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Carbon Granules in Oil Tank

So I guess on saturday I'll be reenacting the Exxon Valdez accident, or maybe the cleanup.

Car is 1979 930 which is normally my daily driver rain or shine.

Took the brown beauty to its first track day last weekend, 4 sessions of 30 minutes, 90 minutes apart. I had a fine time with other novices. New tires were great: RE11A.

Hottest that engine temp gauge showed was half way between middle and red. After each session I cooled down car with light lap and then idled for a few minutes before shutting down. Engine used no significant oil during day though there were some droplets stuck under the rear spoiler. Car drove great the whole day, engine sounded great.

Oil was VR1 20w50. Arriving home I changed the oil right away - seemed like the right thing to do, end of summer and all.

Sump oil was clean, turbo sump is clean but oil from oil tank was full of little black granules. Most are the size of a piece of sand but some are quite large, say 3.5mm on longest edge. The large ones can be easily crushed with thumbnail while others are hard as rock (can still be crushed into soot with a screwdriver).

I swept the sump with finger, no granules. Swept the turbo sump with a q-tip and found nothing. Sweeping oil tank with finger there's a ton of this sandy feeling stuff in there.

Spend the week reading and learning, and worrying, and not sleeping well. Really the best and only resource for my issue seems to be this thread:

Clogged Spray Bar autopsy

What I don't understand yet is where the granules came from. Obvious place would be coking from turbo, but confused that there are no grains in the turbo sump. Could it be carbon knocked loose from pistons? (I normally drive like an old lady and have lots of snot in my oil tank fillup during the rainy fall.) What are the unfiltered paths into the oil tank? Is it just the turbo sump? Could these grains grow in the oil tank? I might find that my filter is torn because there's no way these grains came through an intact filter.

I've ordered a filter cutter, will be arriving tonight, will let me see what sort of stuff has flowed through my engine. I can cross my fingers and hope there is nothing but. At this point checking filter just for piece of mind, I hope I don't find any metal. If I find more than trace metal then I'm going to be sad.

Below are the stages and order I'm considering but I would really appreciate feedback.

Prior to turning over the engine - since I don't want to push any more dirty oil into the engine from the tank:
1) Buy a bunch of cheap oil to use for flushing and cleaning the oiling system - and a pallet of shop towels.
2) Open sump cover and feel around inside for any grains. Use undercoating gun/wand to hose off inside of engine with oil.
3) Using undercoating gun/wand and my cheap oil I'm going to wash all that nasty out of the oil tank. It'll drip back out the drain and I'll filter it and repeat until what comes out is clean.
4) How to flush out the coolant lines (spray oil in there?)
5) Is there more stuff to clean, or orifices?

After above is clean:

6) Flush out cam spray bars as described by JFairman in this post from above thread:

Clogged Spray Bar autopsy

Until clean:
a) Remove rocker covers, use a mirror to try to eyeball the cam spray holes and maybe try and clear them out with a pin.
b) Undo the cam drain plugs at the front of the engine, tubing to container under car, fuel relays out, and turn engine over for 4-5 seconds, see what sort of nasty I get out.

Start car and drive:

7) Lots of filter checks, still dirty means oil change?

8) Install inline filter between turbo sump and oil tank!

Questions:
What is the best way to flush the oil line to the front passenger wheelwell (fragile threads, etc.)
What do I need to remove to get access for step 6?

Thanks ahead for advice.

Old 10-16-2014, 02:05 PM
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Filter was intact. Opened it and its much cleaner than the oil from the oil tank. Still lots of stuff in there and worse than I remember seeing before.

There are two sorts of granule: Theres bits of black carbon, some soft, some hard. There are also these smooth clear whitish things that can be squished in the fingers. Some sort of mineral? Lots of the white things in the oil tank, only a very few in the filter.

Here is the residue in my pan:



And here is the worst filter pleat (dime for scale):

Old 10-16-2014, 08:23 PM
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As you have noted, those are definitely coke particles from oil cooking in the bearing cartridge.

As far as how there is none in the turbo drip tank but much in the oil tank and filter - I would image this is due to the high rate of flow through the turbo and drip tank versus the very low (by comparison) rate of flow through the oil tank.

I don't know of any way that you could successfully clean the system without fully dismantling the engine and oiling system, but that likely sounding horrible to you, maybe the flush routine that you described would work out okay. I would really be torn as what to do if I found that much coke in the system . . .

Is the oil you mentioned full synthetic? I ask, because if it is not, you will probably want to use a full synthetic oil in the future since they have much higher flashpoints than dino oils. If it is full synthetic, then you should probably choose a brand with a higher flashpoint.
Old 10-16-2014, 08:56 PM
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Oil was vr1 conventional 20w50, the stuff was on sale at AutoZone several years ago. Listed flash point is 390. This fill was the last of it, now moving to mobile 1 which has flashpoint of 446f.

I'm guessing I just didn't idle for long enough.

Suppose I'd had an inline filter... wouldn't it have been overwhelmed by the amount of crap in the oil? To protect against this sort of badness, maybe would need a real full size filter inline.
Old 10-16-2014, 09:52 PM
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I had an inline filter installed after the turbo a couple of months back to prevent this from happening. I'll cut the filters open after the next oil change to see if there is anything in them. I was told Porsche started to install a filter after the turbo in 1986.

Hope you get the system cleaned out and no lasting damage.
Old 10-17-2014, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 930 ZZZ View Post
I had an in-line filter installed after the turbo a couple of months back to prevent this from happening. I'll cut the filters open after the next oil change to see if there is anything in them. I was told Porsche started to install a filter after the turbo in 1986.

Hope you get the system cleaned out and no lasting damage.
the stock turbo sump in mine had a very fine screen in it. None of the aftermarket ones do.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:24 PM
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I have this spin on paterson oil filter with cleanable 35 micron filter up in the right rear wheel well filtering the oil from the scavenge pump before it dumps into the oil tank.



It's mounted in the factory bracket that used to have this charcoal canister in it.



It's pretty much the same diameter so it fit there good.
Old 10-17-2014, 03:02 PM
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Given you tracked the car for the first time and given the PO of your car likely used dino oil for years, is it any surprise that carbon buildup got broken loose.? Nothing like an Italian tune up to break $#!t loose!

Am I correct in guessing that the car actually runs better now?
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenikh View Post
Given you tracked the car for the first time and given the PO of your car likely used dino oil for years, is it any surprise that carbon buildup got broken loose.? Nothing like an Italian tune up to break $#!t loose!

Am I correct in guessing that the car actually runs better now?
Carbon buildup from where got broken loose and deposited in the oil (not trying to be a smartass - don't understand what you mean)?
Old 10-18-2014, 07:44 AM
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If from the valves, likely wouldn't end up in the oil, so that's out. Likely from the pistons/rings and/or turbo.

I like the idea of an inline filter after the turbo. Reminds me of the "failsafe" systems some guys run, by using a 993 oil filter console on earlier motors. This ensures that if your motor eats itself, you don't have to spend the extra time cleaning the ENTIRE oil system...just the engine.

IIRC, Eric's motor hasn't ever been apart - or at least in a VERY long time. Wouldn't be shocking that there's carbon build up somewhere in the system.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:49 AM
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It would be good to remove the oil tank and clean it out.
I've done that by plugging the hose connections and pour in some clean mineral spirits. Then shake it all around for a while as hard as you can to loosen up the junk and mix the residual oil thats still in it with the mineral spirits. You could use gasoline too but you're going to get some on your hands, etc, and it's worse for your health than mineral spirits.
Then quickly pour it out. Repeat the process pouring it out into a clean bucket until it's clean and you don't see any more grit in it.

After all that I like to put some water and TIDE detergent into the oil tank and repeat the shaking and then put a garden hose into it and rinse it out until all the soapy water is gone. If there is water soluble dirt in the tank the mineral spirits won't disolve it and it will stay in there. Doing the water wash after the solvent rinse with TIDE laundry detergent will break down that kind of dirt and rinse it out.

To dry it out after all that hook up a hose from a shop vac that blows air instead of sucking air to it with duct tape and let it blow air through the oil tank for around an hour so all the water inside is evaporated and it's completely dry.

If you want to repaint the oil tank this is a good time to do that. Reinstall it and fill it with oil as soon as possible so surface rust doesn't get started inside the tank.

Last edited by JFairman; 10-18-2014 at 07:59 AM..
Old 10-18-2014, 07:56 AM
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I had the exact same problem a few years ago. This thread covers it and has lots of input from others.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:17 PM
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Billjam, Werk1, JFairman, those old threads are so helpful.

JFairman: Your oil canister looks perfect, looks like it would handle the capacity of debris that I saw. I think I see where your carbon canister bracket is located, is it at the top of the passenger side rear wheelwell, above the oil lines to the front cooler?

I have no bracket there, no sign of where bracket would mount. Mine is a snorkel washer 1979 USA. I suppose my bracket could have been removed but see no sign of where.

Cam Draining: Climbed around under the car. I think I know where the cam drain plug is supposed to be, I saw them on an engine that was removed. For passenger side it is just rear-of-the-car-wards from the top outside of the oil cooler? How can I access it? What all do I need to remove to get at those drain plugs? I really want to drain them and ensure the spray holes are not blocked.

Oil tank, sump:

Spent most of yesterday cleaning out the oil tank with my undercoating gun and wand. Lots of time to prep and clean and maybe more cleaning everything out afterwards.

I'm not sure what is going on because I'm not seeing any granules. I drained the oil tank, then filtered it through a 130 micron painters filter, got very little of anything (plus some dog hair, how did she get into my engine?):



Then about an hour of cycling oil through the oil tank via undercoating gun and wand, caught what dripped out and filtered that in a different filter. Really hosed it all down with high pressure oil, was expecting more than this in a 35 year old oil tank:



What I've there is all very thin soft and goopy, nothing hard like the stuff that came out before.

What came from the sump was immaculate.

I'm trying to reconcile this because it is not what I expected. I'm going to go over what happened:

0) Drive car like old lady for a few years but at least boost once per outing. Honestly I think the previous owner probably never was on boost, never drove car hard.

1) Drive to track, 4 sessions of 30 minutes each. Each session ended with a cooldown lap and 4-5 minutes of idling before shutoff.

2) Drive 35 minutes home, just easy cruising on freeway, weather was cool and maybe a little drizzly.

3) Engine sits for 5 minutes in my garage while I get stuff together and then I drain the oil. Oil from sump and turbo sump are normal, stuff from oil tank has the above hard granules which I've never seen before.

4) Ran engine ~ 1 minute after oil change, then did my internet reading, engine hasn't started since.

5) Where are the granules? Seems impossible that I flushed them all with one drain. Why would they drain out with one flush, then disappear? Are they ground up by the oil pump?

Oil tank has a low shelf that could hold settled debris, the passage from tank to engine is a little higher so its possible the granules were settled on the bottom of the tank and really were swept out with the change.

The clock is out for this weekend, wife is returning soon so need to transform garage out of bachelor mode.

Question:
What do I remove to get access to those cam spray drain plugs?
Intercooler, airbox...

Can someone point to instructions for removing both?

Thanks All!
Eric
Old 10-19-2014, 11:40 AM
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One thing to consider is that you may be seeing excessive exhaust gas temperatures as a result of faulty CIS function.
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjf911 View Post
One thing to consider is that you may be seeing excessive exhaust gas temperatures as a result of faulty CIS function.
How would that lead to granules of cooked oil in tank?

Fuel air ratio was recently recorded on dyno and was supposedly pretty good.

The 'official' 930 Dyno Vid Thread

Bunch of threads here at pelican the Turbo is the source of baked oil. Makes sense as there's not much else that gets that hot and is permitted to spend quality time with oil after shutdown.

My primary concern right now is getting the granules out. Would be interesting to hear though if anyone experienced granules after installing a filter between turbo and tank.
Old 10-20-2014, 09:50 AM
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I'm finding these in my normally aspirated 3.2. Just flushed out more than makes me comfortable. I'm assuming that my driving style is different then the PO. I've been driving it hard. Could it be deposits coming off of valves etc.? I would like to use JFairman's technique to clear my cam spray bars. I think everyone should. Maybe a detailed write up with engine in car, location of the 17mm plugs (back of engine, on same plane of banjo fitting), diameter of rubber hose, what needs to be removed to access. Thanks in advance. So far my car is running fine, but I'm a little worried. Two oil changes in 3k miles with Brad Penn 20/50.
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
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I'm finding these in my normally aspirated 3.2.
Cool! Where are you finding them? Filter, oil tank, sump? And how big are they?

Do you see any of the softer yellowy-white grains?

I'll try to take pictures when I try to clear the cam spray bars, maybe this weekend.
Old 10-21-2014, 04:55 PM
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As much as yours, if not more. Same stuff...black chunky, granules flushed from oil tank during 3k change. Standard oil pressure, 4 bar cold idle. Cut open filter and it was clean, so...
Old 10-21-2014, 05:33 PM
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Wow, that sounds exactly the same. And you don't have a turbo to coke the oil so wonder where this stuff comes from?

Now I'm really curious to see what our spray bars are like.
Old 10-21-2014, 05:53 PM
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Hey friends, I'm not living here on Pelican enough lately. About the time I think I can help with some advice, all you old timers beat me to it.

Ronnie-boy, what part of VR1 dino don't you understand? Dinosaur squeezin's, good economical stuff with good ZDDP levels in the absence of synthetic. But yes, it can lead to coking in the turbo...and we're not talkin' the snortable stuff.

Lots of folks have remedied that issue with an after market filter after the drip tank....as our esteemed Mr. Fairman as mentioned (at some point in the past he shared part numbers and sources for said filter IIRC). Good insurance from plugging critical oil passages. It's been on my bucket list.

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Old 10-21-2014, 05:53 PM
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