Copper shavings in oil? What’s going on!

Slade88

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Hello everyone I have a 1988 Chevy c1500 that I’ve found a new problem with, it’s got a L05 5.7 liter 350 2 bolt main.



First of all I did a cam swap for a cl122494 cam from comp.



I’m not happy with the install as the cam was made primarily for Vortec heads and my engine runs lean now so it’s less powerful, I have no lifter tick and the valve train looks to be moving evenly.



I have Vortec heads in my possession but I’m not putting my nice new parts on my engine until I get this figured out.



The most notable failures of my cam swap are as followed this was my first time ever taking an engine part so forgive my stupidity: I didn’t have the feel for setting valve lash yet so I set it way too tight turning my engine into a misfiring mess that I drove on the road for a week, during the break in my drunk friend did not notice a coolant leak so my engine over heated twice. I quickly shut it off however and fixed the leak.



I found a small amount of silver covered metal that is normal for a cam swap I’m heard (flat tappet)



When I changed the oil the 3rd time there was no metal of any kind so I thought everything was well, on my next oil change however, I found an alarming amount of tiny gold flakes I could pick up with two fingers, a bit of copper covered dust and paint like silver colored dust, I still have the oil filter but have yet to cut it open yet



I have only run zinc oil in this truck, valvoline vr1 full synthetic zinc oil.



I have no rod knock or lifter tick, I do however burn half a quart every thousand miles, my engine also runs a good bit hotter but I assumed that was from it running lean due to the tbi not understanding the new cam.



This is my only car, my daily driver and work truck, it’s got 171 thousand miles on it and I change the oil frequently, I also drive like a grandpa no high rpm pulls until I’ve got it rebuilt to my liking



I’m going to a shop to get the rod and main bearings looked at on Monday, I’m going to try and drive as little as I can until then



A friend of mine says I need to use a high power oil pump and slightly larger bearings?



Could this just be old almost 40 year old bearing wearing out and I just got unlucky?



Thank you! All my Chevy information is from the internet, mainly this website! Y’all have a good evening
 

Slade88

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I forgot to mention I have a lot less oil pressure then usual, at idle it’s a couple ticks less then what it used to be, and when it warms up at idle at a stop light it sits almost half what it was, when I hit the gas it goes all the way up though
 

GoToGuy

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Without a professional diagnosis it could be anywhere from minor nicked bearing to major problems. Questions that come mind. It runs badly why continue driving? Why didn't you catch the coolant leak / overheat before driving?
Everybody has a good idea, maybe. But for just starting out, following the service manual doctrine would keep you on the right track.
 

JeremyNH

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Do you have a bronze distributor gear? Vortec cams typically require steel melonized gears per the cam manufacturers.
 

Caman96

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Have the oil analyzed by Blackstone Laboratories.
 

RichLo

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If he can pick copper flakes out of the oil with his fingers, an oil analysis is just a waste of money.

I like the idea of the distributor gear... easy check and hopefully the problem.

The lower oil pressure may be an issue unless its idling lower than it was before because of the cam. As long as cruising RPM oil pressure is the same that may just be an idle speed issue.
 

Hipster

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Hello everyone I have a 1988 Chevy c1500 that I’ve found a new problem with, it’s got a L05 5.7 liter 350 2 bolt main.



First of all I did a cam swap for a cl122494 cam from comp.



I’m not happy with the install as the cam was made primarily for Vortec heads and my engine runs lean now so it’s less powerful, I have no lifter tick and the valve train looks to be moving evenly.



I have Vortec heads in my possession but I’m not putting my nice new parts on my engine until I get this figured out.



The most notable failures of my cam swap are as followed this was my first time ever taking an engine part so forgive my stupidity: I didn’t have the feel for setting valve lash yet so I set it way too tight turning my engine into a misfiring mess that I drove on the road for a week, during the break in my drunk friend did not notice a coolant leak so my engine over heated twice. I quickly shut it off however and fixed the leak.



I found a small amount of silver covered metal that is normal for a cam swap I’m heard (flat tappet)

I have only run zinc oil in this truck, valvoline vr1 FULL SYNTHETIC zinc oil.
UH! HUH! Full synthetic for cam break in= bad move. Pretty sure break-in methods and what oil to use are clearly outlined in Comp's instruction which you should have read. The goldish-bronze-ish metalflake oil is more than likely overheated steel shavings from the cam and lifters self-destructing. Driving around for a week knowing lash was not set correctly = another bad move.



Have someone pull the pan if you want to but those metalflakes have been run through every single orfice in the engine and your cam and crank bearings. Time for an engine teardown and cleaning.
 

Caman96

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If he can pick copper flakes out of the oil with his fingers, an oil analysis is just a waste of money.

I like the idea of the distributor gear... easy check and hopefully the problem.

The lower oil pressure may be an issue unless its idling lower than it was before because of the cam. As long as cruising RPM oil pressure is the same that may just be an idle speed issue.
OP wants to know “what and where” on metal in oil. An oil analysis would help him determine that. Whether he wants to spend $30 is his call.
 

Hipster

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If he can pick copper flakes out of the oil with his fingers, an oil analysis is just a waste of money.

I like the idea of the distributor gear... easy check and hopefully the problem.

The lower oil pressure may be an issue unless its idling lower than it was before because of the cam. As long as cruising RPM oil pressure is the same that may just be an idle speed issue.
Agree on the oil analysis. Irregardless a teardown in necessary. If you can pick the metal shavings up you should be able to find the damage visually.

I can't see Comp using a roller blank to grind a hft profile that calls for a melonized gear but the literature might state it. Maybe there was a problem with his distributor gear already that he missed. Helical cut gears can be funny. In a lot of applications it calls for them to be replaced in sets. That info might not be in FSM but most machinist's handbooks touch on it. Most times you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

From the wrong oil, to the valves too tight, to the overheating, everything about the break -in went wrong. Followed by continued driving. smh

No mention of a valve spring change to accommodate the fast rate cam or a check for coil bind, guide/retainer clearance, etc. All of which had been discussed with him by multiple people in multiple threads.

Not that hard to find a problem that you created.
 
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