Metal pieces in Oil Pan

Amab145

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Well, dropped my oil pan this morning to replace a pan gasket with a very minor leak and found these pieces inside the bottom of the pan. Car has been running fine, no loss of oil, pressure or miss that is noticeable whatsoever. Any ideas on what these can be from? Maybe part of a lifter?

Kind of shocked to find this to be honest.
 

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Well that is shocking. Do you know history of the motor…has anyone been in there? Could this be leftover from an old “repair”. Otherwise…they look important. Somebody will know what those are from. Sorry I feel your pain.
 
I had it built brand new several years ago. Not a used part in it. Was running fine when parked. Looking up from the bottom, from what I can tell is it looks like the bodies of several of the roller lifters cracked around the roller. All the valve lash is good, but it looks like several lifters have pieces broken away at the very bottom
 
Well, here’s an update. 11 out of 12 lifters have broken bodies. What’s strange is each body is broken on the side that is closest to the cam. Any thoughts?
 

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Looks like the cam hit the bottom of the lifter to me, on the leading and training edges. How do the lifter bores look?
 
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Check the end play on the cam.
What do the cam lobes look like?
Whose lifters? T/A doesn't make them.
Check the wheels for slack in the bushing.
Did you have to do repeated lash adjustments when new?
The wheel can still roll, even with the roller axle worn out.
That is until the lifter body hits the cam.....
 
Lifter bores look fine and when I orientate the lifters on the bench as if they are installed in the car, each break is on the trailing side of the lifter, but the leading edge does have some stuffing on each as well.

Cam lobes look pretty dang good considering. I don’t see any deep grooving or flat spots. Very minor scuffing but when trying to drag a tiny pick gently across the surface, nothing catches or seems abrasive.

Not positive on the brand lifter but it’s a Comp cam so if I was a betting man, I’d say they are comps as well. The short block was built and assembled by Zimmerman’s about 10yrs ago. There is absolutely nothing written on the lifters whatsoever so I can’t tell.

I’d check lash about twice a summer and was always within .002-.004 one way or the other when checking. Honestly, the only way I found this issue was because I went to change a slightly leaky oil pan gasket this morning. It could have been like this for years and I had no idea.
 
May or may not be of value....
The block may have the notorious lifter bore alignment issue.
The bores are off location ft to back, side to side, and off on the angle vs vertical to the c/l of the cam.
Did Zimmerman dyno the engine?
This failure may have occurred at start up. Being you've driven it for 10 yrs and it's still running, says it may have been fubar from the git go.
AIRC, when Jim Ruggles did my 109, he used a fixture similar to this.
At 1 time I had a McGuyver designed tool.
It was a dummy lifter that extended well above the bore. I used a digital level to check to see if the bore was skewed off location. The level had an "alt zero" feature.
Long gone... Along with a multitude of other tools I've loaned out.:rolleyes:
Another quik check:
Being the lifters are all broken only on 1 side, use a set and put them in backwards. Rotate the engine.. What do you see?
 
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Sorry for the delay here fellas, been traveling non-stop for work the last few weeks. Only one lifter wasn't broken and both sides of the lifter body on the base of that particular lifter had some visible marks from contact with the cam lobe. I contacted Mike at TA who's been a big help, he contacted the MFG of the lifter and I sent them out to them early last week to have them put their eyes on them. Haven't heard back from them yet.

As chuck stated above, Mike feels this happened at or near startup and has been like this for some time as well. Zimmerman built the engine but did not dyno it. It came to me new and completely dry. Most surprising thing to me here is I've been able to physically put my finger on each cam lobe through the holes in the lifter valley and the cam seems fine. No flat spots or anything ground down, don't ask me how I got lucky... More to come when I hear from the Mfg.
 
This makes me wonder: How did the engine get assembled and not rotated, once the rockers were bolted down?
A solid or hyd, the engine would have to have been rotated in order to set either the lash or the preload.
In any case, I'd give the cam a REALLY close inspection, a light polish and reuse it.
I'd have a shop check the lifter bore locations, or at least McGuyver a check.
 
Sorry for the delay here fellas, been traveling non-stop for work the last few weeks. Only one lifter wasn't broken and both sides of the lifter body on the base of that particular lifter had some visible marks from contact with the cam lobe. I contacted Mike at TA who's been a big help, he contacted the MFG of the lifter and I sent them out to them early last week to have them put their eyes on them. Haven't heard back from them yet.

As chuck stated above, Mike feels this happened at or near startup and has been like this for some time as well. Zimmerman built the engine but did not dyno it. It came to me new and completely dry. Most surprising thing to me here is I've been able to physically put my finger on each cam lobe through the holes in the lifter valley and the cam seems fine. No flat spots or anything ground down, don't ask me how I got lucky... More to come when I hear from the Mfg.
Builder did not prime the engine?
Did I read that right?
 
I assume the steep ramp of your cam allowed it to hit the body of the lifter. Maybe on a less aggressive cam, the lifter roller protrudes enough so that the lifter body does not make contact. Some lifter bodies are relieved front and back, and some are flat all the way around. Assuming in this instance there is interference based on the witness marks, I could still see rotating the engine by hand, and never noticing cam to lifter contact.
 
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