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Gold shavings in oil

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TheMonkey, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. TheMonkey
    Joined: May 11, 2008
    Posts: 310

    TheMonkey
    Member
    from MN

    I need to figure what to do. Feels like I need to pull motor out and start digging into it which I don't really want to do if not necessary. I asked this on a Pontiac forum, and a couple people said they had gold shavings in oil from tight cam bearings at assembly, and it ended up fine. I'd like more opinions.

    1st oil change was break in at dyno.
    2nd oil change was at 400 miles
    3rd was yesterday at 2,100 miles

    Rebuilt Pontiac 455 with original polished crank, new rods and pistons. Hydraulic roller cam with composite gear.

    Runs great. Good oil pressure (50 psi at cruise, 25 psi idle, 75 psi cold cruise). No knock. Winds up nicely under load.

    Manual trans with street/strip type diaphragm style clutch.

    Pouring used oil from drain bucket into my waste bucket, I noticed gold flakes at bottom of drain bucket. Bucket was clean before oil change today, this all came out drain plug. See picture.

    [​IMG]

    Cut open filter, there is nothing in pleats. Some iron dust collected on the wall where I keep a powerful magnet wrapped around filter, but about the normal amount to expect.

    I did not run a sacrificial bronze distributor on roller cam - went straight to composite gear and it still looks like new.

    I've always had this strange squeal that sounds just like a loose belt. Only makes the noise accelerating under load between 2,000 & 4,000 RPM. I posted here about that noise and never found the source. Video from 900 miles ago (still sounds the same): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_t8tdY5T4E&feature=g-upl

    Thinking it was thrust bearings, I wanted to check crankshaft end play. I set up a dial indicator on block, pried back on front dampener bolt, then stabbed at clutch. Repeatedly was .007" which is in spec (assuming this is an appropriate way to check).

    Engine builder is reputable and knows Pontiac well. Nothing struck him as obvious, but he agreed it was concerning. He suggested driving 500 miles and checking again.

    I don't think I can get 500 miles in before putting it away for Winter. My time is going to be super tight next Spring/Summer compared to right now. If this needs to be pulled I'd like to get started ASAP, but it sounds like it might be something to just not get too excited about? Crap.

    What would you do?
     
  2. Normal Norman
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 510

    Normal Norman
    Member
    from Goshen IN.

    If everything else looks and sounds OK like you said I would not worry about it. At least untill the next oil change. Good luck with the Poncho! Normal Norman
     
  3. AG F/C
    Joined: Oct 20, 2009
    Posts: 364

    AG F/C
    Member

    Don't worry until it begins repeating or getting worse... It should calm down over the next few 1000 miles.. Run it often like at least every weekend or so to keep things wet with oil. The bad thing would be to have long in op periods because the cam bearings have a permanent load on them from the valve springs, will set into the oil film and can wipe the babbitt upon restart... Had instances where the cam bearing journals were not very smooth (not my build). They actually wore into each bearing. Now I micro polish them with 2000 wet/dry/croackas cloth before installing

    So the likely culprit is the cam bearings. because they can have high spots from installation and because of the above.


    Drive it freaquently... :D
     
  4. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    Well, one thing for sure it isn't gold. Although the price of some rebuilds you would expect it. If they are gold looking specs, they are obviously brass. I'm not engine builder myself, but there probably aren't that many things made out of brass inside a motor like that, but it is one of them. What is made out of brass and can wear, rub or spin against something else? Figure that out and that is likely where it is coming from.
     
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  5. Our 55 is alive!!
    Joined: Oct 25, 2012
    Posts: 47

    Our 55 is alive!!
    Member

    :DDrive her like you stole her!!! After it breaks in. Should be ok. Keep us informed.:cool:
     
  6. NickJT
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 640

    NickJT
    Member
    from S.E. PA

  7. 60galaxieJJ
    Joined: Dec 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,525

    60galaxieJJ
    Member

    Hmmm I'm no exspert and I usually learn the hard way but I'd drive it until it breaks (if it does) it could be wearing away because of the cam bearings like you said but then theres extra room for more oil and less resistance
     
  8. Dapostman
    Joined: Apr 24, 2011
    Posts: 294

    Dapostman
    Member

    Distributor bushing, oil pump bushing, cam Thrust bushing????? Those are about the only sources of Bronze/ brass I can think of in a new engine.
     
  9. TheMonkey
    Joined: May 11, 2008
    Posts: 310

    TheMonkey
    Member
    from MN

    I pulled distributor first thing and I was pretty sure it was going to be burned up. Looked great.

    Think I might pull timing cover and take a look at cam thrust plate.
     
  10. burnout2614
    Joined: Sep 21, 2009
    Posts: 612

    burnout2614
    Member

    That is a lot of material. Something is being ground off somewhere. peace
     
  11. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,251

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

    Does a magnet pick some, or all of the sparkles up?
     
  12. ugotpk
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 503

    ugotpk
    Member

  13. TheMonkey
    Joined: May 11, 2008
    Posts: 310

    TheMonkey
    Member
    from MN

    Magnet does not pick up the shavings. I don't have a mechanical fuel pump.

    My mind is all wound up on this cam thrust plate. Roller camshaft is hardened. Distributor also drives oil pump so there is resistance. Distributor gear is helical. Cam thrust forward on accel and backward on decel. Some timing sets come with brass plate, I dont remember what was installed. I'm thinking hardened cam is eating into thrust plate and squealing on accel. If it eats all the way through would be catastrophic. Few hour job to check my theory.
     
  14. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    Eureka! the gold rush is on!
     
  15. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    Looks like little chips of some sort. Not fine particles that might come from a cam rubbing on a smooth plate. Seems like something hard is grinding or chipping into some brass.

    Are you sure the chips are actually gold in color after you get the oil off of them? Not the oil just making them look gold like in the photo? They don't stick to a magnet, but maybe aluminum chips and not brass?
     
  16. TheMonkey
    Joined: May 11, 2008
    Posts: 310

    TheMonkey
    Member
    from MN

    No I'm not certain. I wondered that after I cleaned the bucket that maybe they just looked gold color.

    Oh man- I need to pull cast aluminum rocker covers off. I TIG'd baffle plates under breather holes that might be interfering with the tall roller rockers.

    The squeal started before I put in breather baffles though.
     
  17. That looks to be about $60 a yard....good panning.......whoops wrong show......
    bearings.......bad Poncho
     
  18. aussie oldie
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 399

    aussie oldie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Does it have gold anodised roller rockers or spring retainers on it??? If so , anything rubbing in there??
     
  19. Rob3865
    Joined: May 23, 2011
    Posts: 106

    Rob3865
    Member

    Gold's goin for 1700 plus an ounce these days.
     
  20. Want a serious bit of advice from a engine builder?

    Take it apart and find out what's the source of the particles and the squeak sound- you have 2 issues here and not just 1.

    For those commenting on wait until it's broken in, be serious this engine was on a dyno. We take 6 fiqure race engines, they get run on the dyno, change oil, adjust vale lash, re-check timing and they get THRASHED!! If they can't survive that- change careers.
     
  21. crowerglide
    Joined: Aug 31, 2006
    Posts: 201

    crowerglide
    Member
    from Tyler, TX

    I agree, it doesn't look right to me, especially after 2000 miles and three oil changes. I'd bet there's more of that stuff in the bottom of the pan that didn't come out with the oil. At the very least, I'd pull and clean the pan and see what it looks like after running it for a short time with fresh oil & filter. Of course, once the pan's off, there's no reason not to look at the rod and main bearings, too. Sure looks like something's eating something else.
     
  22. maniac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 539

    maniac
    Member

  23. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,844

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    .....unless you can't get it warm enough to burn off all of the condensation inside the engine.

    What works in California doesn't necessarily work in Minnesota. If it's not stored in a heated garage, I'd put it away for the winter and do the normal Minnesota winter treatment, and then wake it up again in the spring. Thousands of vintage cars are stored like this every winter in the colder climates, and I don't recall of any instances where an engine has suffered a failure due to being put away for a few months without being run.

    A lot of freshly built engines will have some metal particles in the oil initially, but other than some of that cast-iron dust that a magnet will collect, I wouldn't expect to see the quantity of particles that you're seeing after three or so oil changes. I imagine that the squeal and the particles are related, and were it mine I'd pull the pan, rocker covers and the front off the engine to find out what the source is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  24. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    Shaggy
    Member
    from Sultan, WA

    Personally if i was getting flakes of gold in my oil pan i'd be on my way to get a GOLD PAN!!!! You struck it RICH!!!!
     
  25. agshelby
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 463

    agshelby
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had the same gold flakes when changing oil in my O/T cobra roadster. Turns out it was the bronze distributor bushing and it sheared off under hard accelleration. I was told by MSD that they should be replaced every 2K miles.

    What should have been a 10 minute job ended up being half a days work. I had to drop the pan to remove the large chunks, and flush out the oil cooling system. The good news is that bronze is soft and it didnt destroy the engine.
     
  26. cigarcaptain
    Joined: Jun 11, 2009
    Posts: 43

    cigarcaptain
    Member

    Some times the heads are rebuilt with bronze liners in the guides. Possible source for goldish particles you are finding. The squeal is a troubling thing. No idea on this, tranny maybe throw out bearing. On checking the crank end play, prying the crank back and forth to see the exact movement.
     
  27. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 794

    Joe H
    Member

    The cam thrust plate is steel, cam is steel, cam gear is aluminum, no brass, copper, or gold here. Dad and I have built a lot of Pontiac engines and have never seen a thrust plate go bad. Cam bearings or the crank thrust bearing is where I would be looking. If you have a stiff clutch, you are putting a lot of force on the #4 crank thrust bearing. Stock cranks should be OK on this surface, but some of the early aftermarket cranks would eat the bearing in a few days. The whole oil system is run by steel parts, no brass or copper anywhere, not even bushings. Bearings are the only source of brass in a Pontiac engine. The aluminum rockers could be eating at the valve covers or the poly-locks so check under the valve covers first. The distributor has two bronze bushings in it, the top one takes all the downward force so check for excessive up and down movement. What about a windage tray? is there one installed? they rub quite easily if not installed right and they make strange noises when oil hits them. Mine broke once and only hit the crank with high rpm and lots of oil being thrown around.
    Did you really pry hard on the crank when checking for lateral movement? Be sure to pry forward and back to take all the slop out before measuring.

    The noise could be a vacuum leak or belt alignment. I can't think of any internal parts that sound like yours does. I have a engine on my test now with a roller cam and all the fancy other parts that goes with it, 10.0-1, .060" 428. Let me know if you need me to look at something.

    Joe Hand
     
  28. t44e6
    Joined: Nov 3, 2012
    Posts: 4

    t44e6
    Member

    This^^^^^.
    If your engine builder stands behind his work, have him determine what it is. If he wants you to put more miles on it, will he fix whatever might fail while you are driving it? You should not be seeing this after 3 oil changes. Bite the bullet. Yank it and have him correct his work or identify any defective or failed part. No other logical course of action at this point.
     
  29. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 794

    Joe H
    Member

    Looking at the original picture some more, I suspect those are aluminum bits. Check under the valve covers, if you bits of stuff there I would inspect your rocker system. Bearing material shouldn't find its way that high up in the engine. I assume the timing chain was tight and not rubbing on the timing cover, I have seen the covers worn almost through by loose chains. I can't imagine a piston hitting or rubbing. Check the bottom of the distributor and make sure the cam gear hasn't gotten into the housing, I seen that once. I have also torn a 400 Pontiac apart that had all 8 rods in the wrong holes. This put the bearings in the wrong location thus creating a whole mess of brass/aluminum bits in the pan. The engine was running, not sure how they got it to turn over the first time as must of have been really tight. Once the crank ate the bearing edges off, it ran OK.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  30. AG F/C
    Joined: Oct 20, 2009
    Posts: 364

    AG F/C
    Member

    We need to assume the OP has some common sense regarding proper heat required to cook of the volitals... Somethings can go without saying.

    As to long term storage, in the perfect world only small amounts of damage will occure and those won't show as a failure but when an engine is making metal like the OP running often is very important. His world is not perfect and could require special procedures. Every year my boat comes out and it stays in the garage from late October till early May.. It has an oil priming system on it. No Dry starts....;)
     

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