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JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
2/10/19 9:37 a.m.

Blueprint Engines sends out break-in recommendations for their motors.

They recommend a high-zinc, high-phosphorous SAE 30 dino break in oil for the first 500 miles, varying the speeds and keeping the revs down.  That doesn't sound unusual.

Then they say don't use synthetic for the first 6,000 miles?  What's up with that? 

This is for a track car.  6,000 miles is probably the life of the motor!

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
2/10/19 9:43 a.m.

That is kind of the old school thought in breaking in engines.  Some think the rings won’t break in properly with synthetics.  Doesn’t explain why some new cars come with synthetic in the sump.  

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/10/19 9:53 a.m.

The idea is that synthetic oil has too much lubricity for the rings to break in.

 

OEMs get away with this by having better honing capability than most rebuilders can/will accomplish.  That and people are being told to accept brand new cars that burn a quart every 3000 or so.  (Remember the oil burning problems in the LS6?  They wouldn't repair the engines under warranty unless it was documented to be more than a quart in 200 miles.  200, with two zeros)

 

I have seen engines in the field (not worn out, but not new) start to burn oil on a life on synthetics, and a change to standard oil would dry them up again after a few thousand miles.  Synthetic can then be run again.

 

I know, I know, the Internet and all.  I can only report on what I've seen, and I accept that to everyone else I'm just some guy on the Internet.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltraDork
2/10/19 9:57 a.m.
spitfirebill said:

That is kind of the old school thought in breaking in engines.  Some think the rings won’t break in properly with synthetics.  Doesn’t explain why some new cars come with synthetic in the sump.  

Manufacturing process is a lot more precise than rebuilding.  

With regard a motor intended for racing.  The stones in the home need to be much finer then is normal if synthetic is intended.  Then it’s a delicate balance of sufficient pressure on the stones versus fine grit.  

I really appreciate the advantages synthetics offer for racing, but I admit it was a learning process on getting the rings to seat. I still do assembly with non detergent high zinc oils and switch after the dyno session  to synthetics. 

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
2/10/19 10:06 a.m.

I wonder whether the duration of the oil could be scaled for the life of the engine in track duty? That is, does one track day do an awful lot more to seat the rings than an equivalent mileage on the street? Could this application be a matter of "two track days on traditional before switching to synthetic?"

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
2/10/19 10:26 a.m.

The "Internet oil thing" is a very weird place, and I appreciate I'm tempting fate here.  Thanks everybody for keeping us between the ditches on this conversation.

The car is streetable enough that I can do a 500-mile break-in before I track it, at least.  Eight laps of the DC beltway, right?

I guess the best thing after that is stick to dino, and change it after each weekend if I bake it?

The previous motor was refreshed by the P.O. with new bearings and head work but no trip to the machine shop or new rings.  It was a beauty on the street, but on track the ring seal wasn't up to snuff at high rpms.  Plenty of power but the oil would get hot, like 230-250.

I'm scared to run dino at those temps very long.  Is that just me?  

I'm also hoping I don't hit those oil temps with a rebuilt motor.  That would be nice.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
2/10/19 10:55 a.m.

Oil temps sound a bit much for regular oil so I'd agree, having synthetic is probably a better idea.

I'm also wondering how much of that "non-rarified dinos only" part is for warranty purposes. I'd kinda expect track use to do something to a rebuilder's warranty...

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
2/10/19 10:56 a.m.

230-250F oil isn't bad for a track car without an oil cooler. When it goes over 250F is where you should start worrying.

If it does have an oil cooler, that's still not a terrible operating temperature range, but you could use a bigger cooler to get it down in the 220F~240F range.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/10/19 11:08 a.m.
Ransom said:

I wonder whether the duration of the oil could be scaled for the life of the engine in track duty? That is, does one track day do an awful lot more to seat the rings than an equivalent mileage on the street? Could this application be a matter of "two track days on traditional before switching to synthetic?"

Judging by the amount of blowby coming from the valve cover, when I had the opportunity to break in and tune a Pontiac 389 on an engine dyno, it took about four pulls before the blowby hit its minimum.

 

Take of that what you will.  Good honing technique with a Sunnen CK10 and the latest fancy stones/brushes, and Brad Penn 30w break-in oil.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
2/10/19 12:01 p.m.

I would be far more concerned with keeping the bearings in it than I would be by a bit of oil consumption and blowby, which would be minimal, anyway, if the thing was screwed together properly.

If it has a flat tappet cam, run the 30 weight for a breakin, and don't let it idle for more than a few seconds at a time.  Then switch to a synthetic with a good extreme pressure/high shear rating and go racing.  If it has rollers, pour the synthetic in it and go nuts.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
2/11/19 8:13 a.m.

Personally, I don't believe in straight weight oils for any purpose (there's never a disadvantage to faster startup flow and there are plenty of adequate multi-grades at this point) and the "no synth for break-in" is a bunch of BS IMO.  The only good reason not to use synth for break-in is because you probably won't get it hot enough or run it for long enough for synth to provide any advantage, so might as well save a few $$$.  

If it's flat-tappet, definitely break it in with a high ZDDP oil (synth or otherwise).  When you first start it, bring it right to 2500 RPM as soon as it fires and shows oil pressure and then keep it between 2000 and 3000 for a good 20 - 30 minutes unless it gets hot or has an oil pressure issue.  

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
2/11/19 8:18 a.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

you've clearly gotten used to modern manufacturing.  Where engines come out of the factory pre-broken in.

The whole break in procedure thing for every engine went away when OEM's figured out what that actually meant, and designed that into the manufacturing.  Break in is very real- where all of the microscopic marks need to be pointed in the right direction, on a micro level, to work the best.  Which really does mean that you don't want the best of the best lube when breaking in.

aw614
aw614 Reader
2/11/19 9:29 a.m.

I've been wondering if I made the mistake to switch the synthetic after around 500 miles on my rebuilt motor for my Integra or I screwed up the break-in process, the thing burns oil like my old 144k mile motor did (which was manageable for regular driving, but always worse when I do autocross events and lived on the limiter a ton). My rough estimate is I would use a 1/4 of a quart at around every 300 miles if that involved 1-3 autocross events on both motors. The only difference is the car has 50 or more hp now. 

I had all sorts of weird issues that I think it hurt my break-in process. VTEC did not work due to a wiring harness issue, same with the car having idle issues due using the wrong plug on the IACV, my rear main seal and oil pump was leaking oil, and I was also leaking coolant while it was being bled. Once those issues were addressed, I was able to drive the car normally and get on it every so often. 

Thinking of going back to dyno oil, motor put good compression and made around the expected power on the dyno. 

 

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
2/11/19 10:17 a.m.
GameboyRMH said:

230-250F oil isn't bad for a track car without an oil cooler. When it goes over 250F is where you should start worrying.

If it does have an oil cooler, that's still not a terrible operating temperature range, but you could use a bigger cooler to get it down in the 220F~240F range.

I hear you.  I put a cooler on it after the first draft of the car was breaking the 250 barrier.  Since this is a motor swap E36, space and layout are limited so I don't really have room to go bigger.

I think I'm going to break it in the old school way with high-zinc for 500 miles.  Yes it's a roller cam, but it can't hurt my cats ('cause there aren't any), and I already bought half a case of it.  After that I'll try running it on track with dino, and see where the temps go.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
2/11/19 11:06 a.m.

When I'm breaking in an engine, I use standard oil, but not for any reason except the fact that I change it very frequently for the first 5000 when there is a higher risk of machining leftovers.  I just don't want to waste money.

Use whatever you want, but change it frequently for a while.

If you have flat-tappet lifters, the high zinc and phosphorus is critical for proper cam break in.  When you first start it (if it's flat tappet lifters) just leave it at a high idle for 20 minutes.  Cams rely on splash from the crank for lube and idle isn't enough for break-in.

If it has roller lifters, the zinc and phosphorus is not necessary but they probably recommend it for an extra measure of reducing warranty claims.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
2/11/19 11:08 a.m.

Might also help to know what engine it is....  I can get more specific if I know.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
2/11/19 1:06 p.m.

You could call Blueprint Engines and ask them why, I suppose.

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
2/11/19 4:23 p.m.

In reply to Curtis :

Thanks Curtis.  Its a 347; Blueprint Engines sells them off the rack with machined 302 roller blocks, so they're kind of the Easy button.  About 10:1 compression, .543/.544, 112 degrees.

djsilver
djsilver Reader
2/11/19 10:11 p.m.

I remember reading about engine rebuilding and break in before I was old enough to drive a car (before synthetic oil was even available).  Back then the recommendation was to use a low ash, non-detergent mineral oil.  The explanation was that it would seat the rings better.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/11/19 10:20 p.m.

In reply to djsilver :

You want non detergent oil because break-in is, or at least SHOULD be, the one time in the engine's life when it's going to be putting a lot of crud in the oil.  You don't want that stuff to stay suspended in the oil, you want it to fall out of suspension so it doesn't keep circulating everywhere, and you have a fair chance of getting it all out when you change the oil after break-in.

 

Probably not so much a problem anymore if the cylinders are honed well, good rings are used, and everything is cleaned WELL before assembly, not just "Well...".  Do all that and you will have minimal junk in the oil.  Run the engine in, cut the filter open to check for excessive debris (or just pull and inspect if you have a cartridge filter, and reuse if okay if you are cheap like me) and keep on truckin' until compression and oil consumption seems to stabilize.  Then treat it like any other engine.

 

Trivia:  David Vizard made a rig that was basically an engine block with a crank, a 2" extended connecting rod, and a piston with a big hole in the dome.  The wristpin extended above the bore.  It was a ring break-in machine.  The extended rod was so you could install the piston (upside-down) without removing the rod.  Made sure the rings were perfectly circular before they went into the engine.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
2/12/19 7:52 a.m.

There is no reason to EVER run a non-detergent oil and let crap build in the pan and other lower flow areas (especially being that a later fill of detergent oil may pick some of it back up anyway).  Just run a good filter and it'll catch any debris big enough to worry about during break-in, and then the rest of the smaller stuff will come out with the first oil change.  

rdcyclist
rdcyclist Reader
2/12/19 12:36 p.m.

Lessee:

February. Check.

Colder than Berk over most of the North American continent. Check.

Oil thread. Check.

This thread is approved for the season.

rdcyclist
rdcyclist Reader
2/12/19 12:56 p.m.

Since I'm an old guy and have been building engines for a long time, I always start with a non-detergent 30 weight for start, initial check and first break-in. This oil is in the engine for about 5-10 minutes; enough to make sure we've got no leaks or stupid noises and get the engine warm. That oil gets replaced with another batch of non-det 30 weight along with the filter. The engine gets warmed up and driven up and down a nearby hill hard several times to seat the rings. I usually drive it around for 50-100 miles, then change that oil and filter for the "correct" weight dino detergent oil for a coupla thousand miles upon which we start running the synthetic.

An aircraft engine mechanic suggested to me years ago, that loading the engine shortly after start up will help seat the rings quickly as that's what they do with all of their rebuilds. Like R-R Merlins and Allisons as well as Lycomings and Continentals.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know don't do this and don't do that but it's always worked for me and my motors don't burn oil and seem to last a long time. In fact, I've never had to rebuild an engine I've rebuilt and some of them have over 200k on 'em.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
2/13/19 10:11 p.m.
rdcyclist said:

Lessee:

February. Check.

Colder than Berk over most of the North American continent. Check.

Oil thread. Check.

This thread is approved for the season.

I disagree. I think we should be running a lighter-weight topic this time of year.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/20/20 11:34 a.m.

In reply to Jakinko :

For that kind of engine, whatever was put in for the previous 300k.  It got it that far, so it will keep going.

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