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Old 05-29-2002, 10:03 PM
Posts: n/a
Stripped Oil Drain Plug

I am very frustrated. The oil drain plug on my car was in tough shape and was put on very very tight by someone! Now I have made the situation worse, stripping the bolt even worse trying to get it off. The bolt is now somewhat rounded and it won't move. Does any body have any hints how to loosen it now that the bolt head is worn. (How can such an easy project to lead to so much frustration?).

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Old 05-29-2002, 10:13 PM
drbrandini's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512
get yourself a set of vice grips and clamp down on it tight. Go slow and be gentle it will eventually break free! And if it makes you feel better you can buy a new one at your local MB dealership
for $2.50, I bought one last week!

Good luck!

2008 S550
1957 Dodge D100
1967 VW Microbus 21 Window
2001 Suburban
2004 Beach cruiser bicycle
-----------------GO DUKE!-----------------

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Patrick Henry 1776
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Old 05-29-2002, 10:25 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the suggestion but I just tried that. I put on some penetrating oil, let it sit and they used the vice grips.

The vice grips just seemed to chew it up. That alluminum is just too soft.

My vice grips are definitely worn. I think I will make a trip to the hardware sotre and get new vice grips.
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Old 05-29-2002, 10:32 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: jErZeY
Posts: 514
Chisel and hammer will works for me..
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Old 05-29-2002, 10:48 PM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,207

Search the archives.


good luck
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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Old 05-29-2002, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

Chisel and Hammer. The drain plug is sacrificial. A new one is cheap. I had this happen to me on my 1986 190E 2.3-16. First oil change, could not get the drain plug out. Took it to a shop near by and had them do it, and they used a hammer and chisel. The next time I tried to take it out, it was stuck again. I bought a fancy socket from Snap-On that has the corners drilled out so you exert force on the flats only. Still would not budge, and started getting deformed. Got a new plug, then used a hammer and chisel and it came right out. The drain plug on these cars has about two inches of thread and is steel going into aluminum. I bought two more plugs, and when the third one got stuck, I invested in a Topsider. Never had the problem again, although I have never tried to take the drain plug out. It was really wierd, as I made sure I was not over tightening the thing, yet it would get stuck every time. The last drain plug is still in the center console tray, just in case. Hope this helps, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 05-29-2002, 11:44 PM
oldsouth's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 610
If all else fails, drill a hole in the center of it and use a spiral ease-out.
1995 S-350
370K + SOLD
1952 220B Cabriolet
39K kilometers + SOLD
1998 E300D
285K +
2006 E320CDI
130K +
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Old 05-30-2002, 12:03 AM
Posts: n/a
UNCLE - I give up.

I made a bigger mess with my new vise grips. (the good news I got free vise grips from Sears - their "forever" warranty really works).

I think it is time for vaccum extraction. Next time the car is at a garage I'll have them try to remove the plug with a air chisel.

One of the posts in the archive talks about using a little pump on drill instead of topsider. I think I'll give that a try.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Old 05-30-2002, 01:33 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
It is quite possible that the copper washer is missing, or has never been replaced. The washer should be replaced at each oil change (when using the drain method). There are normally an assortment of washers with the filter, the copper is for the drain plug, the aluminum is for the filter bolt and the other(s) are for different applications.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 05-30-2002, 09:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Sorry to hear of your problem. I think the best advice was to drill it out. Might be time to start using a Topsider.

'79 450SL
76,000 miles
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Old 05-30-2002, 09:44 AM
Posts: n/a
Hello bhorne,

I had the same problem on my 300e. I took it to my mechanic
and explained my frustartion. He used a special rachet key
that was designed specifically for stripped heads. Luckily,
he didn't charge me anything. I guess he felt sorry for me
and could easily read the frustration on my face.

I would suggest taking your car to a " Lube Shop ". Since they do
oil and filter changes on a regular basis, I would imagine they
run into this problem all the time. Ask them to remove the
drain plug for you and then just reinstall the new one yourself.

Hope all goes well for you,

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Old 05-30-2002, 11:29 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: California
Posts: 324
I've been there too - a few times! Try a hammer and chisel, not an air chisel. Strike the bolt along the outter edge in the counter-clockwise direction. The shock will usually break it loose.

I found that a Craftsman 3/8 drive 6 point 1/2" socket fits this bolt perfectly. I have not rounded one off since.

04 ML500
02 E430

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
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Old 05-30-2002, 11:32 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: California
Posts: 17
Try using a good quality pipe wrench - an indispensible tool!

1988 300e
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Old 05-30-2002, 11:57 AM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Would a pipe wrench fit in there? Probably not...
Another solution might me to grind some new sides on the plug head with a dremel, grinder, cutoff tool, or even a hand file. Just 2 sides are needed to give a wrench another chance at it. Once you get a wrench tightly on it, whack it with a hammer to shock it. Hammer action is much more likely to break it free.

I'm interested in aquiring this new type of extractor, which looks ideal for this particular situation, but I have not tried them yet:

If nothing else works, I would next be inclined to drill it out.

Grease or teflon tape on the threads will prevent this problem. Most other cars have plugs with much shorter threads, so the motor oil keeps them moving well enough.

If you ever do get it out, consider a valve instead of a plug:

I would be concerned that those Topsider devices may not get out any 'heavy' material that has settled to the bottom of the pan. I do have one, and it is certainly great for auto transmissions without plugs, but I have chosen to use the valve method instead for engine oil.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-30-2002, 06:40 PM
Col Tigwell
Posts: n/a
Fumoto valve is the way to go, you can get them with a nipple on them, which allows you to put a 3/8" plastic hose on it, which allows oil to be changed, and directed to wherever you want to go.

Will show you all.

On our ML270, the drain plug is right over the crass frame, the last place I would want to cover with used oil.

Once the valve is in, it never needs to be removed.


Col Tigwell Downunder
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