So, my worst nightmare has been realized; after spending countless hours, dollars and hours of no sleep building a nice new 440 for my 68 Charger, after breaking in the cam, the oil came out pretty heavily saturated with metal. No chunks, flakes or shavings, just a fine metallic dust that gave the oil a metallic paint look to it. I figured, well, all those new peices and parts rubbing and rolling against one another for the first time, there was bound to be some transference and thus, a marginal amount of metal in that first batch of oil was probably "normal" and therefore, I would press on with break in procedure. To satisfy my curiosity, I changed the oil after maybe, 20 miles after that initial change and unfortunately, it wasn't much better than the first batch. Still a good metallic sheen to the oil but still no chunks, flakes or shavings. So, I take it for another 20 miles and during that 20 miles, I start to notice my oil pressure dropping at idle, nothing significant, down to 40 lbs from 60 lbs, but enough to alarm me. And running oil pressure is still steady at 60 lbs. So, I dropped the filter today and again, the oil that came out of it had a metallic sheen to it, better than the previous two changes, but still has metal in it. When I run my magnet through it, it doesn't come out with anything, but the first two times I drained the oil, I did find a small amount of metal dust on the magnetic drain plug I have. My question is, should I be extremely concerned and start tearing things apart or is this "normal" wearing in process for a flat tappet hydraulic cam? I've put flat tappet cams in before and never had this issue but I've never run this big of a cam and the spring pressure I had to run with the higher lift cam are higher than I've ever used, so in that respect, these circumstances are new to me. Anyway, some pertinent info in the event it's necessary; 1978 440 casting, bored .040 over, line honed new billet main caps from 440 source, stock cast crank, stock rods, cast sealed power pistons, moly rings, 440 source aluminum heads with comp cams dual springs, 10 degree retainers and locks, 440 source adjustable roller rockers, com cams extreme energy flat tappet hydraulic cam and sealed power flat tappet lifters. All tolerences set to what the factory service manual called for. The engine was primed properly prior to start up, cam broken in with comp cams break in oil and without inner springs in @ approx 2k RPM for approx 20 mins, inner springs then installed, timing set, and it was at that point I drained the original oil that came out like metallic paint. I've searched the web high and low and everybody has a different opinion, I guess what I'm looking for here is the experience from people who've done this more times than I have. Please help. And thanks in advance.
non magnetic particles are not lifter bottoms or cam lobes..they are probably either ROD bearings, MAIN bearings, THRUST bearing faces, oil pump drive bushing.. can you identify the color of the particles when you wash them off with some brake cleaner spray.. are they brass/bronze. you might want to pull the distributor out.. stick a screwdriver into the oil pump drive shaft top.. see if it rocks at all.. if you get any rocking.. don't come a knocking.. that wrong.. if you get any rocking.. pull the oil pump drive shaft and check the bushing .. make sure there is a polished area just below the gear on the shaft.. other than that...did you feel any resistance when turning the cam before the lifters were installed.. or did you set it up on V blocks and check it for straightness.. sometimes they get slightly bent when shipped in their long boxes.. did you check the crank for straightness by setting it into the block on the first and fifth main bearing only.. there was a top alcohol racer that kept wiping out the # 2, 3 and 4 main bearings in his hemi.. it was only a few ten thousands out.. another racer looked at the bearing wear.. said. the next race is near a shop down in texas.. take your crank to that guy.. have him straighten it.. when he picked up the crank and was indicating it in the block when the other racer walked by the trailer.. he called the other racer over.. said that there is something wrong with his indicator now.. it does not move when he turns the crank.. the other racer showed him that his crank was so straight that the indicator did not move at all.. end of bearing failure issues.. is it easier to tear it down before any damage is done to the crank /cam..?drill a chunk of 2x4 or 2x6 with 16 1 inch holes part way thru .. so you can keep the lifters in the same exact order.. if you are really hip.. put 2 pieces together .. drill 16 holes with a 1/8 drill .. then separate them.. drill each side with a 1" drill..think door lock kit.. so you can put your lifters in one side.. place the top on and put some screws thru it.. so the lifters cannot be swapped in their holes by friends who want to play cribbage with them. these are just a few ideas.. but how many flakes.. is expected prior to a tear down for inspection..
you might also want to read the first 36 pages or so of this engine bearing catalog..you might already know it.. but knowledge is free..http://www.mahle-aftermarket.com/MAHLE_Aftermarket_NA/en/Catalogs-&-Literature/Catalog-PDFsclick on the bearing catalogs and download the master bearing catalog..
Cut the oil filter open with a filter cutter and cut the filter media out with a knife. Press the oil out of the media and examine the element for metal particles. If there are none and you used ARP thread lube during the assembly, the metallic glint is most likely the bolt lube.
Gents, thanks for the quick replies and valuable info, and apologies for the multiple identical posts, when I tried to post last night, it kept telling me the action had failed to try again later. Come to find out, it was posting each time I tried to post it and actually not failing. At any rate, I drained the oil again today for the third time since the rebuild and I would like to post the pics of the oil in the drain pan and the drain plug just to see what you guys think, but I can't find a way to post pics from my computer to this posting. Can you guys tell me how to do that???
upload them to photobucket or one of the many image hosting site.. paste the links here..you could even take a video of the oil being moved around the bottom of the oil pan and paste that to youtube and that will post here..the IT guys are working on new forums.. the mustang group of magazines here has a new forum all set up.. just waiting for the push of the button.. the offroad group here swapped to a
Thanks Wayne, I'll try to get them up so you can take a look at them and let me know what you think. Something to chew on though, here's what transpired today with this riddle; I drained the oil for the third time today and found some interesting clues. First, the magnetic drain plug had 2 or 3 almost microscopic particles on it and that was it. The oil that came out still had a noticeable metallic sheen to it, but it was defintiely cleaner than the last two batches of oil that have come out of this thing. Again, running a magnet through the oil comes out clean, none of what is in the oil is magnetic. Also, with the help of my best friend's father in law, we noticed that whatever it is that's suspended in the oil, it is heavy enough to quickly settle to the bottom of the oil, 5-10 minutes and you can't even tell it has something in it anymore, the oil just looks darker than it should. However, it's not heavy enough to settle through the oil into the bottom of the pan like aluminum or steel would. Imagine "panning" if you will, with oil that has aluminum or steel in it, those metals will settle at the bottom of the pan and you can pick them out of the bottom of the pan. This stuff doesn't do that, it's staying suspended in the oil. So, my buddy's father in law suggests sending the oil out to be analyzed to tell us exactly what is in the oil to give us a starting point for where to look for a failure, because he's never seen anything like this in 40 plus years of hot rodding and engine building himself. So, I procured an oil analysis kit and sent out a few ounces of my oil to be analyzed, but that process will more than likely take a week or more to come back. After all that, I was explaining what was happening to my girlfriend, showing her what the oil looked like and she says, "it looks green". I being of the color deficient type, did not make such an astute observation, nor did my buddy's father in law. So, I start to think, what would make it look green??? Well, I know that copper can havea greenish tint to it, which would suggest main/rod/cam bearing failure. However, the father in law said he'd seen bearing failure before and that usually produced noticeable flakes of metal in the oil and I have no flakes. So, what else? Well, bronze tends to have a greenish tint to it right? When assembling this engine, I used a bronze oil pump shaft bushing as well as a bronze distributor drive gear, both from 440 source. Is there any chance either of those are wearing prematurely and tainting my oil??? I plan on yanking the distributor tomorrow and having a look to rule it out, but at this point, I'm hoping maybe someone else has had a similar experience and can share what happened. Thanks guys.
the reason i ask about the oil pump drive. and its flanged bushing.. back in the mid 90s.. i worked at an engine builder.. i pulled a brand new SBM oil pump drive out of its sealed package.. and stopped right there.. the polished area just below the gear where the bushing rides.. had been SHOT BLASTED .. somebody at some distribution level or at the manufacturing level had some rust build up on the shafts..so they shot blasted them.. the normally polished bearing surface was like 150 grit sand paper.. i called the manufacturer.. complained.. they said.. oh just install it.. the bronze bushing will polish the steel shaft smooth.. it will be OK.. it think i got that customer service rep fired for that statement. at that shop.. we bought direct thru a local W/D warehouse.. payed our bills directly to that manufacturer.. i called again.. got thru to the area rep instead of customer service.. ask him to stop by next time he was near us. man was he upset.. so... fish out the oil pump drive and check the polished area .. check the bushing for wear.. its almost impossible to get them out without loosing parts into the pan and timing area.. you might want to stick a big screw driver into the top and rock the gear back and forth.. if you have side to side movement.. you need to go deeper..bronze drive gears can shed..acid in the engine oil would explain the green tint.. as its dissolving the bearing surfaces.. coolant leaks MAY make the oil green also.. if its just a tiny amount.. have you pressure testing the cooling system..
A bronze distributor drive gear is not ment to be used on a hydraulic flat tappet camshaft. That is most likely the source of contamination. It's easy enough to remove and see if it is being ground up by the camshaft. Did you use the tool designed for installing the intermediate shaft bushing, the one that swedges it to size in the bushing hole?
Thanks again for the valuable input guys, here's the latest in this saga... So, last night I pulled the distributor out and come to find I did NOT use bronze distributor drive gear. Not sure how I blanked that, but as soon as I looked at the steel gear down in there, I immediately remembered looking at getting the bronze one but opted instead for the $50 steel gear and drive shaft as opposed to the $100 bronze gear and drive shaft. And it came pre-assembled to the shaft with a spring pin to hold in place to prevent separation from the shaft. So, I tried to get the gear and driveshaft out, and it's in there good, no movement from side to side and no remnants of the bushing below it failing. I would think that if that bushing below were being ground down enough to make my oil look metallic that not only would there be considerable free play in the gear that the shaft is connected to, but also there would be shavings, dust, particles of that bushing in that area. But there were none. So, having stuck my boreoscope into the distributor hole and looked at the cam and lifters and saw nothing unusual, I have decided my next step is to remove the oil pan and see what the bottom end looks like. Although I've been told that usually when bearings fail, you find flakes of bearing material in the oil and since I have no flakes, one would assume that was not my problem. But, at this point, it's the only thing I can imagine is ending up in my oil. The only other concieveable explanation, and it's a long shot, is I installed a 440 source windage tray in between the block and the oil pan and it was coated in a gold iridite coating. I'm wondering if it's possible that the coating is separating from the steel tray and ending up in my oil? Like I said, its wild, but at this point, I'm hoping for wild. At least that will mean my bearings aren't being destroyed each time I fire it up. At any rate, I got all the nuts off the pan studs today and will be trying to unglue to pan from the bottom of the block to see what kind of carnage is hiding in there tomorrow. I will let you guys know what I find. Thanks again.
I din't read the whole post, but moly assembly lube and anti-seize from engine assembly will also make oil look like it had metal in it?
Another thought is that the block wasnt cleaned before assembly and all the bearings are washed out in the center inline with the crank journal oiling holes.When i was young and dumb i trusted the shop had cleaned the block and crank....they didnt.I always clean them myself now. best of luck
i have seen a friend.. use a ball hone from the gun store to hone the oil passages in his crank... i know that brush research makes various diameters of ball hones.. i keep forgetting to call and ask them about ball hones assembled for an oil galley cleaning and polishing kit.. they are only 10 miles from where i live.. perhaps i should just stop in and ask them.