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      07-07-2018, 03:57 PM   #1
bgp001
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Metal flakes in the filter

HI everyone,

This forum is a great source of everything related to E9X M3 platform and I appreciate all the information that is out there.
I've been a long-time reader and was always able to find an answer to my questions. This time, however, I can use some help.

During my last two oil changes I have noticed some particles/flakes in the oil filter. The most recent one really got me concerned. I've noticed (what I think is) valve cover paint, some metallic non-magnetic shavings and metallic, magnetic metal flakes.

To address the elephant in the room - I was planning to do the rod bearings this winter. But
am now debating if I should get this done asap.

The car:
- 2011 E90
- 38K miles
- 2nd owner (since 28K miles)
- no mods that I'm aware of
- oil changes every 3-4K miles (due to track time and age).
- Summer car, around 5K miles a year
- 5-6 track days a year
- last oil was used for 3K miles (used for 1 year, 4 track days)

The question now is whether I need to do a rod bearing job asap or if I should prepare for a large bill (main bearings... ? )

deansbimmer ///M Power-Belgium SYT_Shadow
I'd appreciate if you can share your thoughts on how bad this is or if I'm over-thinking this...

Scharbag
I remember you had experienced something similar. Did replacing rod bearings help with the particles in the filter?

Here's some pictures of the oil filter:

Overview:



Paint? Some pieces are quite sizeable





Metal shavings (non-magnetic)





Metal flakes (magnetic). Magnet is inside the glove



Last edited by bgp001; 07-07-2018 at 04:56 PM.. Reason: updated one picture
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      07-07-2018, 04:06 PM   #2
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Holy smokes, you aren't kidding. The end is near.
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      07-07-2018, 04:24 PM   #3
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My car had similar metal specs in the filter and in the oil filter cap and when I replaced The rod bearings it has been clean since then. If youíre getting metal in the oil itís likely coming from one source.
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      07-07-2018, 05:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amrazM View Post
My car had similar metal specs in the filter and in the oil filter cap and when I replaced The rod bearings it has been clean since then. If youíre getting metal in the oil itís likely coming from one source.
Thanks! That's somewhat reassuring. Hope it's not as bad as I think...
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      07-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by roastbeef View Post
Holy smokes, you aren't kidding. The end is near.
lol, not sure if the sarcasm tags were missed
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      07-07-2018, 06:23 PM   #6
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Yeah . It can happen that we catch some small debris in the oil filter . But I never saw paint flakes in the oil filter .
*If* these are paint flakes , they probably come from under your oil cap . Perhaps from the moment when you tighten your oil cap .
I saw pics on here from valve covers and sometimes the paint crumbles . The situation looks like bubbles under the valve cover paint .

As for your non-magnetic picture . This can be lead , because lead is not magnetic .

Your last picture worries me the most . Because it's shiny and yellow and makes me think on copper shavings .

Advice :

1- If you still have the oil from your oil change , I would send an oil sample to Blackstone .
2- Meanwhile I wouldn't drive the car to avoid further damage, seen as a precaution.Don't drive the car !
3- If a bearing replacement is necessary , I would replace them ASAP .
4- Main bearings ? That's hard to tell , because infrequent . I saw them only a few times on here . With your 38K on it , the chance is very small .
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      07-07-2018, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgp001 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by roastbeef View Post
Holy smokes, you aren't kidding. The end is near.
lol, not sure if the sarcasm tags were missed
No sarcasm needed. Change before it's too late.
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      07-07-2018, 07:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for your insight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power-Belgium View Post
Yeah . It can happen that we catch some small debris in the oil filter . But I never saw paint flakes in the oil filter .
*If* these are paint flakes , they probably come from under your oil cap . Perhaps from the moment when you tighten your oil cap .
I saw pics on here from valve covers and sometimes the paint crumbles . The situation looks like bubbles under the valve cover paint .
I've seen pictures on this forum of the oil filler part of the valve cover with bubbled paint. Mine looks intact, pretty much like new. So my assumption was that paint is bubbling somewhere else (the entire valve cover is painted on the inside, if I'm not mistaken).



Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power-Belgium View Post
As for your non-magnetic picture . This can be lead , because lead is not magnetic .

Your last picture worries me the most . Because it's shiny and yellow and makes me think on copper shavings .
The pictures are a bit misleading - magnetic flakes were silver in colour. I believe I've got newer bearings (it's 2011), not a lead-copper design.
Do you think it'll still make sense to do an oil analysis?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power-Belgium View Post
Advice :

1- If you still have the oil from your oil change , I would send an oil sample to Blackstone .
2- Meanwhile I wouldn't drive the car to avoid further damage, seen as a precaution.Don't drive the car !
3- If a bearing replacement is necessary , I would replace them ASAP .
4- Main bearings ? That's hard to tell , because infrequent . I saw them only a few times on here . With your 38K on it , the chance is very small .
Car is definitely parked until I decide what to do with it
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      07-07-2018, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgp001 View Post
Thanks for your insight!



I've seen pictures on this forum of the oil filler part of the valve cover with bubbled paint. Mine looks intact, pretty much like new. So my assumption was that paint is bubbling somewhere else (the entire valve cover is painted on the inside, if I'm not mistaken).





The pictures are a bit misleading - magnetic flakes were silver in colour. I believe I've got newer bearings (it's 2011), not a lead-copper design.
Do you think it'll still make sense to do an oil analysis?




Car is definitely parked until I decide what to do with it
Indeed .The S65 had the aluminum bearings in 2011 . But aluminum is not magnetic.

If you still have the oil from your oil change .In your situation, I would absolutely send an oil sample to Blackstone .
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      07-07-2018, 11:04 PM   #10
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So I did a bit more digging into my filter...
Turns out most of the metal flakes are indeed magnetic. They were just embedded into the pleats and magnet couldn't pick them up.
Pretty much every pleat has some amount of metal shavings.

Here's are few better pictures:

The largest pieces that I found


This in particular makes me very sad


Magnet


Paint (it breaks quite easily)
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      07-08-2018, 12:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power-Belgium View Post
Indeed .The S65 had the aluminum bearings in 2011 . But aluminum is not magnetic.

If you still have the oil from your oil change .In your situation, I would absolutely send an oil sample to Blackstone .
Main bearings made from aluminum too?
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      07-08-2018, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRussski View Post
Main bearings made from aluminum too?
I don't think so, I thought they were forged steel alloy. Below is commentary regarding the S54 engine but I think this likely applies for the S65 as well.

".........To understand why the rod bearing fails on this engine you first have to understand how the bearings on the crankshaft work. The bearing is a wearable surface, i.e. softer than the material of the crankshaft and the rod itself which are both, typically 4340 steel, one of the hardest/strongest steels available."

Doesn't look good for the OP.

https://www.langracing.com/finding-a...aring-failure/
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      07-08-2018, 08:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimiraikkonen View Post
I don't think so, I thought they were forged steel alloy. Below is commentary regarding the S54 engine but I think this likely applies for the S65 as well.

".........To understand why the rod bearing fails on this engine you first have to understand how the bearings on the crankshaft work. The bearing is a wearable surface, i.e. softer than the material of the crankshaft and the rod itself which are both, typically 4340 steel, one of the hardest/strongest steels available."

Doesn't look good for the OP.

https://www.langracing.com/finding-a...aring-failure/
If your rod bearings are aluminum/tin, then your main bearings should be aluminum/tin. The crankshaft is forged steel.
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      07-08-2018, 09:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgp001 View Post
So I did a bit more digging into my filter...
Turns out most of the metal flakes are indeed magnetic. They were just embedded into the pleats and magnet couldn't pick them up.
Pretty much every pleat has some amount of metal shavings.

Here's are few better pictures:

The largest pieces that I found


This in particular makes me very sad


Magnet



Paint (it breaks quite easily)
Bro is this anal beads
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      07-08-2018, 10:36 AM   #15
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Bro is this anal beads
I also wanted to say this but forgot
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      07-08-2018, 11:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRussski View Post
Main bearings made from aluminum too?
Mains are the same material as the rod bearings .
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      07-08-2018, 06:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartledoo View Post
I also wanted to say this but forgot
Stainless steel beads are the best
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      07-08-2018, 06:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M Power-Belgium View Post
Indeed .The S65 had the aluminum bearings in 2011 . But aluminum is not magnetic.

If you still have the oil from your oil change .In your situation, I would absolutely send an oil sample to Blackstone .
Ordered Blackstone kit and put aside 1 quart of oil for a test!

Quick update:
Today I strained the oil through a paint strainer. Didn't find anything too alarming, just a few metal specks (magnetic), much smaller than the ones in pictures.
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      07-08-2018, 07:38 PM   #19
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Another member that refuses to acknowledge what he seeing. Dude that's chunks of rod bearing. You can do all the oil test you want it won't make a difference. You might have dodged a bullit. Get the bearings replaced.
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      07-08-2018, 07:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dre View Post
Another member that refuses to acknowledge what he seeing. Dude that's chunks of rod bearing. You can do all the oil test you want it won't make a difference. You might have dodged a bullit. Get the bearings replaced.
If they are all magnetic, then the chunks must be from something else though (I'm assuming the steel backing of the bearing can't be exposed or chipped away without preventing engine running).

Last edited by Bartledoo; 07-09-2018 at 09:43 AM..
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      07-08-2018, 07:51 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgp001 View Post
Ordered Blackstone kit and put aside 1 quart of oil for a test!

Quick update:
Today I strained the oil through a paint strainer. Didn't find anything too alarming, just a few metal specks (magnetic), much smaller than the ones in pictures.
OK Let us/me know ...
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      07-09-2018, 02:13 AM   #22
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Don't wait for it, just do it.

I am also scheduled to do RB in August.
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