Tiny flecks of aluminium in oil filter

Tiny flecks of aluminium in oil filter

Author
Discussion

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Friday 21st October 2016
quotequote all
Hi all

Helping a mate with an oil change, BMW n52 engine with approx 40k on the clock. Cut open the filter ends to stretch out and expose the pleats and it had tiny shaving's of alu. Very small with biggest being approx 2mm long but there never the less in every pleat and not a huge quantity. This is the engines 3rd oil change and is running and sounding fine.

Will take the new filter out in 1000 miles or so and inspect but is there ever a valid reason for this to happen or is it bad news? Nothing showed up on magnet.

Thanks


Edited by bmwmike on Friday 21st October 22:12

stevesingo

3,623 posts

167 months

Friday 21st October 2016
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Any Pics?

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Friday 21st October 2016
quotequote all
Bit tricky as the flecks are small but here is a big image which hopefully shows it up OK.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/w5m7owlshtpj7gb/20161021...

Thanks!!

Boosted LS1

18,195 posts

205 months

Friday 21st October 2016
quotequote all
Those are miniscule. Has the engine had regular filter changes? Alu would be from the shells but I wouldn't be overly concerned from what you've reported.

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Friday 21st October 2016
quotequote all
Thanks for the reply.

I just noticed you need to download the image to view full size otherwise the compression doesn't show them properly. They look like slivers which is what concerned me.

Sounds like nothing to be concerned at though based on your reply. Ive never seen (noticed?) this before so was a bit shocked especially as it's such a low mileage.

Edit this is cars third filter I believe.

Edited by bmwmike on Friday 21st October 23:30

AW111

4,922 posts

78 months

Sunday 23rd October 2016
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That doesn't look right to me.

Cam journal? Do the cams just run in the head in those engines?

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Sunday 23rd October 2016
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Yeah the cams run in the head on these I think..

powerstroke

8,530 posts

105 months

Sunday 23rd October 2016
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could it be the timing chain rubbing the case???

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Sunday 23rd October 2016
quotequote all
No idea.. sounded ok when I heard it running.

Is it possibly this is swarf left over from manufacture?


227bhp

9,514 posts

73 months

Monday 24th October 2016
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bmwmike said:
No idea.. sounded ok when I heard it running.

Is it possibly this is swarf left over from manufacture?
No, I'd be selling it.

99hjhm

384 posts

131 months

Monday 24th October 2016
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Unless you have another exact same engine with exact same use and wear and oil change interval to compare the filter with I wouldn't worry. Take one apart from an old classic car, that will scare you.

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Sunday 30th October 2016
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Sounds like this is somewhere between acceptable and disastrous but closer to acceptable. Turns out it has a warranty but not sure it's worth persuing. I'd be selling too but it's not my car. Will see what the new filter looks like in 1000 miles or so.

helix402

4,943 posts

127 months

Sunday 30th October 2016
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Camshaft bearing ledges can wear on these engines.

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Monday 12th June 2017
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Just to update.. we took the filter out after approx 5k miles and it contained similar bits but less particles. Engine is running and sounding fine though. Odd one! If a bearing was spun or spinning I'd expect a heck of a lot more material?

HJG

86 posts

52 months

Tuesday 13th June 2017
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bmwmike said:
Just to update.. we took the filter out after approx 5k miles and it contained similar bits but less particles. Engine is running and sounding fine though. Odd one! If a bearing was spun or spinning I'd expect a heck of a lot more material?
If a bearing was spinning/had spun then it would not have done another 5K. You'd have a loud knocking and then if not caught quickly enough probably a con rod taking a trip out the block.

I would take a sample of the engine oil and send it away for analysis. Millers offer a good service for this. This will give you a metal content in PPM.

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Wednesday 28th March 2018
quotequote all
HJG said:
If a bearing was spinning/had spun then it would not have done another 5K. You'd have a loud knocking and then if not caught quickly enough probably a con rod taking a trip out the block.

I would take a sample of the engine oil and send it away for analysis. Millers offer a good service for this. This will give you a metal content in PPM.
Thought I'd update this. Engine still running fine, no change since this was first noticed. Oil analysis was done and came back with a big thumbs up - nothing to be concerned at.

I guess some engines just shed metal for the fun of it.

bmwmike

Original Poster:

1,969 posts

53 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Thought I'd update this - we looked at latest filter at 69k and still exactly the same quanity and type of alu bits and the engine is running and sounding fine. Engine had two oil changes since I last updated this thread but I didn't wasn't involved in those so didn't see the filters.

If it was cam bearing wear it'd be toast by now surely with Vanos errors at least. From what I've read the journal wears out and the oil pressure drops.

Can't be a spun bearing as it wouldn't last so long .

I was thinking piston skirts but that would screw up the cylinder walls in that time wouldnt it?

It presumably can't produce metal slivers/flecks forever without something failing. Wonder how many other engines do this but the owners never look.



cornflakes2

146 posts

22 months

Friday 16th August
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I just wanted to say thanks for updating this even after all this time. It seems like nobody is really sure what is causing it
and it's a good idea for future reference to keep monitoring things like this.

Tony1963

1,607 posts

107 months

Saturday 17th August
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How many people cut open filters? It’ll just cause worry. In fact, I’d be more concerned if the filter showed nothing, as I’d wonder where the particles were! The filters have been doing their job, simple as that. I see the same and worse in filters from aircraft engines and hydraulic systems.

227bhp

9,514 posts

73 months

Saturday 17th August
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You don't need to cut open many filters these days, they are the already open cartridge type.
9 times out of 10 when there is non-ferrous material in the filter it's been run low on oil and has taken a swipe from the crank bearings. The only one i've ever seen, that 1 out of ten, is one i'm working on now, 120k on the clock and flecks of alu in the filter. The bearings are perfect, maybe too perfect. I'm kind of doubting it, but maybe the engine had new bearings in it at one time, but on opening it everything looked 'factory'.