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Automatic Oil Drain Plug

Drain engine oil with the flip of a switch.
  [vote for,

PROBLEM: Draining engine oil in cars requires removal of a drain bolt aka drain plug (exceptions exist, including some ideas in the Halfbakery). When draining my oil, I always get some oil on my gloves (messy anyway), and the possibility exists of over-tightening, forgetting to replace and a variety of other accidents that would make a mess. I want something faster, less messy and doesn't require me to crawl under my car.

BASIC IDEA: Improve the drain plug by use of a solenoid-style valve that could be actuated remotely.

CAR MANUFACTURER IMPLEMENTATION: This should be ridiculously easy for car manufacturers to implement. There are off-the shelf electronic values that are designed to handle the flow of oil. Just put one in the drain pan.

AFTER-MARKET DRAIN PLUG REPLACEMENT: The new value cannot protrude belowe the where the existing drain-plug does or it might be snapped-off by road debris. The assembly would need to fit inside the oil pan and be hermetic / resistant to hot & contaminated oil. Max diameter would be that of the existing drain plug (about 1/2 inch?) each section of the valve assembly couldn't be any greater than depth of the oil pan (about 3 inches?). Ideally the value would be implemented as a single 3" x 1/2" solid-looking bolt with a single wire to the remote switch.

IMPROVEMENT: Remove the wire. Store mechanical & electrical power in the device. The remote switch sends encoded vibrations through the car frame as a turn-on signal (a specific combination of 1024-bits @ 10kHz). The valve responds by changing states. Note: the value should be bi-stable (have two stable states: open and closed) so it only requires power when changing states. Mechanical and electrical power are replenished by mechanical vibration like a self-winding watch. Or, a large-amplitude vibration causes the valve to close (hit the oil-pan with a hammer) if power is depleted.

HUMOROUS USAGE: Old-fashioned oil-slick.

rgandhi, Apr 15 2004

Oil change pump http://www.westmari...tNum=169&storeNum=6
for permanently installed oil change system [csea, Oct 04 2004]


       One must be careful with this idea. Due to the limited force that a practical solenoid can apply and the type of motion it can actuate, most solenoid valves do not seal particularly tightly. This means a tendency toward a slow oil leak over time. The environmental implications are disheartening, not to mention the necessity of replacing the lost oil periodically.   

       If you think you can fit a valve, solenoid, control circuitry, power source, and oil flow channel all in the volume of an after-market plug then you're dreaming. You might be able to fit the pan with a fist-sized, externally powered unit at the factory, however. And you'd still need a plug/cap with a gasket to keep road grime out of the valve and provide a tight long-term seal.
BigBrother, Apr 15 2004

       I certainly like the idea of an oil drain plug that's easier to deal with (and less messy), but I think you're making this too complicated.   

       Here's one way they could design cars to make it easier: Use a "standard" threaded plug like they do now, but put it in from the top. Obviously you can't get your wrench inside the oil pan, but if the plug is situated correctly, it can have a shaft long enough (one or two feet) so that the bolt head sticks out a hole in the top of the engine.   

       Unfortunately this won't work as an aftermarket part, and I can't imagine a car company spending the money for a redesign just to help the low percentage of people who change their own oil. Besides, it would probably annoy the people a Jiffy Lube and other such places where the majority of people get their oil changed since they would have to have someone above the car open the drain rather than doing it all from the pit below the car.
scad mientist, Apr 15 2004

       Don't you have to crawl under the car anyway to change the filter???
scarkner, Apr 15 2004

       Not on a Benz.
Ling, Apr 15 2004

       "Oil change systems" are common on large power boats, given the problem of tight space, and the usual lack of space below the engines.   

       My twin diesel boat has permanent hoses connected from the drain pans, and one simply attaches a pump/bucket to the hose fitting, clip leads to the battery, flips the switch and waits for the sound of sucking air.   

       I've seen permanently installed pumps for such systems where all one does is provide the container and flip a switch (see [link])
csea, Apr 15 2004

       www.fumotovalve.com/ I think this valve is good, but you still have to get under your car. I'm not sure if its safe if you have a lowered car.
mechanist, Jul 29 2004

       Old cars = stuck sump plug. This can be *really* annoying. Even just a clip plug based on the Grosch bottle design (yeah, I know it's really old and was around before Grolsch was ever brewed) would help. Common problem in need of a simple solution.
wagster, Jul 29 2004

       I would like to introduce "Quick Oil Drain Valve" , replacing your oil drain plug and drain the oil with its lever. This little equipment is extremely useful if you change the oil yourself every time. For More Information, go to www.qwikvalve.com.
QwikValve, Apr 24 2009

       //(QwikVavleSpam) drain the oil with its lever//
Yeah just what I need, a lever that sticks out the bottom of my car allowing me to drain the oil everytime I bottom out on something.

       oh yeah SPAM ^
FlyingToaster, Apr 24 2009

       I remember not that long ago that people would just drive to a remote parking lot, and drain their oil right onto the ground. This kind of device would make that practice so temptingly easy.   

       But its okay, used motor oil actually makes a great lawn fertilizer.
ServoMan314, Apr 26 2009


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