Adhering to manufacturer torque settings can increase the lifespan of your vehicle's parts, including the sump on the car's oil system. When conducting routine oil changes, it is important to ensure that the system's drain plug, sometimes called a sump, is replaced and adjusted to the factory-recommended torque -- too little and it could work lose; too tight and it could damage the oil pan.
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Drain Plug Settings
All automotive makes and models are different, but drain plug torque settings typically range from anywhere between 25 to 40 foot-pounds for gasoline engines. It is important to note that torque settings can differ, even between different models of the same make and manufacturer. Always consult the service instructions in your user manual.
Bolt torques for oil pans tend to be much lower than for the sump screw, and should generally range from 10 to 20 foot-pounds of torque. Again, different vehicle makes have different requirements. In any case, unless otherwise specified by your vehicle's service manual, either a sealant or gasket should be used to form a leakproof seal between the oil pan and the engine block.
Oil pumps are designed for long life and should not be removed unless the device has failed. Because of this, the pump is secured to the engine block with higher torques than either the oil pan or the drain plug. Most oil pumps should be torqued to at least 50 foot-pounds, but be aware that some manufacturers, including Ford and Chrysler, have much lower requirements in some of their late model vehicles -- 25 foot-pounds and 35 foot-pounds, respectively. Consult a technician or service manual to be sure.
Oil Pump Cover
Some engine manufacturers include a steel cover over the oil pump. Such is the case with Chrysler's 361, 383, 400, 413, 426, 440 and B/RB big block engines. These oil pump covers should be torqued to a gentle 10 foot-pounds. Over-tightening can damage the part and make removing the bolt a real chore.
Always tighten bolts in a round of at least three torques. For instance, with a set of four bolts that requires 18 foot-pounds of torque, turn each bolt to 6 foot-pounds. Then turn each bolt to 12 foot-pounds. Then make a final round of tightening to 18 foot-pounds on each bolt. This ensures an even distribution of pressure across the part and will increase the likelihood that the bolts remain torqued to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.
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