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  1. #1
    IDoSeaDoo's Avatar
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    Paper Towel sucked into Timing Cover

    Well, I've had a very disappointing weekend. Today I was supposed to launch my 4tec-converted 97 Challenger, but instead, I spent the time cleaning the garage, preparing for an engine tear down. I had partially rebuilt the motor 2 years ago, with a new chain, new valves, new Flywheel bolts, and rebuilt the SC (OEM parts of course). The motor sat for a while, and before I put it in, I decided to test compression. I had it lifted on an engine hoist and turned so that the supercharger hole was away from me. I tested compression in all three cylinders and pleased with the result decided to proceed with assembly. That's when I noticed the supercharger hole gaping open. Did I remember to pull the paper towel out? There were some wads laying around, but I had them stuffed in each hole of the motor. I brought out an inspection light and peered into the timing cover, but saw absolutely no trace of paper towel. No fibers, no shreds, NOTHING. I thought, well, if something did get sucked in, it HAD to have left some trace. Eh, it's probably okay. Besides, I didn't want to break the timing cover gasket, as there's no way I could have gotten another one quickly, and I was dying to take it out that weekend.

    So in went the motor.

    The first trouble started when I started adding oil. 3.5 quarts in, I couldn't see the level. I added another quart. 4.5 quarts, still nothing. So I decided to start the motor. It started just fine. Ran well, although the idle loped some. I checked the oil again and found it to be way high. So I brought out the oil sucktion pump and began removing excess oil. That's when I noticed small chunks of SOMETHING moving through the clear tubing. WTF? I poured the oil over a metal mesh and caught some of the pieces. It was F*$@#ng paper towel!!!! All ground to shreds and soaked in oil, but there it was. I knew my maiden voyage had been postponed by at least a week

    First thing I did was pull the oil filter. It was spotless. I mean, no sign of fibers anywhere. Strange. Then I pulled the valve cover. It had chunks all over it, and down in the head. So I pulled the motor out, which was extremely easy in a boat. I first pulled the scavenger pump, knowing that had a rubber, replaceable gasket. The screen was completely covered in oily shreds, totally blocked. But behind it was clean and clear. I didn't pull the actual pump off, as I don't want to rip that gasket just yet.

    Next I pulled the timing cover and found bits EVERYWHERE. I was still too disappointed to take any pictures, but it was nasty. It was on the chain, on the gears, and just everywhere. Then I pulled out the mesh screen for the primary oil pump. It was so blocked, there was 1/2" of pulp stuck to it all the way across. I know that since I have pulled pulp out of the dip stick that I have paper fibers in the crank chamber, so splitting the case is a definite.

    Here's where I have a question for you wise people:
    1. The engine ran for maybe 1 minute. 2 TOPS! I only barked the RPMs twice, and only for a split second. Despite this, I still found aluminum particles in the oil. Something has been getting eaten. I am thinking of replacing the bearings on the connecting rods and mains. Is there anything else it could have been? Does the cam have replaceable bearings?
    2. Can I get away with just buying the standard bearings, or do I have to buy the whole kit with all the different sizes
    3. Can I do all this without pulling off the head? I really don't want to buy a new head gasket and bolts
    5. I know I'm supposed to replace the connecting rod bolts, but can I reuse main case bolts? It doesn't say not to.

    I'm planning to reuse the ARP flywheel bolts. Any chance I can reuse the connecting rod bolts too? I believe they're oem. Is there a spec I can check them against?


  2. #2
    imp0ster's Avatar
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    Post ics of the aluminum particles. How big are they? If it was a normal paper towel and not a tough shop towel I'm not so sure I'd worry and can't see it causing your particles. Any sizable chunk will be caught in the screen until it breaks down then it will pass through the galleys and eventually into the oil filter. I had a moth the size of a small bat fly down into my engine and it never caused an issue. Got his ass liquefied.

  3. #3
    IDoSeaDoo's Avatar
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    Aluminum in the oil was an extremely fine powder. It was dissolved and just looked like silver particles evenly dispersed in the oil. It made little patterns as the oil was draining over the screen. They're were no chunks or anything

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  5. #4
    Moderator Snoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IDoSeaDoo View Post
    Here's where I have a question for you wise people:
    1. The engine ran for maybe 1 minute. 2 TOPS! I only barked the RPMs twice, and only for a split second. Despite this, I still found aluminum particles in the oil. Something has been getting eaten. I am thinking of replacing the bearings on the connecting rods and mains. Is there anything else it could have been? Does the cam have replaceable bearings?

    Cam shaft has no bearings....it rides in the casting of the head...
    2. Can I get away with just buying the standard bearings, or do I have to buy the whole kit with all the different size?
    Your going to want to measure all the journals and see if they are within spec.
    3. Can I do all this without pulling off the head? I really don't want to buy a new head gasket and bolts?
    NO!!!! If this were me I would be pulling everything apart..Im pretty sur this paper towel is/has gone through most of your oil galleys..Your going to want to clean out and inspect EVERY galley in that motor and head.
    5. I know I'm supposed to replace the connecting rod bolts, but can I reuse main case bolts? It doesn't say not to.
    Correct,you have to replace the rod bolts BUT the case bolts are NOT stretch bolts so you CAN reuse them

    I'm planning to reuse the ARP flywheel bolts. Any chance I can reuse the connecting rod bolts too? I believe they're oem. Is there a spec I can check them against?
    NOT advised to re use strtch bolts...even if they are within spec.....They are strtch bolts...I ALWAYS replace them....When it comes to tearign down the motor it is wise not to take any short cuts....this can lead to bigger problems in the future....If your splitting the cases,clean,inspect and replace everything.....Seeing you have silver dust in yor oil filter and chuncks too...you probably starved something of oil do to the paper towel and now have some serious damage..

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  7. #5
    IDoSeaDoo's Avatar
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    Aren't the galleys after the filter? I found absolutely 0 garbage in/on the filter. All was in the screens. Can I not blow through all the heads galleys from the top of the rocker seat?

  8. #6
    imp0ster's Avatar
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    It could be bearing material. A weak paper towel should be torn apart and pushed through but you never know. Any doubt tear it down.

  9. #7
    Eastside Powersports Slow 91's Avatar
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    I have seen this exact thing happen too many times, so your not alone. this is why I now use masking tape to tape off all open holes.

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  11. #8
    IDoSeaDoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow 91 View Post
    I have seen this exact thing happen too many times, so your not alone. this is why I now use masking tape to tape off all open holes.
    Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. I'll do that too from now on.

    My understanding of the oil system is such:
    Oil comes from the bottom of the motor and goes through the square screen into the main oil pump. From there it goes through the filter and then into all the galleys/oil nozzles/supercharger. When it returns, some of it goes into the scavenging pump where it again goes through a screen first and then goes to the main oil pump? In any case, the most important parts seem to be protected by the filter, so no garbage should ever have gotten in there.

    Hence, I've decided to hold off on the head gasket for now. I will try to blow all oil galleys down from the top of the head, as the only ones go up to lube the cam and rockers. I'll remove both of them and blow air down into the bottom.

    I'm betting I won't find any debris in there. I'm also going to replace all the bearings, just for the hell of it. I'm hoping the silver particles was from that and not from the cam journals in the head. I'll measure all the journals when I pull it apart, and plastigauge it to make sure the bearings are within spec.

  12. #9
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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  13. #10
    IDoSeaDoo's Avatar
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    Nice! I JUST saw this video in another thread, not even a minute before you posted Looks like I was right about the galleys being protected by the filter. I think I'm safe there. After reassembly, I will fill the motor with oil, run it for less than a minute to get all the junk flushed into the oil that I may have missed, then I'll suck it all out and put the oil through a screen to see how much junk comes out. If I find metal, I'll take that to be the residual particles left over from the first time. I'll pass the oil through a 1micron filter and refill the engine.

    I'll run it again for a minute and test the oil again. I expect to not find any particles then. I'll keep an eye on it for the next few outings.

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