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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-24-2013 10:23 PM
Correct Break-in Procedure flat tappets

Always wash camshaft and lifters them thoroughly in clean mineral spirits prior to installation.
Lube the bottom of the lifters with the moly paste provided with the cam. Lube the sides of the lifters with oil. Lube the camshaft lobes with the moly paste supplied with the cam.
Install the camshaft, lifters and timing set. Lubricate the tips of the pushrods with Crane Engine Assembly Lube (99008-1) or motor oil before installation.
Set your valve lash
If possible prime the oiling system.
Preset the ignition to start the engine at a fast idle.
Fire up the engine and bring the engine to a fast idle between 1500 and 3000 RPM. Get the engine running fairly smoothly - tweak later.
Slow to moderate cycle the engine speed from 1500-3000 RPM for about 20-30 minutes.
(I love this one): If something does not sound right, shut it down, find out why. (Take that with a grain of salt. I know from experience you find "why" much faster by giving it a couple, four dozen good goosings)
Let the engine cool, and then drain the crankcase and throw the freaking oil filter in your backyard toxic waste dump.
It is getting late, I'm getting giddy. They really said "properly dispose of the oil filter."
Refill the crankcase with the proper viscosity / API service index mineral oil (not synthetic).
Initial "break-in" is complete.
* Now entering break-in stage 2.
Drive the vehicle normally except avoid prolonged idling.
Change the oil and filter after 500 miles.
Continue using mineral oil for another 5000 miles.
*You are broke. I mean it's broke in.
Change oil/filter. New filter/Synthetic oil *until damn thing blows again (about 30K later).
*Repeat all of the above.
* They did not really, really did NOT say those things either.
Performance Parts News
Archive for Camshaft
Article courtesy of Crane Cams
05-23-2013 02:10 AM
VintageChevyBob I'd be remiss not to fess up and say I am a factor in the grossly premature cam failure that recently befell me.
I was following recommended oil additives and oil types that have proven to a degree effective in mitigating the excessive high heat and pressures that we our bump ups put on first gen small block technology. The fact that the work around did not help me was screaming I screwed up somewhere and I really needed to know where to prevent a repeat performance.
I found it.
I got me a set of hi-perf 2.02 double hump heads that came off a 1968 Corvette. I took the heads to a guy with a rep for doing great refurbs. He did a great job. He stripped the heads bear, clean up the seats, did the coating thing and replaced the valves and springs with Summit Racing stainless steel valves with dual springs and the OEM rockers with aluminum rockers that have needle bearing fulcrum and roller tips.
I came across an article last night that warned the dual springs on the top end must be matched with a roller cam system on the bottom end. The flat tappet cam system cannot take the beatings coming down the push rods at it.
It was then I recognized the validity of the retro-roller solution.
Do I regret my composite tappet fix? Not at all. I will admit that I would have opted for the roller cam solution if I was not so torqued at the moment. My twisted head (the one that lives on top of my neck) gave me the motivation to pay for what I knew to be a better solution.
Your input helped me quickly find the errors of my ways.
Thanks for your help.
05-22-2013 11:25 PM
05-22-2013 06:48 PM
1971BB427 I run Brad Penn 15-40 wt. in all my engines. I use it for breakin period also. I use all the required assembly lube, and cam breakin lube that the cam makers spec to warranty their cams.
I've got 30 some qts. of old Valavoline 20-50 Racing Oil I bought NOS in the old cardboard qt. cans not long ago. I'll probably start using it also when I run low on Brad Penn.
05-22-2013 06:13 PM
Originally Posted by Silver Surfer View Post
WOW! I had no idea these existed! But by the time you plunk down your cash for these lifters, you might as well have done a retro-roller conversion. I guess the argument could be make the retro rollers are heavier and thus bad, but still...if these guys lowered the price on these lifters, I am sure they would be pretty flooded with demand.
The retro-roller is a fix but not an easy one especially when compared to the composite tappet fix.

Those guys can't lower the price. The down side is the very high cost to manufacturer ceramic composites. I was just about to send Howard a buck fifty for their hi-perf roller tappets when my buddy turned me on to SM composite tappets. SM set me back $600 over the next best solution. Business is business. No one can charge $600 over going rate and stay in business if they could sell for less and still make a profit. I'll fenture a guess and say those composite tappets cost SM about 375 to manufacture. The cost of manufacturing does not cover overhead, lawyers taxes and all the other vultures nipping away at yah before you can keep a few bucks for yourself. SM may go broke trying to get $750. They positively will go under selling at a price greater than they pay.

I am not going to claim I know much about how composites are made. I do know it is far more involved than a gluing a piece of ceramic on a steel shank. They use processes that creates a matrix that binds the two materials together. A honey comb is a good example of a matrix. The structure is enormously strong given its light weight. The resultant composite inherits the strengths of its base materials. The weakness of steel is its inability to disperse heat. Iron is a good heat conductor. We cook on iron then put the hot pan on a ceramic plate so not to burn the table. The weakness of ceramic is its brittle nature. What if we can get a material that disperses heat as well as ceramic that has the strength of steel. Now we really have something.

The pressure between the lobe surface and the tappet/lifter creates far more heat than steel can handle. In fact, the pressure is so great it can stall the roller.

I'll give you this. All of the applications successfully using CMC's are high end things like jet aircraft, military armor, and other megabuck stuff.

On the other hand my 500 hp 350 cid build is a megabuck thing in my scheme of things. Ask my wife. She'll gladly tell how much I've thrown at it. She reminds me on a daily basis.

I, am, so happy. My problem is solved forever. Did I mention the break in time and efforts. Their ain't one. Just need to remember to put the oil in after the pan and plug are in place before I go zoom, zooooom, zoooooom. I can't figure how to do the squeeling tire sound so zoom, zoom is my best effort.

I am so happy. Maybe I'll send SM a tip. Hehe
05-22-2013 05:35 PM
bygddy I run standard 10w30 with comp break in additive for initial can break in. Pn#159 I believe
Then out of habit I still use rottela 15w40 but continue using the comp additive at every oil change.
So far so good.
05-22-2013 02:17 PM
Silver Surfer
Originally Posted by cobalt327 View Post
Then there are some other more expensive options to assure the lifters don't fail:

SM Composite lifters- Composite lifters are again available, sm machine, composite lifters, custom lifters, ceramic lifters, tool steel lifters, racing lifters, cam failure

SM Tool Steel lifters- SM Composite Lifters
WOW! I had no idea these existed! But by the time you plunk down your cash for these lifters, you might as well have done a retro-roller conversion. I guess the argument could be make the retro rollers are heavier and thus bad, but still...if these guys lowered the price on these lifters, I am sure they would be pretty flooded with demand.
05-22-2013 09:47 AM
VintageChevyBob Hey Guys,

I am a newbie. Have mercy on me. I just had to get in this fray - call it what you may, I call it the problem that has plagued us ever since we decided we want 500 hp or more out of motors that were intended for about half that hp. We do everything we can to kill camshafts. Gotta admit we're damn good at it. Truth be told, I just did it again.

I got me this build where each valve has two springs to keep em down. The pressure between the tappets and lobes is way too much. Is there a permanent once and for all solution?

Indeed. I coughed up $750 bucks to solve the problem forever. The new cam will live forever. And I do not need worry over GM EOS, Rototeller diesel oil, or getting my hands all grease up slathering moly lube all over my lobes.

Composites are the solution. Ceramic/metal matrix composite, CMC, is the solution. Consider the applications where CMC has proven itself. Cutting tool inserts, Wear resistant parts, Aerospace and military applications and "Other" including engines and energy related apps. Wanna know what, just so happens we fall into all four major categories. Why is it we haven't taken advantage. The cost? Com'n we got an expensive addiction to speed. We pee 750 away regularly.

I got me a good excuse. Ignorance. I did not know composite tappets could be had. A good friend told me about them. And yesterday I sent SM Composites $750 bucks with a big smile on my face. My cam problem days are over forever.

I do have a little aviation in my background so ceramic composites are not new to me. I was a very easy sell.

Never again will I need a roller cam / roller tappets with little oil hole channels at least not on the cam end of this push me pull me thing.

Mechanical flat composite tappets is hands down the best solution.

One last rant and I'm out of here. Every think about much trouble we just went though to transform the linear thrust from combustion into torque. No sooner we get it spinning and we go through even more trouble to get it going straight again. A cam shaft is nothing more than a bassackwards crankshaft.

11-29-2011 04:58 AM
Hwyhogg I'm a complete novice. Having said that, after talking to a couple of speed shops, I used Brad Penn break-in oil, (30w). So far no problems. I found mine on
11-28-2011 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by BBCRedline
I like Brad Penn, but it may not be easy for you to find it.
I use the Brad Penn myself. I buy from Competition Products. I have also seen some deals on Ebay with different venders selling it.
11-28-2011 04:51 PM
lmsport Summit sells Brad Penn in the Howards Cams line.

Brad Penn is the original Kendall GT1 oil. Kendall you buy today is nothing special, just regular Conoco oil.

Flat tappet cams should use a API SG, SH or SL rated oil.

I use Brad Penn in my own race engine and in instances when a customer just doesnt want to spend $100+ to change the oil in their hi perf engine.
11-28-2011 04:48 PM
Ohio Hab I also use Brad Penn oil, with no problem's.
11-28-2011 03:57 PM
BBCRedline I like Brad Penn, but it may not be easy for you to find it.
11-28-2011 03:25 PM
TNshadetree Well, I coated the lobes and lifter bottoms with the grey goo that came with the cam. It was a Summit 1102 204/214 cam.

As mentioned I have the Comp Cams "Engine Break-in Oil Additive" and will be using it. Sounds like it will be OK with some regular 10W30 conventional for the initial break in and 1,000 miles.

But after the 1,000 miles mark, for day to day driving, what options are there?The VR1 + regular route sound reasonable enough. But I'm not sure I'll mix in synthetic since this is a 2 piece rear seal engine with the perimeter bolts on the valve covers. It will be tough enough keeping it from leaking without synthetic.

What are the other acceptable oils to use for day to day driving after the break-in?
11-28-2011 10:21 AM
Greg T
Originally Posted by cobalt327
Good point. I saw an article a while ago that showed the various ZDDP levels of some oils that still contain it (both break in and 'regular' motor oils) and one type- Lucas, IIRC- has so much ZDDP that it could realistically be run 50/50 w/any good non ZDDP-containing oil and the levels would still be "good". But seeing as how Lucas doesn't enjoy much of a following from racers in general, this might not mean much.

From what I understand, there is no "too much" after the rings have seated and everything has taken on a wear pattern. But from what I've read, too much ZDDP can actually hinder the wear pattern process when running in a new FT cam and lifter set. SOME wear is necessary in order to establish the proper wear pattern on the surfaces.
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