2003 Infiniti I35

My oil pan had a slight leak so, with this most recent oil change, I pulled off the pan and resealed it with ultra black to the upper oil pan. When I went to torque the bolts after waiting an hour, one of the bolts sheered prior to reaching the torque rating. All other bolts were able to get to the specified torque rating.

For reference, it is bolt number 3 in this image (the arrow pointing to Engine Front is actually pointing to the passenger side):

enter image description here

Will it be a problem after the ultra black has cured to fill the oil and drive the car until the next oil change? or when it starts leaking? At that point I would drill out the sheared bolt and redo the seal. I did use a 1/4" bead of ultra black around the entire pan so the gasket should hold.

I only got the pan put back on this morning so I can't put oil in till tomorrow anyway.

  • Cross your fingers and it may come out reasonably easy. When the head comes off, the screw is effectively loose. You may get it with a screw extractor without even pulling the pan. – agentp Oct 2 '17 at 19:18
  • I tried for a good hour to get it out before giving up. At this point, I need to drill it but I have never drilled out a bolt before and I am afraid to drill the bolt hole instead. – JRLambert Oct 2 '17 at 20:09
  • To the actual question, IMO you are probably ok to fill it and drive it in a pinch. If it leaks it will be a drip, not a catastrophic loss of oil. Obviously keep a close eye on your oil level. – agentp Oct 2 '17 at 20:16

You could chance it, but here's the rub. What happens if it does leak? Then you have to pull the pan down and fix the issue anyway. You are going to be better off just fixing it in the first place and then you won't have to worry about it. If you fill it back up and then it leaks, you'll have to drain the fluid which can be an added expense and time.

Considering where the bolt is at in the lineup, it may not leak right away, but I'd bet you a cupie doll it'll start leaking in short order. The stress at the corners is far greater than the stress on the longer pan edge runs, like bolts 8, 9, or 10. There's more stress flex at the corners.

Do yourself a favor and fix the bolt. Odds are if you pull the pan you'll be able to back what's left of the bolt out without special tools (unless the bolt is bottomed, which I HIGHLY doubt).

Bottom line, do it right the first time so you don't have to do it again.

  • Also, to do it right you should use a torque wrench so you do not over tighten. It's very common to strip these bolts. They don't need to be that tight. – 0tyranny 0poverty Oct 4 '17 at 2:52

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