Engine Break-in Issue

Omni

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Good Evening All
The backstory: Engine rebuilt on the 'Party Barge' - 1965 Newport 383-2v. Rings were Hastings 2M683.030 Moly (iron). Initial oil was Valvoline Racing Oil (10w30). Oil/Filter replaced after about 1/2 hour run time. (various throttle positions). Refilled with Schaffers 10w30 Racing Oil with zinc. Driven about 1000 miles, no issues. Average drive times 20 to 40 minutes, all local driving top speed 60 mph. Car is loaded up for a road trip to Carlisle. Driven for 6 hours at 70-75 mph. Used 2 quart to get there, approx. 500 miles. Return trip used about 1 1/2 qt.
Compression test shows 6 cylinders at 150, 1 cylinder at 143 and one cylinder at 155. Leak down test indicates that all leak down is past the rings (hose on dip-stick tube. No evidence of smoke at the tail pipe (had a friend following me to Carlisle). Tail pipe is sooty but not greasy. Re-builder says the ring did not seat properly, will need to be de-glazed and re-rung.
I have never had a engine with standard rings not seat. I will drive it for the rest of the season then decide what to do.
EDIT: I neglected to include pictures of the spark plugs. I changed them when I got back from PA. Also changed oil/filter (4qt Schaffer 10W30 and a qt of Lucas oil conditioner.
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Any thoughts appreciated.
Omni
 
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Justin Plant

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My Grandfather's first new car was a 1959 Impala. 283, flat top four door. The engine locked up tighter than Dick's hat band on a trip from Denver to L.A. two weeks after he bought it. Dealer said the rings didn't seat. No visible leaks anywhere. Point is, it happens. Often times the obvious thing to do isn't the easiest. However, if the consumption is slowing down you may not have to touch it. Keep driving it, run the hell out of it see what happens. May fix itself.
 

CBODY67

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Used to be that "for new car warranty purposes", oil consumption was not considered "excessive" if it consumed 1 qt of oil in 300 miles. When our '66 Newport 383 2bbl (2.76 rear axle ratio) was new, it would usually use 1 qt every 3000 miles, which we considered very good. We changed the oil at 4000 mile intervals.

Some owners used to brag that their car did not use "one drop of oil". Later, I read that if the engine uses "one drop of oil" per revolution, that would equate to about 500 miles/quart.

Leak down and compression tests ONLY test ring seal on the compression ring, whereas oil consumption is related to how well the oil rings scrape the cyl wall with each up and down cycle of the piston.

Sometimes we have gotten spoiler by modern motors which can run 10k miles and the oil level NOT drop on the dipstick. But back then, 3000 miles/quart was pretty good, as I recall. Many Chevies used more than that, as I recall.

You might put some more highway miles on it and see how things progress over about 5k miles. My late machine shop operative noted once that "moly rings" like a smoooth cylinder wall surface to work with, so he would put them in with the cyl walls un-honed . . . and everything worked as designed. In the one case I know if, it was an engine he built and the owner wanted to re-ring it (454 Chevy in a car hauler). No need for a full rebuild, just new rings. I asked the owner how it worked out, a few weeks later, to which he replied "Great".

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 

david hill

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What @CBODY67 is very true about modern machining practices. I have seen the benefits of including refined machining fundamentals in todays classic cars. From the background given there is definite symptoms of poor ring seal in cyls. 6 & 8. (see post one photos) Improper Honing procedures w/o a torque plate or boring irregularities can greatly impact ring seal w/ modern ring technologies in current use. IMHO modern materials can be used in engine overhaul in our classic cars w/ great results. Will this oil consumption get better? Yes some, the bigger picture is reliability impacted. The answer is yes. Cylinder wear will occur sooner on 6 & 8. The true answer is what service life are you expecting. Do you want a 30,000 or 100,000+ engine.
 
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Omni

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All Machine work was performed at the shop. Cylinders had (what I thought) was a nice cross-hatch pattern (45*).

Omni
 

Boydsdodge

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When I build an engine, after the initial break in and oil changes with everything is looking good. I go out for a good drive out of traffic, I do a few good long pulls on the engine (4000 rpm) and let the engine do some braking. I do as often as I can for first 100 miles, also keeping the idling time to a min. Don't let it get too hot.
 

fury fan

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I read a good article some years ago about engine break-in (specifically the rings).
Essentially it said to not pussy-foot the engine, as that could allow the rings to glaze.
Recommended some aggressive acceleration runs at 1/2-3/4 throttle, in the lower gears and allowing the engine to rev a bit.
The premise (which I cannot do justice to) was to ensure combustion pressure was pushing those oil rings out and getting a good scrape on the walls.
Doing it more gently would allow the oil in the crosshatch to lubricate the rings too much, hampering the break-in.

Not saying that was the problem here, just sharing something I read...
 

CBODY67

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Back in the 1980s, I found an excellent article in a Euro car magazine. It mentioned how much machining now/at that time was than it was in the 1960s and prior. Even had some microscopic pictures of a machined cyl wall, which had just been done. That surface was really a "smooth" surface made up of lots of jagged metal edges and such. Even after honing.

One main premise was that the parts had to "wear-in" against each other, but not too much that ultimate durability was decreased. As all of the jagged peaks were worn down without excessively wearing the pistons and rings as that happened.

The article mentioned that a KEY consideration in the machining and honing was to keep the gooves "clean and the edges upright", NOT "folded over". Which they claimed COULD happen with excessive honing of the cyl wall. The "clean grooves" would act as good oil suppliers to lube the cyl walls for the rings and pistons to work against. As the "folded-over" grooves could retain lube, but not let it get to the frictioinal interface areas as it should. Perhaps these "folded over" cyl wall hone jobs were perceived to be "glazed"?

There used to be some procedures to "de-glaze" they cyl walls on engines with new rings which had not "dried-up" as to oil consumption. It used a household cleaning powder named "Bon-Ami", poured through the carb as the engine was running at fast idle. Never did see how much to use, just that some people used it.

At the later model OEM level of things, rings have become thinner and lighter in tension, which can really affect the job the oil rings do. In the later 1990s, GM 5.7L V-8s had some issues with oil consumption (after changing to such rings). Not every engine had issues, BUT some did, which puzzled many people. So, when one came in, Chev would buy it back and then take it to MI to test it and see what was going on. In the case of some manual transmission Corvettes, it was discovered that when the driver drove around town in lower gears, at about 3000rpm the oil rings would flutter, which meant oil consumption in the 1000 mile/quart oil consumption range. But driven normally, it would get 3000 miles/quart oil consumption. So the scraper section of the ring's bottom surface was re-configured and the tension was increased just a tad. Which stopped the fluttering and better oil control resulted.

When I bought my new '77 Camaro Type LT 305, I drove it pretty much as Chrysler recommended for a new engine. No steady speeds for a while, varied speeds and vac levels, and such. After a thousand miles or so, just driving on our under-construction Interstates provided enough hills and varied vac levels anyway, with a 60mph speed limit. But after about 1500 miles, it was down 1 qt from new. I thought that was a bit much too soon, but I had remembered comments about "new engines will use some oil". Still, it made me wonder how things would work out in the long term. So I added a quart of 20W oil at the recommendation of our service manager. It was gone before a total of 3K miles. Yikes!! Another Chevy "oil burner"? As it was time for its first oil change, we did that. The oil I put in it was Castrol GTX 20W-50. At 4K miles after that, it was down 1/2 quart. I smiled. As things progressed, by the time it had 525K on it, it was using 2qts in 8K miles. As the oil still was not really dark at 4K miles, I added a quart and changed it at 8K miles. But all of the block freeze plugs were seeping, so time to put the 355 I'd had built many years prior in.

I thought "If I can get a factory-build Chevy engine to last over 500K miles, a Chrysler V-8 would be forever". Of course, at 90K miles the factory timing chain set was upgraded to a Cloyes Street Roller timing chain set, for longevity insurance.

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 
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volksworld

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wow those plugs bring back bad memories...had a 350 do that to me in the 80's...coincidentally it had Hastings rings and i've refused to use them since...a boat mechanic buddy who was much older also swore by the BonAmi trick but i just couldnt bring myself to believing pouring pumice into a running engine would magically fix the rings and not hurt anything else... just a couple other things to ponder...were the heads done? oil can find its way down bad intake guides...or sucked in an intake port thru a valley pan gasket...was it bored .030 over and honed or did you just re-ring a "good" 030 over block? and from what i see online having never heard of it Shaeffer racing oil appears to be a synthetic...and old school claims never use a synthetic for break in (like the 1st 1000 miles)as it lubes"too well" and wont let the rings seat
 

Omni

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Good Day All
Further info:
The block was a fresh overbore.
The heads were magnafluxed. Both were resurfaced (.008). Springs and guides were CHECKED. Valve seals (unbrella) were replaced.

On a couple of occasions it smoked a fair amount upon start-up. Not consistently though. (Possible valve guide issue?). Is there any test for worn guides?

Yes, Schaeffer's is a synthetic base oil. I have also been told about Bon Ami. If it does work it sounds like it would be short-term at best.
Any particular choice for rings? It seems that I have used Perfect Circle brand in the past. As stated, this is the first rebuild that I have experienced this issue.
Omni
 

CBODY67

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From years ago, I recall hearing "mechanics" talk about which brand and type of piston rings they preferred AND how to best break-in a re-ringed motor. Lots of variations! Which is why I came to the conclusion to use "OEM level" parts with cyl bores honed to factory specs (as to finish). THEN, it seems to me, you should have a 100K mile rebuilt engine rather than a 30K mile rebuilt engine.

There are ways to check for valve guide/valve stem clearances. FSM mentions some, for example. Oil can get into the guide through suction from intake port velocity and similar on the exhaust side of things, too. Although some engines have used NO valve stem seals on the exhaust valves, as there is allegedly "pressure" on that side of things, NOT taking into account the negative pressure pulses during overlap . . . which might be one way to save some money in a place that is unseen and will not cause issues until the vehicle is well out of factory warranty.

It used to be that "no syn oil during break-in", but that was also before Mobil 1 was factory fill on many Corvette and Dodge factory hot rod motors in the 1980s. FWIW

Drive and enjoy the car, while also keeping an eye on the engine oil level. Look at the spark plugs to see their color and such, too. It might not get to the 3000 miles/quart level, but as long as it is more than 500 miles/qt, some quality dino motor oil will work fine. Just find the least expensive place to buy your choice of motor oil.

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 

1970FuryConv

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Good Evening All
The backstory: Engine rebuilt on the 'Party Barge' - 1965 Newport 383-2v. Rings were Hastings 2M683.030 Moly (iron). Initial oil was Valvoline Racing Oil (10w30). Oil/Filter replaced after about 1/2 hour run time. (various throttle positions). Refilled with Schaffers 10w30 Racing Oil with zinc. Driven about 1000 miles, no issues. Average drive times 20 to 40 minutes, all local driving top speed 60 mph. Car is loaded up for a road trip to Carlisle. Driven for 6 hours at 70-75 mph. Used 2 quart to get there, approx. 500 miles. Return trip used about 1 1/2 qt.
Compression test shows 6 cylinders at 150, 1 cylinder at 143 and one cylinder at 155. Leak down test indicates that all leak down is past the rings (hose on dip-stick tube. No evidence of smoke at the tail pipe (had a friend following me to Carlisle). Tail pipe is sooty but not greasy. Re-builder says the ring did not seat properly, will need to be de-glazed and re-rung.
I have never had a engine with standard rings not seat. I will drive it for the rest of the season then decide what to do.
EDIT: I neglected to include pictures of the spark plugs. I changed them when I got back from PA. Also changed oil/filter (4qt Schaffer 10W30 and a qt of Lucas oil conditioner. View attachment 548859 View attachment 548860 View attachment 548861 View attachment 548862

Any thoughts appreciated.
Omni
Hi Omni,
With my latest 440 build I used Pistons Keith Black 237 flat top KB237KTM.030 (KB rings included). KB Hypereutectic pistons and KB rings burn almost no oil. KB ring gaps installed 180° apart.
For install of pistons, Hastings tool 1670 compress to the piston rings. The tool has a locking gear such that as you squeeze the handles together, the gear locks the compression loop around the rings at the tightest point on the gear. I used a wooden hammer handle to gently tap the piston into the cylinders. Once the top of the piston was clear of the deck of the block, the Hastings tool has a release lever to unlock the gear. The tool is definitely worth buying. It’s better than any ring compressor I’ve ever used.
Since you've isolated the problem to the rings, perhaps there's a way to buy Keith Black rings. Another option is to call Hughes Engines and buy what they recommend. Either way, I agree your oil consumption is way too much for a fresh rebuild. Sorry you have to take everything apart. Ben
 

CBODY67

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In addition to the ratcheting-type piston ring compressers, there used to also be some "tapered hole" ring compressers. Where the piston and rings slides into a decreasing diameter sleeve which slowly puts the rings in their grooves as the piston/ring unit slides into the cylinder in the block. Only problem with these it that they are dedicated-size units, so if you're going to do a lot of different engines, you'd need one for each bore size.

During the service life of my Camaro 305 (mentioned above), I was proud of the fact that my oil choice decreased oil consumption greatly from what it was with the factory-fill oil. As things progressed, consumption eventually got to 1 qt/4000 miles. Still not bad for a 250K motor and the oil was still not dark. Also not financially bad with 4-5K oil change intervals. As things got closer to the 500K mile level, I started to add a quart and change it when it got 1 qt down again. Still, the oil was not very dark, which meant to me that the compression rings were still good. Plus, whatever contaminants were there would be diluted by the new oil, with more additives in it. So I did have some "science" behind my frugalness.

Now, one thing I starated doing well before I got that car was to "waste" a quart of oil with the oil change. After letting the oil drain out until it barely dripped, I'd then pour a quart of oil into the motor and let THAT drain out, hopefully getting that last little bit of used oil out of the bottom of the oil pan. But back then, Castrol GTX was usually about 75 cents/quart.

Over my decades of paying attention to car-related things, I know that each region of the USA tended to have brands which were more popular in one region which were not around in other reasons. Even into current times, although some were more national. I remember first reading of Hastings products in the first JCWhitney catalog I saw in the earlier 1960s. All the while brand learning about "hot rod brands" in the major car magazines and such. I rememeber the large wall calendars from Thompson-Ramo-Woolridge at the Gulf station we bought gas from, in the later 1950s. Influences were everywhere, back then. So, no need to defend one's brand choices in a modern time-frame. Even a sub-optimal (comparatively) brand choice could well be at least as good as some of the better brands of the 1960s, very possibly. BTAIM

Just some observations and experiences,
CBODY67
 

Ripinator

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Good Day All
Further info:
The block was a fresh overbore.
The heads were magnafluxed. Both were resurfaced (.008). Springs and guides were CHECKED. Valve seals (unbrella) were replaced.

On a couple of occasions it smoked a fair amount upon start-up. Not consistently though. (Possible valve guide issue?). Is there any test for worn guides?

Yes, Schaeffer's is a synthetic base oil. I have also been told about Bon Ami. If it does work it sounds like it would be short-term at best.
Any particular choice for rings? It seems that I have used Perfect Circle brand in the past. As stated, this is the first rebuild that I have experienced this issue.
Omni

I may have missed it, but I don't see anywhere in this thread your mentioning the use of break-in oil. If you didn't use it, maybe you should drain and refill with good break-in oil and do the break-in again. I used Comp Cams 15W-40 break-in oil in my rebuilt 440 and had no issues.
 

Tour Car

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426 hemi cuda piston rings did not seat, blow-by with oil all over the bottom of the car. Those little narrow rings are hard to seat. Pulled motor out and disassembled, bought a set of Total Seal ported rings, Total Seal Quickseat and BRM 240 grit hone with their honing oil. READ DIRECTIONS FOR BRM AND TOTAL SEAL QUICKSEAT. Ran motor on dyno, instead of my runup stand, at 2500 rpm with light load for 30 minutes to seat lifters and rings. 900 miles at 1/2 quart comsumption 580 hp 540 fptorque.
Used similar setup in our Tripple Gray 78 NYB 512 400 block Indy heads. Lukas oil used 10 -40 Wix 15151xl.
Tks David
 

Ripinator

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Good Evening All
The backstory: Engine rebuilt on the 'Party Barge' - 1965 Newport 383-2v. Rings were Hastings 2M683.030 Moly (iron). Initial oil was Valvoline Racing Oil (10w30). Oil/Filter replaced after about 1/2 hour run time. (various throttle positions). Refilled with Schaffers 10w30 Racing Oil with zinc. Driven about 1000 miles, no issues. Average drive times 20 to 40 minutes, all local driving top speed 60 mph. Car is loaded up for a road trip to Carlisle. Driven for 6 hours at 70-75 mph. Used 2 quart to get there, approx. 500 miles. Return trip used about 1 1/2 qt.
Compression test shows 6 cylinders at 150, 1 cylinder at 143 and one cylinder at 155. Leak down test indicates that all leak down is past the rings (hose on dip-stick tube. No evidence of smoke at the tail pipe (had a friend following me to Carlisle). Tail pipe is sooty but not greasy. Re-builder says the ring did not seat properly, will need to be de-glazed and re-rung.
I have never had a engine with standard rings not seat. I will drive it for the rest of the season then decide what to do.
EDIT: I neglected to include pictures of the spark plugs. I changed them when I got back from PA. Also changed oil/filter (4qt Schaffer 10W30 and a qt of Lucas oil conditioner. View attachment 548859 View attachment 548860 View attachment 548861 View attachment 548862

Any thoughts appreciated.
Omni

Since my last post, I thought about another potential issue: What kind of rings are you using - iron, chrome or moly? I know chrome rings take forever to seal and iron rings break in and seal pretty fast. Not sure about moly rings, but I think they seal better than chrome.
 

70bigblockdodge

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You have oil problems on 4,6,&8. How long before you switched to synthetic oil?
Me personally, I would switch back to regular oil (with zinc) and run it hard, like you stole it. May have broken a ring upon installation, I have a 305 chebbie that made plugs look like that in a few hundred miles. After I pulled it and it sat for a while I re-ringed it and put it in a van, it was a excellent engine second time around.
Sorry only 6&8 seem to have a problem, I thought 4 because of the picture stack in the post.
 
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fury fan

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@Tour Car
That was good advice on the rings, and especially reading the instructions from both manufacturers because surface finish recommendations would be crucial.
But...
Dewd! Whatcha been doing these last 8 years???

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