plug posts because mine started leaking a year ago (1990 Integra, 120K miles). I finally took it to a shop that said they might be able to retap it. Turns out the oil change
shops I trusted to change my oil already had the largest self-tapping plug in, an after-market plug labeled "M14-1.5". I found the same plug at a local auto parts store for under $5.
The repair shop that initially said they might be able to retap it said it would cost $550 to install a new pan. The Acura dealer quoted $450 & another local trusted garage quoted $381. I decided to have AAA tow the car to my driveway so I could check it out myself. The Internet said all the parts to replace the oilpan myself were just $150. How hard could it be?
I jacked the car up in my driveway, looked under & decided it was not the job for me. I wasn't about to risk divorce or an HOA complaint by first disassembling everything from underneath the car that was blocking free access to the oil pan. I did pull the plug out and took it over to show my 70-year old neighbor who has half a machine shop in his garage to work on his own cars.
He looked at the half-chewed up plug and the metal plug gasket that Acura sells to go with their stock oil plug and advised me to hold onto my $381 and try a better gasket solution. He said that the threads on the plug & the pan don't create the seal that keeps the oil off my driveway so the plug threads were not creating an unfixable problem. He said the critical seal was between the head of the plug, the washer & the outside of the oil pan where the washer rested. He said since the oil in the oil pan was not under any serious pressure when the car was running that the problem might be fixable with a plastic oil plug washer/gasket if the threads could still hold just past finger tight. He advised that he could make a couple washers for me that might work out of a flat sheet of nylon material he had in his garage.
An hour (and two beers) later I had two nylon washers that together were about 1/4 inch thick. One might have worked but the threads closest to the plug head were pretty chewed up. (I told my neighbor I'd gladly buy another M14-1.5 plug at the auto parts store but he would not hear of it - a different generation). The inside holes of the homemade washers were about 9/16th of an inch & just cleared the threads on the oil plug. The outer diameter of the nylon washers were just larger than the oil plug head.
I dropped the washers on the oil plug, cleaned the outside of the oil plug whole the best I could and finger tightened the plug with the new homemade nylon washers on it. I then gently tightened it just a bit more with the wrench until it was past finger tight. I pulled the jack, put in 4 quarts of oil and ran the car for 5 minutes. When I looked under the car at the oil plug it was dry & drip free. When I took over a case of beer to my neighbor that may have saved me $381 (plus tax) he said that since I installed the washers on a cold night they would expand slightly when the car was hot to create an even better seal. I'll log back in & report if it starts leaking again. (I can't imagine it will leak worse than it was leaking with the metal Acura oil plug washer). My neighbor said he'd have made the washers out of a polypropylene material if he had had any.
In planning what I'll do if this fix doesn't hold, at the auto parts store I learned that the M14-1.5 plug I have in the oil pan is the largest self-tapping plug sold locally. They did have larger non-self tapping plugs but the auto parts guy advised that the oil pan would need to be dropped to tap a new hole to prevent any metal shavings from getting into the oil pan. He advised a metal shaving in the oil might seize up the car. I took it under advisement as I'm sure the oil change shop guys that hid my problem from me by inserting the first self tapping plug didn't pull my oil pan off before jamming the self tapping plug in. I assume that the oil filter would filter out any metal shavings floating around in the pan. I told the auto parts guy that I was trying to avoid pulling the pan. If I was going to pull the pan I'd pop for the $150 to replace it.
Needless to say I'll be changing my own oil from now on. Does anyone know how easy or difficult it is to change the oil filter on a 1990 Integra? Do you need the special wrench?
Good luck with your Acura oil plug leaks!
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<snip>
The correct fix is a HeliCoil, not a self-tapping plug. I'm surprised your dealer didn't suggest that. Check out HeliCoil kits before doing anything else.
http://www.helicoil.com/products/helicoil.asp

The '90 'Teg's filter is at the rear of the block. The car needs to be up on stands or ramps. Using anything other than the correct cap-type filter socket risks damaging the rad fan switch and oil pressure senders, both of which are perilously close to the oil filter. People break them all the time during oil changes. Do not perform filter removal with strap-type filter wrenches.
The drain plug is torqued to 33 ft lbs with a new aluminum washer each time. I torque to 31 ft lbs.
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Tegger

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