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Never ran an engine on a stand, so have a couple of questions. Is it necessary to have anything connected to the back of the crankshaft? Can you run for a short time without any radiator & coolant hooked up, and if so, how long? Thinking about buying one of those cheap Jegs engine stands and giving it a try.
 

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I ran my old 350 for about 20 seconds at a time with no belts or cooling system. Just long enough to show that it starts, runs, and idles when I was trying to sell it. I bolted it to to a wood frame and rigged up wiring for the ignition and starter, and rigged up some mufflers to keep the neighbors from calling the cops.
 

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I used to work for a large engine remanufacturer and part of my job was running engines on a test stand. You will need at least a flywheel on the crank, at least that's probably how you are going to turn it over to start it. We used a generic flywheel connected to an electric motor and clutch, but a backyard dyno could use the standard flywheel, bellhousing, and starter. Now for the coolant side, I would rig up a radiator, along with your water pump, and hoses already mounted on the engine. One of the reasons for temporarily running is to check for leaks, which you can't do without coolant. Plus with the coolant, you can do other things, like break-in, setting timing, carb adjustments, etc, that you can't do while only running for brief time.
Now for running without coolant, I've got some stories for that:D. Like the other guys said, 20 sec is no problem... I've gone about 90 seconds on some tractor engines that would require a lot to button up, and I just wanted to check things out. At the remanufacturer I worked for, I had seen engines run as much as 15 minutes without coolant, and when torn down, we didn't see any damage. Granted this was at only 1100 rpm for that 15 minutes, but it does show that they can take some heat. THIS ISN'T RECOMMENDED THOUGH.....
 

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I've run bunches for a minute or so. I wouldn't go much longer though.

Did a little 305 once that I didn't really care about, and ran it about 3-4 minutes even revved it some. When I shut it off I could hear pieces complaining. It lived though.
 
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