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How many of the Alfa guys use non detergent oil for breaking in new(rebuilt) engines. We have recently completed a rebuild of the basic 2 liter for our '85 Graduate. Is it an old wife's tale or is it real?

My gut tells me any good motor oil will do the trick
 

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We'll per Paul Spruell instruction you need to use it. I also have heard from others to use non-detergent oil.
The key is to wash your liners with soapy detergent and after soaking them in mystery oil then wiping them with lint free rag until the rag comes up clean of debris.
 

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I don't know many engine builders who do NOT use 30 weight non detergent for break in. This is very short term use, along with that oil filter that is usually cut open and examined.
 

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Quite old school thinking. Just use a quality oil with an additional ZDDP additive for break in and change it at its normal interval.

The thought was to use a "cheap" oil for break in because after break in one would simply change the oil. Its just a waste of money and time.
 

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New school thinking: Use Brad Penn Break in oil. I use it, I like it. It works well.
 

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Greg I wish the BB had the LIKE button....by the way how is my ex Milano doing?
 

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Also Joe Gibbs is a good break-in oil.
 

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What is the technical reason for using a non-detergent oil for break-in?
 

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Greg I wish the BB had the LIKE button....by the way how is my ex Milano doing?
Very well Thank you... Same motor from when I bought it from you.

Some video from NHMS race. We were in P2 when the Transaxle broke on day two after 3 hours.


Greg
 

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What is the technical reason for using a non-detergent oil for break-in?
A light weight (30wt), non-detergent oil allows a little more friction under load, just enough to help seat the rings the during critical initial break-in. Modern oils have wear reduction additives which are so effective they are felt by many engine builders to be "too good" and, thus, inhibit ring seating (something I've experienced). The Alfa engine builders and racers I know use 30wt. non-detergent oil for break-in. I trust their judgment.

Generic low-end 30wt. is perfectly good oil and entirely suitable for breaking in a new Alfa engine. If you feel better buying expensive, branded "break-in oil" then by all means do so. I don't think it will do any better job of letting your new engine's rings seat than the cheap stuff you buy at Tractor Supply or the local parts house. Just make sure you use a good ZDDP additive like Rislone with the cheap 30wt. and you'll be OK.
 

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BTW: My 30 weight non detergent is NOT cheap. It IS designed as a race engine break in oil for engines running either mineral or synthetic race oil.
Ijar, I'm old, and happen to know what works and what does not from personal experience over 50+ years. I also build most of the race and many of the street oil pumps for BB members. Ask ANY of them how my pumps perform as compared to anything else available. One needs to understand both lubrication requirements, and engine building for easy, successfull engine break in.
Just my opinion as usual.
 

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A light weight (30wt), non-detergent oil allows a little more friction under load
Why should a detergent reduce friction in a clean oil in a clean engine? I still don't get it.

I follow the Waddell Wilson/Richard Jemison break in method of 30 minutes at 2000 -2500 rpm. There is not much load during that time.
 

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Most detergents are so called "friction modifiers". There are a lot of these in most engine oils. They are not all "detergents" ZDDP being a well used example. These "modifiers" work in different ways in different areas in your engine. The most well known use of "detergents" is to keep microscopic debris suspended in engine oil when it is not circulating. Some race oils like Valvoline 20-50 Racing Oil use a "dispercent" rather than "detergent" as it reduces the tendency of the oil to foam at high rpm. Debris remains suspended in this oil while circulating, but will settle out over a couple of weeks if the oil stands uncirculating.
There is much more to all this than the above Ed, but that is best left to an oil engineer to discuss.
I also run my engines 20-30 minutes at 2,000 - 3,000 rpm before I ask them to do dyno pulls because that's about how long it takes to set up ignition timing and the Webers to get it to run with 180 degrees oil temperature and well enough for dyno pulls. I may also retorque the head and check for fuel / water / oil leaks. As you mention, even on a dyno, this is little or no load running time at variable throttle.
 

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Gents,

Just looking for feedback on my thoughts here, not even pretending to present expertise:

I've only rebuilt my motor a couple of times, but over the years have observed the different viewpoints of break-in, to try to understand it better.

It would seem there are two basic schools of thought:
1) Run with no-load at 2-3k for about a half-hour. I recall I first (25 years ago or so) heard this being Paul Glynn's method. From Gordon's comments it was/is the favourite method of many others also.
2) Run with cycling load, no idling allowed, as soon as it can be driven after first start-up (ie get driving it within a few minutes, just enough time to check that there are no major leaks, etc). This is described pretty much in the Hastings instructions. By cycling load I'm trying to say run up under load, then full off throttle until it returns to 2k or something, then load again, etc.

The common point of the two is to avoid all idling, to avoid glazing the rings.

The key difference, at least as I can figure out, is the view of the builder on what the crank bearings need. Or more concretely, if you have built the crank bearings a bit on the tight side, or you want to put priority on their treatment, over what the rings may experience, then you use method 1. If you have built the crank bearings on the looser side, or want to prioritize the rings, you use method 2.

Is that relatively accurate ? Missing something ?

/Neil
 

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Most detergents are so called "friction modifiers".
No, apples are not oranges. In engine oil, detergents reduce or neutralize acids formed by the combustion process. Friction modifiers reduce the coefficient of friction in a oil. And for the record ZDDP is a anti wear additive.

I don't feel the need to state my resume, but trust me, I know a little something of how oil works.

When it comes to oil, ignorance really is bliss no matter how much experience one has.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the replies guys, this is a real "forum" to discuss subjects as our beloved. Much of the feedback is around "seating the rings" I wonder what the piston and ring manufacturers have to say on the subject?

My gut is still telling me a good detergent oil will be fine, but I am a bit fearful of having the rings not seat correctly.

thanks again to all
 

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930cabman, I will definitely use non-detergent because it does benefit rather than harm.....if you realized every single reply is telling you to use non-detergent except one old/new school individual.
 

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Are we agreed that we should not use synthetic oil for break in?
 

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It would seem there are two basic schools of thought:
1) Run with no-load at 2-3k for about a half-hour. I recall I first (25 years ago or so) heard this being Paul Glynn's method. From Gordon's comments it was/is the favourite method of many others also.
"Race Engine Preparation" by Waddell Wilson was copyrighted in 1976 and he was describing proven methods, so that method has been in use for at least 40 years.
 
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