Let’s face it, no matter how much science is involved with any process, there will always be people who have their special way of doing things that may be rooted more in belief than fact. Whether it’s honing a cylinder or breaking in an engine, we’ve heard of some pretty “out-there” practices. So whenever true professionals have a discussion on such a topic, we close our mouths and open our ears.
This particular discussion comes by way of EPARTRADE’s weekly webinar, Race Industry Now, with guest speakers Kyle Wolf of VP Racing Fuels and Davin Reckow, who you might recognize from the Hagerty Redline Rebuild series that we are so fond of. With VP Racing offering a full line of lubricants — and specifically break-in oils — they have a unique outlook on the process. Reckow has rebuilt such a wide variety of engines in the course of producing Redline Rebuild, as well as his 18 years as a mechanical engineer in the automotive field, he too brings a very varied outlook on breaking-in engines.
“Anyone who is putting an engine together in their home shop, is going through the painstaking process of making sure all of your parts fit, your clearances are good, and everything is assembled properly, the last thing you want to do is start it up and have to duck parts as they exit the engine,” laughs Reckow, as he explains the importance of a proper break-in process. “For me, the absolute most stressful time is checking clearances and then the break-in, since that’s where you are proving out everything.”
Reckow breaks down what is actually occurring (and what isn’t occurring) during the break-in process, from a mechanical standpoint. He also differentiates between breaking in a flat-tappet camshaft and breaking in the piston rings, which is often a source of confusion. He also touches on the differences between a break-in oil and regular oil.
Wolf then takes over the oil discussion, explaining the intricacies between the two types of engine oil. “[For break-in] you want something that allows wear. You need to allow these components to seat together, and function together at 7,000 rpm,” explains Wolf. “Our particular break-in oil has 840 parts-per-million of Zinc and about 1,235 parts-per-million of Phosphorous. Too much Zinc in the oil can actually prevent the seating of the rings.”
Wolf then goes on to explain the chemistry, as well as the “why” of the VP Racing break-in oil as compared to a standard engine oil. The issue of engine RPM is also discussed, which is an area where myths and flat-out bad advice abound. Once again the two guests offer solid advice that acknowledges the different scenarios and where some of the misinformation comes from.
This trend continues on a variety of topics for the entirety of the video’s 51-minute duration and is well worth the time investment. So, block out an hour of your schedule, kick off your shoes, and open your mind as you listen to a great discussion from some folks with real-world experiences.