Metal flakes in oil - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 24th, 03, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Help!

I haven't used my Camaro since putting it away in October, so I thought it was time to blow the cobwebs out.

Got her runinng on Saturday and went for a short blast to warm her up before changing the oil. Jacked her up,drained the oil and to my horror found metal flakes attached to my magnetic drain plug. They are medium grey colour and vary in size up to about quarter of an inch across (we are not talking microscopic here). The car was running fine, plenty of power, plenty of oil pressure and no unusual noises. Theres a slight backfire on heavy deceleration, but I think thats down to an exhaust manifold leak.

What do I do now? Does this mean I've got to pull the engine to check the bearings? Have I totalled the cam? Any suggestions would be appreciated.....I can feel dollars (or pounds sterling in my case) about to vacate my wallet

Thanks

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 12:49 AM
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Sorry about your discovery, mate! Too bad it ain't gold!! I'd place a magnet on the slivers to check mat'l. Magnetic, iron-cam, lifter, or crank. Non-magnetic-lead or alum-bearing mat'l or piston.

You can check the flat lobe by checking valve adjustment with feeler gauges. You adjusted them some time back, they shouldn't have loosen since then. So, if you remember the gap you set them at before, use this thickness as a guide and feel the gap. Any great looseness would likely be evident of a loosen adjusting nut, pulled stud, bent rocker arm, or, worst case, a beginning to flat lobe.

If that fails to produce any results, then dropping of pan to check bearings would be another start. One can remove the pan without pulling the engine. but, if you find bad bearing, obviously, the crank will need some type of repair, so pulling engine would be evident.

Might want to consider adding an oil accumulator with a valve on it to pre-oil before start-up.

Good luck!!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 03:41 AM
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In addition to what Ev said, if you still have the oil, send it in for an oil analysis at a good lab. They will tell you exactly what is in it and even foreign stuff like gas, antifreeze etc if it got in there somehow.
If you need some hints on oil analysis shoot me an email. But definately check it out before doing further damage on it.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 05:52 AM
 
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If you still have the oil filter, get yourself a large pipe cutter and cut it open. Added clues will more than likely be inside. Good luck. Keep us informed on what you discover. John
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,

I'll definitely tear into the oil filter to see if that gives any further clues. I know its a dumb question, but what are bearings made of? (I'm guessing its iron) The particles are sticking to the magnet, so they are certainly ferrous......lets see what happens!

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 07:52 AM
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The better quality of engine are three layers.

First layer = babbit (tin/lead) sacrificial layer for embedding foreign mat'l to keep crank journals clean. Non-magnetic.
Second layer = copper generally for bonding of babbit to the third layer. Non-magnetic.
Third layer = steel provides the basis(frame) for the assembly. Magnetic.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 07:53 AM
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No need for any fancy analysis. You need to bust out the toolbox and cherry picker. Time for that new upgraded engine combo you were dreaming about! If you stop driving now, you may actualy save some of the parts if you are lucky.

-Mark.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 03, 08:49 PM
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Let's see, are you near the white cliffs of Dover? No wait there must be an easier solution. Seriously I've got to agree with Mark on this one. Although I deal a lot with oil analysis labs and I'm always impressed with the results, it's time to tear into it. My experience has been if it's in the valve train you'd know it. Since it's running fine and no noises I'd say it's in the rotating group and that ain't good. Traces of metal are normal, but those are pretty significant size pieces you're finding. I tear into it now and possibly save the parts before you have a catastrophic failure.
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