Subaru oil drain plug washer alternative

As for the subie oil drain plug gasket get yourself a COPPER WASHER from OIL-TITE instead!

It is their part # 65277 (M20) and it fits almost every Subaru model having a 20mm oil plug. I have used these copper washers and never had one drip of oil on the driveway. Best of all a package of two cost me only $1.29 at my local Napa Auto parts store, and you can even use the same oil ring a second time by simply turning it around (flip it 180) and the other side of the soft copper will kiss up to the oil pan with a snug seal!

(Oil-Tite M20 Copper is in a black pegboard package that's a little bigger than a business card. )

If you want to DIY one, just get a piece of 1/4" copper flat sheet and punch out an ID ring using a 20mm circular punch and an OD using a 25mm circular punch. You then have a ring with an ID of 20mm and an OD (wall) of 25mm (OD can be bigger up to 30mm) Just use the soft copper and don't over-tighten it. Just snug it up and you'll be OK.

Been doing this here with DIY copper rings on the oil pan for 2 years as drain plug gaskets with no problems. :)

.

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My Suby dealer gave me 6 or so at no cost when I buy an oil filter or two. If you do use a copper washer several times you can soften (anneal) it by heating with a propane torch or even on the kitchen stove. You must get to glow red though to anneal them. I know people who have used two of them for the life of a vehicle just by reannelling.

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I forgot to mention that to properly anneal the copper washer you must let it cool in ambient air temperature.

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It doesn't matter how you cool the copper. Some people claim you must quench it after heating to make it soft. Not true. Just heat it up, and then cool it any way you see fit.

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People who say quench it don't understand the process.

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Edward Hayes wrote:

Back in my jr high metal shop days, I was told that quenching metal made it harder. I recall making a cold chisel by dunking it in water.

BTW - annealing copper in the presence of oxygen might not be the best thing. Sure you're making it softer, but the original washer was probably annealed in a nitrogen or otherwise oxygen- free environment. Do it enough times, and the washer will be as thin as a penny laid out on a railroad track. :)

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y_p_w wrote:

Hi,

My "much more of a metallurgist than I'll ever hope to be" buddy tells me ferrous materials generally get harder when quenched, cuprous alloys get softer, and aluminum alloys react in a variety of ways. My VERY limited experience bears him out.

Rick

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Edward Hayes wrote:

I don't know about pure copper, but when annealing brass, we quench it in water after heating it JUST to a dull reddish color (bright red means it got too hot and the process fails.) Seems to work just fine, but that's brass... I don't know the actual copper percentage in the alloy being used. And I'm far from being a metallurgist!

Rick

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Edward Hayes wrote:

Same here.

My local Toyota dealer also tosses new the washers in the filter box.

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Paul B wrote:

Hi,

I've been using these for untold 10's of 1000's of miles on my Subie--I don't even bother flipping them. We used the same kind of washer on air-cooled VWs, and I remember taking some out that had been re-used to the point they were almost paper thin yet still didn't leak!

Ed's idea on annealing is one I hadn't heard before, but it's easy enough to do--might have to try that next time.

Rick

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Of course, can anyone say or has anyone experienced that the filter will leak without the washer? It could be an extra "just in case" item, in which case the fact that any alternatives work could be more due to design than necessity or otherwise.

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Mike Lloyd wrote:

Mike,

Are you talking filters or drain plugs? If filters, YES, they definitely will leak without their gasket. I can't tell you how fast four quarts of oil can hit the garage floor if one fails! If drain plugs, since I've seem 'em drip WITH one of the Subie crush washer style, when re-used too many times, I'd venture a guess a total lack of any washer could create a goodly sized leak, depending on the size of the drain hole (Subie uses a much larger one than most mfrs I'm aware of), and the interface between the pan and bolt head, condition of threads, pan material, etc. I had one air-cooled VW engine that leaked even WITH a NEW washer: threads on the plug were damaged (by a previous owner), which in turn damaged the threads in the aluminum case. And the face of the case was dinged up, too, so the washer just couldn't do its job. But I'm sure YMMV here.

Rick

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I can.

But it wasn't a failure of the part, it was a failure of the moron installing the filter. <cough-cough>

-John O

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doesn't the crush washer we are speaking of in this case go on the *filter* (as well as the o-ring) and not the drain pan?

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Mike Lloyd wrote:

Hi, Mike

The filter has its O-ring built into the housing--that's the ONLY gasket, washer or whatever kind of seal the filter gets. Adding a washer between the filter housing and the threaded connection it's screwed onto could produce results ranging from totally ineffectual (clearance between filter housing and the mounting surface is greater than the thickness of the washer) to catastrophic (if the washer's thicker than that clearance and causes a poor seal on the O-ring.) BTW, the same catastrophic results will be seen if the O-ring comes off the filter and sticks to the mounting surface, then a new filter is screwed on right over it. The double O-rings won't seal and if you have a stopwatch, you can see how long it takes for all your oil to hit the deck! (I didn't have a stopwatch when I--cough, cough--learned about this, but it's pretty fast!)

The one we're talking about is the washer that goes on the actual drain plug bolt and creates a seal between the head of the plug bolt and the pan (sump) itself.

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Mike Lloyd wrote:

The washer goes on the drain plug, not the filter. <G>

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Dealer charged me 84 cents each. I got away reusing a few times but stopped when I got a leak. Never change the copper ring on wife's Nissan. I like the annealing idea. Don't mind spending for washers or oil changes but don't like the waste of time and waiting. Frank

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An excellent solution, however, you might want to check into the Fumoto oil drain valve. Go to www.lubricationspecilist.com and click Fumoto Oil Valves under the Categories.

The Fumoto Oil Drain Valve almost makes a DIY oil change a white glove job.

KR (and no, I'm not associated with the site, just a satisfied customer)

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