When to do a UOA

Nick1994

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Well my Camry has been having some sparkly drain pans when I change the oil. I bought the car at 185k miles in late November and changed the oil with 5w30 Mobil Super HM for 2,800 miles. That first change with unknown oil I paid no attention to the drain pan, can't remember what it looked like. 2,800 miles on the Mobil Super HM gave me the what is in the first picture in the bottom of the drain pan. I then changed the oil with Pennzoil Ultra 5w30 and ran for 4,500 miles, which the results of the drain pan is what the second picture shows. That time I cut open the oil filter (always previously used Wix) and it looked great. The 3rd and 4th pictures are of the oil filter, it looks shiny in the first picture of the oil filter because of the camera angle with the sunlight, there was not any shavings or glitter looking stuff in it. No this isn't a joke (as others have thought in my previous post about it) and the car actually runs well. I've decided to do a UOA on this oil to see whether or not I should keep this car or not. Other thought it might be excess from an additive the previous owner COULD have used, I bought it with an oil leak. Valve cover gasket was leaking (I changed, looked pretty decent under there), leaky oil pan gasket which I've been too lazy to change, and the oil filter was a little loose. Others thought maybe he put something in there to try to stop the leak but I have no proof of that and I don't know if that would still be coming out in oil changed. I don't know. I have 1,700 on this OCI and would like to sample it now so that if it reads with really high metal levels I can get rid of this car as soon as possible. My question is, would 1,700 be adequate for a UOA? I believe Blackstone recommends at least 500-1,000 miles for an accurate UOA. I have the kit ready to go, and think it should be able to show. So what do you guys think? Run a little longer or dump it now? Thanks guys After 2,800 miles on Mobil Super HM After 4,500 miles on Pennzoil Ultra No shavings or glitter in filter
 
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17,301
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OH
Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
Might as well run it 5k and get the big picture faster.
I'd probably go this route. A mature engine making a lot of metal is not usually a good sign. A UOA will at least tell you what the excess metal is.
 
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3,039
Originally Posted By: Trav
That almost looks like some sort of metallic radiator sealer. If its not there is possibly a cam lobe about to a Houdini.
First thing I thought of was those BARS LEAK pellet thingys you add to the radiator back in the day.
 
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Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: BISCUT
First thing I thought of was those BARS LEAK pellet thingys you add to the radiator back in the day.
+1 - if the engine is really shedding that much metal one would think there would be other symptoms.
 
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Maybe you should try putting magnet in that oil to see if it's aluminium or something else. It's wierd filter didn't pickup any particle. Are they too small?
 
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Los Angeles,CA
GOLD! Off topic- Changed channel on tv- a movie- a wagon- it goes down mtn side- one of the guys dies. They dig a grave. and they lower him in. They all bow their heads- and one guy gives the Eulogy. They quietly notice sparkly specs in the dirt from the grave-- ... The one giving the eulogy- Suddenly yells- he Stakes this claim-- they throw the dead man out of the hole and they all jump in.
 
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Its an old tired motor, as long as it runs well run it. I wouldn't waste the $30, what's it going to tell you that you can't see in the pan? Now if this was a late model car under warranty, than heck yeah UOA from a couple of labs and use that as ammo for a warranty claim. I have seen motors like that run for a very long time, just don't beat on it and keep the oil topped off and it might go a couple more years. It has worn main bearings and probably would have low oil pressure if you put a gauge on it, and if you pull the oil fill cap at idle I bet it dances around a lot from blow by.
 
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Nick1994

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Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
Its an old tired motor, as long as it runs well run it. I wouldn't waste the $30, what's it going to tell you that you can't see in the pan? Now if this was a late model car under warranty, than heck yeah UOA from a couple of labs and use that as ammo for a warranty claim. I have seen motors like that run for a very long time, just don't beat on it and keep the oil topped off and it might go a couple more years.
I'm a college student and don't have $2000 sitting around to buy another car if this one dies. If the engine dies from something wrong inside it's turned into a $500 paper weight. I could sell it for around $2,000 at least now.
 
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Having been a broke college student and run a lot of beaters I'd save the $30 and just go easy on it. It might run for a very long time. Your not going to get anything else for $2k that's a whole heck of a lot better. In the mean time start putting some money aside. This is why its not worth putting to much money into old cars. How mechanically inclined are you? Being broke is what taught me how to work on cars, I had to fix them myself because I couldn't afford to pay a shop. Worst case you could get a junk yard motor for probably $500 and swap it in your driveway. Those I4 Camry's are pretty easy to work on.
 
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Santa Barbara, CA
A human hair is what 50-70 microns? A WIX filter should be trapping a lot of stuff that is above 40 microns. How large does the glitter in the pan look? Hair size or above? It should be in the filter also. If not it seems like pan contamination (I mean the oil change catch basin to be clear). Coolant + stop leak ever touch that pan? If you have that filter still, try really hard to find 'glitter' in it. If its clean, I can't imagine that your engine is grinding itself away but only via sub 20 micron particles. Either way, g'luck!
 
Check if the stuff is magnetic. Probably Al. Is this a timing belt engine or timing chain? If chain, tensioners may be worn and chain chewing into Al case. I would not bother with a sample, you already know the metal is there. And lots of it!!
 
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