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First startup and initial break-in

Engine Building Fundamentals

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Discussion and questions related to the course Engine Building Fundamentals

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First time engine builder, so forgive my ignorance here. I just want to get it all right on the first try.

In the course, Andre is saying for the first startup to crank the engine for up to 60 seconds to get the oil pressure up, and then for another 60 seconds to make sure it's fully flowing throughout the engine, and only then actually start the engine. So we're cranking for up to 2 minutes before we actually try to start the engine.

That makes total sense to me.

However, my camshaft manufacturer has a set of rules for the initial startup, one rule is: "The engine must start instantly and must not be subjected to a long grind on the starter motor.". Failure to follow their instructions could instantly and permanently damage the cams they say.

What are your thoughts on this, and how would you reconcile these conflicting instructions?

What engine is it? General comments...

If it's an older american domestic pushrod V8, as I suspect from the manufacturer's directive, they rely on splash lubrication of the camshaft-lifter interface. They normally have the oil pump drive off the camshaft via the distributor drive, and there are special priming tools available for most of them which are driven by an electric drill. Normal practice would be to prime with the valve covers off to ensure oil is getting to the top end.

Most modern OHC engines actually use the pressurised oil supply to supply oil directly to the camshaft and follower. If so, it should be perfectly fine being initially cranked to ensure oil pressure before actually starting the engine.

Either way, you should use an anti-scuff lubricant on the camshaft lobes (usually provided with camshaft, but if you don't have some a good smear of CV, or high moly', grease should work), ensure the battery is fully charged, and the spark plugs are removed (might need to pull injector and/or coil fuses or connections) to ensure the engine turns over as quickly as practical to get the pressure ASAP and as high as practical.

Yeah the cam instructions are generic, not specific to my engine. So it sounds like that rule might not be applicable to me.

Engine is a Ford Duratec HE 2.3l

DOHC, solid lifter design. Oil pump is driven by the timing chain inside the engine, no way to spin it with a drill for initial pressure.