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K Series Break-In Procedure


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I'm about to install a fully overhauled K Series (1.8 VVC EU3).

It's had the works. In particular it's had new piston rings and bearings throughout so will need breaking in properly.

I have some Millers Competition Running Oil 10W-40 which I intend to use for the first fill. Beyond that I'm not too sure of the correct procedure. I understand that the general opinion seems to be to load it up from the outset to get pressure behind the rings during the first few critical miles, working it hard over a wide range of engine speeds with lots of acceleration, without labouring or over-revving.

Normally I would get the oil temperature up before pushing the engine, however this can take quite a few miles. In this particular case, is this counterproductive and should I just start working it from the start?

Obviously I would like to make sure it is cooling correctly without airlock problems or leaks before setting off. I will stick to local loops not far from home to start with until I have some confidence in it, but am I doing any harm idling it for a bit to make sure it's basically OK before setting off?

Any advice (on any aspect of the break-in procedure) gratefully accepted.



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Mine was a rebuilt 1800 K, standard except for a few stronger bits, new cams:

  • Cam Shield
  • Miller's Running In Engine Oil
  • Keep it over 2,000 rpm for first 20 minutes
  • Running in for 500 miles: no slogging
  • ​Service and change to ordinary oil at 500 miles
  • Another 500 miles of running-in, no slogging, with gradual increase in maximum speed
  • ​Recommended rolling road session after 1,000 miles

Seems to have turned out fine.


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With my R500, the advice from Minister was very simple. "We build race engines. Do you see race drivers trundling around circuits breaking their engines in? Just go for it - you will be fine". I never could quite bring myself to do that, but I did take away the message that it doesn't really matter all that much these days.

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10 mins of 2k ish to bed the cams in , this will get the engine up to temp, check for leaks, and assuming you have a half decent map find a quiet stretch of road and give it full beans up to the limit in 2nd gear, then lift and coast to about 2.5K.

Repeat this a dozen times then drive hard throughout the FULL range of rpm for 200 miles.

Then change to your oil of choice and map as required.

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My engine is a mechanically standard VVC 160 on MEMS3 ECU with a Z&F off-the-shelf mapping that always ran it very well, so I'm confident that the mapping will be fine for breaking it in and I'm not planning a rolling session unless I decide to make changes in the future.

I've now received a few suggested break in procedures and although they differ in the details, the important features seem to be common:

  • Use a break-in oil like Millers. Absolutely no synthetics.
  • 2000rpm for 10 / 20 minutes to bed in the cams whilst warming up on the road. My cams and followers are the originals although everything has been apart and the lobes and followers polished up a bit so I will run them in as though they had been replaced.
  • Repeated runs through the rev range, alternating between full power and engine braking.
  • No labouring in low revs. Avoid idling and just pottering along.
  • Oil and filter changes after (20 + 250) / 200 / 250 miles (depending on who you listen to).

Thanks all. Engine should be going into the car on Thursday, and I've got Friday off work so will hopefully get it out on the road (weather permitting). I'll let you know how I get on.

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Well I got the engine installed on Thursday and fired it up. Ran a bit rough at first until the hydraulic lifters settled down but I took it out for a run. Gave it about 15 minutes at 2000rpm to let it warm up and settle down, by which time it was running quite nicely, then opened it up flat out in 2nd right up to the rev limiter and coasting back down. Repeated about 15 times, then drove hard on the way home. It felt and sounded happy. I guess only time will tell if I did it right! No DTCs logged, no leaks, temperature stable and good oil pressure. All looking good so far. I'm a happy bunny. Thanks for all the input as always.
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