The 2004 Ranger TM turned 450 hours today so I ran it up the ramps to change the oil. In the transition to the new garage my scattered tool kit became blended with my son’s stuff for his Porsche, so I faced a multitude of hex sockets in the drawer and couldn’t find the one with the spot of rust on it I have traditionally used to remove the oil plug. Another was close, so I tried it with a 3/8 ratchet. Big mistake. It thumped around and the plug didn’t come out. Uh oh.
Of course there’s no room to see down there. I must have tightened it too much 50 hours ago. Eventually I removed the drain plug by driving a torx bit deeply into the stripped opening (around .20″ in diameter, and generally hexagonal) with a wooden mallet and backing it out.
It was time to pay attention to that drain plug. Turns out none of the parts diagrams or service manuals, either from Robin or from Polaris, mention this assembly. It’s a brass 90 degree fitting which seems to screw into the forward drain plug on the Robin engine, and the oddball drain plug twists into the other end of it so that the oil is deflected down through a hole in the skid plate. The replacement plug is a standard-metric-thread cap screw with an area recessed at the shoulder to hold an o-ring. The round head is drilled deeply for what I thought was a hex or Allen wrench, but on closer examination, seems to be a torx.
I didn’t want to put the damaged plug back in there, so I toured the local marinas and a Yamaha dealer in the hope that it’s a standard part, easily available. Yeah, right. They had not only never seen anything like it, the Polaris and Robin/Subaru online parts manuals make no mention of it. In fact, they all refer to a 14 mm bolt and washer (one on either end of the engine) filling the space taken up by this 90 degree fitting.
I contemplated cutting a slot into the cap screw for a screwdriver, but decided to order a replacement. So I put it back in, gently, in order to complete the oil change.
An hour on the Internet has convinced me there is no such part listed anywhere. Guess I’d better lay in an easy-out kit and try to make the thing work.
If anybody knows how to order this oddball part, please let me know with a comment.
18 May, 2011:
Kudos to the parts guy at Black’s Corners Motorsports, the dealership from where I bought the Polaris Ranger TM. I told him I had a challenge for him and described the part which I had stripped. He pulled out a bin from the stockroom with a variety of similar drain plugs. None looked right. All were too large, and looked to be Imperial threads, to boot. He went for a second bin, and in it I found one which was the right brass colour, looked like a metric thread, had the o-ring installed, and when he looked up the part, it was specified as the TM’s drain plug on the 2006 model, even though the diagram on the microfiche is unchanged from the incorrect 2004 version.
He charged me $6.00 for the plug and sent me on my way. Not bad. BTW: The plug’s not a torx. It’s an Allen head. I’d just chiseled the soft metal of the other one into a torx configuration with the available bit and a mallet in order to remove it from the hole.
UPDATE: November, 2012
Did I mention that I stripped the new plug?
This time (550 hours) I had the Ranger up on the hoist with good light and excellent tools. I still stripped the thing trying to remove it. The small Allen wrench fitting on the stud isn’t strong enough in the soft metal to withstand much torque at all. I jammed the trusty torx bit into the drain plug and extracted it. Put it back in carefully. Picked up the last one in the bag at the dealer’s. Maybe I should cut a slot in one stud and use it. The others are too soft for an Allen bit.