Metal flakes in oil, Normal UOAs...

Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
About 30K miles ago I started noticing metal flakes in the drain pan. I figured they were residual when i first noticed them from when a timing chain tensioner broke and the chain was hitting the front cover. Did a UOA when i first noticed them and came back perfectly fine. This engine has aluminum rod and main bearings --- aluminum wear was at 2ppm, Iron at 5PPM and copper, which was marked as slightly elevated, was at 7PPM. Fast forward 20K miles from that UOA, changed oil yesterday, and TONS of metal both from the oil inside the filter, and from the pan. Cut open the filter and the pleats are clean. No metal in there. The oil that came out of the filter had lots of fine dust in it, and you could clearly see it. The pan was also riddled with metal debris. (See images). Metal is magnetic as well so i doubt its a rod or main bearing. Oil pressure is normal. 20 psi at idle at above 70psi at 3000 rpm. This is a F150 with a 4.6L. Has 223K on the clock. It sounds brand new. Makes no abnormal noise at all. No lifter tick or lower end noises. Doesn't make any since. Id think that if something was producing this much metal, it would be noisy by now. Sending out another UOA tomorrow so we will see if anything changes. Oil used is Pennzoil Platinum HM 10w30. [Linked Image]
 

tcrs_circuit

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Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
Originally Posted by JLTD
Look a bit like bubbles to me; do they feel gritty to the touch?
Yes, and magnetic.
Originally Posted by Tjbouwhu
Metal shavings from the drain plug threads???
Wayyy too many. and it came out of the oil from the filter too.
 

tcrs_circuit

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Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
Originally Posted by ammolab
Metal is iron.. camshafts?
My suspicion too, that or from the oil pump or crankshaft thurst bearings. But id think if camshaft id get lifter noise
 
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4,030
Location
WA
Aren't rings usually layered in construction with a steel backing? (aluminum over steel for example) Could be something in the valve train... Crankshaft rings to liner timing chain No oil pump sounds, right? Curious, how many miles on the oil? Gonna be impossible to say with any certainty without an expensive tear down... and with that much metal (from the pics it looks like a significant amount to me) I don't know of anything you can pour into the crankcase to stop that kind of wear. (av little bit of metal is normal)
 
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3,085
Location
GA.
D1 / Gen 2 rated oil in the grade(s) stated in the OM for 5K ~ 6K mile OCI's for mixed driving - all interstate 7.5K mile OCI's ... Otherwise it's your engine to blame .
 

tcrs_circuit

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Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter
Aren't rings usually layered in construction with a steel backing? (aluminum over steel for example) Could be something in the valve train... Crankshaft rings to liner timing chain No oil pump sounds, right? Curious, how many miles on the oil? Gonna be impossible to say with any certainty without an expensive tear down... and with that much metal (from the pics it looks like a significant amount to me) I don't know of anything you can pour into the crankcase to stop that kind of wear. (av little bit of metal is normal)
No noises at all. You couldnt tell it from a new engine sound wise.. thats why it makes no sense to me. 3500 miles on the oil.
 
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2,063
Location
America's Dairyland
Remember, UOA's show the health of the oil, not the engine. Hence, the name used OIL analysis, not used engine analysis. If the particles are visible to the eye, they won't show up on an analysis. No particles in the pleats indicate it's coming from the sump, or the filter is in bypass all the time.
 
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2,853
Location
Lakeside, CA
I'd look at what you worked on last. There are plenty of steel parts under the timing cover. Did you replace everything when you were in there?
 
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1,337
Location
texas
I would suspect something with the timing chain job is not right and you are still making metal from that. That is where you first saw metal so you know it can produce similar metal. It is really weird that it does not go into the fuel pump and get caught in the oil filter. Maybe its too chunky or heavy to get sucked through the oil screen in the pan. I bet if you dropped the pan you would see some interesting sights. maybe a mound if it stuck to the bottom of where it is coming from. not sure if the UOA would catch big chunks like this in the oil by the time it made it to the lab. may have settled in the container. Could also be a botched UOA as well. I would call and ask questions.
 
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tcrs_circuit

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Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
Originally Posted by danez_yoda
I would suspect something with the timing chain job is not right and you are still making metal from that. That is where you first saw metal so you know it can produce similar metal. It is really weird that it does not go into the fuel pump and get caught in the oil filter. Maybe its too chunky or heavy to get sucked through the oil screen in the pan. I bet if you dropped the pan you would see some interesting sights. maybe a mound if it stuck to the bottom of where it is coming from. not sure if the UOA would catch big chunks like this in the oil by the time it made it to the lab. may have settled in the container. Could also be a botched UOA as well. I would call and ask questions.
I see what you mean, but timing was done at 185K. Started getting the metal at 200K.. 223K now. Timing was done right for sure though.. the metal produced by that though tends to be aluminum was the chain is beating against the front cover of the engine... who knows.. hopefully the UOA will show somrhing this time though.
 

tcrs_circuit

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Messages
33
Location
Palmdale, CA
Originally Posted by Blkstanger
I'd look at what you worked on last. There are plenty of steel parts under the timing cover. Did you replace everything when you were in there?
Everything shy of the oil pump...
 
Messages
58
Location
IA
A month ago or so I had an Explorer with a 4.6 in the shop, sounded completely fine and all they wanted was a routine oil change, had pieces of plastic off of the timing chain tensioner arm coming out of the oil drain. Customer approved teardown, come to find out the timing chain guides were so worn out that the chain had worn completely through the plastic and aluminum guide and was riding directly on the tensioner. Again, no noise at all, so it can definitely happen.
 
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4,030
Location
WA
Originally Posted by junk1020
A month ago or so I had an Explorer with a 4.6 in the shop, sounded completely fine and all they wanted was a routine oil change, had pieces of plastic off of the timing chain tensioner arm coming out of the oil drain. Customer approved teardown, come to find out the timing chain guides were so worn out that the chain had worn completely through the plastic and aluminum guide and was riding directly on the tensioner. Again, no noise at all, so it can definitely happen.
Right, that's what I previously said...no way to know for certain without breaking the engine open. I know it ain't cheap, but I'd have it checked again if you want to preserve whatever life this truck has left. And it's magnetic, so that only leaves so many culprits.
 
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9,318
Location
Virginia
Thus why UOAs are not the end all and be all in indication of engine wear.... Normal UOA = Chunks of metal still present in oil filter and in drain pan. Thus why our observations with our own eyes are still very important.
 
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