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  #1  
Old 09-19-2002, 09:09 PM
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Magnetic oil plug bolt?

I haven't yet changed the oil myself on our 1992 300TE 4Matic Wagon, but am planning to do so soon now that I have the OEM filter and a level place to do it. I was wondering though if the lower oil plug is magnetized to catch small metallic particles as they settle in the oil pan. I used to have a Toyota that had a magnet on all the lower plugs and at every change there was always an amount of small metal particles covering it. I'd hate to think that metal particles, even that small size, are being re-introduced to the engine. Also, if it is not magnetized, would it be safe to epoxy a small round magnet, (type used to hold cabinet doors closed), to the end of the plug for this purpose? Same question for the transmission fluid. Thanks.


1962 Mercedes 220SEb "Fintail" Sedan
1963 Vespa VNB4T 125 Motor Scooter
1992 Mercedes 300TE 4Matic Wagon
1995 Subaru Legacy Wagon AWD
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Old 09-20-2002, 12:53 AM
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For what it's worth, my 1983 944 had this type of plug. I just changed the oil on my 1988 300SE last week for the first time and I was surprised not to see any filings stuck to the bolt. Now, I did not test the bolt to see if it was in fact magnetized, but I assume it was not.

Ron Brooks
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2002, 01:18 AM
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Fintail,

It wouldn't hurt to epoxy a magnet to the oil pan plug. It would be interesting to see what it collects.

It would probably be best to get a cylindrical magnet, drill a hole in the plug and epoxy the magnet in the hole. That would be similar to the after market plugs that used to be available.

P E H
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Old 09-20-2002, 08:27 AM
LarryBible
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I've never seen a factory MB drain plug being magnetic. For the later MB's, however, you can pick up a magnetic drain plug at Pep Boy's or other chain auto store.

I put a magnetic plug in my new '96 E300D at my first oil change. When I took it in for service, they took it out because "it was not the right wrench size," and charged me for a new drain plug. I bought another one, and then they returned my original. I was frosted. That dealer was so flaky, I would've bought a Chevrolet before I bought another car from them. They had many other service related problems. The dealer I bought my C240 from is much better.

Have a great day,
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2002, 09:28 AM
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Some transmission pans have a magnet attached to them on the inside. Typically about 1-1/2" square and very flat. Does a good job of capturing very fine steel filings.

It's pretty important to carefully clean out the transmission pan bottom when you take it off to change the transmission filter.

Ken300D
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2002, 10:23 AM
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My engine oil plug is not magnetic, but my manual tranny plug is.
Certainly collects significant filings. I assumed this was the stock plug, but perhaps not.

I considered the epoxy-a-magnet method as well, but after playing around with some rare-earth magnets, I changed my mind. These things are amazingly powerful. You can place one on the back of your hand, and another on your palm, and they will hold firm. Just keep them away from your CRTs and credit cards!

I stuck a small rare earth magnet to the outside end of the engine oil plug, and upon my next oil change, filings had indeed stuck to the plug. I got the magnets at http://www.leevalley.com

Put one on my diff too. We'll see if it gets anything.
I have seen those magnetic 'bracelets' for oil filters. They probably work as well, though how would you know? I suppose you could stick a rare earth on the filter as well (cheaper than the bracelet anyhow).

Best of luck.

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Old 09-20-2002, 11:47 AM
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Hey Guys,

Think about it. When you change the oil, what else do you change? Yes, you change the filter. Collecting small particles is the filter's job, and it is it quite good at it providing you use a top quality filter with a high micron-rating. You probably won't find much on an engine oil magnet since copper won't stick to it. Differential gears are made of iron and will stick. There are no filters in the diff, so a magnet might be a good idea. In my opinion magnets in the oil pan are about as useful as those little green and red rings people put on their batteries. I'll bet oil pan magnet salesmen had ancestors who sold snake oil from the back of a wagon. OK troupes and troupettes. I'm waitin for the blast!

Peter
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Old 09-20-2002, 12:09 PM
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Why would there be copper particles in engine oil?
I do get ferrous particles on my magnetized engine oil plug, so I presume there is some benefit.
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Old 09-20-2002, 09:34 PM
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csnow,

The copper comes from bearing material. Bearings have a steel shell and are then layered with soft materials. I do need to correct one of my statements. I forgot about the final layer in a bearing which is the imbedding layer. This layer is made of magnetic material. I still would not bother with magnets.

Peter
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2002, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input. I will try one of the small rare earth magnets and see what I find at the next-after oil change. It can't hurt I suppose. Am I correct in assuming though that the rare earth magnet is magnetic on both sides and will stick to both the end of the plug and collect metal shavings at the same time? I'd certainly rather have it be that way than have to go through the trouble of using epoxy.
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2002, 11:57 PM
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As with any magnet, one side repels ferrous materials, and the other side attracts them.
When attached to the outside end of the plug, the entire plug becomes magnetic and attracts ferrous particles.
After 3000 miles, I had visible filings stuck to the plug.
Significant? I really don't know...
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  #12  
Old 09-21-2002, 04:31 AM
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Both poles of a magnet attract unmagnetized ferrous metal equally. Physics 1A
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  #13  
Old 09-21-2002, 11:14 AM
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Pardon my ignorance on the properties of a magnet, but csnow are you saying that I don't put the magnet on the part of the plug that is inside the oil pan, but rather stick it to outside of the plug after I have screwed it in?? If that is correct, are you sure that a rare earth magnet will be strong enough to magnetize the whole plug so metal shaving will stick to the other end inside the oil pan? And if it is, then wouldn't it also magnetize the area of the pan around the plug too, so the shavings wouldn't necessarily be isolated on just the plug? Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2002, 12:17 PM
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Have anyone of you heard of wrapping a flexible magnet around the oil filter? I picked up a bunch of these magnets for cheap that were intended for that purpose. They even have a velcro strap to hold the magnet on the filter and since it was so thin you can cut the magnets to the size of the oil filter. I only bought them because they were so cheap and thought I could use them for something else. I never tried them out.
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  #15  
Old 09-21-2002, 01:59 PM
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Fintail,
Yes, the magnet goes on the outside end, and magnetizes the whole plug. These magnet are incredibly powerful. You would have to see to believe it.
Test it out by seeing how magnetic the inside end becomes.
This will not magnetize the pan because it is aluminum.

jbaj007 is correct, of course. Both poles attract ferrous. I was thinking of magnets repelling each other. You can chase one rare earth magnet around a table by placing a second magnet underneath. If you flip the magnet under the table, the one on top will flip as well, just like magic. Amaze the kids!

Toby, I would think anything that made it as far as the filter would probably get filtered out pretty well, but I have an open mind on the matter. Might trap the smallest of particles that would normally pass through.
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