Metal flakes in engine oil
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Metal flakes in engine oil in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Well, I just changed my engine oil and realized I had a magnetic drain plug in (even though just minutes ...
  1. #1
    Trench's Avatar
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    Metal flakes in engine oil

    Well, I just changed my engine oil and realized I had a magnetic drain plug in (even though just minutes earlier, I went out and purchased one).

    My issue at hand is there was a fair amount of tiny metal flakes coating the top of the magnet. Is this in fact a sign of impending doom? or is this "normal" to any degree.


    It may be worth noting that I have a supposed issue with Piston slap and my fuel economy is piss poor around 16MPG.

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    codewize's Avatar
    codewize is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    The only time I've ever been able to see metal in my oil was the first and last time I used a Fram filter. After draining the oil, pull the drain pan into the sun and examine it. If there is any metal at all it will reflect like craze.

    I would consider changing filter brands or researching a mechanical problem. How many miles are on the car and how long has it been since the last oil change?

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    Trench's Avatar
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    Oil changes have been before the Oil Life Indicator alarmed, at least since I'ved owned it which has not been too terribly long. I had put a WIX filter on it before this last oil change, this time I put a NAPA Gold on. Or whatever their top end one is. God I love my mind.

    Next time I changed the oil, I will probably pull the pan then.

    My car has 68,000 miles on it. either that or 58,000. I just slipped my mind.

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    thu's Avatar
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    You man consider getting your oil analyzed. It's not expensive. For my airplanes, it costs about $30 to $50 each analysis. They'll be able to tell you what metals are in there as well as what's in the oil. From that they can tell you if your rings are shot, bearings are going, etc.

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    codewize's Avatar
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    I don't want to start this war again but WIX and MANN are the best filters you can buy. I would say that the particles are either getting past the filter, highly unlikely, or never getting to the filter which is to say they may fall right to the bottom and never get pulled through the system. Which is the idea of having a magnetic drain plug.

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    Trench's Avatar
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    Quote Originally Posted by thu
    You man consider getting your oil analyzed. It's not expensive. For my airplanes, it costs about $30 to $50 each analysis. They'll be able to tell you what metals are in there as well as what's in the oil. From that they can tell you if your rings are shot, bearings are going, etc.


    I have actually though of that. What company do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by codewize
    I don't want to start this war again but WIX and MANN are the best filters you can buy. I would say that the particles are either getting past the filter, highly unlikely, or never getting to the filter which is to say they may fall right to the bottom and never get pulled through the system. Which is the idea of having a magnetic drain plug.

    I also agree with your stand on WIX filters. But I figured I give the NAPA high end on a shot being as I have heard good things about it. My Damn Wix filter Cost me I think $8, WHOLESALE (I work at a dealership) . Bah.

    But, as codewize said.... NO WARS...JUST OUR THOUGHTS!

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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    Quote Originally Posted by codewize
    I don't want to start this war again but WIX and MANN are the best filters you can buy. I would say that the particles are either getting past the filter, highly unlikely, or never getting to the filter which is to say they may fall right to the bottom and never get pulled through the system. Which is the idea of having a magnetic drain plug.
    Keep in mind that good filters go into bypass mode during WOT and other high pressure maneuvers to avoid the filter element from tearing.

    More restrictive filters (finer particle) may go into bypass mode more frequently.

    I don't see the metal particles going through the filter but rather being bypassed. Otherwise the particles you mention end up in the filter element. Cut open your filter and find out.

  9. #8
    94CaddyConcours's Avatar
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    I think you sould also place a magnet on the bottom of the oil pan or filter to prevent it from circilating again. Only thing I'm worrying about is code might start to throw

  10. #9
    Loose screw is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Metal flakes in engine oil

    The question still remains where did this particals come from. You didn't mention the car or the mileage or any history. But on my 94 Concours that had 142,000 which I bought cheap and had to overhual the engine, the metal particals found in the oil pan, on the drain plug, the crank shaft sensors and enbeded in the bearings (one had spun as a result and they may of been reused which the rod bearing can not) seem to all come from the lower timing chain tensioner which had worn clear through the Nylon wear plate and the chain was cutting deep into metal. This was appearently was caused by someone doing a case seal replacement wrong and did not properly keep the tentioner rachet lever in the releases disabled postion (move the tiny lever back to release the rachet and put a nail or golf tee in it to hold it in that position until the crank and case are fully reassembled). I don't know how many miles are on yours or if it has been always properly serviced and oil chained but on mine all of the 3 chain's wear pads had more than the normal wear described in this forum. The lower chain was way over tentioned like the crank had been pryed in that end first with the rachet still enabled. If the particales are both small and large this may be the source. If they are just very small specks (like gold dust) it just may be normal wear of rings, chain, gears and oil pump. Not alot of other of other likely possible sources. Size does matter. Once they attach magnetically they are not likely to become mobile again. They could have even been there during the previous oil changes.

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