Dirt on dipstick?

So as some of you may know I just did a 70% engine rebuild. After I ran it for maybe 10 mins total (blew my fuse link, long story) I checked the dip stick this morning. The truck has been sitting for 2 days since. It showed milky frothy oil. OK… Calm down, it is probably just moisture from sitting open for 3 weeks while I was working on it…The coolant level has not dropped at all, and I cleaned out the oil pan and replaced the pump, main seal ect while I was rebuilding. Then I stick it back in and pull it out. Black gritty dirt!!! My heart sank… How can this much very very FINE metal be in my oil after only running it for 10 mins total since the rebuild? Then I started to look at it. It feels really gritty between your fingers, but it kinda disappears, like crumbles away. The oil is very clean in color and this stuff is very dark brown. (the grit stuff) Do you guys think that this is just all the dirt that fell into the engine while I was scrapping gasket faces and what not? I tried to be careful about it, and used rags to cover the intake, and lifter valley ect. But I know a fair amount of gasket material (graphite) got in the engine. I am going to change my oil and filter before I run it again to be safe… I hope everything is OK. What do you guys think? I tried the magnet test and it didn’t seem to stick. Sizzle test shows no water/coolant. I think it is just junk from the gaskets.

i have a daily use Internet restriction so no longer DOW read all. Sorry I don’t know what engine type you did your work on.
The Chrysler/Dodge cast iron 80’s/90’s V engines has a very nasty habit with poor oil changes of the normal combustion/soot/carbons building up in the oil collecting on the engine block insides surfaces. This would then layers bake on. Then with heating/cooling temperatures changes dried mud like mini-crack, flake off in hard carbon chunks. These would then floater, clog the factory oil pump pick up screens. Symptom was a warmed up after a high speed run then low idle oil pressure. Carbon chunks never made it past the oil filter so did not seem to cause excessive engine wear themselves. Oil starving did. Fix-it thoroughly was to hot tank the block, cylinder heads. Then YOU do keep up with oil changes to dump out of the ehgine the absorbed suspended carbons before bake-on depositing.
In-sevice fix was to pan off mechanical scrape out/wash out what you could with new bearings spun-in; a new oil pump and pick-up screen. First couple of oil changes will be dirty quick with the remaining loosened then oils wash out released additional old combustion black carbons chunks.
Change your oils/filters a couple of times and it should clean up good’nuff.
Chrysler/Dodge could never come up with an oil additive that would safely dissolve these deposits once baked on for in-service engines.

Steve Unruh

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Hey Steve, since I don’t know how the previous owner(s) have treated my 318, what is your opinion of sea foam oil treating or the age old 10 minute straight kerosene in the crankcase running for decarbonizing the engine? Thanks, Doug D

Doug, This was my next step. Was going to fill it with dino 10w and some kerosene. Run it for 5 mins or so hen drain it, fill it with fresh stuff and a new filter then monitor it closely. When I had the engine apart you could tell it sat for a LONG time, lots of low laying varnish where the oil pooled up and sat for years.

Hard call but I am used to having trouble pulling the dipstick this time of year as there always seems to be a condensate build in the crankcase that vents up the dipstick and I have even had dipsticks rust to the point that they break. You say the stuff was non-magnetic so that is good … maybe there was some coolant laying around after the rebuild that needs to get cooked out. It’s the way of the iron beast … When you get to running it on woodgas you will get piles of soot in the engine. This tends to increase compression as it plugs some of the leaks in the rings. When rebuilding an engine you generally go oversize on the outside diameter of the rings a bit. They don’t figure for the slop in the old ring grouve … I cracked a ring in my 60 chevy after a rebuild and it burned down the side of the piston. I pulled the plug wire and ran it on 5 cylinders until I could get down to the junkyard in Agua Prieta to get a bag of pistons. I replaced the piston and rings and tried to hone the cyclinder down some … I made it from there up to washington state and then back to arizona … I then hooked up my small house trailer and made it to New Jersey before it or another cylinder went bad. I sold it to the local 15 year old paper boy and he put a 327 in it and buried the 235 in his back yard … Good luck but don’t freak out yet … If it runs good and doesn’t have oil or white smoke coming out the exhaust continue what you are doing … Skip the kerosene though … I think that’s all rizolone was or marvel mystery oil … Mike LaRosa

Hi back JH
Deisel as a cleanout lube, kerosene/10# works OK for slimy sludge cleaning. Always a risk though you will remove too quickly clogging a lifter orifice. I stopped doing that and just used the cheapest new high-detergent regular motor oil - changed as soon as it colored. Takes longer; but safer I think.
This hard baked carbons would only dissolve in a high ammonia smelling Chrysler combustion chamber cleaner. Was only designed to be ran through a hot running engine intake for valve heads, combustion chamber decarbonizing.
I used it for head-off, top of pistons cleaning at head gaskets replacements. Left overnight it would fog/etch the cylinder walls. Great stuff. I expanded out using it for quick cleans of idle motor pintel and passages cleaning. And throttle body off, back of throttle plate carbons cleaning. Chased/washed off thoroughly with carb/brake clean. Still . . would melt my nitryl gloves.
I now use SeaFoam spray for the same.
Never used their oil cleaner treatment. I do not use anyone’s oil treatments.
Just remember what you do break loose/dissolve must be gotten out of the engine with oil changes. Hydraulic valve lifters internal clearances are teeny,tiny.
Steve Unruh

Thanks for the replies guys. I ended up changing the oil. Found that the dipstick housing/tube whatever you want to call it was loose and must have picked up some grime off the engine block. I ended up pulling and cleaning it, and all seems well SO FAR…Again… No metal found so that is what really relaxes me. Nothing like putting 3 weeks of work into a hunk of metal and not getting the results you want.

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Joseph, Glad it’s all working out … Hi to Steve U and thanks for your input … I usually run the engine a few hours or 100 miles or so and change the oil and filter after major work. I broke my first connecting rod a few years ago after over forty years of driving and mechanics … I don’t think I will ever own another 3800 GM motor with all the plastic top crap … It got liquid locked once and probably cracked the the piston top. Of course it had to go on Christmas night at 10 PM. We made it the last 60 miles home and I was able to get it to run enough to drive up on my friend’s scrap wagon … I had driven it several thousand miles after replacing the gaskets but metal fatigue is metal fatigue … Mike L

thanks for the reply Mike, Always love reading your stories. I will be changing the oil again soon. Just going to keep using conventional in this vehicle. I only payed 1200 bucks for it.