Magnetic Drain Plugs

Somebody forwarded this email to me today where this new company, Titek, was promoting their magnetic drain plugs for an engine’s oil pan. While the concept is somewhat novel, it’s application is kind of dumb. A magnetic drain plug (mdp) has its place in a transmission with steel gears or a rear end with steel gears and metallic clutches where bits of steel can actually float around in the oil. However, a mdp actually has no place in an engine’s crankcase if you really think about it. In the remote possibility that your engine’s cams are gear driven, an mdp might have a place, but chances are if you are reading this blog your engine does not have gear driven cams.

Let’s think about what’s inside of an engine block for a second here: a crankshaft, bearings, rods, pistons, wrist pins, pin clips, and piston rings. The crank, rods, and pins are all riding on films of oil. The pin clips hold the wrist pins in place and the piston rings are held in place by the piston’s ring lands and neither bits of clips or rings can come out unless a catastrophic failure occurs. In the head, you have cams, followers, springs,retainers, and locks. If any of these components fail, the last thing you need to be worrying about is catching bits of steel at the very bottom of an oil pan with a mdp.

So in a healthy engine, what’s the purpose of having a mdp? The only components that can wear are the bearings and at that point your engine has become unhealthy probably due to a cracked oil pump rotor, oil pickup tube, lack of oil or pump cavitation and is living on borrowed time anyway. Bearings consist of lead, tin, copper, and sometimes babbit and/or aluminum. The last time I checked, none of these elements were magnetic because they are non ferrous. If the steel components break (crank, rods, pins, clips, or rings) or chip, the last thing you need to be worry about again is catching bits of steel at the very bottom of the oil pan with a mdp. You will more likely be either on the side of the road or track with a hole in your engine block and waiting for a tow truck. No mdp no matter how strong it’s magnet is, is going to save the day.

While technically it cannot hurt to use an mdp on your engine’s oil pan, it has no merit either. I’m not bagging on Titek since I know nothing about their products and I’m sure there are other companies that make mdps. I’m just making a point that mdps are useless. Some companies like to make products to increase sales so you can spend your hard earned money. That’s ok, but spend it on something that’s worth a shit.

Pointless magnetism…

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