Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 18, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Stanford
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Portland, OR
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Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

I've been running a bronze dist gear with our 2004-vintage LT-1 with Erson 253/259 solid roller (with AFR 210s that have bronze guides), and am concerned by the copper and lead content shown in the used oil analysis. Inside the filter (cut open properly, not hacksawed), there's some shiny bronze sheen to it. Can't really feel it between the fingers. Oil from the pan is normal appearing & no sheen.

Used oil analysis shows 27 units copper (vs all 350s they've tested being 10) and 31 units of lead (vs all 350s being 11). There's 1 unit of tin vs. universal average 350s having 2 units of tin. Very low chrome, aluminum, no insolubles, no fuel dilution (wideband tuned since new, 14.7:1 cruise and 12.5:1 WFO).

Oil pressure is great (30ish idle, 55-60 at cruise), no bad noises, car burns 1 quart per 1000 miles, leakdown is 3 to 3.5% across all cyls.

The lead and copper concern me, making me wonder if it could be bearings.

I'm changing over to composite dist gear.

Welcome your thoughts.

'69 Z/28 - Dad's orig. owner, 44K mi., match #s DZ302 & M20 preserved in glass case. LT-1 w/ 210 AFRs, 0.640" lift 253/259 @ .050" Erson roller and Tremec TKO600 in car for more fun & 11.7s @ 121 MPH on drag radials & pump gas.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 18, 05:44 PM
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Larry
 
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Re: Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

My understanding is that bronze distributor gears are designed to be consumed.

Not that I know anything

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 18, 06:44 PM
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Dave
 
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Re: Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

Take it to your local Cat dealer for an engine oil analysis ($17 locally). It will tell you if your bearings are wearing, a yellow bronze gear or Sil- Bronze guide just by the metal percentages.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 18, 07:26 PM
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Re: Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by stantaur View Post
I'm changing over to composite dist gear. .
You would see wear on the gear when you pull the distributor if it is the source.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 18, 09:27 AM
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Larry
 
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Re: Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

I could add: While I am no expert, I am speaking from my experience. I was running a solid roller cam in (that other brand) engine and used a bronze distributor gear.

I similarly was seeing the golden glitter in my engine oil. When I finally pulled the distributor to check it out ... it was worn to nearly sharp edges on the teeth.

It was after that I was informed that these bronze gears are designed to protect the cam gear and are not really intended for longevity in street engines.

While the distributor creates very little resistance, the gear also drives the oil pump which creates pressure and does create resistance and thus friction on the gear.


I could be completely mislead, but that's my understanding of bronze distributor gears.

I installed a steel gear (not to be confused with iron) on the distributor and all was well. Steel on steel works very well.

I could also add, just in case: I am currently running a steel hydraulic roller cam in my 350 (67 camaro). This cam has an iron band *drive gear* for the distributor and requires an standard iron gear on the distributor.

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.

Last edited by Larry Madsen; Dec 6th, 18 at 09:40 AM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 18, 03:31 PM
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Morgan
 
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Re: Bronze distributor gear, or guides in used oil analysis

You can buy a gm melonized gear for $32 or spend the $100 on the composit and be done for life. I do not understand why they even make the bronze gears.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Dec 24th, 18, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Stanford
 
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Mystery likely solved... it was an additive (Restore)

Thanks for your help. Pulled the dist gear and found it to be a non-bronze gear (so I'll be going back in with the Comp Cams composite... scratching my head why our builder didn't use bronze gear on a 2004 Erson solid roller back when we assembled it - 7000 miles of wear now).

So I called up Blackstone and they asked if we'd used any additives in the engine. Matter-of-fact we did, having tried Restore as we were chasing an oil consumption issue and running out of ideas. Thought maybe it'd help w/ring seal (despite the 3% leakdown of compression rings, cold, I figured maybe the oil rings could be borked & we'd be able to rule it out if so).

Blackstone said Restore is perhaps 95% distillates and the other 5% un-named CSL (many figure it's ~ 60% Copper, 39% Lead and 1% Silver (or some rough approximation). Mystery of the copper sheen to oil filter drainout is likely solved, as we'll be keeping an eye on the UOA after cycling through 3-4 oil changes with inexpensive oil to "wash" out the residual Restore.

FWIW, the Restore was reasonably well-reviewed at Bob Is the Oil Guy and Project Farm. In our case, it didn't help our oil use, and won't be going back into the mix. Oil consumption & plug fouling was traced to valve guide seals. I changed out the AFR black rubber valve seals with blue viton AFR valve seals (and using high-temp thread sealer on the intake studs that go into the runners). We're now using maybe 1 qt every 800 - 1000 miles, vs. 1 qt per 250 mi with black seals, so that's close enough for me unless we find good reason to swap short blocks out for a 427 or 454 Blueprint.

Thanks again for the ideas and guidance. Wishing you guys a wonderful Holiday Season & 2019.

'69 Z/28 - Dad's orig. owner, 44K mi., match #s DZ302 & M20 preserved in glass case. LT-1 w/ 210 AFRs, 0.640" lift 253/259 @ .050" Erson roller and Tremec TKO600 in car for more fun & 11.7s @ 121 MPH on drag radials & pump gas.
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