Engine start up information for rebuilt engines

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This page will help you start-up your newly rebuilt engine.

RPM - Ron's Precision Machine, Inc.

Engine Start-up

Engine start-up and the first few hours is probably the most critical time for your engine to survive a long healthy life! Every engine needs what is called an engine break-in procedure. Remember, do not tow heavy loads, or pull steep hills until your engine is fully broken in. If possible after your first and second oil and filter changes.

When your engine was first taken out of your vehicle, some things should have been marked so they can go back in the same way. These things include, but are not limited to, marking all vacuum lines, all grounds, distributor timing, spark plug wires, brackets and spacers, timing belt and gears and marks, hood placement, etc., etc., etc. All engine support systems have to be in good operational condition! A bad water pump for example could cause engine overheating. Make sure you install a new one and any other components that needs to be replaced. Remember, when your vehicle was new, all the rest of everything under your hood was new too. You will need new spark plugs, cap and rotor, possibly spark plug wires, air filter, pcv valve, thermostat, oxygen sensor (if computer controlled), etc. Be sure your radiator is in really good condition.

A timing light needs to be hooked (in most cases) to number 1 spark plug wire before engine start-up, total timing checked, so you don't do damage to your new engine. Your engine needs to be primed with oil before engine start-up.

Have someone sitting in drivers seat at all times on engine start-up, monitoring water temperature, oil pressure, and rpm. It is critical that the engine never idles for the first half hour! You could get a flat camshaft, seized wrist pins, spun engine bearings, and sever engine damage if you let it idle for any reason.

On non computer cars, ignition timing should be approx. 22-25 degrees timing @ 1800 rpms. Less at lower rpm.

Start the engine and bring rpm up to 1200-1300 rpm until water temperature just begins to rise. It is a good idea to leave your radiator cap off until your thermostat opens and water starts to circulate. Add coolant to bring coolant level up when the air locks circulate to radiator. Have some coolant mix ready to add to the radiator when this happens.Watch your timing mark to make sure you are between 15-25 degrees. As soon as your water temperature just starts to rise, bring rpm up to 1800 rpm, and check ignition timing to make sure you are approx. 22-25 degrees timing for engine break-in. Run the engine at 1800 rpm for at least half an hour, making sure someone is monitoring oil pressure and water temperature at all times! After your half hour or more break-in, bring engine up to 3000 rpm and check total timing. Most engines need to be between 32-38 degrees total timing. Bring engine to idle and quickly check initial timing. Time to factory specs. You can give a little bit more timing at idle for higher elevations, but total timing cannot be too much or engine damage can occur. You may have to have your distributor re-curved if the timing curve is not correct. Most non-computer vehicles need about 8 to 12 degrees at idle, and 32 to 38 degrees total timing.

If your car is computer controlled, then you will have to follow instructions for your particular vehicle to do the ignition timing, but rpm is followed in the same manor as above.

After engine break-in, turn engine off and let it cool. After it has cooled down, check for leaks (oil and water), check your oil for discoloration and level, and check your coolant level.

If everything looks and sounds OK, then take it out for a test drive. Still don't let the engine idle for any length of time. If you get stuck in traffic, or at a long light, then place car in neutral or park and bring rpm up slightly until you are ready to proceed.

Take your vehicle someplace where you can drive between 30 and 65 mph. Take vehicle up to 65 mph then let completely off the gas and let vehicle come down to approx. 30 mph. Do this about 10 times to help your rings seat. Do not beat your new engine! Just drive normal. Do not take engine above 4000 rpm, and do not pull any heavy loads for the first 2 oil and filter changes. Your first oil and filter change should be done at or before 500 miles. Preferably right away. Remember that everything in that new engine has to wear-in, and all that wear-in metal needs to get out of the system. Your second oil and filter change should be done approx. 1500 miles after your first one was done. Then every 2500-3000 increments for the rest of its life.

You should also check under your vehicle for the first two weeks for any leaks, and check your oil and coolant levels daily for the first two weeks.

That should do it! Happy motoring!

69 E. 580 N.
Santaquin, Utah 84655
1-801-754-5338 or Toll free 1-866-700-5877

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