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I took my 2008 in for an oil change to my own mechanic yesterday. I had burned up my three freebies that came with it at the dealership. My mechanic found a helio coil in the oil pan drain plug. I brought it back to the dealer that has done all the prior oil changes and and they told me they didn't do it. They said that the helio coil had been machined into the drain hole and they didn't have the equipment to do that if they wanted to. I asked them if the factory could have screwed it up and made the fix and they said the same thing. Maybe the 08s have a different looking hole that I am missing? If all the 08s look like that, I am fine with it. But it sounds a little suspicious...like they don't want to fix what they broke.

Is it a big deal? Should I get on with my life since it doesn't leak, or continue to insist on a new oil pan free of charge?

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance from a clueless car guy.
 

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Finding a helo coil seems a little suspicious to me; has anyone else had this issue
 

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jsimms said:
Finding a helo coil seems a little suspicious to me; has anyone else had this issue
What is that?
 

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it's something thats inserted into a threaded hole when the original threads are screwed up. You drill out the original hole to a larger size and then tap new threads into it. Then you screw in the helicoil. On the inside of the helicoil is the original size hole and threads.
 

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someone over torqued it and repaired it the best, cheapest way. The heli-coil is stronger than the oem they say. I have one in my main crank on my v twin cycle and have had no trouble out of it....so unless it leaks, i would not worry bout it.
 

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bdumais15 said:
I took my 2008 in for an oil change to my own mechanic yesterday. I had burned up my three freebies that came with it at the dealership. My mechanic found a heli-coil in the oil pan drain plug. I brought it back to the dealer that has done all the prior oil changes and and they told me they didn't do it. They said that the heli-coil had been machined into the drain hole and they didn't have the equipment to do that if they wanted to. I asked them if the factory could have screwed it up and made the fix and they said the same thing. Maybe the 08s have a different looking hole that I am missing? If all the 08s look like that, I am fine with it. But it sounds a little suspicious...like they don't want to fix what they broke.

Is it a big deal? Should I get on with my life since it doesn't leak, or continue to insist on a new oil pan free of charge?

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance from a clueless car guy.
Welcome to the forum... we request new members share some info so we can better help them when they have questions such as these.

In this case, here is what I need to know to best answer your question:
1) Did you buy the vehicle new or used?
2) How many miles on it?
3) Have you been using this same mechanic for a while?
a) Are they known to be reliable?
b) Did they recommend any type of repair?

My initial analysis:
Since it is the drain fitting, you don't need to worry about internal engine damage like you would if it had been inside the pan. I don't believe the dealer when they say they don't have the "equipment"- this is a drill, tap, insert, and tool for the insert in a plastic pouch. Last time I bought one it was like $30 or so. I would tend to believe the factory (assembly line) would not have this type of repair equipment since it would cause the line to stop in order to make the repair. If it had leaked from the factory, there should be an internal service record at your dealer since someone would have had to been paid to repair the leak.

As noted, heli-coils are a well known and reliable means of thread repair. I have used them many times over the years without any problems. Short of replacing the pan, it is the only means of repairing a stripped drain plug. When it is repaired (figuring it hasn't been done yet), make sure your mechanic puts loctite (thread locking liquid) on the insert so it doesn't come out as easily.
 

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As mentioned, a Heli-coil (which is actually a brand name) when used as a repair technique, does not require any elaborate machining. The old stripped thread is drilled and tapped and then the insert is mounted with a special (but cheap and hand held) tool. I have them in several sizes in my garage. Generically, they are known as hardened inserts, and there are indeed some manufacturers who use them in OEM applications. Things such as the AC compressor mounts (high vibration issues) levered onto an alloy block are the sort of application where OEMs would choose to use them, and in the OEM applications that I have seen, they are in higher end vehicle engines. I really have no idea if GM uses them for such things, as the only GM blocks I have personally built have been cast iron, but when utilized as an OEM fastener, they do employ tooling that a dealer is not likely to have. Having said all that, the last time I changed my Acadia oil, I didn't notice if there was a hardened insert on the pan from the factory, but I will certainly look the next time.
 

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If you would put a drain valve in, i.e Fumoto valve, you won't have to worry about the repetition of taking the drain plug in and out many times over the life of the vehicle. Just snug it in once and your good to go.
 
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