How To Break-in Your Newly Built Engine v1.03
- Make sure that all engine assembly is performed in a clean, contaminant free, and conditioned (temperature and humidity controlled) environment. All engine hardware must be perfectly clean, free of contaminants, and properly lubricated prior to installation. Verify that all intake plumbing is clean and free of debris.
- Check that all of the proper fluids are at the proper levels in the proper areas of the engine, especially engine oil and filter.
- Verify that the timing belt has been properly installed and the camshafts/camshaft gears are properly timed.
- Again, check that all of the proper fluids are at the proper levels in the proper areas of the engine, especially engine oil and filter.
- Remove the spark plugs and disconnect the fuel injectors, turn engine over 3-4 times for 20 seconds each time to build oil pressure. If you have an oil pressure gauge you can see the pressure go up after a few cranks, this insures you have oil throughout the engine and peripherals (turbo, camshaft phasing mechanisms, etc.) prior to start-up. You can also remove the oil drain line from the turbocharger to make sure the turbo is primed with oil as well. Ideally, you will want to install the oil pressure gauge as far from the oil pump as possible so you can see you are getting pressurized engine oil in every part of the engine.
- Install spark plugs, start the engine up (on a known, good ECU calibration) with more people than you need...have them watch under vehicle, in engine bay, out exhaust etc. listening for mechanical noises and watching for obvious fluid leaks.
- Watch oil pressure gauge the whole time, keep an eye on the engine watching for any fluid leaks. Allow the engine to come to temperature (coolant) and watch oil pressure to come down to a stable level at idle. This will happen after the RPM come down from cold start and the oil thins out from the heat.
- Easily drive the engine around (on a known, good ECU calibration) for 50-100 miles then change engine oil and filter. Do your best vary the engine RPM and decelerate the engine under vacuum as frequently as you accelerate the engine, you want your engine to break-in evenly. The filter is critical to replace since it is going to contain several thousands of particles of metal and coating particulates from the ring/cylinder wall and bearing/friction surface break-in. Take the oil pan out in broad day light and look for a glittery material to be in the oil (make sure the oil container is absolutely clean prior to allowing the engine oil to drain into the container). No large debris should be present in the oil. Never use synthetic engine oil during this process, use a straight weight, non-synthetic, non-detergent engine oil. You want friction at this point; use an SAE30 oil, non-synthetic, no detergents, etc.
0-100 miles, run engine very lightly, no more that 1-2 psi boost, no more than 28% TPS and 3500 RPM, change engine oil and filter. Do your best to vary the engine RPM and decelerate the engine under vacuum as frequently as you accelerate the engine, you want your engine to break-in evenly.
100-500 miles, run engine very lightly, no more that 3-5 psi boost, no more than 40% TPS and 4500 RPM Change engine oil and filter. Look for more glittery material in oil. Do your best to vary the engine RPM and decelerate the engine under vacuum as frequently as you accelerate the engine; down shift the vehicle to come to a stop rather than using just the brakes.
500-1000 miles, run engine more aggressively, no more that 6-8 psi boost, no more than 50% TPS and 5000 RPM Change engine oil and filter. Look for less glittery material in oil. Datalog the engine, look for knock events, etc.
Slowly raise the rev limit throughout break-in all the way to redline just after 1000 miles. Please be sure to vary the RPM range throughout engine break-in…you want to do what you can to promote even break-in of the engine hardware. Ideally, the engine will optimally perform throughout the RPM range. Engine ring sealing can be tested throughout the engine break-in process with a compression gauge and cylinder leak-down test kit (CLT); you can test at TDC and BDC. Be sure to perform these tests on a warm motor with the throttle blade fully open. You would want your measured compression to be within 20psi of each other on all cylinders and the CLT to 7% or less across all cylinders. We hope this helps.