Rebuilt engine running in time? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 13 Old 03-07-11 Thread Starter
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Rebuilt engine running in time?

Ok so the engine is rebuilt MOT has been passed and we are on the road! What is the best advice re "running in" ie, revs, mileage, time for oil change etc.

At the moment I am keeping it under 3500k rpm and have done 250 miles but I am aching to open her up!!

Advice please chaps
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What was changed for the rebuild?
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(Post Link) post #3 of 13 Old 03-07-11 Thread Starter
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16 new valves, head skim, new rings, bores honed and big ends re-shelled.
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I didnt do as complete an overhaul as you, but am currently planning on the following;

keep rev's below 3k
change oil after 500 miles
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Changed oil after 500 and again at 1000 and gently for 1000 miles ... but that only took my two weeks when I was doing 100 miles a day to work and back ...
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all of the above and also remember not to labour the engine as well
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If it was mine, I'd drive it at <3000 rpm for 500 miles and then up to 4000 rpm until 1000 miles.

Change the oil at 500 miles since it will have a load of bits in it (though the filter should be collecting most of the larger stuff).. and then again at 1000. Stick a new filter on it at 1000 miles.

Use a semi-synthetic oil since it will allow the engine parts to bed in. And use an oil for diesels since that has more detergents in it.. useful to dissolve away any disturbed or loosened gum or varnish.

The 1000 mile oil change should be with your favourite oil and a new filter... then drive as normal.


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Have to disagree with using a semi or synthetic oil for running in - the rings probably won't bed properly if you do.

...and there's another whole topic - ring bedding.....

FWIW...have you seen what manufacturers do to new engines on the production lines? I run in new engines using the tried and tested methods that the likes of A.G Bell (the tuning guy, not the telephone one), Guy Croft and many, many others suggest.....using a decent mineral oil (no synthetic), from first start, warm it up by driving it gently (if at all possible - whatever you do, don't let it sit idling for ages), then once warm, load it up a bit to mid revs then let off the throttle and allow it to slow down naturally using engine braking so it can suck some oil up to lubricate the rings, then repeat a few times, then do it all again, gradually increasing load and revs in 4 or 5 steps until you are at WOT and near max revs...then go change the oil and filter for your oil of choice, drive moderately/normally, then at 500 miles change oil & filter again. It will gradually ease out over the next 20k or so, no doubt, but the real work is done very early on....or not at all, and you end up with an engine that uses more oil than it should and doesn't make quite the power it should.

There's a website done by some US bike guy who implies he discovered/invented this method....but it's been around for years...and I guarantee you'll hear many others, inluding the baby it for thousands of miles camp.

...but again, just look at what the OEMs do.....you'll see a certain similarity to what I paraphrased above....


....and none of this is my invention, I claim no credit for anything here. If you don't agree, take it up with the likes of AG Bell and every OEM I've ever seen a program about, showing how they make a car/bike/engine!
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I had to fly in an piston aircraft engine one's and it had to be flown with close to max power for the first few hours, certainly higher power than normal operation.
I always wondered about that, compared to the low engine load approach mostly heard for car engines.
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Agree 100% with ChrisS.

If you take the low rev drive gently approach the engine will not bed in properly.
You can also get special low additive mineral running-in oils but 100% never try to run an engine in on synthetic oil! The best synthetic oils even mention it on the container.
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Ok, so what shall I do now? I have done 500 miles of normal driving, keeping it below 3500 but have occasionally hit 4000, using semi-synthetic. Shall I now do the first oil and filter change but put in a mineral oil or am I too late? Any recommendations on mineral oil if I am not?
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Change oil and filter and just drive it, although do try to be a little considerate to it and make sure you let it get warm before using all the revs. If the rings haven't bedded by now, they probably won't get much better. Do keep a close eye on temperatures too, and ease off if it starts getting overly warm....but at that mileage...I'd say it's good to go.....

Use your oil of choice too, I don't think there's anything to be gained by using a mineral oil at this stage.

All that said, it's likely going to be fine, if not 100% optimal. you might get slightly worse oil consumption than optimum and maybe slightly shorter ring/bore life as well as dirtier oil than perhaps you might....but unless it's smoking like a knacker, then no real harm done. As long as it's running sweetly.
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Thanks Chris, advice much appreciated. On 600 miles, will do an oil change this week but at the moment there is no apparent oil loss
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