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Old 04-14-2008, 11:20 AM
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Delay between cam install and first start

I've got the old cam out of my SBC and am ready to install the new hydraulic flat tappet cam and button the engine back together. I found 2 lobes wiped and 2 lifters mooned out pretty badly. But, it may be several days between installing the cam and starting the engine for the first time and breaking in the cam. I need to do a bunch of other stuff before I will be able to start it up. I want to get everything put back together to reduce the chances of getting crud into the internals of the engine. Is there any danger in waiting to start it? Will the assembly lube lose its effectiveness? Or should I wait until the last possible moment to install it and start things up?



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Old 04-14-2008, 11:32 AM
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I think before I did anything, I would find out how much life your engine has left, usually when cam lobes get wiped, the rest of the engine gets contaiminated with cast iron grit from the wiped cam lobes and the hardend steel from the lifters, this eats up rod and main bearings quickly. Now when you do a flat tappet cam swap, you cant use regular motor oil to break it in, the anti wear agents were removed by the gov some time ago, and cams were going flat left and right. Some oils still have the needed additives, I believe the valvoline racing oil has them.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:34 AM
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If it will be sitting for more than a few days I would recommend getting some cam lube that comes in a paste form like Isky Rev Lube. That way you know it will still be there when you start it. Also If you were missing that much material on the lobes I hope you cleaned all the oil passages because if you didn't you could wreck all your bearings and possibly damage that new bumpstick with all the material floating around.
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:38 PM
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cam install

Hi,i have always used only STP,i have built at least 35 engines with never a problem,and some have set for as long as 1 year before being started. cover all moving parts with STP.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:34 PM
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Either the red syrup lube or the grey paste lube will work fine. I have an engine that was built several years ago and when I look down beside the pushrods the paste is still there despite being stored in a storage trailer in the SoCal sun. I wouldn't hesitate to prime the oil pump and start it right now.

The red stuff won't last quite as long since it does drip off eventually, but for a few days don't worry a heartbeat about it. I often take my time building my engines and it might be weeks from cam install to first firing.

I do recommend pulling the oil pan though. I think you'll find a 1/2" of metallic sludge in the pan. I would remove the old cam, clean out the pan, put on a new filter, then prime the oil pump at 2500 rpm for several minutes while slowly turning the engine by hand in 1/4 turn increments. That will hopefully flush out the majority of the metal from the oil passages. You'll have to clean the heads out by hand or with a magnet. Then change the oil and filter again put your new cam in, and fire it up. Do a proper cam break in, then change the oil/filter again.

Theoretically, an metal particles that came from the cam would either fall in the pan or get sent up to the heads, but cold startups bypass the filter, so you've filled every nook and cranny with shaved metal. For that reason, I think your first 1000 miles will be the make-or-break point. At the next scheduled oil change, I suggest a quart of diesel be poured in the oil, run it for 10 minutes or so at idle. Don't even blip the throttle. Then do your oil change.
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