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Cadillac Scotchbrite

Scotchbrite Warning    Mon, 25-Feb-2002 02:31:21 GMT    
The recent question on the HT4100 brought something to mind
everyone should be aware of when working on any engine.

best recommendation is to take any scotchbrite pads you have and hide them away if you even think of working on or near your engine.

Scotchbrite pads are frequently used to clean surfaces of gasket material prior to assembly.  Scotchbrite works good for this and seems absolutely harmless yet it is probably the (un-known)
cause of more unsuccessful repairs to engines than anyone realizes.

Scotchbright pads are a nylon substraight with 40 micron aluminum oxide particles embedded in the nylon.  Any dust or debris from the scotchbrite will get in the oil and destroy the bearings.  Even using scotchbrite on the same work bench and getting the dust on parts is enough.

The failure mode of the scotchbrite is that the aluminum oxide particles get in the oil and get imbedded in the bearing material.  The engine runs fine as typically the oil film in the
bearing is greater/thicker than the particle is.  If the engine sees high load/high RPM and/or the oil gets hot the bearing film thickness is reduced and now the particle can come into contact
with the crank surface.  It sill rapidly machine the cranksurface until the beraing clearance is too great, the bearing pounds out and fails and the owner/mechanic blames the stupid engine.  It was really the stupid scotchbrite......

This is so common a failure that the engine re-manufacturers continually run warnings in their publications about the dangers of scotchbrite.   If you use it clean the parts thoroughly before assemble and do not use it on deck surfaces or head surfaces at all where it can fall into the coolant jackets or oil passages and not be noticed.

I have personally witnessed MANY engine failures that were eventually traced to aluminum oxide contamination from scotchbrite.  It seems so harmless so it is commonly used yet it
it deadly to an engine.

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