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Old 04-12-2010   #1
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Running in an engine

Today i couldn't resist myself and i hit the gas hard a couple of times on my brand new abarth reaching 4000 rpm and then changing gear. It has 160 miles on the clock and with all these information about the proper way to break in an engine i feel a bit worried. Will this have a negative effect on my engine in the long run or should i just stop worry? The manual says that excessive use of the car during the first period of use should be avoided. Thanks
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Old 04-12-2010   #2
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Re: Running in an engine

It's your car, so it's your choice. This is 2010, not 1965, engines are very tough and durable these days, and have various electronic limiters to prevent such damage. Dealers will tell you it's safe to drive it like you stole it from day one, but it really is your choice. Most owners i speak too have done just that, and had no problems at all. Just make sure the engine is warmed up fully, then off you go! Have fun!

And for the record, I've had a few faults with mine, but the engine is rock solid, not even a warning light in 25,000 miles, and it has a pretty hard life here in Wales!
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Old 05-12-2010   #3
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by DraigFlag87 View Post
It's your car, so it's your choice. This is 2010, not 1965, engines are very tough and durable these days, and have various electronic limiters to prevent such damage. Dealers will tell you it's safe to drive it like you stole it from day one, but it really is your choice. Most owners i speak too have done just that, and had no problems at all. Just make sure the engine is warmed up fully, then off you go! Have fun!

And for the record, I've had a few faults with mine, but the engine is rock solid, not even a warning light in 25,000 miles, and it has a pretty hard life here in Wales!
Thanks Draigflag! The temp. gauge was half way before i give it some pressure. I've seen from your videos that you're using your car to it's full potential for sure. Did you drive it like that from day 1?
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Old 05-12-2010   #4
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by iraklas View Post
Thanks Draigflag! The temp. gauge was half way before i give it some pressure. I've seen from your videos that you're using your car to it's full potential for sure. Did you drive it like that from day 1?
Yes and no really. I didn't really rev it very hard for around 1000 miles, there's not really any point in revving this engine that hard as peak torque is achieved at mid range, anything after that and the torque starts to fade. I rarely see the "SHIFT UP" light come on at all.

Some dealers also say that the engine is electronically limited for the first 1000 miles too, not sure how true that is, you would have to check with them.
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Old 05-12-2010   #5
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Re: Running in an engine

My rules for running in are to keep it sensible for the first 1000 miles let it rev if it wants to but avaoid full throttle but likewise dont labour the engine. Sticking to set revs is IMO pointless as the car needs to use different revs to run everything in. Ive used this right back to running in Bikes in the 70's & never had a problem or an engine that subsequently used oil.

Biggest rule not only when running in is always let the car warm up & its oil temps that matters, the temp gauge reads water temp & oil will lag well behind. One one of our cars we have the benefit an oil temp read out & the time for the oil temp to get to a reosnable level is roughly twice as long as it takes for the water temp to hit normal. On cold mornings it hasnt even registered an oil temp by the time the water temp is normal meaning its less than 50 deg. On the zed I have oil pressure & again it takes roughly twice as long for the pressure to drop to normal as it does for the water temp to hit normal
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Old 05-12-2010   #6
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Re: Running in an engine

Thank you guys for your replies. So, bearing in mind that the car was not fully warm as it had been running for 6-7 minutes before applying full throttle is there any chance that the engine has suffered any damage or is this a reason for future reliability problems and/or excessive oil consumption? I plan to keep the car forever since i want to use it as a daily commuter and a hope that someday will be an antique
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Old 06-12-2010   #7
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by iraklas View Post
Thank you guys for your replies. So, bearing in mind that the car was not fully warm as it had been running for 6-7 minutes before applying full throttle is there any chance that the engine has suffered any damage or is this a reason for future reliability problems and/or excessive oil consumption? I plan to keep the car forever since i want to use it as a daily commuter and a hope that someday will be an antique
I would have said no but just let it warm up first every time you drive it.
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Old 07-12-2010   #8
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Re: Running in an engine

there are lot of theorys about running in but I personally use the way its done in motorsport.

rag it from the start!

going to easy on the engine during the first few miles can leave a TINY step on the top of the cylinder where the top piston ring wont go... but at high rpms the conrod will actually stretch and hitting this tiny lip at high speed can crack the top ring.

ALSO remember its high rpms rather then load that cause most the problems. full throttle at low rpms and high loads wont do any harm.
I never drive like a granny when my car is cold. I let it idle for about 60seconds (to be sure my turbo is fully lubed up)
I then drive the car with high load... so pull away keeping revs low and driving it highest gear possible. the high load causes the engine and more importantly the oil to heat up quicker.



ALSO



bare in mind that when fiat made your engine it will be stuck on a engine dyno/tester pumped full of oil and coolant (pre heated) then ran at a VERY high rpms and loads (usually a lot higher then your cars ecu will allow)

and it is usually done again after the car is built but this time on a rolling road.
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Old 09-12-2010   #9
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Re: Running in an engine

What everyone else said but if you want to be very sure about the oil being up to temperature (important for longevity of the turbo more than anything else) the trick is to let it warm up to the point where the radiator fan kicks in before driving it.

This is obviously not practical and takes a certain dedication to achieve.

As far as I know all car manufacturers now state that you should drive the car gently almost immediately after starting it. The engine warms up much faster that way and wastes less fuel (unburnt as the idle running when cold is rich - get the car above the closed loop cut-off revs and the fuelling runs as normal).

I don't believe any of the stuff about the engine being limited over the first 1000ish miles - I agree that my car has grown a little quicker over the first 12k but was running full pelt quite happily at 500 miles.

Most of the problems that used to make engines tricky to run in were down to the tolerances in manufacture and the assembly techniques used. Modern engines are built to might tighter tolerances with far more precision (ie automated) and with more reliable assembly techniques. To give an example the modern Jaguar V8 crank has to be fitted by machine - all the bolts have to be tightened simultaneously to within a very, very small tolerance. The result is supreme precision in the alignment of the crank and bearings with no distortion (something Fiats are actually notorious for). If a Jag V8 ever has to be rebuilt the bottom end has to go back to one of two factory sites capable of the reassembly.
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Old 09-12-2010   #10
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by jimbro1000 View Post
If a Jag V8 ever has to be rebuilt the bottom end has to go back to one of two factory sites capable of the reassembly.
Slightly worse is the 3 cylinder engine in the VW polos. Vw dont sell internal spares, only replacement engines as they state they cant be rebuilt due to distortion developing if its split. My sons had a big end going so a good mechanic I know sourced some shells from Germany, replaced the shells & it lasted a few thousand before a rapid destruction of the bottom end
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Old 09-12-2010   #11
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by Stuart J View Post
Slightly worse is the 3 cylinder engine in the VW polos. Vw dont sell internal spares, only replacement engines as they state they cant be rebuilt due to distortion developing if its split. My sons had a big end going so a good mechanic I know sourced some shells from Germany, replaced the shells & it lasted a few thousand before a rapid destruction of the bottom end
There are always methods for working around the problem - there are a few people around who claim to have highly guarded secret information on how to manually rebuild the Jag V8 bottom end. Officially this information doesn't exist (for much the same reason as VW are saying something similar - if someone gets it wrong the engine will lunch itself pretty quickly) - the information makes them exceptionally valuable for engine tuners as they alone can modify the bottom end to a specification other than the one Jaguar starts with.

Officially Jaguar engines are much the same as you've described, factory reconditioned or new - take your pick. Even the old V12s weren't far different from this, they were assembled in a clean room as they were very sensitive to contamination.
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Old 11-12-2010   #12
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Re: Running in an engine

I did some research in the last few days about the proper way to break in a new engine and the opinions are varying. The thing is that people show facts and state reasons why a new engine should be broken in the "hard" way and those that state otherwise don't know why the engine should be broken in the "easy" way. I'm a bit confused. If the right way to break in a new engine is the "hard" and fun way (to me at least), then why does the manual state otherwise?
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Last edited by iraklas; 11-12-2010 at 01:44.
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Old 11-12-2010   #13
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Re: Running in an engine

Quote Originally Posted by iraklas View Post
I did some research in the last few days about the proper way to break in a new engine and the opinions are varying. The thing is that people show facts and state reasons why a new engine should be broken in the "hard" way and those that state otherwise don't know why the engine should be broken in the "easy" way. I'm a bit confused. If the right way to break in a new engine is the "hard" and fun way (to me at least), then why does the manual state otherwise?
Because they are covering their own butts basically. They pick up the bill if anything goes wrong. It's just the Nanny State being over protective again. Drive the car as you wish, no damage will be caused either way, and before you know it the car will be run in!
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Old 11-12-2010   #14
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Re: Running in an engine

Once upon a time you had to do it the easy way - anything else was likely to destroy the engine inside a small number of miles, typically it was the piston rings that failed.

Modern honing techniques have pretty much ensured that the rings can do their job and lubricate the seals. Very rarely do you see or hear of the bottom end bearings getting run out even on huge mileage engines whereas they used to fail with alarming regularity especially if the maintenance schedule was not kept to and remember that maintenance schedules are much longer than they used to be - partially due to those improved piston ring seals as there is much lower levels of fuel contamination in the oil.
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Old 12-12-2010   #15
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Re: Running in an engine

I too have been looking into running in since the new A500 is due tomorrow

Best advice I found was on Honest John's site and he said drive sensibly and take the car to a self set limit between 4 & 5000 rpm for the first 1000 miles, after that ....

Regards, Neil
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