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Gas engine break-in procedure?

Posted By Drew Waller Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:07 PM
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Drew Waller
 Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:07 PM
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I'm finally having the 250 straight six in my '66 Chevy C-10 rebuilt.  Its been in the machine shop about 2 weeks now being bored out and having a full short block kit put in it.  It's getting 307 V8 pistons to squeeze a few more ponies out of it, in addition to the new cam and lifters that come with the kit and a brand new HEI distributor.  The head was completely rebuilt about 3 years ago and only needs to be wire brushed to look like new again.

Here's my question: what is the best way to break in the new pistons and the new camshaft?  I've already picked up 5 quarts of Valvoline 10W-30, a Purolator Gold oil filter (Advance Auto had a sale on those) and a quart of Lucas oil additive.  I've heard several different methods of breaking in an engine and I'd like to hear some from all of you guys (and gals) since ya'll have had a lot more experience with this than I have (one Briggs lawnmower engine).


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Wolfcreek_Steve
 Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:27 PM
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Initial start-up, 2000 RPMs for 5 minutes to break in the cam/lifters, then run 'er like you stole 'er!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL Modern parts (mostly rings) don't need the special break-in regimen that that was required 40-50 years ago. (this is what I've been told) I'm sure others will have different ways of doing it.

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“He, who is without oil, shall throw the first rod” Compressions 8.7:1
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glenn akers
 Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 11:56 PM
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Start it and warm up and drive it just like a normal engine. Only thing is keep look out for leaks.

glenn akers
Tony Bullard
 Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 3:37 AM
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I'm thinkin stay from the Lucas oil additive. It may have ware protective chemicals in it like STP which interfere with the rings seating

Tony Bullard, Chelsea Vermont
''''''''34 Ford BB restored,
''''''''62 Autocar DC870H restored
Friday, February 25, 2011 3:38 AM by Tony Bullard
beemergary
 Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 3:45 AM
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Any oil or additive with a zinc additive is good stuff. Zinc has the best wear charateristics. I like to vary the rpm between 1500-2000rpm with a 160 degree or no thermastat. Also have a timing light handy. Take a drill and make an adapter too spin the oil pump to prime the bearings-lifters etc. Having a friend helps. Good Luck
turbobill
 Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 5:29 AM
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New cam and/or lifters: Make sure you use a Zinc additive. (ZDDP has been  removed from just about all modern oils) and immediately upon firing, set RPM at 2000 for at least 20 minutes. So that means make sure all support systems are up to snuff when you fire it.

Piston/rings: Most rebuilders use Moly filled top rings today on fairly smooth cylinder walls. No special break in required other than make sure the engine never overheats. The chrome  top rings required a rougher cylinder wall as well as a moderate amount of engine loading to wear them in and seat them to the walls. Ask your rebuilder what kind of rings he used.

I always like to do a first oil change within 100 miles. You'd be surprised at the amount of new wear metal that passes through the filter and floats around in the oil on a new engine. Second oil change within 500 miles and a third within another 1000 miles. Still lots of wear metal floating around. To see the wear metal, save the drained oil in a white container and let it set for a month or two. You will have a fine gray film of that wear metal on the bottom of the container, very similar to what you see in an automatic transmission oil pan.
Aaron
 Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 6:03 AM
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I'd go with Bill on break in.
Union oil I believe still has the zinc additive in it, the Guardall series 30 wt, I'd stay away from the multi vis


I can't get anymore out of it, I've got both sticks hot clear up to the knobs allready.
www.killcarb.org
John_Costley
 Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011 1:50 AM
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Drew,

Tony is right, stay away from the Lucas until the rings are seated.

Break in the cam, then run it.Heres a few quick articles on zinc.

http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/tech/hppp_0802_pontiac_performance_engine_oil/index.html

http://www.hotrod.com/pitstop/hrdp_0702_pitstop_zinc_oil_additive/index.html

http://www.enginebuildermag.com/Article/3100/performance_oils_and_additives_got_zinc.aspx

Like Bill, Im a fan of draining them early and often.Cost a little extra, but worth it in the long run.John
Scott Waggoner
 Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011 6:27 AM
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I agree with the zinc. I run Blue Ram  20-50w in all my engines. it still has a "normal additive package" in it. Everyone has their favorite oil and that leads to many pages of discussion. The most important things to remember with engine startup is, well what I believe anyway is......

The engine oil filter is useless when you start an engine cold. It either has mechanical bypass or a galley design bypass. Cold oil can't go through a oil filter and would starve an egine if it tried to direct it through one. I don't fill oil filters with oil either for the reason below. At best 20% of the engine oil is being filtered at any one time.

With the above I do the following. I have a pressure vessel, 2.5gl air tank that I modified for  engine pre lube. I have a full flow hydraulic oil filter mounted on the outlet. I use shop air regulated at 40 psi. for the input. It takes awile even after the oil has been heated in hot water. I plug that into an oil galley and come by once in awile and turn the engine over to expose more oiling holes. The reason I do this is I don't trust the oil coming out of a jug being clean, why would you? The other is the filtration issue above. I hate hearing "the filter will clean it up". No the bearings try first then the filter.

The next engine start up killer is TIMING! When I was still building alot of gas engines I would always go to the owners place, if not at my shop and help with start up. People don't understand timing as a rule. They set the static, hook up the vacuum advance and fire it up and recheck base timing then never look any further. That kills engines! Running a new engine to break the cam in at 2000-2500 rpm is a no load rpm. With that the vacuum advance may be pulling in more timing which is bad. The other is the old distributor with weak advance springs pulling in even more centrifigal timing which all adds up to too much ignition lead and high cylinder temps. ignition before TDC is a killer. With a new engine like yours I would have it at a conservative 24-28 deg BTDC max at that cam break in RPM. Leave the vacuum advance hose from the carb plugged. Carbs are another issue, use a known good carb! Remember adding performance parts, cam or compression the carb may need rejetted.

I dont agree on the no thermostat or low coolant temp theory. An engine is designed to run at its operating temp at all times. The internal clearences are designed that way and make sure when filling the coolant system you bleed all the air out of it, temp sender, heater hose. If the ambient air temp. is high then a fan in front of the radiator will help keep the temp down. Have even used a hose on the radiator at times. 

When driving it I always accelerate heavily then let it compression down a few times. Rings work in two directions! Then drive it like you stole it. I change oil after cam break in, again after 50 miles and every 250 for the first 750 miles. Oil and filters are cheap compared to an engine. I also have a oil filter cutter and I "autopsy" each filter that gets spun off.

I always was leary when I would build an engine and they had all new "stuff", carbs, ignition, distributors, headers. It added to the make sure everything works equation. I still have "new engine" carbs and distributors for guys breaking an engine in. Can't wait for the test drive smile results!

A good friend of mine has a 455 Olds in his jet boat. He has lost the crank twice in it. I helped with the failure analysis the last time. Lack of lube was my conclusion. He said no way! Custom 10 quart pan, high volume pump, Mondello oiling mods to block. The killer was his custom twin remote oil filters. #10 lines running to them but no by-pass whatsoever. It had great oil pressure but the oil couldn't go anywere! It was going to the filters but couldn't go through them starving the engine. Still had oil pressure because the sender was in the galley going to the filters not out of them! His super cool polished alum. dual oil filter mount that cost $50 killed a $8K engine. Stuck rods, broke ventilated block first pull on boat, ouch.....

I would fill it with 30WT racing oil if you can find it, another good easily found oil is for the new four stroke dirt bikes, it has a good additive package in it, spendy though, but.....


Scott Waggoner
Saturday, February 26, 2011 6:30 AM by Scott Waggoner
beemergary
 Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011 8:06 AM
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SCOTT  Why I  said about the 160 degree or no thermastat is heat is a killer of a new engine in my opinion. The main idea is too get that water circulating and too remove any air in the system. Too much timming will cause detonation and beat a motor to death but too little is not all that good either-heat problems etc. A lot of air in a system can be caused by a radiator hose above the radiator. You make good sense though.

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