First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

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First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 15th 2017, 4:24 pm

Rebuilt my first engine entirely... 1977 ford 460. Stock internals, stock cam, timing chain. Only upgrades where weiand stealth intake, Holley 850 classic (vacuum secondary), Crites long tube headers. Has A/C (508 sanden)and P/S (stock 70s ford system *the car is a 70 Torino so I what ever system those where... bendix I believe?)

I bought comp cams 10w-30 break in oil and an oil pump primer. Ignition system is the ford duraspark system that has been fitted to the Torino.

I'm a bit nervous for doing my first break-in. Does anyone have any tips? How forgiving is the process? I have this idea that it can be hesitant at all and that it must crank on right away and go straight to 2,000 rpm immediately and stay there.

Any insight would be great!

**I believe the cam is flat tappet? Whatever stock was...


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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  4604X4 on March 15th 2017, 4:37 pm

Are the cam and lifters new - or are you reusing parts? Did you lube the cam lobes with anything?

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 15th 2017, 4:38 pm

The lifter and cam are new. Yes I used cam lube for the cam.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  4604X4 on March 15th 2017, 6:36 pm

It sounds like you know the basics - start the engine then bring rpm up to 2500 (I like to vary rpm from 2000 to 2500) and run for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch coolant temperature and oil pressure and keep an eye out for leaks. I wouldn't worry about setting timing at this point (if it starts up, your close enough).
The purpose of running at 2500 rpm is to get a lot of oil to splash on cam and lubricate cam lobes and lifter bases.

So you want to be sure to have coolant level topped up and make sure you have no leaks before you start. Valves should be adjusted already (assuming they are adjustable).

There are a lot of articles on the Internet about this process - including this one http://www.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-1108-camshaft-break-in-guide/

Good luck.
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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 15th 2017, 11:46 pm

okay cool I will check out the article.

Do I let the engine idle at all? Or do I go straight to the higher rpms?

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  BBFTorino on March 16th 2017, 1:30 am

When you get it fired up, try not to let it idle if you can help it. Bring the RPM's up and watch the clock!!
Vary the RPM's a little here and there (blip the throttle a few times), but by no means over rev it while its just "freewheeling".
And as was said, be sure your cooling system is sufficient.....have a fan in front of the radiator for extra airflow and cooling, and maybe have a water hose ready.
Also don't forget to have your trans fluid topped off and its advisable to set the parking brake, and use wheel chocks against the wheels (all 4 of them) so it don't jump into reverse by accident. Or jack the rear wheels off the ground.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 16th 2017, 2:20 am

Luckily I won't have to worry about the car going into gear. I don't have the drive shaft in yet.

Okay and timing wise... what would be the best way to go about that?

Set the engine to 0 TDC and then drop in the distributor?

Also does priming the oil pump a good amount help with cam break in?

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  BBFTorino on March 16th 2017, 2:31 am

Yes, prime the oil pump. Drop the distributor in on #1, make sure it is fully engaged and seated down. Then turn it slightly against the direction of rotation....maybe about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch...this will give it some initial advance because trying to start a motor with zero degrees timing is a real b!tch...LOL.
Yes, after this things, you should be good to go!!

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  DeepRoots on March 16th 2017, 8:48 am

Since it is break in, and you are not putting a load on it, you can run more advance in order to keep it cooler.

I like to get the rotor pointing directly at #1 while the timing mark is at 18-22. My last build I broke in with even more because I had ceramic coated headers and wanted to preserve the coating.
Even so, water temps got very high, and much heat was made. So don't freak out if the water temps climb to 215 or something like that, remember the engine is idling with little airflow and everything is new and tight.

Priming the oil system is important, but overdoing it just washes off cam lube.

Fill the carb bowls with fuel before starting. If you have an electric pump, just prime that way. As with the advance, running cool is important for break in, so initial carb settings can be a touch on the rich side.... don't worry about getting the carb dialed in until the cam is broken in.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  4604X4 on March 16th 2017, 10:01 am

If you have one of those home-use portable room fans, set it a step stool in front of your car blowing into the radiator.
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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 16th 2017, 8:52 pm

Okay cool I will make sure to put a fan in front of the car. It also has an electric fan on the AC condenser so I will make sure to run that as well.

I've never primed an oil pump before. How do I know when it's good? Should I take the valve covers off and prime it until I see oil going to the rockers?

Also I believe the rockers are non adjustable. So I just torqued them down to spec. From my research it appears they are the non adjustable type.

So unfortunately I will be doing this by myself. Wasn't able to get my brother to help out (has work), can I turn the engine on and then hop on over to the engine Bay Area and just zip tie the throttle at 2,000 rpm? Then I can manually just mess with it from there? Just so I am free to inspect for leaks, top off the radiator as needed, make sure tranny fluid is nice and full. And then monitor gas, oil, and temp.

I feel I would be risking it if I where to simply just sit in the car for 20 min and not check on the rest of the stuff.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 16th 2017, 8:54 pm

Another random question... I need to have the speedo cable in correct? Or it will spill fluid everywhere?

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  FalconEh on March 16th 2017, 9:16 pm

Andre.servin wrote:Okay cool I will make sure to put a fan in front of the car. It also has an electric fan on the AC condenser so I will make sure to run that as well.

I've never primed an oil pump before. How do I know when it's good? Should I take the valve covers off and prime it until I see oil going to the rockers?

Also I believe the rockers are non adjustable. So I just torqued them down to spec. From my research it appears they are the non adjustable type.

So unfortunately I will be doing this by myself. Wasn't able to get my brother to help out (has work), can I turn the engine on and then hop on over to the engine Bay Area and just zip tie the throttle at 2,000 rpm? Then I can manually just mess with it from there? Just so I am free to inspect for leaks, top off the radiator as needed, make sure tranny fluid is nice and full. And then monitor gas, oil, and temp.

I feel I would be risking it if I where to simply just sit in the car for 20 min and not check on the rest of the stuff.

Andre.servin wrote:Another random question... I need to have the speedo cable in correct? Or it will spill fluid everywhere?

I would wait until you have an on looker if possible, but I would Not zip tie the throttle ever, if need be mount your gauges in the engine bay so you can monitor your temps, RPM, and pressures flame it get out and rev it. Plug the speedo gear hole (an old speedo cable cut off will work, and the driveshaft yolk. Priming the pump is filling the pump and passages with oil not trying to make it run daytona mileage with a drill.
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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  4604X4 on March 17th 2017, 6:18 am

+1000 ^
Never wire-tie the throttle open. You need to be able to shut off engine quickly if something goes wrong. I just sit in the car and use my foot on the throttle pedal and watch the gauges (15 minutes is a long time)

BTW - when you prime the oil pump, remember that the oil pump shaft needs to turn CCW (same direction distributor rotor turns). If you have a gauge you could watch for oil pressure.
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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  zbob on March 17th 2017, 9:21 am

to prime the oil system use a speed handle. you will feel the resistance when the oil is up to the rockers. do not use a drill.
...no drive shaft? a stick not a auto with no yoke?
...use a ten dollar starter switch across the starter relay with the key on. vary the speed from outside using the carb linkage.
.....use a air cleaner incase of backfire. also have a fire extinguisher handy.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 18th 2017, 5:30 am

Okay cool thanks for the tips.

Currently right now I'm getting a custom driveshaft made for the car. The car originally had a 351w and a c4 and a 9". I swapped in a 460, C6, and an 8.8 (3:73/28 spline/Limited Slip). So had to get a custom one made for me...

Tonight I was filling the tranny with fluid and some began to pour out the tailshaft of the tranny. Is this due to not having the drive shaft installed? Or to the fact that's it's currently up on Jack's? Or possibly both...

Can I still run the engine without the drive shaft installed? Or will tranny fluid just go all over the place? I know in my 68 mustang the bellhousing was removable (c4), so all I had to do was bolt in the Bellhousing to the engine an let her rip!


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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  zbob on March 18th 2017, 6:33 am

you need the driveshaft, you need the driveshaft, you need the drive shaft.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  BBFTorino on March 18th 2017, 1:09 pm

Andre.servin wrote:Okay cool thanks for the tips.

Currently right now I'm getting a custom driveshaft made for the car. The car originally had a 351w and a c4 and a 9". I swapped in a 460, C6, and an 8.8 (3:73/28 spline/Limited Slip). So had to get a custom one made for me...

Tonight I was filling the tranny with fluid and some began to pour out the tailshaft of the tranny. Is this due to not having the drive shaft installed? Or to the fact that's it's currently up on Jack's? Or possibly both...

Can I still run the engine without the drive shaft installed? Or will tranny fluid just go all over the place? I know in my 68 mustang the bellhousing was removable (c4), so all I had to do was bolt in the Bellhousing to the engine an let her rip!


Why did you 'downgrade' from a 9" inch to an 8.8 rear??

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 18th 2017, 1:40 pm

Not a downgrade at all. My 9" had drums, less splines on the axles and 3.00 gears Open. And it needed a 100% rebuild. Even on stock form right off the bat my 8.8 would be better then if I restored the 9". Plus I got the 8.8 for about $75 at my local wrecking yard in almost new condition. Now I have discs, good gears, beefier axles and limited slip. Best part is if anything happens to it, off to the wrecking yard for a replacement.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  billandlori on March 20th 2017, 10:53 am

What I do to keep the temps under control is crack the radiator petcock so there is a trickle of water coming out and run a garden hose in the top of the rad running just enough to keep it topped up. There will be a fair bit of water on the driveway but it keeps it running nice and cool. The thermostat will control the engine temp.

Sounds like a cool build, good luck!!

Bill
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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  stanger68 on March 25th 2017, 1:45 pm

Hope it's not too late just saw this. You definitely need the driveshaft in and transmission full of fluid. Otherwise you risk galling pretty much everything inside it.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  56f100guy on March 28th 2017, 1:46 am

I found, in my own experience and opinion, to 'properly' prime an engine....

--- The crank must be turned occasionally so that the oil galleries line up---

You will be able to hear the oil squirting out the pushrods when you hit the sweet spot (s). Make sure your drill is in reverse.

Its a great way to smoke a cheap drill if the holes aren't lined up for long.  Ask me how i know Smile

I just did this same 'procedure' on my 69 460 Ill be firing up soon I hope. I primed it just to flush it clean while it was on the engine stand. Mine is not rebuilt, just being.. resurrected: )

I also agree on an extra helper, fan, and...fire extinguisher. Long story.

Along with the driveshaft and speedometer hole, dont forget the tranny cooler lines.

Good luck, i hope all goes well!

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on March 28th 2017, 4:50 am

Yes I haven't done it yet I'm waiting for the driveshaft. Should be any day now.

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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  Andre.servin on April 6th 2017, 7:39 am

**Just an update on break-in**

I broke the engine in the other day, had a few potential starts but my electric choke needed adjustment so it the engine was doing anything more than a hiccup with some fireball burbs out the carb. So I decided to unplug my choke and boom, engine started instantly and got her up to 2,000 rpms.

Oil pressure was fine, temp was okay... towards the end it got up to about 205-210? No engine knocking or hesitation, it actually sounded pretty solid. So we held it around 2,000-2200-1800 for 20 min, the bulk of it being 2000. I would have gone up a bit more but the belt was screeching at around 2400 (had it on too loose) and between monitoring the PS pump and tranny, I decided to just stay around 2,000 rpms. Now I'm not 100% sure if that's okay but from what I read it seemed that nothing less then 1500, it also seems like you get a different answer every time as well, so I decided to just do the 2000 for 20 min.

Question...
What do I do now? Change the oil? Or leave that oil in? Do I use a zddp additive? Or will regular oil work? Do I flush the radiator? It got pretty brown once the thermostat opened up.

Also my rear passenger headers got red hot, from what I read it seems that it is a timing issue? Which I can imagine seeing I didn't set the timing other then a slight advance on TDC as was mentioned on an earlier post. Carb needs tunning as well...

Anyways it idled a little bit before running out of gas haha still needs fine tunning. Sounds good from what I've heard so far.


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Re: First time breaking-in engine. Any tips?

Post  zbob on April 6th 2017, 8:26 am

change the oil. cut open the filter to see if it is full of lifter material etc. rinse out the radiator. put either vr1 racing oil in it if the clearances allow it or run a additive if you have stocker clearances and use a lighter oil.
.....start it up, get it warm and set timing. do not let it idle yet. glad to hear its okay.....

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