New Engine Break-In Method Turns Down Heat, Reduces Wear

Engine break-in recommendations haven’t changed much over the decades. Changes in oil additives have contributed to new products that have been engineered to compensate, but the process itself has stayed the same…until now. Comp Cams now says that independent testing has revealed a better way. A new heat-cycling method reduces oil temperatures during break-in and allows parts to bed together slowly.

Previously the method was to get the engine started quickly and run it at 1,500 to 2,000 RPM for about 30-minutes. Quick starts reduced the rotation of components, especially the camshaft and lifters, without critical splash oiling. Running the engine for half-an-hour gave the parts time to bed together and seat. One concern with this method is oil temperature.

Comp states that independent testing conducted on engines running stamped steel rocker arms, in an effort to keep them cool, has developed an engine break-in method using a heat-cycling process. The new method introduces components together under high load and low temperatures. Adcole testing showed a reduction in wear on camshaft lobes when using this process.

New Engine Break-In Procedure

Comp refers to the new procedure as the 10-10-10 method. Here is how it works. The engine is started and run for 10-minutes followed by a 10-minute cool down period. The process is repeated three times total. That makes for a 60-minute process with 30-minutes of run time. Cycling the engine with 10-minute cool downs keeps oil temperatures low and slows down the bedding of engine components.

Top engine builders using high ratio rocker arms and multiple valvespring setups have been performing a similar method by starting with a stock ratio rocker and only the outer spring. After the initial run time, the inner springs are added, the process is repeated and then finally the high ratio rockers are installed. Comp recommends the new heat-cycling process for engine break-in over previous methods. Break-in oils and additives are still recommended.

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About the author

Eric Labore

Eric LaBore's extensive background includes a solid education in automotive and high performance motorsports technology and 10 years of working in the industry. Currently, he is a full-time ASE master technician and advanced engine performance specialist. As a former dyno operator and engine assembler, he is passionate about custom and performance engines.
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