"All over the front of the engine"? Under the hood? Could be a disintegrating drive belt! I had a seprentine belt that was running over a locked up AC compressor/clutch and I noticed that the top side of the belt was covered with very fine rubber particles. A closer examination showed the belt apparently was disintigrating from the heat and friction. You couldn't see this with the engine running, I noticed it when I shut it down. The belt was running over and around the locked up pulley!
I would assume any misalignment of pullies and belt could chew the belt apart also!