Metal in oil

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by alex911, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. alex911

    alex911 Member

    Hi all,

    Love your site! I've been reading posts for the last couple of months or so trying to find a place to start on my bike. I picked it up in Vegas and rode it home to Atlanta in March ((Edit) of a trip on I-40!!!). I had to leave it set without any service through the summer. When I started 2 months ago it hammered like there was something trying to get out. I didn't know what wet sumping was back then. I shut it down, took the plugs out and kicked it over until I got pressure back to the top end. I started it and flushed out the old oil then shut it back down. It starts and runs fine but there's flakey shiny metal in the oil now so I haven't turned it over until I can figure out what to do next.

    It's an '03 flstci with a thunderheader full exhaust and SE filter, so just a stage 1. 14k when I got it 16k on the odometer now. The guy I bought it from took great care of it and had the dealership do all of the maintenance.

    I'm going to upgrade the cam plate etc.. and do the cams at the same time. Oh, and I bought the dobeck 3, but I haven't put it on yet. I turn my own wrenches so I'm comfortable doing the work myself.

    Where should I start with the metal in the oil issue??? I'd hate to tear it down and do the cams only to find out the heads need to be redone. And if the heads have to come off, I might as well up it to 95".... wellll, you know how it goes...I'd be satisfied with the cam upgrade for now.


    Please Click the below link and read this...
    HDTalking Language Policy - Harley Davidson Community

    Ouch, I'll change it to "it was a HECK of a ride on I-40"...
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    No way to sugar coat it... JUST My Honest Opinion.....

    IF the shinny pieces of metal were long little slivers on the magnet?

    That tells me the hard surface is peeling off the crank pin...

    My 00 FXDS was that way at 18,000 miles...
    Bought a new stock crank and rod assembly and installed it... New bore and all new bearings in the cam chest...

    NOW,,,,It may be something else but IF SLIVERS of shinny metal............:small3d023:

    I would drain the oil and install new filter.

    Some suggest to cut open the oil filter and have a look there also.

    I'd run it IF not making Noise of a rod going out. It starts out really quiet and ticks...By time it gets Bad enough to really hear, the upper end of the motor will be scored at the piston and rings...

    Hey Wait here........

    18,000 miles?

    03? It might be a shoe on the cam chain that is Totaled... That also would give Metal like you described... Exhaust off or loosened enough to remove the cam cover (just a cover) and have a look...

    Hopefully it is not the crank.

    I would not run the motor Until you find out what it is.

    :small3d023: We are very fussy about our words as you see. Makes for a family setting...

    I find even on Other forums I belong, I use good language even where some is permitted...:rofl


  3. alex911

    alex911 Member

    Thanks Bubbie! I'm so persnickety that actually makes me feel better! Nice riding around Huachuca. Phoenix for 15 years and still my favorite state. Heh, got caught in Flag during that freezing week last spring. The one when they closed down I-40. Brrrrr.

    Metal flakes are more grain of rice proportioned than splinters (smaller though). Rode it real hard and put it up wet. Couldn't help it. Nothing on the magnet, just in the oil. I shut it down before too much damage.

    Not much in the filter either, but only had it running only a few minutes. The cam change will take care of what you said. I change out what I can when I have stuff apart, bearings etc...

    It sounds great so a few miles to let the filter catch the bits then on to a cam change? I'm up with that.

    Hah! blanked out the crank part of it....any way to check on that befor the cams?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Checking on the cam chain tensioners as Bubbie recommended is actually the easiest option. Just remove the nose cone on the right side. This is only a cover on your bike. No bearings or bushings. So once you have access to all the fasteners, then it is a piece of cake to pop it loose and check the conditioner of the cam chain tensioner shoes. If more than 50% worn, replace or upgrade. Getting to the rear is a bit of a challenge, but doable with a small dental mirror and a pin light.

    Good luck.

  5. propflux01

    propflux01 Active Member

    Cam Bearing failure?

    Looks like only way your gonna get to the core is to pull the cam cover and have a lookey.

    Cam chain tensioners could be the issue as well, if they have failed through to the metal.

    Pull the cover and let us know what you find.
  6. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    The metal in my oil was rod bearing failure do to crank run out, hope yours is not catastrophic failure like mine. ESP covered a Reman for mine, good luck and check that crank run out
  7. tourbox

    tourbox Senior Member

    With no metal on the drain magnet do you think it might be aluminum? Did you check what was in the filter with a magnet? Aluminum particles is another can of worms.
  8. alex911

    alex911 Member

    Thanks for the quick replies, I'll get back this weekend with the results. Just checked the bits with a magnet and it's not aluminum.
  9. brownfoxx1

    brownfoxx1 Active Member

    after you find the fix, make sure you clean/flush the oil pan.also you might go to & buy their drain plugs. i have them & they can pick up a 11/16 OE wrench. the OEM plug magnet isn't very good. Good luck
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2014
  10. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    JMHO but I would go to the Blackstone website and request one of their collection kits, which they provide at no cost, catch a sample of oil and send it back for testing.

    You won't want to hear what comes next and may choose to ignore but the only way you remove all the metal is to pull the motor and oil tank; anywhere that oil remains in the motor, i.e., lines, passages, piston jets, lifter galley, etc., etc., metal remains as well. The motor needs to be completely disassembled, cases split to insure all the metal has been removed. This will also allow a thorough inspection of the crank, wheels and bearings as well as the balancer assembly. If metal is traveling in the oil, the crank bearings have probably already seen some damage.:(

    You will hear that you can flush the motor with diesel fuel and feel free to try that but be advised that if any metal is left floating around in the motor, you will very likely be tearing it down a second time and tearing it down all the way. It's a crap shoot; your ride and you decide but you pays yo money and you takes yo chances!:D