Noticed a fine metallic shimmer in the oil catch pan


Staff member
bornchevy said:
Changed my oil this past weekend. Noticed a fine metallic shimmer in the oil catch pan as I was dumping it. It wasn't noticed until the end as it was just about done draining. I have not opened the filter yet to see how much metal is in the filter. I also have my oil filter from oil change back last fall. My question is what steps should I take at this point to diagnose. I have not noticed it before but this is the first time I've changed it in direct sunlight. Normally I am in a dark garage and could easily have overlooked it. I have been using 15-40W Brad Penn Oil with Flat Tappet cam. Engine was probably rebuilt about 10 years ago. 400SB. Engine runs fine currently. The whole idea of there being something wrong internally makes me sick.

while I generally use stainless 6 or 8 mesh screens theres lots of options that will work just fine, just remember to keep the oil changed regularly or theres some potential for sludge to clog ANY size shrapnel screens ... 6T0350W36T ... 8S0280W36T
it should not take a great deal of imagination to see that a broken rocker, lifter or push-rod could dump metalic debris into an oil drain back port that wold rapidly result in increased internal engine damage as a result.

Something like this, placing magnets and shrapnel screens helps engine durability red ones in drain valley, green ones being overkill/optional?

yeah thats logical magnet locations,




IVE typically used these magnets in an engine, one in the rear oil drain on each cylinder head, one near each lifter gallery drain and 4 in the oil pan sump
proper magnets trap metallic debris
SmCo Samarium Cobalt Disc Magnets
many magnets lose their magnetic pull if heated to 200F
these below won,t
yes I've told a great many people about the benefits of placing several high quality ceramic or similar high quality high heat tolerant magnets inside an engine,
no mater how well any engine is built youll eventually find micro-metallic trash circulating with the oil flow and inevitably use of the magnets in the lifter gallery,
heads and oil pan will result in you find a amazing amount of micro-metallic trash trapped on those magnets,
keep in mind all that trash would gone through the oil pump gears, well BEFORE it had any chance of getting trapped in the oil filter.

proper magnets trap metallic debris

SmCo Samarium Cobalt Disc Magnets

Samarium Cobalt MAGNETS HELP
magnets are ceramic and glass hard, don,t try to drill or grind them, as they can shatter
If the engines running fine and the oil pressure remains constant , youll want to start looking around very carefully for the source of the metallic debris,
valve train components and bearings being primary suspects , on an engine thats 10 years old, rockers and valve guides, valve springs ,valve spring shims, the oil pump, push rods, lifters and the cam, the timing chain, the distributor gears etc. all are suspect, especially if you have let the oil change frequency slip to over about 10K occasionally, over heated the engine or ever got into valve float or used crappy low octane gas and got the engine into detonation

now you can also bottle up some sample oil and send it to a shop that specializes in oil analysis,
that will send you a detailed report on the probable source of the metallic debris.

If this was a brand new engine and the shimmer crap was rather light,and sparse , I might think it was from the rings and cam and lifters lapping in,
as the first oil change generally has small trace amounts of metallic dust due to parts lapping in,
but your engines years old and any appreciable wear based debris is probably due to some component gradually failing at this point, like a thrust bearing.
chances are with a "Engine was probably rebuilt about 10 years ago."
you might want too consider pulling it and doing a detailed inspection,
and more than likely a new set of rings,
valve springs,
oil pump,

gaskets is in your future



not everything that passes through the oil pump gets trapped in the oil filter medium ID get one of your old oil filters opened up and inspected,
and ID darn sure be using several magnets to trap loose metallic crud,
is there any chance you or the machine shop, failed to clean the oil pan or block completely and thoroughly?
the metallic debris might be left over debris from the previous engine if the parts used were not correctly cleaned before reassembly!




result of a serious lack of regular filter and oil changes

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I have traced similar issues to Valvespring Shims wearing out and Titanium Valvespring Retainers wearing out Grumpy.
10,000 miles of Hi Po Driving and Racing action.