A Big Ol' Chunk Of Metal!!

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Oct 27, 2005
This morning to my dismay I found a chunk of metal on my magnetic drain plug bolt. It was about the size of a grain of rice along with a few very small chunks. My truck is a 2005 Chevrolet 5.3l 1500. I use Mobil 1 5w-30 and a Delco PF46. I use the oil life monitor that usually calls for a change around 7500-7700 miles. Should I be worried? The truck has 16,000 miles on it.


[ December 18, 2005, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Old Town ]
No, considering how new your vehicle is, it's probably manufacturing debris. Check back next oil change, you should see less debris.
I would not think there should be "mfg. debris" in the engine. Did you save it ?
If it were my vehicle I would contact my dealer. And have them document this incident. And save all of your oil change reciepts also. So they cannot say neglect caused this. Dealer may want to do the next few oil changes themselves to see if any more metal is found in oil. I know when you have one that is using unusal amount of oil.
Dealer will change oil and mark drain plug and fill cap so as to see if anyone has tampered with the oil. They may want to do the same thing with yours. If they find anymore metal I would think you have a definte problem. And I would insist on a new motor or the vehicle replaced. Good luck.
You really should not be seeing debris of that size as part of the normal break in. A grain of rice is rather large. Haveing seen GM's engine manufactureing plants this does not suprise me at all!!

I would keep an eye on this engine and use UOA at least every other OCI to see how it is wearing. If you are going to keep this truck longer then the 3-5 years it would be worth your trouble to take care of any possable problem. If you do not plan on keeping it longer then 3-5 years I would not worry about.

It is more then likely casting flash unless it is shiny.
look at in under a microscope and you may be able to tell if a "slag" chunk or a failing bearing or valve train part.

I look at automotive contaminant debris for a living. You'd be hard pressed to determine where a sliver of metal came from just by looking at it. SEM/EDS methods are the way to identify contaminant.
The rice size piece was very jagged and sharp. It did not look to be well "circulated" at all.
do a compression test to see if it isnt a chunk of a piston ring.

a rice size piece of piston ring would probably lower the compression on 1 cylinder a good ammount, and damage the remaining rings on the way out, so IF and only IF its a piece of ring, a compression test just might be an indicator.
Jagged (and sharp) suggests a turning, such as a machining chip made by a drill, lathe, or mill. Again - probably manufacturing debris. It may have barely hung on to a machined surface as a burr that finally worked loose at some point.
Sounds like a needle bearing from a rocker arm

[ December 19, 2005, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: Slick17601 ]
"I look at automotive contaminant debris for a living. You'd be hard pressed to determine where a sliver of metal came from just by looking at it. SEM/EDS methods are the way to identify contaminant."


I do too, all I was trying to say is LOOK at it you MAY see machined edges and/or could also look like a machining "chip" or a raged casting of course ferrography would be the way to go or as you say a SEM but for the money I give it a good look. I have seen "machined Parts" under the microscope it works some time. And yes no way to tell where it is from but weilding slage would
put your mind to rest perhaps.
Hey Old Town, why don't you break out a digital camera? Spread the debris you found on the magnet onto a piece of TP or something and take a few good shots, then post 'em!
break in debris is normal. For years I used to use a Oberg oil filter on all my cars(1982 to 02) and had installed it on two of my brand new cars right after I had bought them. After a few thousand miles or so I would change the break in oil and open and clean the filter and it was scary what I would find inside. Chunks and slivers of metal!! After 5 to 10thou, I wouldn't find any more. This was debris that was pumped thur the engine and stopped by the filter-who's too know how much just layed at the bottom of the pan which is what a magnitic drain plug would be catching. You will never see what is pumped though a new engine unless you had cut open the first filters and looked inside them.
Unfortunately, I tossed the pieces in the trash the day I found them. If I encounter any debris the next oil change I will post the pictures here in short order. Thank you all for your informed input.

Merry Christmas,
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