Metal shavings on lifter body when removed

So, I’ve been chasing a rattle noise in my 2004 3.8L. I finally decided to pull the lifters and check for bad ones and maybe damaged push rods. My son drove this car low on oil several time, but I’ve never found any metal shavings in the oil.
Today when I removed the lifters I found several - 5 or 6 - that had metal shavings built up around the lip on the bottom.
Anyone seen this before? Is this the beginning of the end? It looks like there’s some wear on the surface of the lifter, but could this be from the inner part of the hole where the lifter sits?

I looked as well as I could at the cam lobes and didn’t see any grooves, but I’m not as young as I used to be, and these eyes don’t pick up stuff like before.
I’m hoping to put some new lifters and push rods in her, flush the engine, and make this thing last another year or two. (Might as well since it’s already apart, right?).
Any thought??

Thanks in advance.
 

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billegoat

Member
Any idea how much oil pressure it had before you took it apart? It could be oil pump damage if it was run low on oil....
 
Any idea how much oil pressure it had before you took it apart? It could be oil pump damage if it was run low on oil....
The gauge showed the oil pressure was right in the middle. Not sure how accurate those are. I put three quarts in to make it full. Last oil changed I think I used nearly 6 with new filter.
Good point, though. Not sure how much money I want to sink into this 200,000 mile engine. Might be time for swap. :naughty:
 

billegoat

Member
The gauges on our cars are just dummy gauges, they work like a light, either show little over half or nothing.... I've cut open oil filters on diesel engines to check for oil pump damage, take a cutoff tool and cut through the metal case about 1/4" below the heavy metal top and pull it apart. You'll see if the shavings are in filter I'd say you have pump damage....
 
I cut open my oil filter today and at first I didn’t see any metal. Then after I let the filter element drain on a rag, I saw it. Not as much as I expected but still there. Is that enough to say the oil pump is bad?
 

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billegoat

Member
That doesn't look good, need to put a manual gauge in where the oil sending switch screws in, and see what the oil pressure is with cold motor and warm it up and see how far it falls. I'm gonna say you prolly have a oil pump issue....
 

billegoat

Member
There are a couple write ups here on replacing the oil pump, if it was mine I would take off pump and see what it looks like, look for scratches and scars on gears and housing...all though, with it having metal in the lifters I'm sure it's got the bearings damaged too.
 
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There are a couple write ups here on replacing the oil pump, if it was mine I would take off pump and see what it looks like, look for scratches and scars on gears and housing...all though, with it having metal in the lifters I'm sure it's got the bearings damaged too.

Replaced oil pump ( you were right about the metal shavings billegoat)and flushed out the oil pan. Put everything back together and started her up.
:(
More noise than before. All the noise is coming from the top end, so I think I’ve probably got some worn out cam bearings. Not sure I’ll be trying anything else with this engine. I think I’d rather just replace the engine or let it become someone else’s project.
Thanks for the help.
 
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