Thanks to all of you who sent replies; you all have been helpful.
The following is what has happened at the dealership since the oil pan drain plug hole had been "stripped".
The next day after dropping off my Liberty at the dealership for the oil change and diagnosis of the check engine light issue, manager of the quick lube department called me up to say that they were mistaken, and that the oil pan drain plug hole had NOT stripped it threads. This was a surprising revelation, as I myself had seen a couple of very thin shards of aluminum threading come off of the plug after the hole was declared stripped and the plug removed the day before.
Apparently, a technician came over from the service department ready to attempt to install a threaded insert into the hole, only to find out that the threads were still O.K.
According to the technician, the reason the drain plug would not tighten up was that it was the wrong plug!
The quick lube manager then said that he installed the correct plug and torqued it to specification. This is a very strange turn of events to me because I purchased this "wrong" plug from the very same dealership three or four years earlier.
The original plug was of a different style - a flush mount type that used an 8mm allen key as its driver. This original plug was starting to get sloppy in the 8mm hex hole from all of the oil changes I had performed, so I decided to go and get a new one. The new replacement plug is a standard style that utilizes a large 7/8" hex head. I recall being concerned by this new style when I picked it up, especially by the large hex head; large heads require large wrenches or sockets/ratchet handles/breaker bars that make it easy to over torque the drain plug. This can be very dicey when dealing with a steel plug in an aluminum hole. The cynic in me believes that this was done deliberately by Chrysler so that it would be easy to strip out the oil pan drain plug hole. From the replies I have received to this subject on this forum, it seems to me that the cynic in me is correct.
Now I am sure that I know what you are thinking at this point, and that would be to ask me what the big deal is - after all, I had already wrote that the technician had said that the drain plug was the wrong one. Read on...
I received a voice mail message 2 days ago from the service writer dealing with my other problems with the Liberty. He had been doing some checking into my concerns with the drain plug issue, and discovered that the drain plug I had purchased 3 - 4 years ago WAS the correct plug for the Liberty CRD engine. The parts department apparently looked up the history of my parts purchases, found the invoice for the time I purchased the replacement plug, and double checked the part number to see that it was the correct updated number. As far as they are concerned, I received the correct drain plug.
So, what gives here? I have a dealership technician on one hand stating I had the wrong drain plug installed in the Liberty CRD, and the parts department of the same dealership on the other hand stating I have the correct plug installed. The service writer also stated that my other Liberty CRD has the correct drain plug in it. He should know this due to the fact that this dealer had to install a new oil pan because the quick lube department stripped the oil pan drain plug hole when they changed the oil before selling the vehicle to me, (the drain plugs on both vehicles look exactly the same).
Has anyone else encountered this problem? It is frustrating to think that my own dealer can not get an agreement between departments regarding a simple part. Do I have the correct drain plugs installed in both of my CRDs? Who knows? Are the threads in the drain plug holes of both vehicles still in really good shape? Who knows? It is enough to drive me batty!
So, here I am left wondering what to do when it comes to ordering fumoto drain plug valves, as I want to resolve this issue once and for all and not worry any more about stripping out drain plug holes. Should I order two valves threaded to mate correctly with a drain plug hole with O.E.M. threads, or should I simply say "piss on it" and order valves to fit a larger hole, and then drill out a larger drain plug hole in the oil pan and tap threads to fit?
Your replies are greatly appreciated.
Jeff A. Bauer
3727 - 117 Street N.W.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada