Motor Break-In Methods/Theories

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 3/6 Engine' started by alexwlwsn, Feb 12, 2017.

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  1. alexwlwsn

    alexwlwsn Gold Member

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    Warning: lots of text below...

    We all know that breaking in a new build motor can really be a make or break thing. We have to take special care to make sure rings seat, oil gets distributed well, etc... In talking with @Enki about breaking in new motors the other day I figured I'd make a thread to go over how I broke in my motor and open the thread for discussion. Feel free to post relevant links and whatnot and we'll see if we can get some good info. I talked with a bunch of different tuners/builders and read a lot of MazdaSpeed and non-MazdaSpeed forums in order to get my information.

    So, my procedure went as follows:
    I used conventional oil for the entire 1000mi break-in period, Rotella T 15W40 actually because it was on sale at the local automotive store.

    With zero miles and zero minutes of idle on my new motor, fill with oil and prime the motor without fuel to get the oil flowing. Some people even say when filling the motor, you can take the valve cover off and pour oil over the cams in order to lube them. I did not do this because they had assembly lube on them and motor oil likely would've just dripped down anyway. Then, cross your fingers and start the car for real. In this time of about 20-30 minutes, you'll want to fill the motor with coolant and every so often rev to around 1k-2k rpms. Drain oil now and take a look at your filter. You'll note metallic material in the filter/oil and this is normal.

    Now it's time to drive! Refill oil and use a new filter obviously at this time and you can add in a break-in additive. I personally used Lucas Engine Break-In additive. Your first drive should last about 50mi and consist of loooooong pulls of low boost, with a lot of engine breaking afterwards. Basically, try and avoid using your brakes when stopping the car. Personally, I hit around 5psi in the first 10mi and then by the time the 50mi had passed, I'd hit a maximum of 13.5psi.

    Scientific note: when you first assemble the motor, you're going to have terrible static compression. This is because your rings have not seated. The pressure differential between the compression chamber and the crankcase will be forcing the rings against the cyl walls and therefore wear both down, seating the rings against the cylinder walls. It's fun to note as you drive the car it'll actually run better and better over time as the rings seat themselves.

    After 50mi, drain oil and check out the filter again. You'll definitely see more metal in there but there's no need to worry. This would be a great time to check your compression as well.

    Fill with more oil and drive your car to the 500mi mark now. I didn't use any cruise control in this segment and I still paid good attention to making loooong low boost pulls, and looooong high vac engine braking. You're still going to see the compression increasing somewhat during this time period (at least I did).

    Once you hit 500, drain that oil and like always take a look at your filter. With my motor, the oil looked almost new when drained and the compression was up to 190 across the board.

    500 more miles after the above procedure and then it's time to put in your synthetic oil of choice and get yourself tuned.

    tl;dr:
    20min idle
    50mi drive with boost and lots of vac
    450mi more still boosting and lots of vac
    500mi more, same as above
    @1000mi mark is time for synthetic and killer tune

    Disclaimer: this worked for me but if you assemble your motor wrong and it ZZBs it's not my fault even though you followed this thread :p
     
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  2. alexwlwsn

    alexwlwsn Gold Member

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  3. davychronic

    davychronic Greenie Member

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    I would not let a brand new engine idle for 20 minutes... where did you hear that is an ok thing to do?
     
    davychronic, via a mobile device, Feb 13, 2017
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  4. Littleloogy

    Littleloogy Recovering Speed Addict Platinum Member

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    I saw a video where sport bikes were built at a factory. Upon first startup, they don't idle They go right for the Dyno and load the engine though all the gears. It made me cringe the first time a saw it.
    3:15



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
    Littleloogy, via a mobile device, Feb 13, 2017
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  5. Enki

    Enki Platinum Member

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    Basically the same thing my local race shop does when they build engines.
     
  6. Gandalf

    Gandalf Greenie Member

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    Like you stole it. My builder takes his cars straight to the dyno.
     
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  7. stg_ms3

    stg_ms3 Greenie Member

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    I work on Volvo Diesel engines (13L&16L), and we idle until warm after an inframe. Shut off and check over for leaks, then get the drivers to slap a heavy loaded trailer on it and make it work. Then you're good for another million kms. Not that they're in the same application as the mzr, but food for though I guess.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    stg_ms3, via a mobile device, Feb 13, 2017
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  8. davychronic

    davychronic Greenie Member

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    Completely different process to seat diesel rings, they need to get really hot. I have yet to see a website or builder say to let a new engine idle for any amount of time in fact the only thing i see that engine builders agree on is not allowing a new engine to idle.
     
    davychronic, via a mobile device, Feb 14, 2017
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  9. alexwlwsn

    alexwlwsn Gold Member

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    I'm not sure I've ever read anything saying not to let it idle at first. You need to heat the motor up in order to crack the tstat and get the coolant throughout the system.

    This time will also allow you to visually inspect for leaks and audibly inspect the motor to listen for anything weird.
     
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  10. davychronic

    davychronic Greenie Member

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    Even the link you posted from MAPerformance says not to idle along with hastings piston ring website and every site ive googled proper engine break in.

    [​IMG]

    From the link you posted
     
    davychronic, via a mobile device, Feb 14, 2017
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  11. alexwlwsn

    alexwlwsn Gold Member

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    I know a lot of builders assemble a motor and then toss it right onto the dyno. My friend after building his B18 drove right to the shop, slapped it onto the dyno, and tuned it completely. I think also in that recent live FB video FreekTune posted he was basically breaking in his white first gen in about 10 miles on the rollers. In this period you could see long accel periods with engine braking down close to idle.
    [doublepost=1487084624][/doublepost]
    "After the first start, let the engine run for 20 minutes at varying speeds between 2000 and 3000rpm"

    Trolling...............?
    [doublepost=1487084711][/doublepost]"break it in like you'll drive it" I don't remember who said that to me but it holds true
     
  12. davychronic

    davychronic Greenie Member

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    Do what you think is best, im pointing out what I have learned from my talks with builders and google searches. Call it trolling if you want, i call it correcting misinformation.
     
    davychronic, via a mobile device, Feb 14, 2017
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  13. alexwlwsn

    alexwlwsn Gold Member

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    I'm sorry, I thought you were implying NOT to let the motor run for that 20 minutes...

    Note in OP: "In this time of about 20-30 minutes, you'll want to fill the motor with coolant and every so often rev to around 1k-2k rpms"

    I agree though, you won't want to ONLY idle, definitely explore some RPMS while warming up the first time.
     
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  14. PURPFOX

    PURPFOX Greenie Member

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    the only time i've ever followed a true brake-in procedure was for air cooled. water cooled, drive normal for around 500 miles change oil and go with it.
     
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  15. DaTFranchise_ms3

    DaTFranchise_ms3 Greenie Member

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    Late to the party but here's what I've always done.

    Seating the rings is the most important part of breaking in a motor and 70-80% of ring seat will happen in the first 15-20 minutes of running the motor so it's important to get pressure on the rings as soon as possible.

    Fire the motor for the first time and do a quick leak check, 2-3 minutes tops then shut it off, top off whatever fluids and get ready for a drive, tow strap, few tools and CELL PHONE, have someone ready to come get you and the car if something happens.

    Get her on the road and 1/2-3/4 throttle no boost get up to 4K and get off the gas, you want maximum vacuum on the motor to push the rings into the walls, engine braking. Do this 7-10 times keeping an eye on your temperature, next move the rpm up to around 5k and repeat 1/2 - 3/4 no boost again engine braking to slow the car. Next cross your fingers and give it hell, full throttle to redline with engine braking 3-4 times and your set, get her home and change the oil with conventional and put another 500 miles on it and change again, another 1000 miles and you can go to syn oil.

    The only thing that "breaks in" really is the rings, or cams in certain applications.
     
  16. Chpspd

    Chpspd Greenie Member

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    This is my first break in. I bought the car used so never had to break it in.

    The majority of what I read advocates the slow break in, fluctuating RPM and engine breaking little to no boost. It is very hard to go 1000 miles that way, especially city driving. Shop gave me the car back with 400-500 miles. I put about 25 miles highway today, and just kept shifting gears at a near constant speed and did 1 WOT pull to 15psi (spring pressure) just to see how slow it is (very). I then put another 25 miles on side streets making sure to move the needle all across the rev range.

    Does anybody have hard evidence that a soft break in can reduce the life of your build?

    I read about a subbie build that documented his hard break in. He lost compression by 25k, but I'm sure there are many variables (build quality and tune).
     
  17. VoodooJef

    VoodooJef My friends call me Captain Zen Greenie Member

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    In 27 years of building various performance engines I`ve seen different methods and the reasons behind them. The constant seems to be getting the rings to seat as quickly and efficiently as possible. The mechanics of it are as such: on a new build, the cylinder walls should have their good crosshatch hone, and the rings will be mostly smooth (mostly). The two will rub and "grind in". If you don`t put enough moxy in it, the rings won`t rub hard enough on the cyl walls to actually bed in, you`ll just rub the hone off without actually mating the rings to the wall (think of a dull metal file. Sure it`s worn, but there are still dips and rises in the surface that will never sit flat). The initial idle is to check for big mechanical failures and quality assembly. Once the build quality is established, get to the actual break in with mild boost and lots of vacuum time to really push the rings out and let them grind on the cyl walls to seat good and early. From there (300-500 miles), naturally aspirated engines get an oil change and let `er rip. FI engines get a moderate boost period to ensure the rings are seated well, but avoid high boost because blow by is never good anyway. A thousand miles of moderate driving in all kinds of conditions and it`s as broken in as it`s going to be. (up to this point all on conventional oil, typically a single weight but not a hard and fast rule).

    It`s not so different from the method outlined in the OP. It`s not gospel, either. The foundation of it is pretty universal: get the rings to seal, not score or polish the cylinder walls. Most everything else is directly related to the build quality. The shop where mine is getting built is about an hour from my house. It`ll be more or less broken in when I pick it up, but on the way home I will probably take every third offramp or so, engine braking off and getting into some boost getting back on the freeway.
     
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  18. VTMongoose

    VTMongoose John/MD1032 Gold Member

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    I've always heard the same as has been mentioned in this thread, that ring seating pretty much takes place within 20-50 miles of first crank. However I have always questioned, if this is the case, why OEM's recommend long break-in periods. In particular I believe Subaru recommends like a 1000 mile break-in for their WRX's, which they sell quite a few of. Is this a liability thing in the event of an engine failure or is it because of an actual physical break-in that is taking place?
     
  19. Enki

    Enki Platinum Member

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    The guy that did the balance work on my internals says to beat the shit out of it as soon as possible; since he builds race engines for a living I'm probably just gonna do that.
     
  20. Chpspd

    Chpspd Greenie Member

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    My builder said they put 20psi almost immediately and that the rings should be seated, but he prefers a more moderate break in after that for the bearings and rods.
     
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