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11 October 2008

Fumoto Oil Drain Valve

The 2006 A3s like mine came with 45,000 miles of 'free' maintenance, including oil changes. That meant dealer-provided changes at 5k, 15k, 25k, 35k and 45k miles since Audi's maintenance schedule calls for a 10,000-mile oil-change interval (OCI). I wanted to maintain a 5000-mile OCI on my car, so I did the intermediate ones at 10k, 20k, 30k and 40k myself. As of 50,000 miles, I'll be doing them all myself from now on. Oil changes on this engine are a real pain, mostly because of the filter. The drain plug is annoying like all drain plugs are, and there's a very easy way to solve that.

From the very beginning I wanted to do a Fumoto valve but kept putting off ordering one. When I was going to do an oil change on my own I'd think about it, then decide to do it "next time". 10,000 miles later, I'd do the same thing....

Fumoto valves are great. They are well-made out of brass with a ball-valve mechanism, and they lock closed with a spring and a notch in the valve body. If you do your own oil changes I can only think of ONE reason not to use one, and that would be if your drain plug was vertical into the bottom of the oil pan, which would make the Fumoto valve stick down too low under the car. Fortunately, VW/Audi drain plugs are completely horizontal so there are no clearance issues at all.

The Fumoto valves come in two styles - one has a flat end where the oil drains, the other has a nipple where you could optionally stick a hose. I only use the latter style so I can make sure there is NO spillage of oil. Again, since the oil drain location is horizontal, there are no clearance issues with having the slightly longer valve.

If your oil pan has a protrusion (like on the 2.0T engine) or if the drain plug is completely recessed, you'll need to get one of their spacers to make the valve fit. A spacer is definitely needed on the 2.0T.

The valve with the correct threads (14mm - 1.5) and the nipple on the drain end is the F106N:

The adapter that is needed for it to fit is the ADP-106 (same threads as above, it just spaces it out from the oilpan):

The valve and the adapter as shipped, 2 separate pieces with soft crush washers:

A 19mm spanner fits the valve body for installation. Be careful to not overtighten! See the instructions on their website before installing. The spacer needs, I think, a 22mm tool. I forgot to note what size it was, but it's definitely larger than the 19mm that fits the valve:

Here are the valve and spacer assembled. The valve is closed. Note the valve lever is to the side, held into the locking notch by the spring:

To open the valve, you lift the lever out of the notch and rotate it forward:

Installation is trivial - Remove your drain plug to change your oil, let all of the oil drain, wipe the threads on the oil pan clean, and install the spacer & valve as if they were your drain plug. Finger-tighten, then 1/4-turn with the respective tools. You NEVER have to remove it, and it's completely painless to drop and replace the oil.

You can see the protruding part of the oil pan above the drain location that makes the spacer necessary.

Now if someone would just invent an oil-filter relocation kit so we can have the filter easily accessible from the top, instead of having to remove that plastic cover underneath every time....

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