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TurboS10 09-09-2004 09:49 PM

Is metal in the oil filter a bad thing? :(
Well, I have finally got the EFI system and tuning figured out on the S-10 only to find that I am apparently having some oil flow problems. After running the truck down the road I start noticing that it only holds about 5 psi at idle and about 30 psi when reved. I think.......ahhhhh this must be a oil heat and viscosity problem due to the turbo heat and the tall grouted block. I buy a temp gauge and decide to go to 20w50 oil..........then it gets bad.

I pull the oil filter off and figure I might as well cut it apart to make sure all is well.........*****, there is metal in this filter. The filter has a fair amount of metallic iron or steel filings and also some bronse colored pieces floating around. I showed my machinist to get his take, and he said it looked like material from the crank bearing thrust surface. I used a bar to check thrust and it is not too loose and it does have some play, but I have not measured how much yet. He told me to check and see if there I had adequate clearance between the convertor and the flywheel. He said that all convertors balloon a little bit and they can push forward on the crank if there is less than adequate clearance. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

I am also just racking my brain thinking of anything that could have happened. I really dont think that it is a bearing since it still does hold some oil pressure when warm, but I could be just wishful thinking. If anyone has any ideas of things to check before I jerk this thing out, let me know.

This is my new turbo engine. Everything was new and checked out good on assembly. Right now it is on its first oil change after breakin and has very little run time and most at lower RPM. Everything is new. Oil is 10w30 Valvoline synthetic.

I am going to run the engine again with an oil screen over the filter and see if it is still producing parts tomorrow.


tresi 09-09-2004 11:10 PM

During break in a little fuzz on a magnetic plug is ok. After break in any steel or iron is abad thing. If you have enough that you can pick it out and take it to somebody to show you've got problems. While the bronze colored particles could be from the valve guides or wrist pin bushing if you have bronze guides and or floating piston pins most likely the bearings are excessively worn.
You can put the screen over the filter and check after an hour of running. If you find nothing check the screen every few days. You can put the filter back on if you don't damage it or the filter gasket removing it. Keep in mind that the more you stroke this along deciding whats wrong you might be chewing up parts that would have been rebuildable had you pulled the motor at the first sign of excessive metal in the oil.

k-star 09-10-2004 06:00 AM

It's hard to be positive with out being there but with what you are describing i would yank the engine and find out what is going on.

I have been called a overreactionist ( not sure if thats a word or not) but i have never pulled and engine that had a problem like you are describing and thought ... "man why did i do that"... I would be sure you are going to find something wrong...... I always looked at it like this. I would rather take the time and investigate then let it go on a wing and a prayer hoping for the best,,, and then destroying my good parts......

Is this a roller cam motor???

Is the by pass plugged in the filter adapter???

Can you post a picture of what you found in the filter??


edge 09-10-2004 06:57 AM

I can't offer you any advice concerning the metal flake source, but I will offer this regarding the oil pressure:

1. What type of oil filter are you using? I tried the Fram Extra Duty once on my 91' GTA and it very quickly developed the same symptoms you describe. Started using regular Fram and never had a problem again. You may want to try a Napa or Carquest Filter (they are made by Wix). I use the filter listed for my 94' Suburban on all my SBC engines. This is the longer style filter (i.e. Fram PH5).

2. Try running a conventional (or blend) 10W40 or 20W50 and substitute one quart of Lucas Oil Stabilizer for one quart of oil. I have found with my engines this will take the oil pressure from say 15-20 lbs. at idle (hot) to about 25 lbs. And, I have read articles that compare synthetic oil to conventional oil where synthetic holds slightly less pressure then a conventional of the same weight.

3. What type of oil pump are you running? I learned that a Moroso "Racing" pump that has the "anti-cavitation" slot in it will hold less idle pressure. This is from personal experience and later confirmed by Moroso that low pressure is inherent with that style oil pump. These pumps will hold about 10 lbs. less idle pressure than a normal or high volume Melling pump.

Seems like if this is your first oil change and it is a flat tappet cam, you are probably okay.

Good luck solving this problem; and I hope it is nothing serious, Ed.

Who is Jesus?.:)

TurboS10 09-10-2004 07:58 AM

I am running a carquest/wix filter, and the bypass is not plugged.......which is probably a bad thing. I suppose that it could have easily pumped trash to the bearings......DAMMIT. This is a flat tappet cam and I am running full floating pins. Guides are factory cast iron and the pump is a HVHP Melling.

Honestly I have never run a magnetic plug before and I have never cut filters apart before. This is the most money I have sunk into an engine and the most power I have tryed to make so it has gotten special treatment. I really just did not have a base line for what was normal in the wear in process. I will go ahead and unfold the filter and get all the crap out and take a picture.

I may go ahead and run the engine just a bit with the filter until it warms up and see what it looks like. I think that you guys are probably right about pulling the engine, but I just did not want to hear it. The one wild card is the used turbo that i bought off of ebay and did not rebuild. There is the possibility that it was on and engine that fragged and it was packed full of bearing material and metal. I did spray some cleaner through it, but did not disassemble it. The turbo also uses bronze bearings.

I will run it a little and see how it looks and then let you know and post pics of what I found in the filter at first inspection.


k-star 09-10-2004 08:20 AM

That puts a somewhat different perspective on it.....

I would venture a guess that the e- bay turbo might be the source of your greif........

Yea you are correct that with the by-pass open you probably washed all that junk through your new bearings...

It's totally your call on what to do but if it was mine it would come out right now....


killerformula 09-10-2004 09:09 AM

How much metal are you talking about? How about running a magnet over it and finding out how much is steel, and how much is bearing material? You know for certain that 400 chevy motors usually run low on oil pressure anyway. Given that I'm sure you used a one piece seal, take the pan off the motor, remove a main and a rod cap and look at the bearing half to see if your concerns are justified. If you take the motor out, you're gonna have to remove the pan anyway to replace your bearings.

I would avoid just yanking everything out in a fit of panic until you find out what you're dealing with. If your bearings are decent and you find a problem with your turbo, by all means, put some clean oil in it, run the pump with a dril for 20 min to get the crap out of it, rebuild, replace or do whatever you have to do to the turbo and leave it together. How about a pic of the stuff found in your motor?


RCastle 09-10-2004 09:10 AM

I dont work on car turbos,but I do work on Diesels.On a large diesel the turbo has a oil supply and return line,If the bushings or the impellar shaft are marred you could get shavings from there.

TurboS10 09-10-2004 10:11 AM

Well after digging in the filter and uncoiling the paper in the filter my mind is made up. It is coming out. The filter was probably getting to the point of being restrictive so I am sure the bearings saw some trash with the oil bypass not blocked. With a 700HP engine, I dont think that gambling on marginal bearings is a good idea. Here are some pics:

from the oil in the filter paper

from oil in the canister

in the canister

Sucks, but looks like the there is something bad happening.


killerformula 09-10-2004 10:19 AM

... that's quite a bit of stuff dude... Sorry this happened to you man. :(

Here's to a quick recovery...:welcome:


oldschoolrods 09-10-2004 10:58 AM

:( Atleast you made the right decision to take it out, hope you get it fixed soon.

k-star 09-10-2004 11:01 AM

Boy thats worse then i thought... Looks like cam lobes to me, but we will see after it's apart. I know this is discouraging but try to look at it as a learning tool. Look for the positive in it..

Let us know what you find,,


phelan 09-10-2004 11:11 AM

:eek: :confused: that canīt be good.

orangef4 09-10-2004 11:35 AM

I was going to say turbo until I saw the pictures.... I disassembled a junkyard turbo I had when building my setup. I had planned on using it, so I took it apart to check out the internals. The shaft bearings were fine, but the the thrust bearing was shot. It had nearly1/16" endplay. It should have been barely detectable. I did some checking, and it isn't too expensive to get them rebuilt. If you have to pull everything else apart, it wouldn't hurt to check. With that much metal, I would guess it is the cam.

TurboS10 09-10-2004 01:02 PM

The turbo is a large shaft and it could easily produce that much material if the bearings went on it, but it is not any looser than it was when I installed it.

The majority of the material is a bronze color so I think it must be a bearing or the thrust surface as suggested earlier. I guess rod ends could also cause it. I have seen a cam failure and it does not look like that to me right now. I suppose heat could make the pieces bronze in color, but most of it is not magnetic. Guess I will find out soon enough. I am going to get it ready to come out this weekend, but I have to get another engine off the stand and in another truck before I can pull this one. I will let ya'll know what I find in a week or two.


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