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#4751699 - 05/09/18 02:58 AM Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3920
Loc: Manchester, England
Hello Everyone,

I have a question and I think I know the answer but want to clarify & confirm

I bought a used engine from eBay and pulled the head off, sent it for porting/polishing/bigger valves/worked manifolds etc. I also sent a USED camshaft to be included in the build and the valve lash has been set using solid shims which are NEW parts.

Does this combination of new&used valve train parts have any special requirements or techniques for running in? Or just drive it like normal and change the oil after a couple of hundred miles?

Looking forward to your responses
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#4751701 - 05/09/18 03:18 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Olas]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39411
Loc: 'Stralia
If it was flat tappet, then you are likely doomed to fail.

Wife's Captiva had a recall for bad rocker arms, which they were prepared to install on the old cam (fine really, not flat tappets)...they had to do the cam as well, so it's new cam/new lifters...half way through an OCI, and the tech said not to bother changing it early.

Which was fine by me, used oil has more reactive additives.

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#4751724 - 05/09/18 05:40 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Olas]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18551
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
The cam shouldn't be a problem but I would use some assembly lube on all the parts and lobes. Use a little zinc additive in the oil and bring the RPM up to about 2K for 15-20 min and it will be fine.
If this is a VW vacuum fill the cooling system so you don't have the bleeding fiasco and overheating issues. Leave the oil in for 1K then change it.
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#4751740 - 05/09/18 06:14 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Olas]
NGRhodes Offline


Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 299
Loc: West Yorkshire, UK
Get instructions from your builder to avoid invalidating any warranty due to following incorrect break in procedure.

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#4751852 - 05/09/18 09:16 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Trav]
jayg Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 1189
Loc: Rabbit Creek, Alaska
Originally Posted By: Trav
The cam shouldn't be a problem but I would use some assembly lube on all the parts and lobes. Use a little zinc additive in the oil and bring the RPM up to about 2K for 15-20 min and it will be fine.
If this is a VW vacuum fill the cooling system so you don't have the bleeding fiasco and overheating issues. Leave the oil in for 1K then change it.


Just curious why you do a cam break in procedure on a used cam? It obviously doesn’t hurt it but if the lobes already have wear in, he should be able just to turn it on and go.
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#4751861 - 05/09/18 09:32 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Olas]
BrocLuno Offline


Registered: 09/06/15
Posts: 5394
Loc: Kalifornia Kollective
The discussion does not sound like a flat tappet. More like an overhead cam with shim adjusters ... If that's the case, I would not be overly concerned. But ...

You are have some serious head work done. That means you are bumping the HP and likely moving the Tq peak up the RPM range. Which will put extra stress on the cam and valve train. So the question is have you made allowances for additional oiling?
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#4751883 - 05/09/18 10:03 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: jayg]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18551
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Originally Posted By: jayg
Originally Posted By: Trav
The cam shouldn't be a problem but I would use some assembly lube on all the parts and lobes. Use a little zinc additive in the oil and bring the RPM up to about 2K for 15-20 min and it will be fine.
If this is a VW vacuum fill the cooling system so you don't have the bleeding fiasco and overheating issues. Leave the oil in for 1K then change it.


Just curious why you do a cam break in procedure on a used cam? It obviously doesn’t hurt it but if the lobes already have wear in, he should be able just to turn it on and go.


He said addition work with the valves was done its possible they used heavier springs that could put additional stress on the lobes.
New shims may look nice and shiny but they need some run in time also to match. Its usually no problem but I do anything I can to help old parts wear in to new parts, assy lube is cheap insurance.

VW have no oiling issues that I am aware of on the top end.
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#4751958 - 05/09/18 11:57 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Olas]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3920
Loc: Manchester, England
I was thinking of buying a qt. of Redline Race oil and lubing the top end with it just before fitting the valve cover and starting it up for the first time but assembly lube will stick better if it doesn't fire on the first turn.
Wold it be worth changing the oil just before the head swap to minimise particulates or is it the case that if they're small enough to pass the filter they won't do any measurable damage?

Thanks for your input
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#4751997 - 05/09/18 12:40 PM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Trav]
jayg Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 1189
Loc: Rabbit Creek, Alaska
Originally Posted By: Trav


He said addition work with the valves was done its possible they used heavier springs that could put additional stress on the lobes.
New shims may look nice and shiny but they need some run in time also to match. Its usually no problem but I do anything I can to help old parts wear in to new parts, assy lube is cheap insurance.

VW have no oiling issues that I am aware of on the top end.


For sure, I would run assembly lube and a zinc additive for the for quick change if it's an old vehicle without sensitive emissions equipment (hopefully since it's getting this much head work cool ).
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#4752006 - 05/09/18 12:47 PM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: NGRhodes]
BlueOvalFitter Offline


Registered: 02/28/03
Posts: 6001
Loc: Cajun Country, La.
Originally Posted By: NGRhodes
Get instructions from your builder to avoid invalidating any warranty due to following incorrect break in procedure.

^^^ THIS!!!!!^^^
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#4752110 - 05/09/18 03:25 PM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: BlueOvalFitter]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18551
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
I think he is the builder, just a shop doing the machine work.
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#4752113 - 05/09/18 03:27 PM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: Trav]
NGRhodes Offline


Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 299
Loc: West Yorkshire, UK
Originally Posted By: Trav
I think he is the builder, just a shop doing the machine work.


I meant those that did the head work.

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#4752603 - 05/10/18 06:03 AM Re: Break in oils/procedures for new head/cam/valves/ [Re: NGRhodes]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18551
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
I don't know about machine shops in the UK but here they usually don't make any recommendations (at least in writing), they leave that up to you they dont want to held responsible if something goes afoul.
Remember this is a country where a old woman spilled coffee on her crotch and sued McDonald's because the coffee was hot and won 2.8 million. duh
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