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. :)
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
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. :)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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)
"Paul B" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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