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Dropped a socket between the intake manifold and engine block somehow?

5 June 2015
New Zealand
Ok so somehow I mistakenly managed to drop a hex-to-7mm small socket down in the cavity between the engine block and the intake manifold on the r.h.s. This is just below some bypass hoses and is about 1" high and not much wider. It was too difficult to get a bore scope to look around the corners in there. To make matters worse at the time, I didn't really know if it had actually dropped into that cavity or not. I just heard a clunk and nothing dropped out of the engine bay onto the floor and I suspected Murphys Law had intervened.. If it can get into a troublesome place, it will.

I made up a crude tool and with a stroke of luck I was able to fish it out.

It is a piece of aluminium wire 1/16" in diameter and 6" long with a curve bent in it as pictured. It is a rectangular magnet about 3/8" long by 1/4" wide and 1/16" thick. I used two part epoxy glue to join the magnet to the wire.

I dropped the wire in the hole and pushed it down and let the wire curve around and down and gave it a wiggle, I heard a click and pulled the wire out using the long nose pliers. Most of the stuff in there isn't magnetic, so the steel socket was picked up by the magnet.
I recommend gluing some nylon fishing wire to the end of the aluminium wire so that it can simply be pulled and wiggled from the engine and then once the aluminium wire is just visible looking down from the top of the engine bay, it can be grasped with the pliers to retrieve it.

Saved me removing the entire intake manifold.. this time :) Hope this helps.


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good job, good story, thank you for sharing. This could save someone some serious engine trouble one day.

If you're gonna make a magnet for this, use a Neodynium magnet at the tip of the fish. It is the strongest magnet on earth, even a small piece has a lot of attractive force to pick up even heavy pieces.

Good thing your socket wasn't carbide.
Even when doing the simplest task, I have learned to plug those "opportunistic holes" with a shop towel or rag. I swear there is an undocumented strong magnet hidden in the bowels of the engine/manifold assembly that lurks there, just waiting to snag small tools, sockets, etc.