Oil Filter Cover Screws -- An Adventure
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Thread: Oil Filter Cover Screws -- An Adventure

  1. #1
    Junior Member Solomoriah's Avatar
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    Aug 2010

    Oil Filter Cover Screws -- An Adventure

    SO last week I finally got around to changing my oil. I was a little overdue, but not much. I warmed up the bike, then turned it off and let it set for a while so the now-warm oil could settle back into the crankcase, and then I drained it. No problem, other than the usual requirement that I remove the shifter to get that stupid plug back in.

    I pulled the oil filter and attended to it, but as I was putting the screws back into the cover, the two upper screws (the ones with hex heads) weren't getting tight like they should. Idiot me, I didn't realize what was going on until I broke one off.

    At least it was the short one in back. Heaven help me if I had broken the front bolt... it would have been necessary to tear the engine down almost to its component parts to get at it.

    Thinking back, I recalled that the last time the oil was changed, it wasn't me that did it. My bike developed a base gasket leak last year, right at the beginning of the riding season, and I took it to the dealer I bought it from to have that fixed. I can do my own oil changes, but I know better than to go that far into the engine by myself. They seem to have done a fine job at it, but it took quite a while to get it done because they were backlogged.

    Sitting there with the head of a broken bolt in my hand, a scenario unfolded in my head. The engine work was done by a senior mechanic, I'm sure, as I have not detected any problems with the bike otherwise. A few thousand miles with compromised bolts holding the cylinder together would surely have revealed something. But I realized that the "easy" job of finishing it up was probably passed to a junior mechanic, and that fellow took a large wrench or probably a big ratchet to those puny bolts holding that cover on. Of course, on my 2008 model the lower bolt has an Allen head, so he couldn't use the same tool on it, and that screw seems to be fine.

    Crap, I'm thinking, what now? I was NOT taking it back to that dealer, and I knew very little about the other Yamaha dealer in the area (though I have bought parts from them). I needed that broken bolt removed by someone I trusted. Someone whose talents were not in doubt.

    So I phoned a friend. He's not a motorcycle mechanic; in fact, I don't think he can ride a motorcycle at all. His day job involves repairing those majestic mechanisms of agricultural artistry, aka farm equipment. Balers and combines and so on, the more complicated and weird, the better. But I knew he was talented in the removal of broken bits, so I called him and asked, nay begged, that he help me out.

    He agreed. I dropped my poor stricken bike off at his place of work, where he said he would attend to it after hours. He pulled the other bolt, and pointed out to me where the threads were stretched... it would have given way just as easily.

    An aside... I am absolutely certain this is not my fault. I never use a tool having a lot of leverage on these bolts, and I've changed my own oil on this bike alone a half dozen times without any signs of trouble. On this particular occasion I was using a 1/4" drive socket attached to a short L-handle made of material even cheaper than the bolts themselves, and as I said, the bolts weren't feeling appropriately tight.

    Having left my true love in the capable hands of my friend, I set out to replace the broken upper-rear screw and its compromised upper-front sister. My friend had examined the lower screw and pronounced it unharmed, much as I suspected. I did some research, and learned a few things.

    Yamaha doesn't publish specifications for these screws, just part numbers, but some online research revealed that the rear is 6x25mm and the front is 6x75mm. I don't know a lot about thread pitch on metric screws, but my experiences had led me to believe they were standardized in some way so I wasn't too worried about that. In the course of my research, though, I learned (on this very forum) that earlier TW200's had JIS panhead screws in all three positions. With a JIS screwdriver in hand, overtorquing the screws would be a lot harder. I called that other dealer I mentioned above, and quoted the parts man the numbers for the older screws; he said they were still a current part (yay) but he had none of the front screws in stock (bah). He said they were on order, and would be in stock in a week or so.

    GAH. Who wants to wait?

    Curiously, though, more online research led me to a discussion about using screws from Fastenal as replacements for those older JIS screws. Naturally, American bikers who don't usually have JIS screwdrivers handy would find those screws frustrating, which may be why Yamaha changed them to hex heads. I DO have JIS screwdrivers, so I was cool with them; but really, any screw that did NOT have a hex head would suit me fine.

    I picked my bike up from my friend; he handed me the stub of the screw, and I put it in my pocket and took it to Fastenal just to verify the thread pitch was as standard as I thought. For $0.91 (yes, just NINETY ONE CENTS) I acquired replacements for both bolts.

    I installed them, rejoicing that they take the same 5mm Allen key that the lower screw requires, filled the bike up with oil and took a short ride to test everything out. They worked perfectly, no leaks or problems, and later I took a rather longer ride (about a hundred miles), checking the oil every time the engine was cool enough, and again, no problems.

    The only thing left to do is to figure out how to repay my friend, who said the whole job (including running a tap into the hole to make sure the threads were clean) took under ten minutes. Ten minutes or ten hours, doesn't matter to me, he saved my bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    Nice success story, glad that you are back in business!

    I'd say this job is worth a six pack of beer for your friend !
    Gerry and TWilight like this.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
    Ynys Môn
    Nice tale - and thanks for sharing - we might be the next ones in that predicament .....................
    TWilight likes this.
    (Warning - Forum may contain nuts) ...... Hidden Content

    TW200 - 1998 - Japanese import - 7000 miles on the clock - TW225 Special Edition 2007
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  5. #4
    Junior Member Solomoriah's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    My best advice? If the screws don't feel like they are getting tight, STOP.

    I guarantee I'll remember that.
    TWilight and amanduh like this.

  6. #5
    Junior Member Solomoriah's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    I don't think he's a beer drinker... that would be easy, otherwise.

    I'll have to ask his wife for suggestions.
    TWilight likes this.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Dell's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    If you are getting his wife involved, a gift certificate to a restaurant for two. This way she gets to appreciate his abilities more.
    Last edited by Dell; 06-13-2015 at 03:00 PM. Reason: Additional comment.
    Hidebound, TWilight and Byron like this.

  8. #7
    Junior Member Solomoriah's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Good point! Thanks!

  9. #8
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Hailey, ID
    You certainly aren't the first one to do this!! I did it after 50 years of wrenching and using a correctly set 1/4 inch torque wrench! The current bolts just are not up to the old torque specs, if they ever were. I now use 2/3's of the published value.

    Your fix should last 5,000 oil changes.
    TWilight likes this.
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

  10. #9
    Senior Member Tuber's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Sounds like a deal. We have a Fastenal shop in town...think I might change mine just for the heck of it. I did that on my BMW too, so I could use an extended ball head Allen socket.
    2005 Tdub

  11. #10
    Junior Member mghonker's Avatar
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    Sep 2014
    Vancouver Washington
    Well boys....I just did the same thing. I had my torque wrench set and kept thinking...man this is too tight. I removed the top two bolts, double checked the wrench, and went at it again. Still seemed like a lot of torque. I again checked the wrench and this time made sure that it "Clicked" when I gave it a tug in the vice (seemed like a reasonable amount of force). So, back to the cover bolts. SNAP...... The long bolt broke right where the threads start. Man I feel like such a moron.

    So... after a quick eyeball, I think if I remove the right crank case cover I will have about 3/8 of an inch of the bolt sticking out of the crank case and I should be able to get at it.

    Are there any gotchas pulling the crank case cover? It seems like a straightforward removal, but given my apparent lack of finesse I am a bit anxious.

    BTW..... does anyone want a slightly used....made in China (and sold by Sears) Torque Wrench????

    TWilight likes this.

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