Finally got my Xt350 going- potential engine trouble

Very long story made short- 89 xt350, made 2 bikes into 1. The good motor has about 8 k on it. I ran it a couple of times(few minutes) before I realized oil pump was broke. Repaired oil pump. No signs of damage.

Put together bike but wouldn't go into gear. Took apart clutch and saw what I did wrong. While fixing that problem I noticed a few metal shavings in the oil.

Bike runs great- all fluids changed-fork, brakes, oil. Put about 30 miles on it and it ran great. Checked oil filter and found some small shavings in that.

Any ideas?

Cam chain may be scrapping the tunnel ?

Magnetic shavings or aluminum? Just how many are you seeing? does the oil just glitter or are you just finding some here and there.

I rode it to work yesterday- 32 miles round trip. Checked oil filter later-had some shavings(very small- shavings are aluminum-I cleaned filter and will check it again when I get home later tonight.

The only thing I really didn't do was to check and/or adjust valves.

I ran it a couple of times(few minutes) before I realized oil pump was broke. Repaired oil pump.

What was wrong with the oil pump? Plastic gears on internal parts? The pump body is also made of aluminium you could have worn the inside out of it? Also could come from the piston, the head or the cam bearing surfaces.  A little amount of flakes are to be expected the bike is from 1989, could be from an old rebuild or could be a developing problem. If you have good compression and no strange noises in the top end and have checked that your oil is going to all the places it should, I would say you have little to worry about and that there is nothing you can do about it in any case.


Just for information purposes CAT offers a service where they will test your engine oil and tell you what they find in it. Then if you know the metal content of your parts you can guess what is wearing out without pulling the motor down. People use this when a motor is expensive to pull apart and inspect such as common rail diesels engines and really big stuff. I think it’s about 60 bucks to have this done not that I would bother.

Should've given a little more info- the plastic gear on the oil pump was shot-that's what I replaced.

After driving it the 32 mile round trip pulled the oil filter again- still some very small shavings(aluminum)

Working tonight but my plan tomorrow is to pull off the valve cover and see if I can see anything wrong. Maybe the cam chain slapping around? Is there a test I can do to see if the tensioner is working properly?

The bike is running pretty well so far- I'm not sure how the motor is supposed to sound-when I first start it it makes a little top end noise but there is oil up top- other bike is a Harley so this is new to me.

Thanks for all of the help so far

"Is there a test I can do to see if the tensioner is working properly?"


When you pull the valve cover , you'll be able to check the tension of the cam chain .


Have a bright light handy , so you can look down the chain tunnel .


Check the valve clearances while you're in there .



Biggest concern for the chain tensioner on these is they are older bikes, with old bike issues.  If you do pull the valve cover (wash the bike really well first, and be sure there is no dirt up under the tank that will fall inside the engine when the valve cover is removed.) look at both the front and rear chain tensioners: be sure the rubber coating isn't chunking off. It will be obvious. If so, replace both. Bear in mind that there are no soft rubber parts in an engine over 10-15 years old. Most are hard as a rock.


Also, don't get torque-happy with the valve cover bolts: they need to be tightened enough to seal the gasket, but if you decide to play gorilla man and overdo it, you'll pull the threads out of the caps. They should be tightened either to specific torque spec, or lacking that, tighten until they are obviously just snug, then about 1/8 more. Just like taper seat spark plugs in Aluminum heads: run them in until they touch firmly, then 1/8-1/4 more. They don't have to support a  building, so be careful.

Knew it was to good to be true- I've put around 400 miles on it with no troubles.

This morning started it up to go to work. Started up normally- while warming up developed lower end noise. Noise went away durind acceleration but was pretty loud when idling.

Drove it to the corner and decided to park it for the day and look at it tonight.

Plan is to check for oil flow up top. Any other suggestions?

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