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  #1  
Old 01-03-2022, 12:59 PM
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Question [Fixed, using a Time Sert kit] M18 Oil drain plug stripped, recommended solution?

After 18 years and 18 oil changes, at 42k miles, the threads in the oil pan for my 4.4i N62 oil drain plug are failing. Always changed by my mechanic friend, except the first three at the dealer, under the service agreement.

There was a small oil leak I noticed a day after the last oil change. I checked with my torque wrench after seeing the leak. It wasn't over-torqued (it was just under 25 N-m, but after tightening it to spec, it was still dripping the next day).

Picture of the damage:



I've done some research. I'm posting here for advice and so that anyone else searching specifically for the M18 or N62 can find a thread with links in it more easily.

The two main solutions I'm considering are getting the M18 Time Sert kit, or using an M20 tap and going with a M20 plug.

Here are a few links for Time Serts:

https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...ert-gurus.html

https://www.timesert.com/html/mtrcsert.html (M18 x 1.5 kit needed)

https://belmetric.com/time-sert-thre...ric-big-serts/ (no M18 Big Sert for some reason)

I found this video on the Lisle kit which only works up to M14, but shows the grease trick to catch the swarf.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg2Zo-GmGo

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-58850-O.../dp/B000J19K06

The M18 Time Sert kit is currently $242 (edit: increased to $265, two weeks later):

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Sert-181.../dp/B003W62AZ2

If I go with this solution, I'll likely sell the kit after verifying the problem is fixed. I saw a video using grease to catch the swarf while drilling and tapping the new threads for the Time Sert (also recommended by @wpoll in the Xoutpost link below).

The threads on the original oil drain plug look fine, but I'm considering getting a new one from FCP Euro:

BMW-07119905428 https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-07119905428oe

I saw @wpoll's posts here. Interesting inexpensive fix with the M20 tap and M20 plug. My concern is that if it doesn't work or the threads fail later, there won't be much room left for another solution.

https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...in-plug-2.html

Any thoughts or recommendations? Thanks!

Last edited by haigha; 01-15-2022 at 12:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2022, 02:01 PM
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I like Time-Serts. I strongly recommend getting the seat reconditioner tool as well. It ensures that you have a flat surface for the plug to seal on.

Edit: I also like to keep one of these around in case of emergency.

https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-HELP-6.../dp/B000CO96CM

I would not use it long term, but sometimes you need something to get you home or through the week.

Edit2: Given how easy it looks like it is to pull the N62 lower pan, you may want to consider replacing it if you can find a good used one.
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Last edited by nick325xit 5spd; 01-03-2022 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 01-03-2022, 03:05 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Nick. I ordered the kit. I'll check with my mechanic to see if he thinks resurfacing will be required. I see that having a flat surface is critical for the seal.

I'm going to go with this high-temp thread locker adhesive for the Time Sert. I saw some videos that don't use one, but it seems like it will be more secure with it.

Loctite Threadlocker Red 271

https://www.amazon.com/Loctite-Threa.../dp/B000FP8EUS

Also saw this one, but it has much fewer reviews:

Tekbond 120 threadlocker adhesive:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092JPPFG7/

I've ordered this replacement drain plug with magnet:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086RQZYZM/

I'll use the copper crush washer like the guy with the N62 550i in the reviews:

...the length of the threaded part is the exact same as OEM.

I did not use the included washer but instead opted to use the copper crush washer that comes with a new Hengst oil filter. It’s thinner and more pliable than the included aluminum washer, leading me to believe it will create a better seal...


As he notes in his review, pretty expensive for a oil drain plug. On the other hand, it's steel, has a good magnet and is made in the USA.

Edit: It is nice that the lower pan can be replaced, but I think the risk with a used pan, plus the ongoing concern with the aluminum threads make the Time Sert the better option.

Last edited by haigha; 01-03-2022 at 03:11 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2022, 04:43 PM
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Update: It looks like the Time Sert repair is going to work! Not a drip of oil coming out now.

On my mechanic friend's advice, we used the aluminum washer included with the magnetic 17mm plug (link in earlier post). The steel plug on steel Time Sert feels much more robust than the original drain plug and thin aluminum oil pan threads.

No resurfacing was required, but thanks, Nick, for the advice of that tool's availability. I saw it as an option on the Time Sert site.

A few observations:

While the drill bit is very sharp, we had some difficulty with starting the hole. My friend said a drill with a handle would have been better. We were both under the car. It was on my new Quickjack at the first position. The reason we didn't go up to the higher position is a story for another thread

We used 12-point Gear Wrench ratcheting wrenches with the other three tools (countersink drill 12mm, tap 15mm, and Time Sert insertion tool 12mm). The last one needed a larger 3/8" ratcheting wrench with a 12-point socket because there wasn't enough torque to get the oiled insertion tool through the Time Sert's upper cone with the shorter Gear Wrench. I had chosen to use the Gear Wrenches because the bits felt more more secure in them than the sockets.

If you want to use a proper tap wrench, you need one with about a 3/4" opening. The one in my drill and tap set wasn't big enough. I looked at buying a larger wrench, but I read a number of reviews on Amazon saying some of the wrenches didn't open to the listed size in their specs.

We used lots of grease on all of the tools to catch the swarf, except the insertion tool which we used Mobil 1 10w40. The kit says 30w motor oil for it, but we didn't have a problem.

The red thread locker on the outside of the Time Sert should keep it in place permanently. My friend is old school and used gasoline to clean the newly tapped threads, after cleaning the swarf and grease, but before inserting the Time Sert.

The kit instructions don't say a thread locker is necessary, but the kit you get from BMW for twice the price, which is a re-labeled Time Sert kit, does come with green thread locker. One piece of advice would be to wait a day before inserting the drain plug to allow the Time Sert to cure in place. We didn't do that and a small amount of thread locker needed to be cleaned up before inserting the drain plug.


Here's a picture of the completed project:



I won't have another use for this tool, so if you're interested in buying it PM me. M18 is used on N62 4.4i oil and transmission pans. The price on Amazon is now $265 + tax. Used once by a retired BMW Master Tech. Minor wear, four of the five Time Serts from the kit remain.

Last edited by haigha; 01-23-2022 at 11:45 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2022, 04:54 PM
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S54 pans are awesome for timeserting - instead of trying to catch the swarf, I pop off the oil pickup shield and shove a rag in to wipe it up. The downside is the joke of an M12 plug that they use.

Glad it worked out!
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2022, 06:31 PM
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Thanks! M18 gets the oil out fast. The downside is the Time Sert kit is about twice the price of the M12 and M14 kits.

We inserted about six q-tips with the ends greased and bent to 90 degrees to get any swarf out around the drain, then several clean ones to get as much grease out as possible.

Last edited by haigha; 01-14-2022 at 11:19 PM.
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