Internal combustion engines have several vibration sources, such as combustion, fuel injection, piston slap and valve operation. For machine condition monitoring or design improvement purposes, it is necessary to separate the vibration signals caused by different sources and then analyse each of them individually. However, traditional frequency analysis techniques are not very useful due to overlap of the different sources over a wide frequency range. This paper attempts to separate the vibration sources, especially piston slap, by using blind source separation techniques with the intention of revealing the potential of the new technique for solving mechanical vibration problems. The BSS method and the Blind least mean square algorithm using Gray's variable norm as a measure of non-Gaussianity of the sources is briefly described and separation results for both simulated and measured data are presented and discussed. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd.