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Old 03-10-2015, 05:50 PM   #1
kj7687 OP
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Engine Break-in: By the book or harder method?

EDIT: See post number 89 (page 6) for my own personal conclusions/resolution.




I have one simple thing that is bothering me concerning engine break-in, and that is this quote: "I think that they take the cautious route that works over time (1000km, or about 15 hours of break-in) versus a faster route that can be more easily screwed up." ( http://www.ktm950.info/how/Orange%20...e_breakin.html )

This of course is in reference to Motoman-esque type of hard break-in versus factory service manual-recommended break-in.

I have seen this quote or some version of the same basic concept in several different articles and break-in discussions. To me, a "cautious route that works over time versus a faster route that can be more easily screwed up," sounds a lot better than some "fine line", some "balancing act" between going too hard too soon, and not hard enough... By this I mean: too hard will cause too much rough friction, generating excessive heat, which will cause scoring/scuffing, and therefore an imperfect piston ring seal; conversely, too soft will not generate enough MEP (mean effective pressure) to properly seat the piston rings to the cylinder wall. If the cautious factory break-in method works, why would I want to screw something up just because I don't have the patience to go through with it? That seems stupid to me. That being said, I believe some, if not most or even all manufacturers do a short dyno run on new motors where they are brought up to red line and back down a few times, before the engines are put into final production... So I'm sure there could be a difference between what will work for a factory engine or a custom-built motor, in terms of proper and effective break-in. Still, in either case, if we subscribe to the philosophy of this "balancing act", it would seem that the factory recommendations for break-in make logical sense, as long as it is done as I describe in my second-to-last paragraph here. I think that would maintain a reasonable balance between too hard and too soft (as long as you avoid lugging the motor, and you do go up to the recommended half throttle, 3/4 throttle etc. settings, as opposed to never going over 1/8 throttle or whatever).

The essence of this little conundrum I find myself pondering is that I am a little tired of motorcycle engines that burn oil. I have owned three motorcycles that did/do burn oil, and one that did not. Needless to say, it was SO nice being able to jump on the one that did NOT burn oil and, say, take a 200 mile round trip without having to worry about bringing oil with me in case it gets too low during the ride and/or obsessively checking the oil before a ride like that. My next motorcycle purchase will be a brand new vehicle, and I will NOT tolerate oil consumption (not until the engine has accumulated many thousands of miles, anyway). I will want to do absolutely everything in my power to MAKE SURE whatever engine I buy DOES NOT BURN OIL. Up to about a hundred ML per thousand miles would be acceptable to me (around a third of the oil sight glass). More than that...hell no. I won't buy a new bike and be pouring oil into the motor all the time.

Anyway, so I'm thinking maybe when I break in that new engine, it will be done by the book (under a certain throttle/rpm threshold for x miles, then a different threshold for x miles after that, etc. or whatever), while doing plenty of non-synthetic oil changes at low miles and lots of heat cycles (full operating temps then allowing the engine to cool to ambient temp), and ensuring plenty of acceleration and deceleration/engine braking within those throttle/rpm break-in constraints specified in the owner's manual...

Would it ever be possible to get the dealer/manufacturer to guarantee me an engine that won't consume more than some pre-specified amount of oil per thousand miles? As in: if it burns more oil than x ML per thousand miles after an x mile break-in, I get a new bike or a new motor? Probably a fat chance in hell of that, but it would be nice. Anyway, what do you guys think of all this, and of my idea for my next new engine break-in as specified in the previous paragraph?
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:56 PM   #2
Bill-66
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No dealer would bite on that...

I've always just broke them in like I was going to ride them...my current GSA uses no appreciable oil unless running 85 for hundreds of miles in 100 degree heat...

I've never even broke car motors in by the book...twenty minutes for the cam..change oil...go drive it...

YMMV...
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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My Ducati dealer recommended the harder method. The bike was run soft for 100 miles and then flogged. It hasnt burned a single drop of oil. Ever.
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:58 PM   #4
rufus
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google -------motoman break in method.


Basically it says,
don't let it sit and idle,
rev it but don't rev it hard or long
keep a light load on the motor with short blasts of heavier throttle
don't get it hot,
don't lug the motor.

I heard basically the same thing from old mechanics 40 years ago.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
kj7687 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rufus View Post
google -------motoman break in method.


Basically it says,
don't let it sit and idle,
rev it but don't rev it hard or long
keep a light load on the motor with short blasts of heavier throttle
don't get it hot,
don't lug the motor.

I heard basically the same thing from old mechanics 40 years ago.
Yea, I've actually done quite a lot of research on this subject and read the Motoman stuff a few times. He does actually say to "open the throttle hard." He also mentions, "full throttle", and "hard acceleration". But then he goes on to say "this technique isn't beating on the engine." Hard, full throttle runs in the lower gears seems an awful lot like beating on the engine to me. I'm not really arguing whether or not that's a good thing, just saying that he seems to contradict himself a little there. Anyway, the points in your bullet list are pretty much in line with what I've learned in researching this topic, with the exception of not letting it idle. I understand that a heat cycle (during which you let it idle and go up to 3 or 4k rpm a few times in neutral) should be done before actually riding the bike the first time.

Thanks for the responses guys. I wish this was something I could afford to test objectively with multiple engines but I'm not a Saudi business tycoon so...maybe in the next life.
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:03 PM   #6
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I think the biggest thing is cooling. then clean oil. changing load, engine braking.... all good practice. I don't baby a break in, but I don't run it balls out either. in aviation, we generally do a run up, let it cool while checking for oil leaks etc, then full power for take off but keep the speed up for cooling. after that, manufacturers differ, but mostly you keep power high, vary the load, work it, keep it cool. I do my bike engines pretty much the same. I dump that first load of oil within 100 miles
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:03 PM   #7
Bill-66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj7687 View Post
Yea, I've actually done quite a lot of research on this subject and read the Motoman stuff a few times. He does actually say to "open the throttle hard." He also mentions, "full throttle", and "hard acceleration". But then he goes on to say "this technique isn't beating on the engine." Hard, full throttle runs in the lower gears seems an awful lot like beating on the engine to me. I'm not really arguing whether or not that's a good thing, just saying that he seems to contradict himself a little there. Anyway, the points in your bullet list are pretty much in line with what I've learned in researching this topic, with the exception of not letting it idle. I understand that a heat cycle (during which you let it idle and go up to 3 or 4k rpm a few times in neutral) should be done before actually riding the bike the first time.

Thanks for the responses guys. I wish this was something I could afford to test objectively with multiple engines but I'm not a Saudi business tycoon so...maybe in the next life.
Beating on an engine is bouncing it off a rev limiter...lugging it under load..running a motor, new or seasoned, in it's design parameters, is simply running an engine..

In reality, with metallurgy where it is today, what can happen? If a cam is soft and going to eat a lobe or, a bearing is going to spin, it's going to happen fairly soon and no break in is going to prevent it..so that leaves seating rings, moly rings in a plated cylinder..the oil control rings pretty much work, or they don't. This isn't 1970 where we are seating, cast iron rings....I had a hot rod Jeep motor machined that I built..asked the machinist what he recommended.."fire it..bring RPM up for fifteen for the cam..change the oil and drive up Ute Pass three times"..(from about 7000 feet to 10,000 feet in a few miles..no load coming down, cooling cycle, moderate load going up, warming cycle...
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj7687 View Post
Would it ever be possible to get the dealer/manufacturer to guarantee me an engine that won't consume more than some pre-specified amount of oil per thousand miles? As in: if it burns more oil than x ML per thousand miles after an x mile break-in, I get a new bike or a new motor? Probably a fat chance in hell of that, but it would be nice. Anyway, what do you guys think of all this, and of my idea for my next new engine break-in as specified in the previous paragraph?
They will promise you the world to make the sale just won't put it in writing, personally you are worying way to much about this. Engine these days are made so much better that there is very little chance of issue and if there is thats why you have a warrantee.
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:49 PM   #9
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I'd do what the manual says, for a couple of reasons:

1. The Motorman method has been around, what, 30-40yrs or so? Engine tolerances and metallurgy have made quantum leaps in that span, overcoming any advantage that method may have had. It's worth noting, btw, that the bulk of his evidence supporting his method was largely anecdotal. It may have been urban legend all along....
2. Many vehicles, bikes and cars alike, and particularly hi-performance vehicles, come factory filled with synthetic oil. Reverting to a dino oil would be taking a step backward in terms of lubrication -- and not what the engineers recommend for those engines.
3. Engine failures due to poor oil service is virtually unheard of nowadays.
4. If a manufacturer were truly concerned about an engine's break-in, they'd do it at the factory. The LAST person they'd want to lay that responsibility on is the consumer:
5. There are probably some parts of the engine that would benefit from an aggressive run-in....and there are other parts that favor a kinder, gentler wake-up (cams vs. rings comes immediately to mind..?..). Can't do it both ways, so you pick your poison.


I go by the manufacturer's recommendation. No oil burners here. (Drippers? Yes. But no burners.)
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guano11 View Post
I'd do what the manual says. . .


I go by the manufacturer's recommendation. No oil burners here. (Drippers? Yes. But no burners.)
Thanks. Good to know you've done factory break in and not had oil consumption. That is what I want to hear lol! I did that with my TW200, except that i was a supernoob at the time. I didn't really do any heat cycles. I kept a constant throttle and RPM as much as humanly possible (I know, I know...) all the way to 1,000 miles. I didn't change the oil or even check it before 600 miles. It's been too long so I don't really remember, but I probably lugged the engine a fair bit, too. I also never warmed the bike up before running the engine super hard after it was "broken in." Anyway that bike burned and leaked more oil in its short and unfortunate life than any other vehicle I've ever even seen, let alone owned... Oh yea and, you mentioned that you've had oil leaks. By chance was that with synthetic oil? Or conventional? I always used conventional Yamaha oil in the TW.

Anyway, as has been mentioned, I guess I will have a warranty. That being said, I can't help but wonder if they'd actually replace or repair a motor just because it "burned a little oil." Especially if I didn't have break in services done at the dealer... I get the feeling it would go more like this: "Oil consumption is normal. It's nothing to worry about. Nothing is wrong so it isn't a warranty issue. Don't worry about it, okay buddy?" And then I'd be like f*** you guys, fix my sh**, lol...and they wouldn't... But who knows, maybe they would be much more reasonable and/or maybe I'd be smarter about the whole mess this time and be way more politely aggressive in getting the issue resolved.

P.S. Love your sig, Guano, haha!
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:08 PM   #11
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No one will guarantee you SQUAT in regards to oil consumption. All motors burn oil, some more than others.

If it bugs you, figure out a classy bottle to carry spare oil in that matches your bike and mount it in a nice holder. It will always be there when needed, just check as often as warranted by the specific machine.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:12 PM   #12
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There are 4 types of synthetic motor oils
1. Esters
2. PAO
3. Severely hydrocracked Group 3
4. Gas to Liquid

I know in the 80's an engine would not break in on a Ester oil. Esters not popular now,expensive, but I would not try it.

Factory fill syn oils are mostly 3 or 4, maybe with some PAO added, engines will break in on this just fine. Right now I like GTL oils in my car. PAO is great too.


You are also breaking in a transmission, clutch and maybe rear end. Machine and metal are better now, but you can gall a gear. You can slip and glaze a clutch. This would be rare.

Early oil change, worthless. Change the oil filter for a premium syn media, I use Mobil 1 for availability at 100 ish miles. Fram ultra supposed to be good, but I just can't after some awful quality years ago. Add makeup oil and go.

I would go with a motoman sort of, with increasing rpm and throttle openinings to pretty much full out by 200 miles. That is enough to bed the clutch and brakes.

Rod
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:19 PM   #13
kj7687 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
There are 4 types of synthetic motor oils
1. Esters
2. PAO
3. Severely hydrocracked Group 3
4. Gas to Liquid

I would go with a motoman sort of, with increasing rpm and throttle openinings to pretty much full out by 200 miles. That is enough to bed the clutch and brakes.

Rod
Great info/good point, with regard to the different types of synthetic oil. As far as break in, I pretty much did it as you describe for my KLX big bore. It burned oil. It wasn't a ton, but definitely way more than it should have. Of course there are so many other factors that I can't really say the break in caused that oil consumption, so who knows.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashmo View Post
All motors burn oil, some more than others.
Well sure all motors burn oil, but some burn A WHOLE LOT more than others. Between having to top off every 50 miles (POS TW), to not having to add any between a 3k mile oil change (Ninja 500). To me that's pretty much the threshold of acceptable oil consumption. I don't expect zero consumption; what I do expect is low enough consumption that no oil needs to be added during normal oil change intervals. Or at the very least, oil should not have to be added more than once between changes.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:47 PM   #15
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I bought a new bike in 04 & broke it in per instructions just because it had been decades since I got a new one. it eventually it did use oil (under 20,000 miles). I put in a new piston & rings & it uses no oil 20k later.

also.... the last new bike I bought (06).... by following the factory break in you wouldn't exceed 55mph for the first 500 miles.... coincidence? I don't think so

also do your self a favor.... drop the first oil sooner than later. no matter when do drop it, and see the stuff thats in it you'll wish you would have changed it sooner
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