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IROC_385z 07-13-2005 02:54 PM

Echeck, Metal-dust in oil, and burning headers!!!
...and the saga continues...

So I decided to go take echeck the other day. It was hot as h3ll outside but It was the last day for my temp-tags.

I retarded the base timing to about 6-7 BTDC and leaned the idle out a bit. I still have a stock thermostat (180-195?) and held off on running the 160 thermo because I have heard that running the engine hotter will create more thermal efficiency and result in better emissions.

It ran pretty hot all day. I figured it was just the weather (later realized that retarding the timing heated things up a bunch). So while at echeck smoke starts pouring smoke. I freaked out and they pulled the car off the dyno.

I popped the hood and found a small fire on the passanger header. Apparently the 6 and 8 plug wires nested up against the primaries and burned to a crisp. The primaries for 4 6 and 8 had damn-near burned the 1500 degree paint off of looked like it separated the paint and a weird film began to bubble up on the tubes. Also, the temp gauge was pegged at 260.

While waiting for my brother to show up with a timing light and plug wires I decided to check my oil...i had just changed it last thursday. When I wiped the dipstick off with my fingers I was greeted with very fine particles of metal 'dust'. They were not flakes, its just looked like glitter and the "grittyness" was barely detectable to my fingers. I checked it a few more times, wiping down the dipstick very well each time, and they were still there.

I drove the car home (after setting my timing back to 13-14 base) and it ran fine. I took my girlie home with it last night and it ran fine again, no heating problems.

My two questions are: Should I just run echeck with the timing at 13 or so, where it likes it, or should I focus on getting the base down to 6-8 degrees?

What about the metal dust? I didn't check for it when changing the oil, so it may just be from engine break-in? The motor only has about 1500 miles on it, i changed the oil after the first couple-hundred and then again the other day. Should I worry much about it? Do you think it is possible that when it overheated that the bearings/journals expanded and began to grind up?

Thanks for taking the time to read my novel.

Jmark 07-13-2005 03:06 PM

The absolute first thing you need to do is stop driving the car!!!

The metal in the oil needs to be checked out right away. While it may be just break-in crap, its more likely a cam lobe going flat. You need to remove the oil filter and cut it open and see how full of metal it is. If there is enough to see on the element, you're gonna need to find out where its coming from. Once it gets into the engine, it pretty much wipes out everything with very fine scratches. Bearings last only seconds with metal particles floating around in the oil.

IROC_385z 07-13-2005 04:35 PM

Ok, I will do that. Can you wipe out cam lobes with a roller cam? What makes you think that it is a cam-lobe as opposed to bearings? It's been driven about 20+ miles since the whole echeck incident...that is a LOT of seconds there and so far it runs fine and there are no knocks or unusual sounds from the motor.

I'll prolly pull the motor here next week and tear off the oil pan and pull the camshaft out....unless you guys can think of a better/easier way to tell.

steve t 07-13-2005 05:26 PM

install a oil gauge on your car and check oil pressure to see if bearing are ok, check at idle when hot

IROC_385z 07-13-2005 06:33 PM


Originally Posted by steve t
install a oil gauge on your car and check oil pressure to see if bearing are ok, check at idle when hot

At all RPMs, when cold, it runs 60psi.

When hot it will run about 30psi at all RPM but at idle, where it runs maybe 10psi.

Is that not normal? As far back as I can remember, with all of my motors that I built (and my dads 360 magnum) the PSI dropped a lot at idle when hot.

Jmark 07-13-2005 06:58 PM

10 pounds at hot idle seems a little low, but still ok.

You don't have to pull the engine or cam, but I'd strongly suggest changing the oil and filter again tonight and drive it again and see what the oil does. Roller cams rarely go bad like a flat tappet, but I didn't know it was a roller at first. Usually, when the oil looks glitterly, first thing that is usually the cause is a cam lobe going down.

Change the oil and watch it close.


IROC_385z 07-13-2005 11:06 PM

Ok, thanks Mark. You had me a bit worried and confused there for a moment.

Since it prolly isn't the cam, what else do you think? I do have piston-slap when the motor is first warming up, could it maybe be from the rings or cylinders?

It is VERY fine powder, I only really noticed it because the oil was glittering in the sun.

Reguardless, I am going to change the filter and oil before I drive her again.

NDNslicks4me 07-13-2005 11:17 PM

you need to run some Rotella 15-40 in it for 10 minutes or so at idle then drain it thru a coffee filter & cut your filter open to check it too.
Then put some good oil in and baby it around for 5 miles or so and change & check it again. whether it is bearings or not time will tell.

Too low initial timing will certainly cause overheating. if your cam is 220* @ .050" lift or so you will need 15-18* initial timing to keep the efficiency in check.

steve t 07-14-2005 04:00 PM

did you wash your block out good, before you put it togather, all oil holes, and cylinders, run 40w oil, keep a eye on oil gauge at idle for a little while, you may have dodged a bullet,

IROC_385z 07-14-2005 04:44 PM


Originally Posted by steve t
did you wash your block out good, before you put it togather, all oil holes, and cylinders, run 40w oil, keep a eye on oil gauge at idle for a little while, you may have dodged a bullet,

How may I have dodged a bullet? Yes, I did was the block out very well after it came back from the shop. I hosed it out, scrubbed it, hosed it out, blew it all out with compressed air, cleaned everything with brake-parts was all clean.

When I change the oil here next week I will change oil. Should I run a straight 40w or 10w-40?

steve t 07-14-2005 04:50 PM

what i meant, was you may have lucked up , and not hurt the motor, straigh 40w hd

IROC_385z 07-19-2005 07:34 PM

Ok, so I changed the oil and filter today.

I tried to use a coffee filter but it would not flow the oil.
I then tried a paper towel but the same.
I then used a loose-knit Cotton cloth and it worked. I checked the towel with a magnet and no metal came out.

I then pulled the filter. When I dumped the oil out of the filter it looked ok. I then cut the filter open. The oil that came from the outside of the filter part looked odd. It had "streams" of metal dust in it. The bottom of the filter had a film of metal dust on it also. I used a magnet in this oil and it did retrieve metal particles.

I cut into the filter part and it didn't look too bad, I don't think. There was some metal pieces in the filter, the biggest were maybe 1mm x 1mm. They were not copper colored.

I broke the engine in last year running it for about 200-300 miles, then changed the oil and the filter.

I then ran it for 1200-1600 miles and changed the OIL again, last Thursday, but DID NOT change the filter. The filter that I JUST cut apart and am telling you about is the one that was installed after 200-300 miles and run for the additional 1200-1600 miles.

The engine does not make any noises and oil pressure seems fine.

Does this seem normal? Could the metal residue be from break-in still? My plan is to run it for a few hundred miles and then to cut into this filter again to see what it looks like. Does that sound like a good plan or should I just tear it down now and check it all out?

TurboS10 07-20-2005 07:04 AM

The metal may be from break in, but if it is in the pan and not in the filter you have problems. If the metal was from break in the filter should have caught it....which it very well may have for a while. I am wondering if you plugged the oil bypass on the filter base that bolts to the block. If you did not, then every time you start the engine and oil pressure gets high while the oil is thick you chance pushing oil around the filter right to the bearings. If there is metal in the oil, that is a problem.

When my turbo engine bearings cratered because of a bad block cleaning job(yes, I should have checked it....lesson learned), it still held 60psi when cold and idled at about 10 when hot. But, I had metal in the oil and lots of bearing material in the filter so I pulled it. When I took it apart the bearings were toast. I could not believe it still held oil pressure.

If you can pull the pan with the engine in the car, I would do it. Remove one of the main caps and see how the bearings look. If it is scored you need to pull it out and find out what happened. If it is okay, check a few more. If you dont find any problems I would say you might just have breakin crap in the oil.....but my gut says you have an issue somewhere.


killerformula 07-20-2005 09:18 AM

I disagree somewhat with the above advice/comments. Every motor I've broken in has had "glittery" metal particles in the oil for the first couple of oil changes at least. I do them after 20 minutes, 150 miles, 1000 miles and 3000.

Bearings, rings, machined surfaces and cams are all breaking in probably 95% during the first 20 minutes of run times, but many of these things still get significant break-in over the next few oil changes. In fact, new data from the engineering community show that engine wear rates don't come down to a slow, steady rate until as many as 20,000 miles are driven on the vehicle! You'll not only see a bunch of crap in the filter, but also some particles in the bottom of any oil drain-pan you use. You should almost certainly see a good amount of bearing dust in the bottom of the pan.

Really what you're looking to avoid are any particles that are larger than the tip of a pen and/or ferrous (use a magnet). Any time you're losing iron or steel in a motor, you've more than likely got problems.


killerformula 07-20-2005 09:22 AM

oops, didn't see that you saw it on your dipstick. Most of the time when you actually see things on your dipstick you've got problems. You definately need to change your oil.

BTW, your overheating was due to your timing. Too little timing will cause more heat to stay in the motor, and can raise your temps a significant amount.


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