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Metal Particles in Oil Filter


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Last week I changed my oil after about 5K miles incl. 6 track days. After letting the filter drain over the week, I cut it open and was rather surprised by the amount of tiny (very tiny!) shavings I found on almost every plead of the filter material.

I realize that my description and assessment of particle size above is subjective, but what I am trying to establish is, how normal is it to see metal shavings in the oil filter on a factory rebuilt engine (installed in 2006) with 40K miles on it?

Joost

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I'd be a little concerned :(

Do this: for $50 you can send off a sample of your oil to the same place Porsche Motorsports uses to diag customer engines BEFORE they arrive for freshen.

Run the car and attend your next few track events, when you change the oil again, save a quart and the oil filter and send it off. I'll have to look up the place we use (I don't send it out.. I have someone do it for me) they will tell you EXACTLY what is coming apart in the engine.

PM me for the place on Monday or Tuesday of next week :)

B

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Send a sample off to Blackstone for $~20

True, but a place like Blackstone will only tell you the metal concentration and metal type. Maybe Brad's recommendation can tell the owner more about the actual internal part that is breaking down and the actual source of the metal.

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Fair point, but what then is he supposed to do with that info? Sure, it would be nice to know, but whatever metals are present, someone at the dealer or PCNA will know where they are coming from. And even if not, a simple trend trend in wear materials can be used to demonstrate to the dealer [or PCNA] that there is and has been a problem for X number of months, miles, or time frame with certain internal components based on these wear materials. Both approaches I guess satisfy same goal - a documented trend of wear materials.

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metal shavings is a very very bad sign... means your bearings are breaking down... tracking the car is hard on these parts... if I were you I would drop the oil pan and I bet if you are seeing metal shavings in the oil filter your oil pan will be probably see so many metal shavings it will make your mouth drop...

do you still have warranty on the factory reman engine? if not... time to get rid of your car while its still running.

Edited by c70Pete
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Joost,

will you be attending the TWS event March 13-14-15? I'll be there with 15+ BoxsterSpec cars and would like to see the filter if at all possible.

but what then is he supposed to do with that info?

Stop tracking the car and yank the engine. If he grenades it, and the block becomes damaged, he is in for a world of hurt to the wallet. With just bearing damage right now (potentially) he can get away with a "freshen" for around 4k or so and update his IMS and pick up some HP/TQ at the same time with a good valve job. When you damage a cylinder, is when things get costly :(

B

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Joost,

will you be attending the TWS event March 13-14-15? I'll be there with 15+ BoxsterSpec cars and would like to see the filter if at all possible.

but what then is he supposed to do with that info?

Stop tracking the car and yank the engine. If he grenades it, and the block becomes damaged, he is in for a world of hurt to the wallet. With just bearing damage right now (potentially) he can get away with a "freshen" for around 4k or so and update his IMS and pick up some HP/TQ at the same time with a good valve job. When you damage a cylinder, is when things get costly :(

B

Brad's right.... I damaged my cylinder #6 via oil starvation at a tracking event and the bearings on both the connecting rod and crank are gone... replacing the block , bearings and crank is big bucks... at my stage of the game its not worth rebuilding... but you may be able to save your motor.

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IMO, if there is still a warranty left on the factory reman engine, I'd head to the dealer where it was installed and start that discovery process. If not, the sky is the limit.

agreed...

I would head to the dealer regardless.... IMO Porsche should give more than a 2 year warranty to customers who bought a re-man engine because of the shabby history of the 996 motor.

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Brad,

I'll be up in College Station at the LSR PCA Club Race all three days. Did not see you name on the roster yet.

I'll bring the filter so you can take a look at it and tell me what you think.

In the meantime the car is sitting still anyways, as I am waiting on new seats.

BTW: Tried to get a couple of good pics of the particles, but they are so small, it was hard discern. I'll try with better lighting to get some of the speckles to show up / sparkle in the picture.

Joost

Edited by jperquin
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You should be able to a least see if they are magnetic or not. If so, most likely bearings or rings. If not, likely chain tensioner or water pump.

Picked up some very tiny pieces off the filter material with a small magnet at the end of an antenna like rod. Indeed they are magnetic, so I am fearing the worst: bearings.

Two questions:

- If non magnetic, water pump? How could a failing water pump release metal shavings into the oil system?

- A car that is driven hard (like we are supposed to with our Porsches) should not leave ANY metal residue in the oil? I have not looked at previously used oil filter material, so I have no point of reference what is normal (at least for my engine), but what I am trying to establish is whether I am seeing normal wear (for the use I am giving my engine) or that serious failure is indeed impending...

I guess Brad's expert eye in a few weeks is going to resolve the issue.

Joost

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  • Admin
- If non magnetic, water pump? How could a failing water pump release metal shavings into the oil system?
Water pump impellers are plastic.

- A car that is driven hard (like we are supposed to with our Porsches) should not leave ANY metal residue in the oil? I have not looked at previously used oil filter material, so I have no point of reference what is normal (at least for my engine), but what I am trying to establish is whether I am seeing normal wear (for the use I am giving my engine) or that serious failure is indeed impending...
IMHO as long as they are very small and not sharp chunks - then that might be normal wear for 40-60 K miles car.
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I agree with Loren. Every engine experiences friction on some level. If we ever live to see the day that oil filters are free of all particulate matter we may never need to but a new car again. If this is particulate matter that's so small you can't get pictures of it than you are almost certainly in the clear.

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OOPS, sorry, I was thinking metal particles in coolant, common issue with failing metal impellers in BMWs...just sort of blurted out w/o thinking . Sorry. I didn't know the 996 used plastic impeller...hope theirs is a lot better than BMWs...Sorry, but visible metal shavings are not normal. There are a ton of BMW & Porsche owners that inspect their filters and none say "Everything looks normal, metal shavings in every one of the filter pleats.." I'm not trying to be negative here but I would most certainly NOT be casual about this, especially for someone that already had to replace his engine less than 3 years ago (assumption). Get to the dealer that put in the engine, show him the filter and ask what can he do about it. Get it documented. Brad is correct, get it analyzed. Or do you have an extended warranty that you trust?

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Exactly, pull out the pleated insert, let it drain in a drain pan on a few paper towels, then slice it open with a utility knife. BTW, I've only done 1 oil change on my 996, (I've only put 4k miles on it) and my filter had no visible debris at all, but then again that oil & filter only had 6k miles on it (but was a bit over a year old, so I changed it). I've done countless changes on BMWs and often inspected them the same way. Never any metal particles. I have a sample in a Blackstone container, and just haven't sent it out yet for analysis.

Edited by perryinva
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I've changed the oil in literally hundreds of 986s and 996s and the only metal I've ever seen have been large chunks of crank and rod. :o In my earlier post I wasn't suggesting that everyone should notice metal in there oil. I'm just thinking that it's probably not a major issue because I've never seen a minor issue with one of these engines.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I changed the oil on my Cayenne the other day and also cut open the filter. Same deal. One small particle every two or three pleads, only visible in direct light, similar to my 10 year old daughter putting sparkles on her face.

I guess this is normal, and only noticeable when you cut open the filter. Alternatively I have TWO engines that are on their way out. Unlikely but a daunting prospect nonetheless. At least the Cayenne is still under CPO...

Joost

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