Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

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Snakeoil
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Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Snakeoil » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:34 pm

Since I’ve been a member here, I ‘ve seen many pictures of magnetic drain plugs exhibiting various quantities and types of magnetic debris. Many times it is your typical “fuzzy magnet” and the standard reply seems to be “Normal” or “They all do that”.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the acceptance of a glob of magnetic whiskers on a drain plug being normal. I don’t even like to see a metallic sheen on drain oil. But that's just me. Oh... and pretty much every racing team on the planet.

Now if you talk to large trucking firms or outfits that operate large off-road vehicles, they change oil based upon oil analysis. If the oil is good and metallic content is minimal or nil, the oil change interval is adjusted. Amsoil built part of their business on oil analysis telling the end user how well his oil was working.

So, today was fluids change day for my 2000 650 Tourist. Here is some background on the engine/tranny/final drive.

8415 Kms – Tranny oil changed and refilled with Royal Purple 75W90 Gear Oil

8869 Kms - Engine rebuilt. New crank, jugs, rings, all new Quest Nachi (Japanese) bearings, Herzog timing gears, Denso alt upgrade. Engine broken in with straight 40W oil, drained at 500 Kms and filled with 20W50 Cenpeco Super Racing Oil. FD filled with 75W140 Valvoline Gear oil.

11058 Kms – Engine oil and filter changed. Cenpeco 20W50 SRO, FD oil changed 75W140 Valvoline Gear oil

TODAY
13447 Kms – Changed engine oil and filt, tranny oil and FD oil.

My old 650 does not have magnetic drain plugs. Seeing all the fuzzy drain plug pictures posted here, it always made me wonder if my engine was self-consuming itself like others. So, I decided to check. I drained each of the three sumps into separate containers. I then took a rare earth magnet and ran it around in the oil. This magnet will hold a 32mm combination wrench by the box end and it still takes additional force to pull it off the magnet. If there were steel or iron particles, whiskers, swarf, or anything magnetic in the oil, this magnet would find it. And I did not just dip the magnet in the oil. I pretty much slowly stirred the drain oils for at least a minute, maybe longer. If they came out clean, I ran them thru another cycle. When I was convinced that the magnet had been given the best opportunities to find magnetic particles in the 3 lots of drain oil, I set the magnet on my vise and took a photo of what I saw. Here are the photos.
This is the clean magnet. The magnet is the center rectangular portion. Outside of that is gray JB Weld and outside that is an aluminum housing. This is a homemade magnetic probe I made a few years back. But this is how the magnet looks clean.
20190725_140454a.jpg
Here is the crankcase oil. It was pretty black after 1500 miles. Zero magnetic debris.
20190725_141210.jpg
Here is the tranny oil. It was clean as new. Again, no signs of magnetic debris. So clean you can barely see it.
20190725_140418a.jpg
I did the same with the FD oil, but it looked just like the tranny oil so no sense posting a photo.

So, anyone that thinks that a fuzzy drain plug is normal should rethink that opinion. A fuzzy drain plug means something is being destroyed or something was assembled extremely dirty. I assembled my engine. The NOS crank, my block and every other internal components were moon-mission clean before assembly. So, if fuzzy drain plugs are the norm for Urals, I have to go back to something I said after I found my NOS crank to be less than clean. If you buy a new Ural, probably the best thing you can do is take the engine apart, clean every internal part and put it back together.

Let the condescension begin.
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Regards,
Rob
Proud member of the Peanut Gallery
2000 Ural Tourist
40 Pilots, 122 Mains
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Lokiboy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:54 pm

Snakeoil, your rig would appear to be the exception rather than the rule. Good on ya.
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by chaos2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:29 pm

Now you got everyone paranoid about fuzz on their drain plugs!
Past afflictions include limey motocars and bikes, R60/2, R65ls, & a Citroen.
Now a DB Haanjo and Canyon CF SL Endurace, '87 K75s,
and a rusty 2012 GU bought new
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by darkhorse » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:51 pm

This is excellent information. One thing I have been curious about is whether the oil filter for the engine captures the "fuzz" if you do not have a magnetic drain plug. I suspect that is not the case because you would likely have found "fuzz" in the crankcase or final drive. Thanks for sharing this information.
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by jaybird » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:08 pm

Nice post, fortunately today we have better parts available to build engines with, and they seem to be improving the build quality right from the factory.

If you buy a new Ural, probably the best thing you can do is take the engine apart, clean every internal part and put it back together.
That used to be the general consensus with Royal Enfield motorcycles, and some Indian manufactured stationary engines I used to fuss around with.

Happy trails,
Jaybird
2005 Gear-Up, Mr. Nat_ural 108,000+ Kilometers and counting
2013 Retro, Black beauty, AKA Lucky "13"
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by windmill » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:26 pm

I don't get any "fuzz" on my 2018's drain plugs. It's approaching 10k miles.
There's always been "fuzz" on my 2007's drain plugs. It's past 100k km.
Barry

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Snakeoil » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:20 am

My suspicion is the fuzz that was not there when they assembled the engines comes (came may be more accurate today) from the Russian bearings. Specifically, from the cages. In all my years of playing with engines and machinery as a hobby and my career in the turbine business, I've never seen steel roller bearing cages wear like they do on Urals. My Ural experience is limited to the wheel bearings. The bearings and races looked fine, but the cages were worn and all the rollers fell out when I took the bearings out. Not that this could not happen with other brand/nationality bearings that have been in service for extended periods, but given that my rig had something like 6000 Kms on it when I got it, I would never have expected to see that. And of course there is the typical engine failure mode of a big end bearing failing. The evidence I've seen here is the cage seems to be the root cause in those failures, too.

It would be interesting to disassembly cranks on older engines that have not failed to look at the bearings and their cages. It could be something as simple as a lack of consistency in the cage material. I still have my old 650 crank. It is bent, so the big ends were fine. I might just press it apart to see what it looks like in there.

And perhaps the magnetic drain plugs are fuzzy because the magnets grab the fuzz before the filter removes it. I can see that happening. I probably should go drag the magnet over my dirty filter and see what I find. Might even clean it in solvent to see what is in the bottom of the pan when I'm done. Retirement creates interesting projects.
Regards,
Rob
Proud member of the Peanut Gallery
2000 Ural Tourist
40 Pilots, 122 Mains
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by n3303j » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:47 am

Always cut the oil filter open and unfold the pleats. That's where the engine hides the odd bits it sheds (if there are any to be found).
Ron Cichowski

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by gobium » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:53 am

You are going to need new crankshaft .

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Snakeoil » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:26 am

gobium wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:53 am
You are going to need new crankshaft .
Nah... my limit is two cranks per engine.

If this crank bites the dust at some point, I'll decide the fate of the rig. The new crank is dead straight and the engine is electric motor smooth. I don't beat it by either lugging it or over-revving it. My goal is to keep the bending stresses in a reasonable area. The weak links in the crank are the Russian big ends (only original bearings other than the cam bushing) and how well the 5 pieces fit and STAY fit. Of course there is an unknown weakness in how well the crank design will hold up to the stresses it sees in operation. But I can't fix nor accommodate for that.

Only time and Kms. will tell.
Regards,
Rob
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2000 Ural Tourist
40 Pilots, 122 Mains
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by jaybird » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:12 am

Rob, how do you find the 75W90 compares to the 20W50 shifting wise?

Happy trails,
Jaybird
2005 Gear-Up, Mr. Nat_ural 108,000+ Kilometers and counting
2013 Retro, Black beauty, AKA Lucky "13"
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Tomcatfixer » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:16 am

jaybird wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:12 am
Rob, how do you find the 75W90 compares to the 20W50 shifting wise?

Happy trails,
Jaybird
I'm curious about this as well. 🤔
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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by n3303j » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:24 am

Tomcatfixer wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:16 am
jaybird wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:12 am
Rob, how do you find the 75W90 compares to the 20W50 shifting wise?

Happy trails,
Jaybird
I'm curious about this as well. 🤔
Aren't motor oil and gear oil viscosity ratings computed differently? So the two aren't directly comparable.
Ron Cichowski

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1996/2014 Ural Sportsman.
Severely Upgraded, Modified and Remanufactured.
1977 Moto Guzzi 850 T3-FB ALMOST STOCK

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by Snakeoil » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:31 pm

n3303j wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:24 am
Tomcatfixer wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:16 am
jaybird wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:12 am
Rob, how do you find the 75W90 compares to the 20W50 shifting wise?

Happy trails,
Jaybird
I'm curious about this as well. 🤔
Aren't motor oil and gear oil viscosity ratings computed differently? So the two aren't directly comparable.
Yes. You cannot directly compare the two from a viscosity POV.

But it is funny that Jay and others should ask about this. The oil that came out of the tranny was Royal Purple. I did not have any here so, I was at first going to replace it with Golden Spectro 75W145 which is a special oil they developed for HD when HD went to spur gears in their tranny. The oil was supposed to have quieted down the whine and reduce customer complaints that there was something wrong with their new tranny. But I did not have a full quart so that killed that idea. I used a gallon of 75W90 Sta-Lube. It is suited for gearboxes with yellow metal parts. Put that in the gearbox and the FD.

That night, I took the wife out for ice cream in the rig and noticed that the 1st to 2nd shift ground more than normal. It might have just been me being a bit more aggressive on the upshift with the extra load in the hack. The tranny has always wanted to grind going into second, smooth as silk going into 3rd and going into 4th is general smooth if I do my job right. On the way home, I paid more attention to my shifting and it seemed better. So, it could just have been my imagination and a poor shift on the way out. I'm going to ride it again today solo and see if there really is a difference. If there is, I'll dump the Sta-Lube and pick up some more Royal Purple.

If you change your tranny oil when you change your engine oil, it probably does not matter if you run motor oil or gear oil. But if you run true gear oil, they have anti-shear additives that you don't normally find in engine oils. So, you can run it longer between change intervals. My oil could have probably gone longer. But I dumped only to double check where full shows up on the filler hole. Others have said bottom of the threads. I just wanted to confirm. My tranny oil was down about 4 oz. I know my reverse shifter seal weeps a bit as does the pushrod seal. I did confirm that 1 quart puts it right at the bottom of the threads so in the future, I can simply top up if needed.
Regards,
Rob
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2000 Ural Tourist
40 Pilots, 122 Mains
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Re: Fuzzy Oil Drain Plugs

Post by stagewex » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:55 pm

I use that same brand, Sta-Lube Gear Oil exclusively in my '69 BMW /2. It is widely used and recommended in the vintage and old German bike community. I still use what the 2007 manual says for engine & gearbox... same-same, Castrol 20-50.

But yeah, Sta-Lube is very good stuff for the yellow and gold running parts though not sure how much if any of that is in a modern Ural engine.
Not to many manufactures of dino oil with GL-4 anymore due to (I think) the negative reaction catalytic converters have with the old-time formula.
Stagewex

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2008 Vespa 150S (Elec & Kick Start)
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1995 BMW K75 (Elec Start)
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