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Black granules in my oil !!! Help!

I have just done my first oil change 400km after a rebuild (which included new bearings, valve guides and camshafts, but same pistons, rings and barrels and a K27...11.11...7200 turbo).

I drained the oil into three containers and as I was emptying them I noticed little black granules in the oil from the oil tank and the turbo tank. There must have been twenty or thirty of them altogether.
They are really hard and shatter into little pieces when hit with something hard.


My car usually does short trips (7 minutes) each day to work and back with a few longer runs ocassionally. Daytime temperatures in Perth for the last couple of months have been between 30 to 40*C (85 to 105*F) but the car doesn't run hot (just above half way on the temp gauge). I have also opened up the rear bumper and deleted the valance to keep temperatures a bit lower around the turbo. Gotta stick a pic of this cos I reckon it looks good.


I am using Shell Helix fully synthetic 5W-40 oil. There may be a few oil tragics out there who might be interested so here's the label.




I have heard of coking in turbos before, so I presume that's what I have here. My real concern is about having this stuff floating around my oil system. It definitely must pass through the scavenge pump to the oil tank; I just hope that's where it stays.
Is this a common problem in hot climates or is it more to do with the type of oil I am using?

And I guess the $64,000 question is - what should I be doing to avoid creating more of this? Change oil? Drive the Toyota to work?
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1988 Carrera - 3.6 engine (with ITBs, COPs, MS3X) and a whole set of turbo body panels waiting in the attic.
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:51 PM
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Bill,

You're right, your rear valence cuts look good. It lets other drivers also see the goods.

I think it's coking as well. This could have been happening for some time before your rebuild - or just started since. Glad you caught it.

The problem won't be that it collects in your oil tank, rather it will clog the cam spray bars or piston cooling oilers. Then you're looking at another rebuild.

From what I understand, coking doesn't usually occur from just driving to work. It happens after a quick shut down, in a super-hot turbo, that hasn't cooled down sufficiently. Oil just sits in them, boils and turns into the charcoal bits you're showing. it's not the ambient temperature that's the problem, or the temp of the oil overall; it's the oil in the housing that's getting killed.

If you're not already, you want to take 2-5 minutes to cool down before shutting off the key, especially if you've been on boost. More time needed if you raced to work. I track mine, so I take a cool down lap, then let it idle for ~5 minutes before shut down.

Others will chime in hopefully as I'm not familiar with the K27. It's just oil-lubed, right, no oil cooling? For my GT-series I use coolant to aid in keeping the turbos from baking the oil.

I'd suggest checking the oil drain lines from the turbo, to make sure you have good oil flow. Remove, blow them out, clean, etc. If they're too small or restrict the flow, it will allow the oil to just sit there and bakey bakey. Start the car with the return line disconnected to make sure it's returning oil at a healthy rate. That will also allow the turbo to purge the bigger pieces that may not have fit through the oil return line. Messy, but worth it!

I'd also suggest changing your oil like an obsessive compulsive maniac. After my rebuild, I used break in oil and changed it 3 times within the first hour or so of run time. It flushes out all the rebuild materials and allows parts to get to know each other. It's cheap compared to the alternative. In your case, you need to purge your system of all that crud; change oil and filter several times.

I don't know enough about your oil to comment. I use Brad Penn 20/50 Racing and have no issues.

Hope that helps.

Nice car BTW!
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:29 AM
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I would take an oil sample and send it and your chunks out for analysis. I would also cut the oil filter apart and have a look whats in there


Assuming that your entire oiling system (including front mounted cooler, lines, oil tank etc. ) were properly cleaned during your rebuild and it is not some residual material floating around from before or from the cleaning tank. And assuming that your doing a cool down before shutting down the motor after spirited use, I doubt that you would be experiencing coking from this oil. If I thought that I would be contacting Shell about it pronto. Were you or had you experienced any sines of coking previously?

Personally I follow the advice in Wayne's book and flush it all out several times Consecutively with a Dino based oil, changing oil filter each time. Wait till your engine is broken in to run a Synthetic oil.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:38 AM
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Try Aero Shell, it's ment for aircooled piston motors. Been using it in my Turbo for 9 years, never a problem. Surpasses automotive oils, aircraft standards are higher for oils.
Old 02-21-2009, 06:53 AM
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Yup, flush the oil system out with a few consecutive changes and (along with filter changes) until you don't find any trace of the contaminants.

Try switching to another oil - Shell Ultra Helix 5w40 is even worse than M1 0w40 IMHO and has no place in an aircooled engine. I will broaden the recommendation that basically any Porsche approved oil shouldn't be in your engine, especially a turbo! I'm not up on all the oils available in Europe, but you should be able to find Motul 300V, and their 15w50 would be an ideal choice, albeit expensive.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:16 AM
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Those particles do not look like they were IN the oil rather a contaminant from outside the oil system, perhaps from the side of he oil tank. Unless you cleaned the particles, they look dry and dirt invested.
Old 02-21-2009, 09:01 AM
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I also think that it looks like debris from the outside of the tank.

To lighten things up,

Why are you using an American dime in Perth, Australia? I thought your currency was much cooler when I was there. The coins and the plastic bills with the clear windows were pieces of art.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:56 AM
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Hello,
I originally come from the aircraft world, pistons and turbos specifically. You have a very nice example of coking, not cooling your turbo off before shutdown is the most likely culprit. Those bits come from the center section of your turbo and flow from the outgoing oil into your scavenge system then to the sump. If you are using a full flow oil filter that has not clogged and started to bypass the pressure side of your lubrication system is safe, if you are bypassing due to clogging and/or excessive oil pressure you are gonna have issues, those carbon chunks are hard, harder than dirt and work wonders on bearing materials, ie improving clearances! Check your upstream oiling areas(intake valve covers) for more debris, it will be silty(the worst) if there. If present, buy a 55 gallon of oil and flush your engine repeatedly, until the debris is removed. Replace your oil filter as soon as the oil starts to discolor and you might be able to get most of it out over time. The only long term prevention is turbo cooling time, I do not shut off my turbo vehicles(2) intil the egts show below 300F post turbo. Been operating the same turbo for more than 15 years in my truck. I have had A/C turbos last through 2 engine overhaul periods before needing an overhaul, but the A/C community is more fanatic in general about the turbo cool down period due to the insane costs of A/C parts.
Good luck
eric
Old 02-21-2009, 11:56 AM
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Keep in mind that any oil leaving the turbocharger is NOT filtered on its way back to the oil tank. And since oil is only filtered when the oil is returned from the engine through the oil filter, this is probably the problem. I noticed in your photo you have an aftermarket exhaust. Do you have aftermarket headers on your car as well? The factory turbo sump tank had a screen that caught larger pieces of coke before it went to the turbo's sump pump on its way back to the oil tank. The aftermarket turbo sump tanks do not have a screen.

It definitely looks like coking. I found similar bits in my clogged oil sprays bars when they failed. I highly recommend that you get an inline oil filter that you can put on the line between the turbo sump pump and main oil tank. I don't want to alarm you, but this is a somewhat serious problem. The tank and oil lines have to be completely drained and cleaned out somehow. For the contaminants (coked oil)already in the engine, I really don't have any good news for you there......... I would listen for a noisy valve train over the next several hundred miles. If the sprays bars clog, you are looking at dropping the engine and replacing the rocker arms, cams, spray bars and possibly valves and guides. Sorry.
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WERK-I View Post
Keep in mind that any oil leaving the turbocharger is NOT filtered on its way back to the oil tank. And since oil is only filtered when the oil is returned from the engine through the oil filter, this is probably the problem. I noticed in your photo you have an aftermarket exhaust. Do you have aftermarket headers on your car as well? The factory turbo sump tank had a screen that caught larger pieces of coke before it went to the turbo's sump pump on its way back to the oil tank. The aftermarket turbo sump tanks do not have a screen.

It definitely looks like coking. I found similar bits in my clogged oil sprays bars when they failed. I highly recommend that you get an inline oil filter that you can put on the line between the turbo sump pump and main oil tank. I don't want to alarm you, but this is a somewhat serious problem. The tank and oil lines have to be completely drained and cleaned out somehow. For the contaminants (coked oil)already in the engine, I really don't have any good news for you there......... I would listen for a noisy valve train over the next several hundred miles. If the sprays bars clog, you are looking at dropping the engine and replacing the rocker arms, cams, spray bars and possibly valves and guides. Sorry.

+1

If that particulate came from you oil you're going to want to take every precaution you can at this point to prevent clogged spray bars. You should install a stainless mesh type screen filter for a dry sump system in the manner Dave described. Peterson sells them cheap, and they're cleaneble/rebuildable as well and with the proper AN fittings would take no time at all to install and prevent further particulate intrusion into the motor.

http://www.petersonfluidsys.com/filter_oil.html
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:25 PM
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Oh ***** Just what I wanted to read on a Sunday morning!

Thanks for all your inputs.
A couple of responses ...

Glenn: I haven't noticed this problem before rebuild. The rebuild included a complete dismantling and cleaning of everything and I never found any sign of coke anywhere, so it has started up only recently. The only significant change in this area was the replacement of the old 3LDZ turbo with a newer model K27.
Checking the flow rate through the drain lines is now on my list of things to do.

Paul: I do avoid using power for a minute or two before shut-down and usually try and idle for a minute or so as well. I guess I need to be more vigilant on this.

Charles: Perth isn't in Europe . I also feel that the oil is a large part of the problem because I know I don't shut down when the turbo is seriously hot.

Fleiger: I wondered if anyone would pick up on the dime. I found it under the rear seat cushions. I originally bought the car from the states a couple of years ago.
I think the consensus here is that this stuff is from coking in the turbo. Believe me, there's no way it got in from outside.

Eric: I'll check valve covers for silt as you suggest (with my fingers well and truly crossed). I hear what you say about turbo cooling time. Fushing 55 gallons! Still, I guess 55 gallons of oil is cheaper than another rebuild. I presume the concept of peak oil hasn't reached your shores yet.

Dave: I have standard headers and standard turbo sump tank, although it is without the screen filter. I recall reading a thread last year about these tanks and their gauze filter. Apparently some have them and some don't - I don't unfortunately.
The in-line filter sounds like good insurance. I will definitely look into this.

Regards,
Bill
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1988 Carrera - 3.6 engine (with ITBs, COPs, MS3X) and a whole set of turbo body panels waiting in the attic.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:16 PM
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More than likely leftover crud from the rebuild -
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:52 PM
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Sorry, must have missed that.

My wife would kill me if she saw that - her family is from Melbourne.

Idea still goes, I don't know what oils are available easily (motul 300v probably isn't an easy one to find for sure then!)
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:55 PM
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In-line filter

I've just crawled around under car to find best place for an in-line filter.
To fit it in the line from the scavenge pump to the oil tank, I reckon I'd have to drop the engine a bit, so I could it but I really don't want to do that if I can avoid it.
The best location, and easiest to get to for maintenance, would be fit the filter between the end of the hose and the tank. Hopefully, I can buy the correct sized fittings to do a bolt-on without modifying anything.

Can anyone tell me what is the fitting size for this tank connection?


As far as turbo cooling is concerned, to get more air through the area around the turbo, I have removed the rubber seal between top of bumper and the body. This gives about half inch gap all accross the back of the car as well as the holes in the bumper. This isn't really noticeable unless you are looking for it.
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1988 Carrera - 3.6 engine (with ITBs, COPs, MS3X) and a whole set of turbo body panels waiting in the attic.
Day job ... www.sspowdercoat.com.au
Memories: '68 912, '72 911T, '80 911SC, '84 911, '85 930, '86 930, '87 911
Old 02-21-2009, 06:02 PM
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Which oil?

Any aussies on board who might some insight here?
I know we have different oils available here in Oz.
John (JL), what oil do you use? Helmsey?
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1988 Carrera - 3.6 engine (with ITBs, COPs, MS3X) and a whole set of turbo body panels waiting in the attic.
Day job ... www.sspowdercoat.com.au
Memories: '68 912, '72 911T, '80 911SC, '84 911, '85 930, '86 930, '87 911
Old 02-21-2009, 06:20 PM
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Forgive me,, but that is one bad ass looking 930 tail section!
Old 02-21-2009, 10:39 PM
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Hi Bill,
Sorry I dont have much to help with. I run motorcycle mobile 1 on both the track car, with changes after every weekend (4 hours running?) and on the street/rally car.

I change very often and have enjoyed excellent results however they are unscientific. I tend to rebuild engines every 30K for upgrade and experimentation purposes. No lab or longevity results.

I have seen those bits before in a naturally aspirated motor from singapore. It had burnt exhaust valves and that stuff was all over the inside of the cam sprayer bars.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:52 PM
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I used to use Shell Helix Ultra too and have never had any issues with it.

I will check with my mechanic next time I speak with him and ask him what they used last service (recent service). I am looking to drain my engine whilst I do some upgrades so I too would like to know the best available oil (in AUS) for us turbocharged aircooled folk.

I would presume that if the oil wasn't flowing through the turbo and lines it might also cause coking. Seems odd that this has happend since you changed the turbo but it may just be a coincidence.

Best of luck and I will definately be checking thoroughly when I next drain my engine.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:04 AM
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I cut my oil filter in half to see what was in there. Keep in mind that this engine was absolutely spotless inside when it was assembled. Even the turbo was stripped and thoroughly cleaned. There is no way this stuff came from anywhere other than the turbo.

As you can see, the filter was full of little bits of coke in every fold.
There was also a reasonable amount of soft tar-like lumps in there. I guess these lumps hadn't got hot enough to go rock hard before they were washed out of the turbo.

I haven't yet checked the oil lines for restrictions - maybe one night this week.

I will raise this problem with Shell to see what they say.





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1988 Carrera - 3.6 engine (with ITBs, COPs, MS3X) and a whole set of turbo body panels waiting in the attic.
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:41 AM
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If you can get the Mobil 1 V-Twin 20w50 there, I'd go with that. It's a great oil and really, you should be running something thicker than a 5w40 with all that heat :-)

Hopefully the carbon was limited to the oil filter!
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:07 AM
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