What is this and why was it in the bottom of my oil pan? :)

93 Hyundai Excel 1.5L, 130k miles. Oil pan gasket leaking like crazy, took pan off and cleaned everything up real nice in preparation for new gasket. Looked in the bottom of pan and noticed this thing sitting in it (the sleeve looking thing, not the nickel lol) it isn’t a magnet, and looking up into the bottom end of my engine I couldn’t see anything that looked like it. Here’s a pic:

The inside is smooth, no threads or anything. It is metal. Any ideas? Crazy, right?

Here’s a wild guess. Could it be something that was accidentally dropped into the pan during initial assembly that is not even a part of the engine?

Could be possible. There was not a single metal flake or shard of any kind in the bottom of the pan aside from that. I figured I’d post it in case anyone recognizes it as something else.

Are the pieces magnetic? Could be to collect metal debris… is there a place they might have bounced out of?

Kinda looks like a huck bolt collar but too long and they aren’t brass and would be used in manufacturing but not in engines. Must be a bushing of some sort that maybe was dropped in the engine from one of the assembly stations and then dropped into the pan after the pan was put on and the engine tipped up. In other words I don’t have the foggiest idea but doesn’t look like something to worry about after all this time. I would save it though-who knows?

the photo is a little blurry. Is that thing hollow all the way through? Or does it have a semispherical protuberance on one end? If so, is that spring loaded, so you can push it and it pops back into place?

It’s hollow all the way through. The only marking is the slight indention/line that goes all the way around it, which you can see in the picture.

It looks like some sort of collar or sleeve, or maybe a spacer…but like I said, I couldn’t see anything else that resembled it so I don’t know if it was dropped in during assembly or what haha.

hmm … well, that is certainly a puzzle. As mentioned above, not something to loose sleep about at this point. It could be something that just fell there from the manufacturing process, but I’m thinking it might be something from the oil pump ass’y. If your car only has an oil dash light but not oil pressure gauge, might be worthwhile to have the oil pressure tested just in case there’s a problem brewing.

Whatever it is, it’s really clean and smooth as if it was machined to precise specs. I was looking through the “Engine” section of my factory service manual and checked out exploded views of the oil pump and other engine areas and still did not see anything that resembled the hitchhiker.

It kind of looks like part of a valve lash adjuster. I wonder if someone has been into the head gasket before, fell apart on them, and disappeared into the unknown followed by just replacing it rather than go fishing.

Maybe a snapped belt in the past, cylinder head valve damage due to being an interference fit engine, and adjuster came apart?

It’s only a 1.5 L engine…thats a piston.

Or somebody took a shot at you and hit the engine…look for bullet holes in the block.

Seriously though. I’d stop by a Hyundai dealer just before lunch time and see if any mechanics can identify it. Hopefully you’ll find one that has torn down the same engine.


The circumferential groove has the appearance of an oil channel, so I’m going to guess that it’s some sort of sleeve bearing, perhaps from somewhere on the valvetrain assembly. As others have surmised, it might have been left there during the assembly process.

Yosemite has a good idea. Or, if you can get an “exploded view” drawing of the engine assembly and see what you can match up. The dealer parts window guy might just print one for you if you ask nicely.

Post back if you can nail it down. It’s an interesting question.

It almost appears to be a valve guide that gets pressed into the head. It would be interesting to measure the ID to see if it matches the OD of the valve stem.

Do you have a shop near you that rebuilds engines? Maybe you could stop in to see if they recognize the part.

I’ve checked some exploded diagrams in the FSM and didn’t really see anything that matched up. I’m going to pop the valve cover off after work and see how everything looks. From there, I’ll check the local Hyundai dealership and see if they have any ideas. The car did have the head removed at one point and was sent out to a machine shop (previous owner did it, spent about $900 on everything) so I can only assume that might have something to do with it. There is no wear at all on the sleeve/collar/bearing/whatever it is.

I’d ask around, but I wouldn’t be tearing anything apart as of yet.

Maybe this part is the culprit that caused the head to be removed by the previous owner.

but if you do find out what it is…please come back and tell us.


If your engine was running fine up to now, I’d say the part wasn’t very important.

The bigger mystery is this: how have you kept it running? They weren’t known for their longevity…

Lol well the previous owner spent THOUSANDS of dollars on this car just replacing things, mostly out of preventative maintenance. Seriously I have a stack of receipts several inches high with every oil change, tire rotation, nut and bolt he bought for it. I bought it for $450.

It is similar to some oil pressure relief plungers that I have run across.