Metallic Sludge?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by GSW, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. GSW

    GSW PRIUS POWER

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    Did my 3rd oil change (12K miles, Mobil 1 synthetic 0W20) and found a silver metallic sludge on the magnetic drain plug. Removed the sludge with a paper towel and held the drain plug up close. Sure enough the sludge was attracted to the magnet mounted in the drain plug. This stuff was so fine it could be a silver face cream (atom sized sand paper?). I was skeptical with an aluminum engine, but looks like the magnetic drain plug was worth the money.
     
  2. New_Yorker

    New_Yorker New Member

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    Engines are made with alloys, the hard bearing surfaces protected by the motor oil remain case hardened steel polished and fit to close tolerances. There is the source of the metal particles your drain plug managed to grip. Use the TRD filters and change the oil sooner as opposed to later, especially while the engine is wearing in during that critical first 5000 miles. The engine will wear as much in the first 5000 miles as it will in the next 50,000 miles, so change the oil and filter frequently if you intend on keeping the car. If it's a lease, don't worry about it, the next poor slob inherits your neglect, let him worry about it.
     
  3. risingsun

    risingsun seeker of the way

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    First report I have read about this in the Prii. I installed a magnetic drain plug at my first oil change (about 2400 mi), but haven't yet pulled it to see if it has picked anything up. Thanks for sharing. Would be interested in hearing if anyone else who installed a magnetic drain plug has experienced this in their 2010 Prius.
     
  4. ScottG10

    ScottG10 Member

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    Totally normal, dont worry about it.
     
  5. aapoppa

    aapoppa formerly known as "Popoff"

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    That's what I love about northeners. They're all heart!:D
     
  6. risingsun

    risingsun seeker of the way

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    Sorry to revive an old thread, but I just did my second oil change @ 7350 mi (first was about 2000 mi and I installed a magnetic oil drain plug at that time) and found metallic sludge and 1 small piece of metal attached to the plug when I pulled it out.

    I uploaded photos to an album here:
    PriusChat Forums - risingsun's Album: 2010 Prius Gen III Oil Plug Sludge


    Not being an alarmist here - in fact I'm not too worried about it - but since I made the effort to install the plug, pull the plug 5000 miles later, and take photos, I figured I would share what I found... I agree with others that this is likely normal, but I'm glad its out of there.

    Tried to reorder the photos in the album, but there didn't seem to be a reordering option... Thus, the cleaned up plug is the first photo.:(
     
  7. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    That's worse than I have seen on any engine of mine in good condition, but I'm not going to jump up and down and say it's a disaster.

    Next time how about getting a UOA and taking some more pictures for comparison. If the fuzz levels drop, it's likely not serious, if they increase, you have reason for real concern. If they stay the same, wash rinse and repeat at 15k miles.

    It's hard to compare the amounts of fuzz on different magnetic plugs because they have wildly different strength magnets.

    It's good you are documenting it with pictures, memories play funny tricks.:rockon:
     
  8. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    It's not "sludge" in the conventional sense, just very fine metal debris. Entirely normal

    If you really want to see something scary, put one of those Mag Hytec aluminum covers on a conventional differential. The Mag Hytec diff cover has a powerful magnet on the drain plug, and a powerful magnet on the dipstick/fill port

    Check the gear oil level after a month, and the dipstick will be HAIRY with metal debris. Clean it off, and continue leading a somewhat normal life

    On my FJ, the diffs front and back have a magnet in the drain plugs. The initial gear oil change I did myself at 1,200 km, the rear axle had impressive fine metallic debris on the drain plug. With routine gear oil changes, after 3 years the drain plugs stay squeaky clean with barely a hint of metallic residue on them

    Most of this stuff is hidden out of sight and out of mind. Eg: most conventional automatic transmissions have at least one strong magnet inside the pan. Most differentials, light duty especially the heavy duty ones in semi trucks, have at least one if not more strong magnets

    The purpose of those magnets is to capture normal metal wear debris and keep it out of circulation. By keeping the very fine metallic stuff out of circulation, you prevent long term wear

    If you really want to see something scary, put in a bypass oil filter. At the recommended bypass oil filter change interval, use a filter cutter to cut the head off the canister. You will find scary looking debris inside

    So don't worry about it. If you're curious, send off a Used Oil Analysis
     
  9. risingsun

    risingsun seeker of the way

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    Guys - I couldn't agree more with you. I recognize this is normal (except for maybe the little sliver of metal) for what I have experienced. I guess my only thought is that maybe more owners would see the photos and consider installing a magnetic drain plug. The last several GM vehicles I have owned have all had a magnetic plug standard, so I just like to be able to take a look at what I have picked up each time I change the oil... This allows me to do so. Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  10. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I really do think magnetic drain plugs are a great idea

    Even better, for conventional rear wheel drive older cars and pickup trucks, is the Mag Hytec covers I have fallen in love with. There is a magnetic drain plug and another strong magnet on the dipstick

    Mag-Hytec

    Again, the first install you check the fluid level with the dipstick after a month or so, you just about crap your briefs at how much the dipstick magnet picked up. Again, entirely normal, and much better off on the magnet than floating around inside
     
  11. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Wow, I have never seen this much filings on any engine, ever. Of course I don't think any of my plugs were extremely magnetic either. But wow.
     
  12. GSW

    GSW PRIUS POWER

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    Risingsun, this is one of my old threads. I wish I had taken pictures of the sludge I removed from the magnetic drain plug because it was silver in color and very, very fine. Our comparisons would have been different (don't know why?). I use 0w20 Mobile 1 synthetic with a half quart of Mobil 1 5w20 extended mixed in. The heat in the south is pretty hard on engines and I wanted a little more viscosity for the summer. Thanks for the pics!!
     
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