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Discussion Starter #1
Hello I am due an oil change and considering installing a Magnetic Sump plug.

I looked on YouTube and in a comments section someone typed this:

'For need of magnet for two reasons
The first is that the oil filter does the whole job
The second is that modern motors are made of aluminum and therefore do not hold the magnet on aluminum foil'
[sic]

My engine is a 2001 Alfa 147 2.0L. 110K.
Now as I understand it the sump itself is aluminium (That's why the previous owner threaded the sump hole but that's another story)

But what about the rest of the engine?
Aluminium as well? - If so then aluminium isn't magnetic so a Magnetic Sump Plug is unnecessary.

Maybe my oil filter is good enough anyway?..
I'll be installing a K&N HP-1010 Oil Filter for the third time.

Ok any thoughts or advice on the Magnetic Sump Plug welcome ta!
 

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I bought one some years ago from a well known UK motor factors for use on a different car, just as I was about to fit it, the magnet came off in my hands, it had been glued on.

Glad it came off before it was fitted, I’ve never felt the need to get another since.
 

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I think the block for the TS is steel. The heads are aluminium I think. Even with the V6 which has aluminium block and heads the camshafts, and all those other moving parts are still steel so if parts did wear then the magnet would help. But, I tend to stick with what the car left the factory with. So if they came with magnets use em, if not don't worry. Keep up with regular changes of good oil and oil filter and you should be fine. It sounds bad, but I can't even remember if my V6 has a magnetic plug. I know something I own/owned did somewhere.
 

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It might seem like splitting hairs, but the TS block is cast iron, not steel. There are very important differences between cast iron and steel (just saying...).

Whether an engine block or head is made from cast iron or aluminium makes no difference to whether or not a magnet is beneficial (i.e. a magnet located anywhere in the sump, whether part of the sump plug or not, just so long as it is in contact with the sump oil). An engine with a cast iron block and / or head doesn't create any more unwanted magnetic particles than an engine with similar parts cast from aluminium (or an aluminium block or head create any less particles than cast iron block or head).

Because, typically aluminium engine blocks do have steel or cast iron cylinders ('liners' or 'sleeves'), so while there is no contact between the aluminium block and any moving engine parts, there is still contact between the pistons, rings and the ferric bores, just as much as there will be if the block were made from cast iron.

Of course any magnetic particles are the result of wear, where steel and iron parts are abraded by other metal parts over time (hopefully a very long time...). Mostly it is very fine metallic 'dust' that forms a component of any sludge in the bottom of the sump. It can come from a number of places. Some from the pistons and rings rubbing the cylinder bores. Some from crank journals as they contact the bearings (but very little with modern hardened crank surfaces). Some can come from cam chains and sprockets (my guess is that this is typically the most common and most prolific source of most ferric oil particles, but a non issue with belt driven camshafts). Anything larger than very fine particles is most likely to come from little chunks breaking off worn timing chains and sprockets.

Some fine particulates can from cam lobes and followers, and, Alfa engines can wear cam lobes...

The particles may be tiny but, being iron and steel, are fairly heavy particles that will tend to sink and accumulate on the sump floor rather than being caried in the oil and pumped around the engine. Other components of the sludge (such as carbon etc) are a lot lighter and may well be more easily carried in the oil.

Despite strong suction at and into the oil pick up tube, there will be little turbulence in the boundary layer of oil directly adjacent to the sump floor (where the heavier sludge collects). Oil will move around in the sump as a result of 'G' forces and pump suction, but not strongly enough to pick up the relatively heavy metallic sludge particles and allow them to be sucked into the oil pump. A magnet will concentrate the sludge in one place rather than it so much coating the sump floor, but either way the sludge particles probably aren't being pumped through the bearings etc. and aren't liklely to be hurting anything.

Of course there are often other metal particles too, most commonly metal flakes coming from bearings. These are not magnetic and so can't be captured by a magnet, just as well they also heavy and sink to the sump floor.

What I'm trying to say is that a magnetic sump plug (or just having a magnet sitting in the bottom of the sump) won't hurt, but it won't necessarily help either (IMO there isn't really a problem to address...). Personally I'd be happy to have one present, but wouldn't go to any special trouble or expense to install.

Regards,
John.
 

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They're no more or less than a warning system. If, at oil change, you have significant metal particles stuck to your sump plug, you have a problem.

It's probably a better idea to take a good look at the drained oil. Sparkly bits = bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the advice!
Well it wasn’t much more expensive to get the magnetic sump plug so I’ll give it a go.
Last few oil changes though as soon as the oil goes in and the dipstick goes in and out it’s still black.
Every oil change.
I guess it’s just a foible of that engine?..
That’s why I thought a magnetic sump plug might help things...
 

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Last few oil changes though as soon as the oil goes in and the dipstick goes in and out it’s still black.
Every oil change.
I guess it’s just a foible of that engine?..
That’s why I thought a magnetic sump plug might help things...
This suggests that there is probably a fair bit of accumulated 'crap' (technical term...) coating the inside of the engine. The new oil will have a cleaning effect because the detergent additives are not yet 'used up' (another technical term...). So, the new oil quickly dissolves some of the crap and lifts it into suspension in the oil, so it blackens quite quickly. You might want to consider a doing a few oil changes at much shorter intervals than usual. Hopefully the rate at which it discolours will reduce...

Most of the 'crap' will be carbon deposits, and other less identifiable substances. Any metallic particles are heavy and unlikely to lift into suspension, but sit on the bottom of the sump, despite new oil.

Regards,
John.
 

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Usually oil for diesel cars gets dirty quickly from what I have read, but yours is petrol. Mineral oils tend to get darker faster as well, while full synthetic tend to keep their golden colour for longer I have found. I had a car with high km's that burnt some oil (through the valve stem seals I think) and it's oil got quite dark quickly after an oil change.

As johnlear suggested, there may just be a lot of buildup in your engine. But not knowing how long you have had the car, the mileage travelled, general oil consumption as well as distance/duration between oil changes we can only guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks chaps!
I’ve not had an oil change for a while actually.
Mainly because of the sheer rate of oil it uses my thoughts were that I’ve spent enough on oil and that plenty has gone through the system.
I use Petronas Syntium 10w/40 mostly, which is fully synthetic I think.
I’ve bought Selenia 20K (10w/40) for the oil change.
The K&N HP-1010 Oil Filter has got a flow back valve or something.
But still I understand about the carbon deposits etc clouding the oil.

Is it worth getting an engine flush with the oil change? I had it done with an oil change a few changes back.

My trips out have mainly been small distances even before lockdown.

I’ve thought about going to 10w/60 oil but due to the rate of oil I use 10w/60 seems quite expensive.
Although possibly it might last longer....

I know this engine typically does go through oil but there is also a bit of an oil leak.
It might possibly be coming from near the top and could well be the top rocker gasket.
Last belts etc change I was advised a new gasket which they did..

So it could be that. I don’t know how well it was fitted and with the right sealant etc.
I could get a new gasket and replace it but could just get that done with the next belt change..

The next belt change is due last August (according to recommendations now).
It’s definitely not done the miles but this August will be 4 years.
(Used to be 5 years recommended but now 3)
The last belt change the belts looked ok but I know it’s a risk.
The mileage might not be there but short sharp trips might strain the belt.
The potential risk of belt or water pump failure could be catastrophic.

So sorry about all the info (if you’re still reading) but that’s where I’m at at the moment!
 

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I'm in two camps regarding engine oil flush. On one side, great. On the other side, no bad especially if the engine is older and has not had a flush. Being under the assumption that some deposit will dislodge and cause more harm that good. I don't really think there is much ground for that however to be fair, and as I do small distances in a year around 4,000kms I think a yearly oil change is suffice without huge demand for a flush. Up to you really. Some people do a 'flush' by running some reasonable grade oil in a car for a month or a few hundred miles then change it out for better stuff for the next year.

Yes 10w-60 oil is quite expensive, which is a shame. And it's not available where I live in handy 6L packs as well. Some people on the forums have less oil consumption with some oils and more with others in their TS cars so it might be worth some sort of a look. Part of driving an older car unfortunately.
 

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Penrite make several 60 weight oils in 10w-60, 15w-60, and 20w-60 in synthetic and mineral flavours. Penrite oils are not unreasonably expensive, at least not here in Australia (Australian company). The reputation is good. I've been using Penrite oil in my TS engine since I bought the car and not had any issues. I've used their 10w-60 synthetic and 15w-60 mineral, both seem good, at least I have no reason to complain.

I'm pretty sure Penrite has stockists in the UK.

Regards,
John.
 

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If a given engine has a lot of accumulated gunk stuck to its' internal surfaces, I think there is a lot to be said for leaving it alone. If it is adhered in place then it isn't hurting anything, until something causes it to come adrift, like a strong dose of highly detergent engine flushing chemicals...

Regards,
John.
 

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A flushing oil (not additive) as available under Comma nd Granville brands. It is a high detergency mineral oil so should be able to be used for a few miles or idle/fast idle for 20 minutes. I have used both on various engines (TS & JTS) and not had ill effects.
Remember to allow the old oil to drain out for ages though. If done right, all of the 5 litre can of new oil should take it to maximum. The only downside is the oil level is harder to read because it is and stays so clean.
 

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When I was keen about oil colour I would take the valve covers off my busso 2.5 V6, and suck the old oil out the cam galleries at each oil change, which made the oil dipstick harder to read for longer. It held a surprising amount of oily gunk in those galleries. Nowadays I just stick in any blend 10w/40 with the correct API test result, and aim for a change every 3k. IMO better to change a cheap oil often than an expensive one once in a blue moon, as there are all sorts of external factors coming into the oil, such as petrol, combustion products, wear debris, maybe a bit of coolant and some bearing bronze. Just sayin'
 
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