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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1966 w/289 that I bought as a project. The engine was rebuilt but has not been started, it still needs the MSD ignition hooked up and some minor work to get it to a point where it will start. I took the distributor out and spun the oil pump and I only have 3 of 8 rockers on the passenger side getting oil (all driver's side good). I pulled the lifters and cleaned and primed them but still no oil. I am now taking the opportunity to put in a more aggressive cam and new lifter kit. I have read in several places that with the flat tappet lifters and new cam when I first start the engine, I must immediately get to 2000 to 2500 rpms and keep it there for 30 minutes to break-in the lifters/cam. My dilemma is along with the MSD ignition, the previous owner installed an Edelbrock Performer Intake and an Edelbrock Performer 1406 600 cfm 4 barrel carb--- how the heck am I to get the timing set, carb dial-in and etc immediately so I can get the oil pressure up so I don't damage the lifters/cam. I actually read one article said that even letting it idle for just a few minutes can cause damage. I would appreciate some guidance and if I am misunderstanding how critical the first start will be. Thank you
 

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When it first starts you want to rev it a few times. That splashes oil on everything. If you idle it just long enough to time it, then rev it again a few times. Don't worry about the carb so much as reving it a few times. Usually 1800-2000 rpms is enough for 20 min. Then idle it down set the carb and rev it a few more times.
Make sure you use a good oil additive for cam break in and a breakin oil. Lucas has a straight 30W breakin oil that is what you want. NO SYN OILS. Then when you've done the 20 minute run reset timing and idle and drive it a little AKA no more then 100 miles and change the oil and filter with NONE SYN OIl. No syn oil till at least 1500 miles are on it. Have big fan ready for all the smoke and to help cool it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When it first starts you want to rev it a few times. That splashes oil on everything. If you idle it just long enough to time it, then rev it again a few times. Don't worry about the carb so much as reving it a few times. Usually 1800-2000 rpms is enough for 20 min. Then idle it down set the carb and rev it a few more times.
Make sure you use a good oil additive for cam break in and a breakin oil. Lucas has a straight 30W breakin oil that is what you want. NO SYN OILS. Then when you've done the 20 minute run reset timing and idle and drive it a little AKA no more then 100 miles and change the oil and filter with NONE SYN OIl. No syn oil till at least 1500 miles are on it. Have big fan ready for all the smoke and to help cool it.
Very good. Thank you for the advise. I guess I will start tomorrow by draining the pan full of SYN OIL!!
 

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Very good. Thank you for the advise. I guess I will start tomorrow by draining the pan full of SYN OIL!!
The problem with Syn Oil is it lubricates to well. Your rings won't seat either. If you have roller lifters, yeah it's fine. Once everything has taken a seat/broke in, Syn oil is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great info. My plans for the project have changed. The tank and fuel lines are not installed but I planned to focus on getting the engine running first, for just a short time with a fuel can. After that, I was going to move to floor pans and then install the 28 inch rear sub frames rails on both sides.
Now, I will finish the floor pans, replace the sub frame rails, and then finish everything else and ensure the engine has all systems ready to run for a full break-in period.
The knowledge on this site is invaluable. Thank you again for your guidance.
 

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With a flat tappet cam, first startup is absolutely critical. Don't play around with "Maybe it'll run for a few seconds" in favor of doing proper first start and cam break-in. You wipe a lobe and lifter, and that'll be the most expensive few drips of gas you ever ran down your carb! During that process, the cylinder bore and rings wear off all their sharp edges and become good friends. Just as importantly, the lifters and cam lobes match up, allowing the lifters to spin without causing excess friction. The lifter face is actually not flat across, and the cam lobe isn't either. But if the lifter doesn't spin properly, or the cam lobe wears wrong, it can end up that way, or worse!

Something I think I'd check out with your engine is bore/lifter mismatch. Early 289/302 motors had the oil holes in a different position from the late model roller-cam 5.0 blocks. If you use flat tappets made for an early motor in a late motor, the ring on the lifter that accepts oil from the block's oil galley would be blocked except at certain lift positions. The same would hold true if you use 5.0 roller tappets in an old engine (or flat tappets made for a roller cam block!) If you have any of the original lifters, compare one to the lifters you have now, and make sure their oiling holes are the right distance from the lifter face.

I think you're making a good call in making sure it's all good before you fire it up - even though (if you're like me!) you really want to hear that engine run NOW! =)

Hope this helps!
 

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There was another Ford website a guy had just that problem only with roller lifters. They burned up 2 sets of rocker arms before he decided, after much advice, to pull the intake and check the oil groove and that was the problem. Problem was to change out the roller lifters he also had to pull the heads. Early block with lifters for a roller block.
 

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Once you get your lifter issue straightened out and all oiling, breaking in the engine is not that technical. All you need to do is get it started and up to speed as fast as possible. The carb and timing do not have to be perfect to do this, the engine just has to run and stay cool.
 

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Redstang is right, as usual. Tuning it is a non-issue, so long as it runs. Oil, on the other hand, is absolutely critical during break-in.
 

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Mpn737, something you might want to consider (since you're talking cam swaps anyway) is a roller conversion. They make link-bar lifters that'll work great on your early block, and you can use a roller cam with them.

Aside from the faster ramp rates you can use at higher lifts with a roller, giving you a little more power and throttle response, the big advantage is you don't have to run additives or buy specialty oil to keep from ruining your flat tappet cam over time.
 
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