My new favorite oil drain plug

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
I initially posted this in the Mk4 forum, but then I realized that all the VW's use the same drain plug. So -- sorry for the repost, but hoping this reaches a bigger audience.

I have used Metalnerd magnetic oil drain plugs in the past, but I noticed that the magnet wasn't very strong, and I went looking for a replacement with a neodymium magnet. I tried an aluminum one with a very strong magnet, but it leaked. Then I tried a stainless steel one from Votex (made in Wisconsin), and it's my new favorite. I installed it with a regular oil change 1000 miles ago but then my turbo (with 186K miles on it) failed a couple of weeks ago. The failure sent bearing shrapnel into the oil pan via the drain. As part of installing a new turbo, I changed the oil. Here's why I like this drain plug:
  • No leaks
  • The copper washer stayed in place by the head as I removed the plug instead of "walking" off the plug and falling into the drain pan
  • The magnet is much stronger than Metalnerd's, and it collected a significant amount of turbo bearing shrapnel with my turbo failure
  • Made in USA!


 
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shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
My favorite drain plug is no drain plug. Fumoto FTW :)
I have one of those on my '97 Powerstroke truck. It does make draining easier -- but it's significantly slower than a regular drain plug, and it has no magnet. Of course, draining 3.5 gallons of oil exacerbates the drain slowness compared to the VW 5 quarts.
 

LorenS

Active member
Joined
Oct 30, 2021
Location
Lee's Summit, MO
TDI
2005 Passat
I have one of those on my '97 Powerstroke truck. It does make draining easier -- but it's significantly slower than a regular drain plug, and it has no magnet. Of course, draining 3.5 gallons of oil exacerbates the drain slowness compared to the VW 5 quarts.
I REALLY like the FEMCO unit that I installed on my Ram. It drains my 10.5 quarts plenty fast; faster than cleaning up the mess I inevitably make when removing the factory 22 MM drain plug. That it comes with a threaded cap to protect it from damage and serve as a fail-safe against leaks is a major advantage in my opinion.

 

lemoncurd

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May 24, 2019
Location
Eastern CT
TDI
2013 CJAA GTB2266
i also prefer no drain plug ;)

my vacuum pump sucks all the oil out through the top, only have to go under the car for DSG service!
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
I certainly see the advantage of a good drain valve or sucking oil out -- more power to you! And the Femco valve sounds interesting compared to the Fumoto. To each, their own!

Removing an effective magnetic drain plug every oil change:
  1. Alerts you to issues if you see junk on it unexpectedly
  2. Helps protect your engine from further damage if ferrous particles get in your oil -- whether you expected to find them or not.
The photo above was from my recent turbo failure, so I was expecting shrapnel. I won't be surprised to find more at my next oil change, as I didn't drop and clean the oil pan when I changed the oil after the failure. And yes, anything in the pan goes through the oil filter before it goes to the engine -- but it hits the pump first, which could be damaged by iron bits.

About a year ago, my magnetic plug alerted me to shoddy workmanship by a tech who changed my timing belt. I found this stuck to my old Metalnerd plug. I'm VERY glad this didn't end up in my oil pump!



As part of the timing belt change, the tech replaced my valve cover, and he transferred over the plastic baffle from the old VC. This is one of the screws that hold the baffle on which either wasn't torqued enough, or was torqued too much and stripped the aluminum threads. Either way, the screw came loose, rattled around with the valves for a while, and eventually fell through to the oil pan. Again, I was happy I had the magnetic drain plug and inspected it with every oil change.

So do what's right for you. But if you change the oil by removing the drain plug, get the Votex one I recommended above.
 
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AndyBees

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 27, 2003
Location
Southeast Kentucky
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta TDI, Silver 2000 Jetta TDI (sold), '84 Vanagon with '02 ALH engine
My formerly owned 2000 Jetta, owned by my son now, has the original drain plug and washer at over 400k miles. It doesn't leak, not even a weep. The same for my 2003 Jetta formerly owned and maintained by my brother with just over 350k miles on it.

If I ever have the oil pan off either of these engines, I plan to JB Weld one of those super strong magnets in the bottom of the pan.

This is a pic of the oil pan right after an oil change.



Below, not an engine oil drain plug, but a good indication of how much junk can be in the oil of your transmission. This plug was from the transmission of my 84 Vanagon with an '02 ALH engine. This is the first oil change after a rebuild. EDIT: None of that black metal mud dust had Swarf in it. (Thanks P2B for reminding me of the definition of Swarf.)

 
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