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Unusual Black Fragments Found in Engine Head
Hi Everyone,

So the other day me and a friend were looking at the heads of my 351-2v Cleveland. Inside we found these little black particles less than an inch long inside 2 holes on the corners of both heads. They aren't metal because we stuck a magnet up to them. We showed them to a mechanic at my school and he thinks they are valve stem seals. I attached a few pictures showing the fragments and where we found them. Could they also be oil deflectors? 

I'd really appreciate your guys help.


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They are bits of the valve stem oil seals. Often referred to as umbrella seals. They get hard and brittle after the years, crack and come out from between the valve springs. You should probably think about replacing them. Especially if your car smokes at startup.

Black 1985 GT
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Wimbledon White 1966 F-100 Shortbed Styleside, 390ci, Tremec 3550, FiTech EFI
(03-05-2017, 11:51 PM)MeZapU Wrote: They are bits of the valve stem oil seals.  Often referred to as umbrella seals.  They get hard and brittle after the years, crack and come out from between the valve springs.  You should probably think about replacing them.  Especially if your car smokes at startup.

Yeah my car smokes at the start up. Also idles with a slight misfire causing the car to briefly shake at stoplights.
+1 on the valve seals. There are also likely to be smaller pieces in the oil pan and oil pump pickup screen. I would connect a mechanical oil pressure gauge and make sure you have adequate oil flow and pressure.

I would also check your spark plugs and if they are OK run a compression test on all cylinders. Shaking at idle can indicate a valve problem, such as burned valves or recessed seats.

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”
--Albert Einstein
I'd pull the valve covers, the intake manifold and the oil pan and would make sure I cleaned them out as best I could paying attention to the oil return drains. That crap will destroy an oil pump if it gets through the pick up and will clog the pickup if it doesn't.

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Time for a valve job...

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. 
Could it possibly be a broken PCV valve?
Nope. + 1 more on valve seals. They get hard and fall apart. Had the same problem with a 302 years ago. Do make sure you at the very least clear the screen on the oil pump. Its not metal but it will still clog things up.

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