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Thread: Metal shavings in motor oil. Need some advice.

  1. #1
    OCD DIYer Eidolon's Avatar
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    Default Metal shavings in motor oil. Need some advice.

    Hoo boy. Didn't expect to find THIS when I checked my oil this morning. I wiped the dipstick on a shop cloth and noticed the oil on the cloth seemed to have a little extra glimmer to it. I thought maybe it was the oil slicked fibers of the cloth, but when I was able to pull a "fiber" off, roll it around between my fingers, and discovered it to be anything but soft, I got a bit worried. Dipped the dipstick back in, pulled it out, and noticed flecks along the edges of the dipstick. It seems I can consistently pull up shavings by wiping the dipstick off and sticking it back in, though to be fair I only tried it twice.

    I managed to get a rather large hair-like piece on the dipstick on an attempt for a picture. I wish I could say I was happy to have so succeeded. You can see the shard of metal to the left of the shop cloth, just below the dimple on the dipstick.



    With the flash.


    I'm running Redline 5W-30 and a K&N filter, which I put in/on just before the track day in October, so I've only got around 2000-3000 miles on this combo. Only other engine-related mods are the Vararam intake and Billet Prototypes catch can.

    Oil pressure according to the OBDII port, which I monitor using my Aeroforce gauges, has remained high, as much as above 50 at higher RPM's. I've kept the oil level above halfway on the dipstick at all times. Right now it's just a tick above the full mark.

    Only noticeable odd occurrences were a cylinder misfire code at the track; a strange dark, gritty splatter I found inside the catch can last time I emptied it about a month ago; and of late what sounds like a ticking lifter, like there's a bit of lash in a single valve on a single cylinder. No other strange symptoms. Engine still sounds good, revs freely, and doesn't seem to have lost any power. No codes. No used oil.

    Engine should still be under warranty, though I don't know if they'd complain about my use of a non-approved oil. Given Redline's reputation as a high-quality synthetic, though, I'd be surprised if this was caused by the oil.

    So any words of wisdom here? Any potential diagnoses? Feel free to ask any questions.

    I suppose it's worth noting that one of the shards seemed to have black on one side, and the bare metal on the other. Reading around, apparently the dipstick tubes or dipsticks can leave shards on the sticks. Not sure if this is possible on our cars. Mayhaps I should cut the filter open.
    Last edited by Eidolon; 11-29-2011 at 07:33 AM.
    2009 Liquid Red O/R M6 G8 GXP - Nickname: "The Yak"
    Bought 5/21/2009, Sold 5/2/2015. Will be missed!

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    Formerly HSV-GTS-300 Crazy Paul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eidolon View Post
    Mayhaps I should cut the filter open.
    Bear in mind this will only reveal items which have made it thru the oil pump suction screen, the oil pump gears, and found their way into the filter.
    You'd probably get a better idea of what you are facing by dumping the oil into a new clean tub and then running a magnet thru it.
    You could also install a magnetic drain plug to the oil pan and collect samples of metal from it.
    Greg should be able to help you source the drain plug.
    Crazy Paul
    Your Holden Parts Connection in Australia!

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    OCD DIYer Eidolon's Avatar
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    Will do. Thanks, Paul. I'll start on it tonight and report on the results. I also plan to pick up a Blackstone UOA kit and send that off for review on the oil that comes back. That should provide me with some additional info as well.
    2009 Liquid Red O/R M6 G8 GXP - Nickname: "The Yak"
    Bought 5/21/2009, Sold 5/2/2015. Will be missed!

    Daily Driver: 2013 Ford Focus ST
    Hauler: 2005 Ford Excursion Powerstroke

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    VIP Member BigV8's Avatar
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    What CP said is what I was thinking also. As far as the drain plug there is a thread about it, and I think you have to go to advance/autozone type store to get one. You can also hold a magnet to one of the slivers and see what happens. Hope its nothing more then your dipstick tube. I hope for the best. Another thing as long as the Redline oil meets GMs syn oil requirements your ok, which it probably does, Castrol does.
    Last edited by BigV8; 11-29-2011 at 02:35 PM.
    09 G8 GXP A6 SRM with sunroof. Mods:Livernois magnacharger 2300, 3.0" pulley, 160 stat, KB Bap. Rotofab,Corsa, Kooks 1 7/8 mids. 502rwhp/479tq. Suspension: BMR , Pedders Supercar coilovers, all Brembos. Show:CTS-V rims w/nitto invos 255/40 and 285/35. HSV triple gauges & CP smokers pack RIP Charlie.

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    Beyond Help texn884's Avatar
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    Keep your fingers crossed.
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    OCD DIYer Eidolon's Avatar
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    Alright, I dropped by Advance Auto, grabbed a "bolt grabber" extendable magnetic tool, drained the oil pan into a clean pan, and then ran the tool around in the oil along the bottom of the pan. All I picked up were a few tiny pieces of metal no bigger than a mote of dust, almost unnoticeable on the end of the tool.

    I then tested to see if the dipstick tube responds to a magnet. It does, and so does the dipstick. I dipped the dipstick into the drained oil, ran it up and down the dipstick tube a few times, and pulled it out to see it covered in small metal flakes. I wiped these onto a shop rag, then moved the tool along the oil stains to see if the flakes would be attracted to the tool. They were. So this confirms they're at the very least made of a material similar to the dipstick tube. They're visible as the small bits of cruft around the central magnetic element in the picture of the tool below. I ran this experiment a few times, and the first time I got bigger, more noticeable shards that were also magnetic. Of course, my camera decided not to save those pictures, for some reason. But it seems I can continue to bring them up even though the crankcase is empty.



    I haven't even bothered to examine the oil filter since the results thus far seem to confirm the dipstick tube theory. Think it's worth it?

    By the way, thanks for the help guys; especially Crazy Paul. These few posts are already far more helpful than the frantic suggestions I've received on the other board. I don't mean that as a slam, just a statement of fact. I think the knowledgeable car nuts all ended up over here, and I'm glad of it.
    Last edited by Eidolon; 11-29-2011 at 06:28 PM.
    2009 Liquid Red O/R M6 G8 GXP - Nickname: "The Yak"
    Bought 5/21/2009, Sold 5/2/2015. Will be missed!

    Daily Driver: 2013 Ford Focus ST
    Hauler: 2005 Ford Excursion Powerstroke

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    OCD DIYer Eidolon's Avatar
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    If it's not worth it to remove the filter, I'll go ahead and put some of the oil back into the car, mix it with some fresher oil to be safe, and then send some of the remainder off to Blackstone.
    2009 Liquid Red O/R M6 G8 GXP - Nickname: "The Yak"
    Bought 5/21/2009, Sold 5/2/2015. Will be missed!

    Daily Driver: 2013 Ford Focus ST
    Hauler: 2005 Ford Excursion Powerstroke

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    Beyond Help todds87ss's Avatar
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    With the valve train noise, would it be a lot of work to pull the VC on the side with the noise to see if there are flakes on top of the head? I have seen pics of damaged rockers, and they do leave shavings deposited in that area.
    Yes for us larger guys that screw can be a pain!

    08 G8 GT, IOM, Rotofab, HSRK, Kooks LTs, track pipes, Custom engine covers, catch can, radiator cover, and tranny tunnel brace. 402hp/396tq - not bad for a bolt -on car.
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    VIP Member matts88yj's Avatar
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    Blackstone are great with their oil analysis samples. I have used them on a few vehicles and everyone over there is top notch if you have any questions. Plus it's nice to have the oil analysis data sheet as a record of sorts. I plan on sending mine out for the G8 every now and then just to keep tabs on it. Sorry I don't have any other real good technical advice to offer you but just wanted to let you know Blackstone is the way to go.
    - Matt

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    OCD DIYer Eidolon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by todds87ss View Post
    With the valve train noise, would it be a lot of work to pull the VC on the side with the noise to see if there are flakes on top of the head? I have seen pics of damaged rockers, and they do leave shavings deposited in that area.
    I'm actually not sure which side it's on. But it shouldn't be too hard to pull both sides. Disconnect the battery, disconnect the coil packs, unbolt them from the valve covers, swing them off, then remove the valve covers. At least, that's all I hope there is to it.

    I may as well go ahead and cut into the filter as well. I already bought another one.
    2009 Liquid Red O/R M6 G8 GXP - Nickname: "The Yak"
    Bought 5/21/2009, Sold 5/2/2015. Will be missed!

    Daily Driver: 2013 Ford Focus ST
    Hauler: 2005 Ford Excursion Powerstroke

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