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Engine Pre-Lube and Break-In

It is mandatory that you pre-lube all engines prior to start-up. Failure to properly pre-lube can lead to bearing failure. The oil pump must be spun long enough (with a drill motor and oil pump drive shaft) to insure that oil has entered all oil passages and can be seen coming up all of the pushrods in the rocker arm area. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

To break in your engine after assembly, use a 30W, non-detergent, non-synthetic oil for the first 500 miles of street driving, and then change the oil and filter. We recommend that superchargers be disconnected during the break-in period. Assembling a high performance engine should not be attempted by anyone unfamiliar with the common engine building techniques. If you are unfamiliar with any of the above mentioned terms or specifications, please consult a professional engine builder.

Before you turn the key and head for dray strip or open road, your new crate engine needs to be broken in.

  1. First step is to check the oil level. Never assume that the oil level is correct from the factory.
  2. Prime the engine by turning the oil pump drive using an electric drill, while a helper rotates the crankshaft with a socket.
  3. Add coolant. A 50/50 ratio of new antifreeze and water is recommended.
  4. Connect the electric fan and make sure it is functioning properly. It is recommended to run a large shop electric fan in front of your car to keep the car cool during break-in.
  5. Set the timing to recommended specifications, finding top dead center for the number one piston on the compression stroke. Install the distributor and plug wires if they haven't been added.
  6. Check for proper distributor cap placement.
  7. Check the carburetor. Running the carb a little rich during the initial startup will help avoid burning a valve. A couple of turns of the idle screw should do it.
  8. Add gasoline to the float bowls.
  9. Check that the thermostat and water pump belt are tightened to proper specifications.
  10. Make sure the exhaust system is installed. (you need to be able to hear if there are any unusual engine noises that would indicate potential problems.)
  11. Chock the wheels and set the emergency brake.
  12. Start the engine. (If it doesn't fire up right away,check that the carburetor is getting adequate fuel.) If the engine is backfiring, check the timing and the spark plug wires.
  13. Maintain engine rpm at 2,000 to 2,500 until the engine reaches normal operating temperature. Reduce the rpm to idle and check the timing with a timing light. Continue to run the engine at 2,000-2,500 for 20 to 30 minutes to break in the cam and to make sure oil has reached all components. Check for any leaks during this time.
  14. After the initial run period, change the oil and filter while the engine is still warm.
  15. Reset the carburetor idle speed and mixture for normal driving conditions.
  16. Drive the car under easy driving conditions for 50-100 miles. Load the engine by quickly accelerating from 30 to SO mph, bringing the engine speed to about 5,000 rpm, then coasting back down to 30 in gear. Repeat this 10 or 12 times to help seat the piston rings.
  17. Change the oil and filter after the initial drive. For the first 500 or 600 miles of normal driving, the valve-train components will break in. Avoid excessive acceleration and heavy load, and vary your speed when driving on the highway. Change the oil and filter after 600 miles, and again at 1,200 miles. At this point, the engine is well broken in. Following this procedure will increase your chances of long engine life and maximized, reliable performance.