Metal shavings on sump plug

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Jul 16, 2006
So, I pulled my sump plug and found some metal shavings stuck to it, along with a nice layer of goop! So is my '74 850 proper f**ked?? :shock: :shock:

Is there a lot or a little amount, what do the shavings look like, are they like filings or bigger, what does the goop look like, is it runny like thick oil or is it more like a paste, what colour is it, is a creamy colour or a dark colour.

The shavings are relatively small, like what you get from drilling into metal (the smaller peices, not the long curly ones). The goop was a grayish color and was somewhat pasty. It was gathered up on the magnet. I haven't pulled the sump filter yet because I don't have a big enough wrench, tomorrow I will pull the filter.

If they are shavings rather than filings, they may be left over from some previous Machining/Drilling proceedure and have ended up where they should be, the gluggy oily paste may be just a conglomeration of emulsified oil and crap that seems to grow over a period of years.

Is there any other reason why you think it's f%&ked. :?:

I don't know yet. This is the first peak I've had at anything involving the internal condition of the bike. I just bought this bike and I haven't kicked it over yet. Is there a good way to clean all of this nonsense out before I kick it over?

The paste is pretty much what I expected, all the oil additives and gunk that have accumulated in the case and oil tank. The thing that really put me off was the metal shavings.
It doesn't sound good, does it ?

It's very difficult to judge without knowing when the oil was last changed but a motor which is run-in and oil-changed at the correct intervals wouldn't normally have anything more than a fine grey metallic smear with perhaps the odd shiny flake in.

If the material is definitely magnetic, I would fear for camshaft problems, they produce vast amounts of material once they start to go.

I suspect that unless you feel ready for a pre-emptive strip-down, the best advice is to clean the oil tank thoroughly, replace filter if it has one and wipe out the inside of the cases as best you can via the sump strainer opening.

Perhaps than refill with clean oil and run for 100 miles or so to see what is picked up. If it seems to be reducing and you have no other symptoms of imminent destruction then give it another change and treat it as normal after that.

Sadly, I think that many of us have become unwilling experts in self-delusion when the drain plug starts to resemble a small pine cone. Fearing the worst is usually the right thing to do :(
I agree with the previous posts with the addition to make sure you disassemble the sump strainer when you pull it. You may find extra bits in there.
A quick look at the valve stems next time the rocker covers are off may also be worthwhile. I have ongoing problems with mine scoring - which having read a few things on here and elsewhere in the last year or so i think is related to a previous owner having had the head planed but possibly not adjusting push rod lengths.
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