This has been an ongoing issue with my '26 for the past year, triggered, it seemed, by the installation of a gear driven alternator, on an engine that had been professionally rebuilt, at great expense, 3 years earlier. The alternator gear mesh was poor and it made a racket for the short distance driven that afternoon.
I dumped the oil, since it was due anyway, just in case any gear fragments had rubbed off. I was horrified to see the glittering oil that came out of my crankcase... after a seven mile ride. I fully blamed it on the gear mesh and set about messing with gaskets and the timing cover, timing gear, etc. The mesh got good. Still, very metallic oil every time I dumped it... which became hourly. The metal dust in the oil is not magnetic. It's shiny.. either aluminum, brass or babbit.
Jump ahead a month and the Alternator is on the shelf. The generator is back on the car. Hourly oil changes continue. I'm driving the car less and less...Hate that.
Jump ahead 10 months and I decide that maybe the aluminum timing gear that was installed by the rebuilder got damaged by the alternator and is shredding against the crank gear and the generator gear. Oil analysis had not crossed my mind yet. A NOS iron timing gear appeared on Ebay and I snatched that up.
Out comes the radiator and off comes the timing cover to look at that gear. Yep, looks pretty beat up. While I'm in here, let's pull the valve cover and clean out any metal residue. Long story short... cam out, head off, saw badly scuffed piston walls, engine out, wrist pins are blue, bores honed by a machine shop, new Egge pistons, lapped valves, washed everything, shimmed the mains and rods to 1.5 thou, shimmed the mag ring .035, reassembled it all and put it back in the car.
Put the garden hose to it for cooling, three choke pulls, turn the key to battery, give it a quarter pull and she fires right up. Me and my buddy high-five! Purrs like a kitten.
She ran for 20 minutes and I dumped the oil. Shiny, but that's OK, it's just break-in mess. New oil. Run it for 45 minutes this time. Shiny again. Damn it. Run it for an hour next time. Dump the oil. It's as bad as it ever was. Six hours total run time now and six oil changes, including a diesel fuel flush after the fourth one.
She's parked in the back of the shed now as I await oil analysis from Blackstone Labs. I have a huge tour event coming up in 3 weeks at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and I've resigned myself to the fact that we'll take the A this year instead. I wont have time to pull the engine back out until mid October.
Everybody who has looked at the oil (now) felt that it is brass dust in the oil. The only things that I didn't do during this overhaul was to have the rods checked for straightness and I didn't tear the tranny down at all. Talk about regrets!
After all, the tranny was rebushed, magnets replaced, new spring, turbo 400 discs, new mag ring, etc. She has run about 7,000 miles in these 3 years, so I just left it alone and washed it out thoroughly. Huge mistake. I now feel that my trouble lies in amongst those whiring gears. I have never taken one of them apart. I need to just let the disappointment pass, the dust settle and tear into it again in the fall. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Dave, do you have a transmission screen with a magnet or a drain plug with a magnet? That will help determine what kind of metal you are seeing. Just a thought. Dave
Yep. The magnets are pretty clean, except for a little bit of the normal fuzzy black cast iron dust from the new rings seating in the bores. The tranny screen is also clean.
No help only a question,What wt and brand of oil are you using? Bud.
Sometimes you need to put two gaskets on the side of the block to bring it out. Personally, I would get rid of the alternator and put on the correct 6 volt generator.
Had the brass in the oil on a 25 I restored years ago. Not enough clearance on the triple gear bushing? Never knew but re-bushed them and got more clearance on the pins. This eliminated the problem
My engine has been making metal since the day I bought it, five years ago. _It sticks to the magnetic oil plug as a gritty paste of about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per year. _I used to worry about it, but so far, so good.
I'm running Rotella 15w-40. It's a diesel spec oil which I run in all of my heavy road tractors and cranes. I was out at the Henry Ford Greenfield Village last week and took a tour of their shop with a buddy of mine who works there. They run the same oil, of a different brand, in all of their model T fleet. He also told me that they test run all of their rebuilds on the stand for six hours before going through all the work of installing it in the car. Hindsight....
Hey Dave, is the problem with the touring's original engine or the one from "the shore" connection ?
Might it be just one of the compounds in the oil you are using? Try using just a standard off the shelf 10-30 or 10-40 oil, nothing fancy and see what you get.
I understand the worry. My engine seems to have a bit of condensation problem. I did all the checks and could not find a leak. So I live with it. After a good run it goes away anyway.
Hey, Bob. This issue is with the original engine and its not just a little metal. It's a lot. I'm really missing driving her.. Been down since May.
Dave, worst case scenario, was your engine vandalized by someone adding a anti-sieze compound paste in the oil ? That's the stuff I find the worst to clean up after, either on hands or clothing. I'm sure your results from the oil analysis will help answer the problem.
I'm really leaning toward a bushing problem as Warren mentioned. You would be amazed if you saw how much metal I'm talking about. I may take it out to Schwalm's and let him tear it down.
my first T I bought came with a rebuilt engine/trans in it, 2002, that the oil came out looking as if it was full of gold dust, worried about it just like you are now, having plenty of spare engines I decided to see what miles, time and plenty of oil changes would do. It took years to clear up and nothing seems to be worse for wear for it, still runs fine, fast and uses no oil, it was only a few weeks ago that I checked the big ends and the babbitt is still good and in checking the bands, all I could get to move in the trans was the triple gears floating on the pins some.
You can check yours to see if they are to tight through the the top of the hogs head easy enough.
If you think it's babbit it could be from the thrust bearing on the rear main. How do I know?