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2002 RL unable to remove bolt to do oil change

Old 08-27-2018, 09:27 AM
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2002 RL unable to remove bolt to do oil change

Hello,

I took my car to the mechanic for an oil change and was told that he couldn't remove the bolt and that it was stripped and I'd need to replace the oil pan which due to the labor involved would cost a few hundred dollars. In order to do the oil change he syphoned out the old oil. He said whoever did my oil change last is at fault for over tightening the bolt. My check engine light went on over the weekend so I stopped by his shop and asked him to check the code reader. He didn't have the code reader for my specific car so ran it as a Honda which read it to be a code related to the thermostat. The car runs fine and the thermostat doesn't seem broken but he quoted a couple hundred for replacement. I asked if he would be able to do my next oil change same as he did before but he basically declined saying that it's not the proper way and it takes to long and that he's not comfortable servicing in this manner. He said he personally would just look for a new car. I like this car a lot. I have another 1k miles before I'm due for the oil service.

I bought the car a couple years ago for $4k with 130k miles on it and did the timing belt and water pump replacement as scheduled and it's run great without requiring anything other than oil changes. I'm not working right now so I really can't afford. I'll do it if I really have to and if it makes sense. I want to know if I have any other less expensive options? Does anybody have any good advice they can offer?

Thanks,

Miki
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:01 AM
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What's the code? That will help diagnose it.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:23 AM
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If the oil plug threads were stripped I think you would be leaking oil, so I'm "assuming" the bolt head is stripped preventing removal of the plug. The bolt head can be drilled in the center to allow you to use an "easy-out" tool to remove the plug. Depending on the condition of the oil pan threads you cans just either just chase them with a correct size tap tool, but if the pan threads are screwed-up you may have to rethread it to a larger size and use a larger drain plug. Depending on your skill-level these are things you can do, but I would recommend have a mechanic with a lift perform the work who has done it before. Stay away from chain stores and try to find a local garage in your area who is willing to do the work unless of course you know someone who is a good mechanic and can do it for you. With the money you have invested in you RL it's well worth the effort to have tis done. Good luck!

Last edited by 2000RL; 08-27-2018 at 10:24 AM. Reason: fat fingers
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:54 PM
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FWIW: For around $60, you could buy a manual oil extractor, and do the job yourself, not difficult at all. Did your Mechanic ever give you the specific code?
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:56 AM
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I appreciate all the feedback.

I got the oil change handled. I found another mechanic who removed the bolt and replaced with a larger bolt. He said I had a slight crack in the pan that he was able to repair. He charged me $113.

As for the check engine code, it it is P1486. I'm told I may have a thermostat that needs to be replaced. Part is around $20 at AutoZone. Mechanic wants to charge me $80 to replace. Is this something I can easily do myself?
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:14 PM
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It can be a messy job, and the location of the thermostat is a pita on the RL. You can find videos on YouTube that will walk you through how to do it if you are are so inclined. However, $80 is a fair price ($20 for the part and $60 for .5 hr labor.) for the task, plus the mechanic can top off any fluid lost if necessary, and you don't have any mess to clean up. I spent over 45 years wrenching on my own vehicles mainly for fun and to save money but cars were easier to work on in my day now I have a mechanic who does most of the work on my 2000 RL and my 1985 RX-7 because my days of busting my knuckles on a stubborn bolt are over frankly. Good luck.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:55 AM
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A stripped bolt is something any half decent mechanic should be able to deal with. Iíd start by finding a new mechanic. If you still get told that you need a new oil pan Iíd just shell out the money to whoever can do it the cheapest. These are good cars. When something breaks, itís minor (like the thermostat or oil pan bolt) and itís usually cheap to fix, so Iíd keep nursing it

although I may have a different perspective since I do my own work. The only time Iíve ever paid a mechanic was to help me with a transmission rebuild

the other option is to learn how to work on your own car and become a DIYer. Thereís probably YouTube videos on how to swap an oil pan. If you canít find one for your car itís essentially the same process on other cars. Jack it up, take out maybe a dozen bolts, pry it off with a screwdriver (gently so you donít gouge the surface!!!!!), clean off the old gasket-maker (thatíll be the rubbery stuff around the lip that the pan seats onto the motor) and then apply some new gasket maker ($10 from auto zone) and put the bolts back in
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