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Strange debris found in sump

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There has been a slow, gradual decline in my engine's oil pressure for a while now--60 to 65 psi on start-up from cold dropping at running temperatures to 30-35 psi at 3K rpm's and 10 psi or less at fast idle. Yesterday I took the car for a long ride and after a while at 65-70 mph the oil pressure actually dropped below 30 psi, so it's now officially below the "10 psi/1K rpm's" threshold.

The engine has about 60K on it since complete rebuild so this morning I decided to bite the bullet and drop the sump with the hope that I will find nothing worse than a worn oil pump and/or main or rod bearings, either of which I can repair/replace in time for some fall driving.

I first removed the spin-on oil filter and upon cutting it apart noticed a bit of black plastic debris--irregularly shaped pieces, almost gravel-like perhaps 1/16" to 1/8" in dimension on one end of the cartridge. The filter medium itself was fairly clean though I did notice a bit more shiny bearing-like material than I would have liked to have seen.

While draining the pan I heard a clunk or two from some solids going through the drain hole and landing in a catch pan and on examination I found a couple of larger pieces of the same kind of stuff--definitely some black plastic material, not particularly hard as it would give when bitten.

The big surprise was what I found when I removed the pan--a lot more of the same small stuff and four segments of a black plastic piece. In the attached thumbnail you'll see that they form a semi-circle about 5" in diameter and notice on the two pieces in the 9 o'clock position that there appears to have been some gear-like teeth molded in. The small debris is inside the semi-circle.

I'm going to remove the oil pump tomorrow but wonder if anyone has an idea as to what this stuff could be?
 

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Bob McElwee

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Michael, almost looks like it would be associated with a spin-on filter but how it got that way i don't have a clue.
 

roscoe

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It's been a while since I built my engine but could that be remains of the tensioner ring that goes on the cam gear, under the timing cover? I can't recall if it is possible for such a large piece to get into the sump but there is nothing else I can think of that looks like that. The rubber if aged would probably be hardened.
 
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Since you have a 100, could it be from a disintegrating timing chain tensioner? They're made of a hard rubber, but could become brittle with age and heat.

Edit: I see Jon beat me to this theory. Looking at the engine drawings in the Moss catalog, it looks like there's a pretty large cavity around the crank that would allow passage At least, it should be possible to remove the timing cover and have a look.
 
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Michael Oritt
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Guys--

I think you have hit the nail on the head and the tooth-like indentations on some of the pieces is probably from its' passing through/over/around the timing gears on the way to the sump. I will verify tomorrow hopefully but thank you for alleviating my worries.
 

CraigC

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Been there, seen that. It is indeed the tensioner ring from cam gear.
I find myself wondering if the replacements currently available are made of an appropriate rubber compound.
 
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Michael Oritt
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Bob--

About 15 years.
 

CraigC

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My original came apart in the late 70's somewhere around 60k. Well, at least that is when I found it, not sure when it actually came apart. My concern is whether the new ones are a correct compound. Has to be firm enough to maintain pressure on chain but just soft enough to be fitted/stretched over the gear and into its groove. Also needs to have sufficient resistance to breakdown in today's oils. Sometimes I feel replacement parts are made of what ever is "convenient" as opposed to "correct".

I'm pretty sure the one I currently have fitted is an original BMC replacement part. I also have a replacement from Moss that was purchased many years ago to fit to a spare cam gear. This one is still in my tool box.
 

glemon

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I remember the first time I took the timing chain cover off my old 100, and I thought, "why would somebody rebuild the motor and leave the timing chain tensioner off". Over the years through many online and listserv threads like this I realized it was another case of a chewed tensioner. Do they all do that?

They can make good rubber these days, just swapped a radiator in my son's 99 maxima. Nearly 20 years old, I bought in 2001 or 2002. Hoses were not too hard or too soft. A little different application, but can be can be done (by using the right materials/engineering.

PS, car ran fine without the tensioner.
 
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While we're under the timing cover, here's something that might be helpful to someone, someday: https://www.mossmotors.com/graphics/products/PDF/838-020.pdf

We put new gears--and disposed of the old gears--on our BN2 before I heard of this (I know, NEVER throw anything--esp. original stuff--away, but it was many years between disassembly and reassembly). Ironically, I suppose, I had replaced the gears in my BJ8 many years ago and the replacement I bought was for a 100, complete with the slinger, and I saved it after the recent overhaul so if I ever go into the 100's engine again I will install the slinger.
 
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Michael Oritt
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All--

Thanks again for the replies and though I have not yet removed the timing chain cover I am pretty confident that the offending debris is in fact the timing chain tensioner belt which made its way into the sump after coming apart.

If you look at my original post you'll see that I removed the sump in order to determine what is causing the decreased oil pressure. Today I removed the oil pump and drive spindle and disassembled the pump. As you'll see in the attached photo there is significant wear on the cover plate and at the ends of the gears. Additionally there is noticeable wear on some of the gears themselves.

I'll be removing the main caps tomorrow to check the condition of the shells and journals and I am hopeful everything is okay I will not be surprised to find commensurate wear there and hopefully I can get away with new bearings.

In any case I'd like to get opinions on best sources for a new oil pump and also whether it is a good idea to replace the oil pump drive spindle while I have things apart. The engine has about 85K on it, about 60 K from rebuild. I cannot at this time recall or document whether the original spindle was replaced at the time of the rebuild.
 

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I'm confused: That's a geared pump, I thought those were only used on later cars, like BJ8s, and the earlier cars used the rotary type. Yet, Moss shows the gears, so ...

Moss sells the gears for ~$42 and $48. I'd be tempted to replace the gears, and have the bottom plate machined flat and smooth. Supposedly, you can do this with emery cloth on glass, but those grooves look pretty deep; a good machinist should only need an hour of shop time to smooth it out (you may have to mill the gears a little). Moss shows the spindle at $280, if the gear isn't showing visible wear I'd reuse it, and DWR has them at a more reasonable price: https://www.bighealey.co.uk/Austin-Healey/engines/1004-bottom-end?page=3
 
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Michael Oritt
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Bob--

My understanding is that the vane-type pumps are no longer available. The gears in this one could be replaced and the plate fixed as you suggest--we'll see how strong the dollar is....

Just got through taking the cap off the main and one rod. The main bearing is marked "County Regd UK" and "M3327/Z STD 5" while the rod is marked "C 3 STD" and CM022AM". The crank journals all look good so I may be able to get away with standard or slightly oversized bearings. Though this stuff has stood me well (60+K) I may look for better quality.

I am very surprised and somewhat disappointed to find County stuff in the bottom end as when the engine was redone (by someone who is no longer with us so it does not matter) I was sparing no expenses and got a bunch of DW stuff and (I thought) insurance-quality rods and pistons, etc. I could not see any brand markings on the rods or on the bottom sides of the pistons but will check tomorrow with better light and someone to assist me in rolling over the engine.
 
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"... the vane-type pumps are no longer available"

That makes sense, though DWR makes two types for the 6-cyl cars; 'High Capacity' and 'Std.'. I believe the HC is vane type, and the Std. is geared (more suitable for high-revving engines). The DWR support people are pretty responsive; it's worth a 'chat' with them. They have the best price for the shaft that I found, though the pound was a bit lower when I bought.

WRT County stuff: It might depend on when the engine was built. I have it on good source--the tech. support lead at Moss--that County was once at least a decent manufacturer of aftermarket parts. After the owner 'dropped dead from a heart attack' the new owner(s) apparently had no concern for quality. I can attest that County water pumps are junk, but I believe most of the pistons from the 'usual suspects' are from County. That's why myself and others paid (dearly) for name-brand (DWR, Venolia, etc.) pistons in our recent overhauls.
 
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Michael Oritt
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Bob--

I had the same thought about County's quality having changed over time. The rebuild was done in 2003 or so by what was then a reputable Healey shop and he really had no reason to recommend cheaper sources as I was willing to spend good bucks. I believe my pistons are (or should be....) Venolia or the like and will try to find markings on the rods tomorrow once I put the caps back on so I do not damage anything by rotating to get a better view.

I have an inquiry into DW re bearings, etc.
 

CraigC

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The Healey 100 never used a vane-style oil pump. Always had gear pump. It was the early 100/6 that used the vane pump
 
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Thanks for clarifying that. Odd they went from gear to vane and back to gear; I've always thought the gear type was the cheapest, but they had some issues with some sintered iron gears.
 
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