[Healeys] oil and run-in on rebuilt engines

editorgary at aol.com editorgary at aol.com
Mon Aug 29 16:26:20 MDT 2016

 Every time this topic climbs back out of the grave and storms down the street, I wonder if we'll ever put a stake in its heart.

There is NOTHING new to see here. The basic goal is very simple. During the first time an engine with flat-tappet cam followers is run in, you are micromachining the cam surface. To do that, you need molydenum and ZDDP to fill in the microscopic indentations and then the oil and filter skim off and capture the microscopic ridges that are worn off the cam by the rubbing of the tappets. Without the Moly and ZDDP, you will instead microweld the tappets to the cam surface, then break them off hundreds of times, ruining the surface of the cam.

So, given that is what you are doing, the process is simple. Coat the cam with Moly -- run-in grease -- and run a break-in oil with a high ZDDP content during the fire-up and first running. You don't need to run as long as 30 minutes at 2,000 rpm, but you certainly shouldn't run any longer. At the end of that time, drain and change the oil (with all the metallic garbage), change the filter and run the car again under reasonable load either on the road for a hundred miles or so (or one or two warm-up sessions on the track) or preferably on a wheel dyno where you can run the car at higher rpm while watching the engine behavior for untoward vibrations, set the timing at high rpm, etc. for another 15-20 minutes.

Then, change the oil and filter again, and from here on out you'll be just fine with regular oil and regular oil changes -- or synthetic if you're racing or drive your car more than 3,000 miles a year.

THAT'S all there is to it. End of Story. Die, zombie oil mythology, die.

Gary Anderson
Editor-in-Chief, The Star Magazine
Former editor, Classic Motorsports and Austin-Healey Magazine
Former Vintage Racer.


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