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Yes I know the cars are still several months away, but I was reading a post that got me thinking about break in as involves a potential long first drive home from an out of state dealer.

My system for every car has always been this...

Gentle acceleration and braking for 1st 1000 miles. No full throttle starts and no more than 60% of way to redline. No constant cruise RPM on highway, vary speed between 55 and 75 MPH.

At 1000 miles change oil and start normal harder driving but still avoid redline for another 500 miles, then go for it. I have heard vastly different ideas, but my system has resulted in long lasting trouble free cars so I stick with it. What system do you guys use ?


Steve
 

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It depends. Most engines now are actually fully broken in at the plant. They put together the engines, put in a special oil that is designed for breakin, and spin it for 24+hrs. The oil is then drained, filtered and reused.

The running without combustion mates all of the surfaces completely in the factory for cold running. Then all of the valves etc are adjusted.

At this point the engine is thrown into the car, and the whole car is put on a rolling road dyno. The car runs through a simulated course, putting 40 or so miles on the vehicle with varying load. I dont know if they change the oil at that point or not.

Then they put it on a boat, it gets here, the dealer revs it up to redline from a cold start and drives it around the block at astonishing speed for a few close friends, and then gives you your new car ;)

IMO, you are NOT doing engine breakin when you get the car, you are doing tranny/clutch breakin. The full range of rpms should be available, but I would personally keep the throttle to a minimum for a bit.

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If you don't rev it over 6000 then you wont "run in" the high cams at all!
I'll run it in the same way I have with my others, red line it every day, but only after the oil is hot.
 

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scot said:

Then they put it on a boat, it gets here, the dealer revs it up to redline from a cold start and drives it around the block at astonishing speed for a few close friends, and then gives you your new car ;)

Scot
That would be funny in a messed up kind of way.
 

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As someone else hinted at, the car doesn't have zero miles when you get it, so who knows how carefully those miles were driven...and hence, any breakin efforts may be futile.

My technique is to baby the clutch and brakes, yet use plenty of full throttle acceleration, especially when first getting behind the wheel. However, I keep the revs low - max around 3500 or so, for 1000 miles. Then, an oil and filter change, and go have some fun.

One note though - some say that babying the brakes is not the best way to break them in. Rather, they should be gently heated up, then allowed to cool, and the process repeated - warming them up to a higher temperature each time (ie, stopping from higher and higher speeds).
 

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Whenever I put a new set of brakes on I always bed them in. There are many FAQs on how to do this, but basically, I make several controlled stops from 60 or so down to about 5 (no complete stops). I repeat it until I can actually smell them, that's how you know you're done. Then I take a 5 to 10 mile drive at highway speeds to cool things off. I have never had a problem with this process and pad life seems to be quite good given my spirited driving habits.
 

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My technique is to baby the clutch and brakes, yet use plenty of full throttle acceleration, especially when first getting behind the wheel. However, I keep the revs low - max around 3500 or so, for 1000 miles. Then, an oil and filter change, and go have some fun.



I hate to say it, but this is exactly what the factory does not want you to do. Lower rpms can cause the engine to "lug" especially when under high power demand. It also generates large amounts of heat, very very rapidly in the engine. High RPMs do NOT generate increasing amounts of load on the clutch or other friction surfaces, but high loading definitely does. I would suggest changing this process for a high rpm low load style...

(High rpm and high load is really not good though, which is why they put rpm limits in the manual... If you read the Ducati breakin manual, it suggests going under some arbitrary rpm limit, then a few other things. After that it says "Or ride briskly through the mountains on curvy roads. Vary load and rpms."

I like that as a breakin process more :D
 

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scot said:
I hate to say it, but this is exactly what the factory does not want you to do. Lower rpms can cause the engine to "lug" especially when under high power demand. It also generates large amounts of heat, very very rapidly in the engine. High RPMs do NOT generate increasing amounts of load on the clutch or other friction surfaces, but high loading definitely does. I would suggest changing this process for a high rpm low load style...
I was basing that break-in style on something I had read, about requiring that in order to properly seat the rings. Your arguments against it do make sense though. I wish car companies would have a recommended procedure in the owners manuals. Or, maybe the lack thereof means this really isn't a big concern after all?
 

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MattG said:
...I wish car companies would have a recommended procedure in the owners manuals.
My Mini, M3, 911 and Ducatis all detailed break-in procedures in the owner's manual. I followed them. But to each his own...

Does Lotus make any such recommendations in their manuals?
 

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MattG said:
I wish car companies would have a recommended procedure in the owners manuals.
Subaru has them, too (1000 miles under 4000rpm), I thought that every car did. I'll just follow what is recommended in the manual. With all the conflicting theories that are around, the procedure suggested by the engineers who built the engine seems as good as anything.
 

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The question about break-ins is has anybody ever heard a mechanic say:

"The problem you're having with your engine is because it was not properly broken in."

I never had, and I would bet that almost no mechanic could tell the difference between a properly and improperly broken in car. I think the only thing that really matters are the early (1000 mile) oil changes.

Are there any concrete facts that improper break-in could lead to loss of performance, reduced reliability, or shorter engine life? What else could possibly happen?

Steve
 

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Rings and valves/valve seats/valve guides are broken in at the factory. thats why they spin the engines without load.

then they finish seating them by driving the car (without user intervention) on a rolling road chassis dyno.

So no worries there. The rest of the breakin is to get everything used to the heat, so its time to drive!
 

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slacy said:
The question about break-ins is has anybody ever heard a mechanic say:

"The problem you're having with your engine is because it was not properly broken in."

I never had, and I would bet that almost no mechanic could tell the difference between a properly and improperly broken in car.
Er, not so much. I read a Viper buyer's guide a while back that noted that a rather large number of Vipers have had serious ring problems due to overly harsh break-in. I've also seen countless instances over the years where someone dynos a car that's been a "press car" for a couple of months, and noted that the power is significantly lower than cars of the same model that weren't flogged mercilessly from day one.

The only concrete example I can lay my hands on right now is a test of a Mitsubishi Evo VII in the July 2003 issue of Sport Compact Car. Whereas a "healthy" stock Evo7 can pull a 13.4 @ 103, this car, a movie car with 173 miles on the odo and bone-stock except for cosmetic changes, could only do 15.3 @ 88. While the ugly bodykit is probably to blame for maybe .25 to .50 sec, the rest is likely the fact that it got run pretty hard during filming.
 

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slacy said:
I think the only thing that really matters are the early (1000 mile) oil changes.
I agree...and yet our 2003 Jetta (1.8T) says nothing of this, recommending the first oil change be done at 5000 miles!
 

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AutoXJunkie said:
The only concrete example I can lay my hands on right now is a test of a Mitsubishi Evo VII in the July 2003 issue of Sport Compact Car. Whereas a "healthy" stock Evo7 can pull a 13.4 @ 103, this car, a movie car with 173 miles on the odo and bone-stock except for cosmetic changes, could only do 15.3 @ 88. [/B]
Frankly, I'd suspect some other simple mechanical failure, like a burnt out clutch, or a turbo hose or clamp thats come off or loose, or some other "catastrophic" failure. (busted O2 sensor, some ECU problem, etc.) I wonder if the "Check Engine" light was on. :) I can't imagine that in 173 miles that much damage could be done to a car! Even racing engines that essentially destroy themselves after about that many miles would still be pulling strong. I've got to think that a factory engine is at least that rugged. :)

Steve
 
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