Oil Change = Mysterious Copper Washer

Last night I did my third oil change on my 04 WR450f. With the aid of my BillyWho, I'm getting pretty damn fast and clean about it. So much that I think I got a little ahead of myself...

Once I was all done and putting away my tools, I looked down and I noticed a nice copper washer on the floor where I was changing the oil. I don't recall taking a copper washer off a bolt in previous oil changes, but alas, there it was, with a little oil on it. I looks like its the size of either the frame bolt, or the rear drain bolt, but for some reason, I think it goes on the rear drain bolt. Can anyone confirm?

Any risk running without it and putting it back on after my next oil change? I hate to make waste of all that fresh oil. Or am I crazy and this thing is just a sign that I need to clean my workspace better?

There are a number of copper washers on my 426 - one for the frame drain bolt and one for the engine drain bolt. Have a look to see which is missing. I would put it back (but then I replace mine with every oil change - call me foolish if you wish), but not sure if there is any issue leaving it off, other than possible leakage.

If you can see it beneath your frame drain bolt, it more than likely is your rear drain bolt. If you tilt the bike, you can remove the rear bottom drain bolt without dripping any oil...

A lot of times the washer will stick to the case when you remove the rear oil-drain bolt. You prob removed the bolt and the washer fell off sometime later. If its not leaking, you might be ok to run this time with out it, other wise turn your fuel off and lay your bike on its side and you might be able to get the bolt out and put the washer back on before you lose oil. my $.02...

Ok, let me tell you a little story about a VW with no washers!! I would replace it ASAP, and here is my experience in this department. When I was 16, I had a 69 VW Beetle. The oil filter is a screen type, with a plate on the bottom of the engine that holds it in place. This plate has about 8 or 10 small bolts that each have copper washers on them. I changed the oil one day and forgot to put the washers back. No big thing I thought I would just replace them at the next oil change. Later that day, I was driving over to a friends house (about 30 miles away) when the oil low light came on. Being young and stupid I rationalized that I had just changed the oil and there could be no problems so I kept driving. When I got into town, pushed in the clutch and rounded the corner, let out the clutch and the engine locked up tight!! Turns out that the copper acts as a locking mechanism, and all of my oil screen bolts had backed out leaving my engine high and dry. One mistake I will never make again.

Long story short, Always replace all hardware, ther is a reason they put it there!! I would spend the 10 minutes to find out which bolt it came from, and do whatever you need to do get it replaced. I have in the past used a shop vac on the fill tube on cars to keep the oil from running out of the drain hole while I replaced the plug. You may get lucky by waiting until the next oil change, but then again you could end up spending a couple grand on a new motor. Take it for what it is worth. Hope this helps,


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