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Old 02-13-2015, 09:17 PM   #1
JimBentley OP
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Magnetic Drain Plug? Yay or nay?

I've got a 1990 R100 GS that's come back to me after a 20 year absence. I'm working on learning the mechanical end of things now, and I'm wondering what you all think about using a magnetic drain plug?

I see several at [URL="http://www.maxbmwmotorcycles.com/fiche/PartsDetails.aspx?source=catalog&vid=51683&diagram=ST_DIMPLE"]Max BMW

Are they worth the $30 or more dollars?
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
tire joe
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no!
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:38 PM   #3
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The concept of a magnetic drain plug is good. You can keep an eye on what swarf the engine is making. But you need to know how to read it & what level of swarf might cause concern.

If you have an issue buying one, they are easy enough to make up with a rare earth magnets. Some of the guys I ride with did so.
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Box'a'bits screwed with this post 02-13-2015 at 09:48 PM
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:41 PM   #4
ME 109
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No magnetic plug as oe? I thought they all came with mgnetic plugs.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:49 PM   #5
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No magnetic plug as oe? I thought they all came with mgnetic plugs.
Nope. Maybe your dealer was a nice guy.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:58 PM   #6
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No magnetic plug as oe? I thought they all came with mgnetic plugs.

Gearbox and final drive did.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:14 PM   #7
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Gearbox and final drive did.
Now why did I automatically think of the tranny!
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:35 AM   #8
Bill Harris
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A magnetic drain plug on the engine is a good idea, IMO. If you start getting a lot of magnetic swarf you know that something like a timing chain is going. They go on all my engines-- I've never had an Airhead engine saved or lost because of one, but it's just another link in the oil filtration chain.

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Now why did I automatically think of the tranny!
Sorry. I was compelled.







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Old 02-14-2015, 02:13 AM   #9
ME 109
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Those dancers need a new timing chain.

Better than? a magnetic plug for the sump, is a filtopsy. I do it every filter change. The fine particles tell tales. If there are fine particles.
Tales like valve guide coloured particles, big end colours, bearing shiny bits, too much sealant, etc.
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:45 AM   #10
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Better than? a magnetic plug for the sump, is a filtopsy. I do it every filter change.
Yep, I "read the filter", too. But a magnetic drain plug is a nice wrench-farkle...

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Old 02-14-2015, 08:07 AM   #11
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While hurting nothing, it will most likely only increase your angst level to pour over the wee bit of swarf and run through all the potential disasters in your mind. But at least it only happens at maintenance intervals. Worse than that is an oil pressure and temperature gauge which allows you to imagine all these impending disasters as you try to dodge Buicks. Read oil filters and subscribe to used oil analysis if you want to study the health of the motor using trends in real data. It also matters that not all detritus is magnetic.

I believe that the bike comes with pretty much enough stuff. Maintain it by the book and enjoy it. I enjoy mine better by having a spare engine built and ready for the day when a jug blows off and dents somebody's door. Truth is, that the magnets don't have very much effect more than a few centimeters away. It is entirely possible to have a magnetic plug at one end of the sump and have a front bearing dowel happily swimming in the oil currents at the other end of the oil pan. The short effective distance does not work against them so strongly in trannies and gearboxes. A magnet on the base of a spin-on oil filter can do some good by improving the agglomeration of contaminants. I use one on my oilhead and my cars. A magnet on an oil pan drain is mostly good for the magnet industry.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:35 PM   #12
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Oil circulation rates on an airhead are pretty high. Surely all the oil would flow past the drain plug eventually. The manget would have to be a barium ferrite to have some pull.
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:00 PM   #13
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Oil circulation rates on an airhead are pretty high. Surely all the oil would flow past the drain plug eventually. The manget would have to be a barium ferrite to have some pull.
With the various baffle arrangements (on some), internal cooling ribs (on others), and the fact that currents are towards the pump suction rather than the drain plug, I'd be willing to venture it isn't a sure thing that an object (seen as different from "all the oil") would make it to the magnet.

But obviously I do not know this, I merely think it. Which makes it kind of useless I guess.
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:32 PM   #14
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Use 'em if you want to. May not help, but certainly won't hurt...



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Old 02-14-2015, 02:39 PM   #15
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Any measure that provides some information is not a waste of time. Sometimes in between oil filter changes, I will drain the hot engine oil into a very clean container and wait an hour or so before slowly tipping 'most' of the oil into the waste container. What oil is left, generally contains any particles that settled to the bottom.
I then add some fuel (1/4 pint) to that oil which thins the oil and further separates the/any particles.
I might do the fuel thing two or three times, letting everything settle again before tipping out most of the fuel.
What I'm left with, is every tiny bit of crap that was circulating in the oil.
This 'gold panning' works with a clean sump. Probably not so much on a bike that has 10,000 k oil changes with a sump that has never been off and cleaned.

A bit anal? maybe.
But I flog the hell out of my motor reasonably often, so staying a step ahead of serious wear is a good idea for me.
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