Engine break in - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Engine break in

Just curious. Why does my brand new GM crate motor have break in procedures but my brand new car has no break in procedures?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 12:07 PM
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Re: engine break in

Job security? I believe Owner's Manuals state no WOT, no full loads, nor any trailer towing for the first 500 miles.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 12:11 PM
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Re: engine break in

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Originally Posted by wheezer View Post
Just curious. Why does my brand new GM crate motor have break in procedures but my brand new car has no break in procedures?
what kind of car did you buy that has no break in procedures?

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 12:40 PM
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Thumbs up Re: engine break in

Engine assemblies for use in the final assembly of complete vehciles are test run at end of the engine assembly to check for defects and compliance.
The engine is once again run at the end of final vehicle assembly to test and generate the required FED (and state in some areas, like 'Kalefurnia' ) documentation for emissions requirements to submit to the agencies.
These test cycles, along with the formulation of the oil used in assembly allows for the engine to get a good start in life
The driving and cycling during the delivery and first few drives takes care of the rest.
Hardly anyone reads the manual when they buy a new car anyway ...

Most 'crate' engines are assembled and maybe spun cycled to test for problems, but not fully tested by firing them up and running them in.
You are required to install the needed lubricants and cycle the engine properly to get the best life out of it.
If you don't ... oh well, it will still probably last through the warranty period

BTW - I know you are 'supposed' to take it easy on new cars to help break-in the engine.
But in 1977 I picked up my new 1-ton 4X4 mid-day on a Friday - drove it @4~5 miles to my shop - hooked up to a 9000# three axle race boat trailer and towed it several hundred miles at @70~80 mph to get to a race by morning.
Dam trucks original 350 only lasted @318,000 miles

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 12:54 PM
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Re: Engine break in

That's all?! I'd have complained to the states attorney general about that!

Most people drive their new cars like rentals as soon as they get them. I know I do.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 01:05 PM
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Re: Engine break in

Modern engine piston rings and hone procedures no longer really need a break-in period IMO.

I've always said to run them when they are new like you will run them in the future.

If something in the engine isn't right, babying it for 500 miles won't make it repair itself.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 02:05 PM
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Re: Engine break in

There are a few reasons....

One the rings of today will seat by the time you finish your cam break in in the driveway.

The other reason is that manufacturers at end of production run the motors on a chassis dyno or something similar. They let the car idle for a while then pull it in and do a certain battery of tests to make sure the vehicle was assembled properly and meets requirements, usually after this test the engine is good to go.

You should continue to break in the mechanical parts by varying load and rpm but it isn't to important at this point.

A crate motor will be assembled and turned over but not fired. You are responsible for that meaning you have to seat the rings, get your cam broken in and so on. You can severely damage the rings if you do not get oil on the cylinders during the initial break in.

Manufacturers do not want to put the engine in the hands of the customer to have a customer not follow procedures on break in and bring the vehicle back for smoking and need new rings or worse.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 05:57 PM
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Re: Engine break in

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I've always said to run them when they are new like you will run them in the future.
My break-in cycle exactly.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 06:24 PM
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Re: Engine break in

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The other reason is that manufacturers at end of production run the motors on a chassis dyno or something similar. They let the car idle for a while then pull it in and do a certain battery of tests to make sure the vehicle was assembled properly and meets requirements, usually after this test the engine is good to go.
Modern engine plants quit hot-testing engines ten years ago. Now they're cold-tested, spun at very low rpm by an electric servo-motor on a computerized test stand with about 40 sensors that measure vacuum, pressure, fuel and spark signals, torque required to turn by 1-degree increments, and those criteria are compared to the design parameters stored in memory. The cold-test is so accurate that it can not only tell you if there's a piece of dirt in a bearing, it can also tell you if it's in the upper or lower shell.

In the car assembly plant, there's no special testing; the engine is started for the first time at the end of the line, the car goes into the 2-minute roll-test machine with the machine's computer connected to the car's ALDL plug, and if everything is within the limits stored in memory, the car gets an electronic OK, the test results (including the emission profile) for that car are stored in the computer, and the car is shipped.

Photos below of a typical computerized cold-test stand and the test readout screen.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 07:17 PM
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Re: Engine break in

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Originally Posted by JohnZ View Post
Modern engine plants quit hot-testing engines ten years ago. Now they're cold-tested, spun at very low rpm by an electric servo-motor on a computerized test stand with about 40 sensors that measure vacuum, pressure, fuel and spark signals, torque required to turn by 1-degree increments, and those criteria are compared to the design parameters stored in memory. The cold-test is so accurate that it can not only tell you if there's a piece of dirt in a bearing, it can also tell you if it's in the upper or lower shell.

In the car assembly plant, there's no special testing; the engine is started for the first time at the end of the line, the car goes into the 2-minute roll-test machine with the machine's computer connected to the car's ALDL plug, and if everything is within the limits stored in memory, the car gets an electronic OK, the test results (including the emission profile) for that car are stored in the computer, and the car is shipped.

Photos below of a typical computerized cold-test stand and the test readout screen.
You want to come to work and tell everyone that, because we seem to think that we are getting engine parts from a hot tested engine directly from the plant in Spring Hill, and we are the manufacturer.

Engines are tested cold for correct assembly but all engines are hot tested before a vehicle is released. It is more than a "roll-test" for emissions. Its a pretty brutal test, and the car can be idling for various amounts of time before rolled onto the rollers. When the cars come off production lines they are started rolled up to the test area, turned off or idle depending on the wait. Usually there is a 5-10 min idle time before running DVT to do emissions and power. It is taken through the full range and it is not an easy test for the engine.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 10, 07:49 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Engine break in

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Originally Posted by Radcannon View Post
... all engines are hot tested before a vehicle is released. It is more than a "roll-test" for emissions. Its a pretty brutal test, and the car can be idling for various amounts of time before rolled onto the rollers. When the cars come off production lines they are started rolled up to the test area, turned off or idle depending on the wait. Usually there is a 5-10 min idle time before running DVT to do emissions and power. It is taken through the full range and it is not an easy test for the engine.
Not hard to believe at all to me

Not sure about all the Federal testing requirements - but, the Great State of "Kaulefurnea" has required full emissions testing for all vehicles assembled or sold into the state market since the late 90's.

Falls under Section 43210 of the California Air Resources Board ("CARB") regulations;
"The inspection test is a functional test of the emission control components and systems used on the vehicle to determine whether the emission control system is operating properly. It shall be performed on all passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles subject to
these assembly-line test procedures
... "

So they've been hot roll testing vehicles here and made to sell here for some time now.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 10, 08:00 PM
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Re: Engine break in

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Originally Posted by Vintage 68 View Post
Not sure about all the Federal testing requirements - but, the Great State of "Kaulefurnea" has required full emissions testing for all vehicles assembled or sold into the state market since the late 90's.

Falls under Section 43210 of the California Air Resources Board ("CARB") regulations;
"The inspection test is a functional test of the emission control components and systems used on the vehicle to determine whether the emission control system is operating properly. It shall be performed on all passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles subject to
these assembly-line test procedures
... "

So they've been hot roll testing vehicles here and made to sell here for some time now.
That California test and compliance verification requirement is built into the roll-test machine and computer; all the certification-required emission devices are feedback devices, and report their status to the roll-test computer during the test cycle (note my comment on capture of the vehicle's "emission profile" in my earlier post).

Only a small percentage of California units actually require the full emission test cycle, performed in a fully-equipped environmentally-controlled emission lab, with gas bags and span gases, for statistical verification compliance.

Engine plants still hot-test, but only on a small statistical sample basis for audit purposes; the mainstream process is cold-test only (unless the random audit test uncovers a problem).

I spent my whole 38-year career at this (retired Engine Plant Manager and Assembly Plant Manager).

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 10, 09:14 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Engine break in

I only spent a small amount of time doing California conformance stuff through the late 90's, so I do not understand all the present procedures.

I don't think I made any distinction in engine assembly for hot or cold test runs - but I'll go re-read what I posted ...

Do know that all industrial and marine units are completely hot tested - I have seen quite a few certs for them.
A test cert was furnished for each industrial unit we recieved.
But then you have to realize the huge difference in scale between the production engine units intended for use in a vehicle and the few industrial units, to see how it would be possible on the smaller scale and meet customer expectations.

I will always defer to someone with way more final assembly experience than myself

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 10, 02:30 PM
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Re: Engine break in

Only a small fraction of engines might be hot tested at the engine plant. At the final assembly plant ALL engines are hot tested.

How else would a manufacturer insure proper break in and operation? I am not just talking the engine plant because there are number of plants that are involved in a vehicle build before the engine reaches the customer. Now if you had a replacement engine or a crate engine most likely these will not be hot run.
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