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Hi, I have a 2004 Honda Nighthawk. It's my first time changing my own oil and I wasn't able to get the bolt to come off. I was using Stanley 91-929 3/8-Inch Drive Pear Head Quick Release Ratchet and Stanley 95-442 10-Piece 3/8-Inch Drive Standard Socket Set, Metric. Should I get better tools? Or am I maybe making a rookie mistake?
 

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Maybe a dumb question, but you're turning it the right way? Since the bolt is upside down sometimes people make the mistake of trying to turn it the wrong way.
 

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Think about looking up from underneath. It's still a right handed, lefty loosely bolt, but it's upside down.
If your not sure how to visualize it, take a spare nut and bolt, turn it upside down, hold the nut, and try unscrewing the bolt downward out of the nut.
Either that or it's just really tight, once your sure which way it goes try pulling harder on the wrench.
 

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It turns counter-clockwise to loosen. Which model Nighthawk is it?

I prefer to use an end wrench in hard to reach places with stubborn bolts if possible. The torque stays in line with the bolt head and hopefully doesn't cam off of the bolt, rounding the edges.
 

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Having a positive Impact on too-tight fasteners...

Instead of rounding the head off (with Vice-Grips,) take your bike down to a local repair shop and have them put an (air) impact wrench on it for a second or two to break it loose. Then snug it back, ride home, and change your oil.

The mechanics of an impact wrench will loosen bolts that a 36" cheater bar sometimes will not, without damage. It's like a series of little hammer blows. Each one won't strip the head off the fastener, but the rapid-fire sequence of them causes it to turn.

Examine the threads on your drain bolt/nut, and replace it if they're damaged from being overtightened. Ditto if the head is damaged.

Next, go to your Honda dealer, or a NAPA store, and buy a brass washer for your drain nut if it doesn't already have one. Most drain bolts/nuts are overtightened because they were dripping. A nice soft brass washer will crush a little, stop the leaking, without requiring excess torque to do so.

On many cars (like Nissans) you are SUPPOSED to replace the brass washer at every oil change. Usually you can get away with re-using it.
 

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It's a cb250. So the nut is on the bottom of the engine? It's not on the left side?
I just finished servicing about 50 of these.

It's at the bottom, underneath of the engine about in the center. It can be accessed from the left side, and the bolt faces to the left side of the bike. Look behind the exhaust pipe from the left. It's a 17mm bolt. I use a 17mm box end ratcheting wrench to remove and tighten them. There is a steel washer beneath the bolt head you have to be careful not to drop as you remove the plug.

You can tap the wrench with a rubber mallet to help loosen the bolt if needed, just be sure that the wrench is on solidly so the head doesn't get stripped.

It doesn't have to be super tight when replacing the bolt. Pretty snug is good. I've never had one leak.
 

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I just finished servicing about 50 of these... I use a 17mm box end ratcheting wrench to remove and tighten them.
I never use a "box-end ratcheting wrench" aka "GearWrench" to break anything loose. Too often it breaks the internals of the GearWrench. Doubly so if you were to tap it with a mallet.

I'd suggest using a regular box-end wrench to break it loose, (striking it with a mallet if necessary) then switch to your GearWrench to ratchet it the rest of the way out.

Always START bolts, spark plugs, etc. by hand and then use whatever ratcheting tool you can to speed up the job. Again, I never final TIGHTEN anything with a Gear Wrench, switch back to a regular wrench or torque wrench.

Unless, of course, you like replacing broken GearWrenches. IN MY EXPERIENCE They simply can't withstand the torque a "regular" wrench can, especially in sizes larger than 12mm.
 

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I don't like to use an impact driver on a small fastener like that if it's in an aluminum part. The hammer blows will eventually cause stress cracks in the threads and make them very easy to strip later on down the line. Tapping the wrench with a plastic mallet as Dods suggested usually works fine.
 

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I don't like to use an impact driver on a small fastener like that if it's in an aluminum part. The hammer blows will eventually cause stress cracks in the threads and make them very easy to strip later on down the line. Tapping the wrench with a plastic mallet as Dods suggested usually works fine.
I'm going to accept your suggestion as "the wisdom of a lifetime of experience" and try to avoid using impacts in this situation from now on.

What we're "debating" here is what our individual "Do what ya gotta do" strategies are ONCE SOMETHING IS ALREADY BUGGERED UP.

If an individual, the OP cannot be sure they are turning the bolt the correct direction..... I'd encourage them to take it down to a qualified shop rather than risk making the mess even bigger. Like stripping out the crankcase.

Whether that shop applies Vice Grips, an impact wrench, or taps a "ratcheting box end wrench" with a mallet ... at least it'll (hopefully) be going in the right direction and OP will avoid a $1000 crankcase replacement.

I've had to apply Vice-Grips to more bolts, brake lines, and such than I'd care to admit. But once the bolt head will no longer accept a flange (or other) wrench...and is still tighter than Jesus.... ya do what ya gotta do to get the job done. (Including manually filing the head down to the next smaller size, pounding a next-size smaller impact socket onto it, cutting screwdriver threads with a Dremel, welding something to it, PBBlaster, SprayFreeze...but most frequently... grabbing the piss out of it with Vice Grips and going for broke...)

I observe, painfully, that THIS is one subject Robert Pirsig never brought up in ZAMM...

Replacing that brake line on Warren's 1979 Southwind Motorhome (food truck) last week was a joy I won't soon forget. Steel threaded into aluminum, in the presence of corrosive brake fluid. What could possibly go wrong?!?!
 

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I rather agree with you, Wade.

Okay, I don't like to use an impact driver on a small fastener like that if it's in an aluminum part even after the fastener is buggered up. The hammer blows will eventually cause stress cracks in the threads and make them very easy to strip later on down the line. No point making a bad situation worse.:)
 

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I should have been clearer. I use the ratcheting wrench to loosen the oil plugs on the motorcycles here at work, which I know are not too tight to remove that way by hand. If you have to use a hammer for a stuck bolt in aluminum, a 6-point end wrench is the best choice.

I generally only use an impact wrench for items such as foot peg brackets, or things like removing camshaft gears from the camshaft without spinning the engine.
 

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Washer.

Dods. Are the filters in an aluminum cup, with a bolt thru the middle. like my XS11? And is there a washer between the bolt head and the cup?
The XS11 has no washer, and a 12mm bolt head. The bolt head tends to weld corrode, itself to the cup, and even a six sided socket rounds off the head. With the head cut off, and the cup removed, the bolt will turn by hand.

A 17mm six sided bolt should come out as you suggest. I think in the case of the XS11, it sat outside for too long between bolt removals. None of the other XS bikes had the same problem.

I have whacked a 1/2 inch ratchet with a hammer many times. The good ones can take it.
The OPs problem does illustrate the difference between book or class learning, and practical reality.

Unkle Krusty*
 

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That's been my experience too, a good solid 1/2 ratchet can take a lot of pounding and survive. My usual trick to unstick something is a 6 point socket( usually I just grab an impact socket from the set), a decent cheater bar to extend the 1/2 inch ratchet, and then while applying torque to the bar hit the ratchet right next to the cheater with a 3 pound hammer. That usually gets things moving, and won't round off the head or break things like really yanking on a long cheater bar might.

I have whacked a 1/2 inch ratchet with a hammer many times. The good ones can take it.
The OPs problem does illustrate the difference between book or class learning, and practical reality.

Unkle Krusty*
 

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If you are not absolutely certain that your ratchet is set up right, hold it in your hand and grasp the socket with the other hand. You will quickly know that it is set up to tighten/loosen the bolt and then can place it on the thing you want to tighten or loosen. I find that upside down and backward often throws me off but if I set a ratchet to work I never mess it up.
 

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Hi. Ive had your issue before, use a good six point socket, some penetrating oil, maybe a tap from a hammer to shock the bolt free, happy wrenching!

Sent from my LG-E980 using Tapatalk
 

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Modify the socket-- it works!

The drain bolts on some of my hondas have flanges and rather shallow heads on them. It also seems that the leade or chamfer on the sockets are excessive. Those two issues result in a not very large drive band at all. That is what causes the bolts to round off. There is also the problem of a "barn bike" that sat unused for years in a barn with a dirt floor in conditions that caused metal to sweat in highly changeable weather like we have in Ohio. Steel threads in an aluminum case really get tight under those conditions.

What to do about it? Get a cutting wheel and cut a bit off the end of the socket. Sure, the chrome plating goes away at the end of the socket, but chances are it will get that bolt off because 100% of the socket is gripping. Make sure that the socket is a six point

I am not done yet, two more solutions to go.

Try spraying the bolt with Freeze-off. once a day for a week can do wonders. Then hit the bolt sharply and square with a hammer, which can shock the threads a bit and make the Freeze-Off penetrate better. If you think you might miss and damage something,you could omit this step. Also, hitting sharply does not mean hitting with high force. Your call.
http://crcindustries.com/auto/?s=05002 Best stuff I ever used for steel threads in aluminum cases, period. Also use a breaker bar instead of a ratchet driver. Why waste effort with the wrong tool? A long bar with no moving parts means leverage. I admit that I have hit ratchet drivers with rubber mallet but it is more likely to round over the bolt head IMHO.

So now even with your best effort, the head is starting to round over and the vice grips are looking good? Nooooooooo! Get a set of these in Metric. They work very well and use a breaker bar like before. http://www.harborfreight.com/9-pc-38-in-drive-metric-bolt-extractor-socket-set-67894.html. As with all tools from Harbor Freight, read the user reviews before purchase. These extractors are highly rated and the set I have got me out of some problems.
 

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