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Old 24-06-2014, 19:41   #1
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Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

The Westerbeke 30B3 has a small wire that goes thru a hole on the oil drain plug's head which is a actually a banjo bolt. A hose to drain the sump oil is attached to this banjo bolt.
My question is: does anyone know what is the purpose of this wire?
The manufacturer's books just list as lead wire - banjo bolt.
My engine is leaking oil around this bolt and I took it out to inspect. It was a major pain and the wire was getting in the way. The wire was wrapped around the bolt's head, so I am baffled...

I would like to replace the bolt without the wire, but first, consult with the experts here.
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Old 24-06-2014, 21:30   #2
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

It sounds like safety wire. A drain plug or fitting with a crush gasket really should be safety wired. A gasket does not act like a lock washer. The plug could come loose and kill your engine. Odds are that it won't but better safe than sorry.
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Old 24-06-2014, 21:34   #3
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

Mine is inaccessible but is piped to a pump for really easy oil changes.
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:56   #4
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
It sounds like safety wire. A drain plug or fitting with a crush gasket really should be safety wired. A gasket does not act like a lock washer. The plug could come loose and kill your engine. Odds are that it won't but better safe than sorry.
Thank you guy. The fact that a lock washer cannot be used is a good point, but I am trying to understand how does the wire provides the safety? The boat/plug can turn with or without the wire, should it be tied to something?
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Old 25-06-2014, 11:29   #5
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

You got that. Somewhere there needs to be something to wire too. It could be small hole right near the plug or up around a oil pan bolt or something. I've always been uncomfortable with more than about 4-5" of safety wire. It has a bit of stretch.
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Old 25-06-2014, 11:59   #6
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

I'll get a good mirror and look for that. Thanks!
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Old 25-06-2014, 15:20   #7
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy View Post
It sounds like safety wire. A drain plug or fitting with a crush gasket really should be safety wired. A gasket does not act like a lock washer. The plug could come loose and kill your engine. Odds are that it won't but better safe than sorry.
While your statement is certainly true in theory, I've owned countless engines over the years, and none had safety wired drain plugs, and they all sealed with some sort of crush washer... metal or fiber. Never had one come loose, and have smashed a lot of knuckles trying to undo them!

So, I'm forced to question the necessity of the safety wire, unless there is something very unusual about the Westerbeke engine.

Jim
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Old 25-06-2014, 16:08   #8
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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While your statement is certainly true in theory, I've owned countless engines over the years, and none had safety wired drain plugs, and they all sealed with some sort of crush washer... metal or fiber. Never had one come loose, and have smashed a lot of knuckles trying to undo them!

So, I'm forced to question the necessity of the safety wire, unless there is something very unusual about the Westerbeke engine.

Jim
I guess your experience is limited to your, experience.
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Old 25-06-2014, 17:11   #9
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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I guess your experience is limited to your, experience.
What a profound statement!

So, lets put it out for the forum: have any of you had an engine drain plug come out after you tightened it yourself?

We can perhaps expand the field of experience beyond mine to address the necessity of safety wire for drain plugs.

Jim
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Old 25-06-2014, 17:18   #10
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

While there are I'm sure millions of automobiles running around without safety wire on their drain plugs, nevertheless we safety wire them on aircraft, but then we safety the oil filters as well.
For whatever that is worth
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Old 25-06-2014, 18:30   #11
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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While there are I'm sure millions of automobiles running around without safety wire on their drain plugs, nevertheless we safety wire them on aircraft, but then we safety the oil filters as well.
For whatever that is worth
It's worth a lot, if safety is worth anything. Just look at all these boat problems. How many are caused by shoddy work by amateurs? Most of them could be eliminated if people followed good practice. But for example, we have somebody saying they have never had a drain plug that they can't see, probably can't touch, come loose, so they see no reason to safety it. That is a recipe for problems. Problems we seem to take as the norm in boats.
Have at it but don't think just because you might be ignorant it is the best way to go.
I have never seen an oil filter come loose but I have had to drive a big screwdriver through many to get them off.
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Old 25-06-2014, 19:03   #12
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

Guy, you are getting a bit personal now (if your response was directed at me as it seemed to be). Perhaps I am ignorant and do shoddy work... I'm sure that there are those who would say so. And I have only owned three proper marine engines: Nanni, BMW and Atomic 4. On none of those engines were the drain plugs drilled for safety wire. I've worked on several other marques, and none of them were drilled either. No one that I know personally that work on their own engines have used safety wire on their drain plugs. I have never personally even heard of a drain plug coming out for any reason (other than oil changes, etc). I believe this to be a non-problem.

What is good practice on aircraft is not necessarily required for good practice in watercraft, and failure to adhere to those standards on our boats does not seem to cause those problems that you say we take as the norm.

I don't much care how you maintain your boat's engine, but it rankles to be told that my work is shoddy and dangerous when I don't put a safety wire in a non-existent hole.

Oh... BTW, in your example of the plug that one can not see or touch... how are you gonna do up the safety wire?

Jim

PS Lest you think that I am against safety wire in general... I drilled and wired all the screws that hold my gooseneck casting to the mast because they did indeed work loose on long passages. Works great, where needed!
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Old 25-06-2014, 19:16   #13
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Guy, you are getting a bit personal now (if your response was directed at me as it seemed to be). Perhaps I am ignorant and do shoddy work... I'm sure that there are those who would say so. And I have only owned three proper marine engines: Nanni, BMW and Atomic 4. On none of those engines were the drain plugs drilled for safety wire. I've worked on several other marques, and none of them were drilled either. No one that I know personally that work on their own engines have used safety wire on their drain plugs. I have never personally even heard of a drain plug coming out for any reason (other than oil changes, etc). I believe this to be a non-problem.

What is good practice on aircraft is not necessarily required for good practice in watercraft, and failure to adhere to those standards on our boats does not seem to cause those problems that you say we take as the norm.

I don't much care how you maintain your boat's engine, but it rankles to be told that my work is shoddy and dangerous when I don't put a safety wire in a non-existent hole.

Oh... BTW, in your example of the plug that one can not see or touch... how are you gonna do up the safety wire?

Jim

PS Lest you think that I am against safety wire in general... I drilled and wired all the screws that hold my gooseneck casting to the mast because they did indeed work loose on long passages. Works great, where needed!
I'm sorry. Safety wiring is sometimes done by feel.
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Old 25-06-2014, 19:20   #14
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

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I'm sorry. Safety wiring is sometimes done by feel.
So how do you "feel" something that you can not touch (as per your statement)?
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Old 25-06-2014, 19:30   #15
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Re: Westerbeke Engine Oil Drain Plug

I have never seen a car or truck oil plug that was safety wired. I have removed and installed many of them. Maybe on Porsche? I worked on them as well, over 1/2 a century ago, but can not remember safety wiring anything on them. I do remember the oil plugs on aircraft that I flew being safety wired though.
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