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Old 05-04-2005, 09:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Generally I know more about diesel engines than the guys selling the darn things at Ford dealerships (which is sad) but they all like to say " these things arent broken in till after 150K miles) some say more some say less. Some engine gurus like to say the same....what im getting at is whats your take on this subject. If powerstroke 7.3 diesels are just getting broken in at 150K miles and there normal tested shelf life is around 300K miles then why would the ' break in ' time be half the shelf life of the engine?

What really is getting broken in after 150K miles?
personally I would figure after a few thousand miles all parts are moving and lubed as should be and are ' broken in' so what gives this term? Is there something about this term that I am not aware of?

Does something happen at this magic # wether it be 150K 0f 50K that doesnt happen at lets say 2K miles? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shrug.gif[/img]
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Old 05-04-2005, 09:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

I know it takes awhile for everything to loosen up. My car started getting better milage when it hit 100k. It all depends on how those miles were spent too. My truck has 220k and it has been nothing but trouble. I think mine had a rough life too. Haven't done a compression ck yet but I hope it is just bad injectors. I already have more money in the thing that it will ever be worth.
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

I think it's a figure of speech, meaning that since it's a diesel, it isn't on its last legs at 150K miles like MOST(but not all) gassers. This is true of a well maintained diesel but not of a well abused one There is a good article on break in in teh articles section of this site. The consensus among the mechanics here is taht The engione will do all the breaking in it's gonna do by around 10K miles of service. If you should ever be fortunate enough to havbe a brand new or freshly rebuilt/remanned diesel, you should follow proper break in procedure and within 5-10K miles it will ahve been thoroughly broken in.
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Yeah they are just saying that a diesel with 150k is well in its prime still as opposed to a gas engine which is usually on its way to pretty well worthless by that time. FYI the break in procedure they used to use at least not so many years ago was to plateau hone the bores (which is supposed to eliminate the need for break in by itself) then they come off the line where they are run on a dyno to max RPM and then pulled down at full load until they die several times. After a few minutes of this they are packed up and shipped.

Those in commercial service will tell you we usually spend a few weeks loading down a new truck with incredibly heavy stuff, then it is off pedal to the metal into revenue service with absolutely no consideration for any kind of special driving, and these are the kinds of engines that last hundreds of thousands of miles.

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Old 05-05-2005, 09:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

That's another thing that gets me...I see in ads that have diesel trucks of all kinds forsale I noticed alot of ads will have trucks in the 100-200K mile range with a fresh reman? A diesel engine is suposed to have the golden key to longevity, why a reman allready? I mean I have seen abused engines make it much further. Does that mean this truck had a dud for a engine? Or possible that its standard for that company to rebuild engines at a specific mile range?
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

my unqualified and uneducated opinion on this matter, is that this reputation comes from the days long gone, where diesels were primarily used in commercial truck applications, and highway busses only, you couldn't get a diesel in every pick up truck in 1965. these large, mammoth engines that powered these vehicles 40 years ago, and even today, run at very low rpms, which certainly helps them to go the distance. my 6-71 is governed at 1900 rpm. that's all she'll do. if you take a modern gas engine, and run it down the highway at 1900, i bet she'll go 500,000 miles too before an overhaul is needed. unfortunately, with todays higher revving diesels, this is no longer true. i don't really remember that well, but when i had my 2000 powerstroke f-350, it redlined well into the upper 3,000's if my memory serves me correctly, i'm sure all you guys know for sure. well, that's almost twice what the big boys turn. no to mention, the highway trucks were designed to go millions of miles, and the engines were assembled with that in mind. you're kidding yourself if you think the international 7.3l is put together with any more care, or with any more precision than say the new chevy pick up truck gas motors.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

[ QUOTE ]
then they come off the line where they are run on a dyno to max RPM and then pulled down at full load until they die several times

[/ QUOTE ]

Ive read an article from an engine builder that does something similar. He says 90% of your break-in will happen within the first 10 miles. He would make several dozen WOT throttle runs right after rebuild. His reasoning is, especially with todays modern metallurgy, is that you need very high cylinder pressure to get behind the compression ring to force it against the cylinder wall to seat itself in. If you baby it, your rings ability to seat itself is greatly reduced (like a worn out file), then it may well take 100K miles to fully seat. Now this guy way talking about gas engines, but I would think it would be the same for a diesel.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

[ QUOTE ]
then they come off the line where they are run on a dyno to max RPM and then pulled down at full load until they die several times

[/ QUOTE ]

I helped inframe a Cummins Big Cam III 400 in a KW T600 road tractor. The Cummins guru that did the technical settings said to break it in load it up to 80,000 lbs, head for the hills and build some heat.
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Built a few engines and My favorite breakin is A loaded trailer waiting out side!Run it up to temp check it for leaks ,Slam the load on its back And go find some steep hills!BAR None the best!
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Alot of the Reman engines in the fords are coming from the crappy aircleaner box. It sure would have been cool to see how many miles they would have went if they would have started life without a handicap.

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Old 05-06-2005, 08:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

[ QUOTE ]
Alot of the Reman engines in the fords are coming from the crappy aircleaner box.

[/ QUOTE ]
I remember hearing about that or seeing a TSB regarding them. The diesels aren't the only ones. For a period of time my wife was taking her T-Bird to a quick lube place and one day I checked the air cleaner element and the intake duct (clean side) was really coated with dust since we lived down a dirt road. To the quick lube guys credit, there was no way you could re-assemble the two housing halves together on the flimsy warped cheapest bid thing unless you pulled the whole housing assembly off. The bottom edge was not fitting into the groove and it's unable to be seen when the housing is installed. So it pays to really check them. Fortunately those 302's are tough engines, it still never uses a quart of oil between changes.
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

The only way to properly break in any engine is hard. Get the engine completely warm and then load the hell out of it. The high CPs are required to press the rings out into the cylinder walls hard enough to get a proper mating of parts. The cylinder is only rough enough to do this for the first few miles. Of course this is one of the reasons why all ENGINE MANUFACTURERS run the piss out of your new engine on the test stand. The very worst thing you can do is sit there and rev up a new engine w/ no load on it. All of the opportunity to properly break the engine in properly is wasted and the solution is to tear it apart and re-ring it and hone the cylinder a bit. 75% of the break in occurs in the first 20 miles on a gasser and maybe the first 5000 miles on a diesel. The diesel one I'm making an educated guess on based on the extremely tight tolerances and the low RPMs. The gassers I am not guessing about at all.

I can always tell the motorcycles that have been broken in hard by their perfect ring seal, high mpg, and high hp. The ones that get babied always run the worst.

I sell Kenworth's for a living and the truckers generally tell me that at 40K they see a noticable improvement in mpg.
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

[ QUOTE ]
The only way to properly break in any engine is hard. Get the engine completely warm and then load the hell out of it.

[/ QUOTE ]

yup... best way to break an engine in... on a brand new vehicle though, that isn't the best way to break in the transmission and differential[s] gears... when i got my truck, i drove it nicely for about 15min to get the engine up to temp, then i drove it hard for the next week... that tank of diesel went empty real quick [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

at work when we have done rebuilds on the loco diesel engines, we run them at idle for like 15 min on and off when checking the bearing temps [conrod and mains with a pyrometer] and once that is done, we self load the engines [instead of tractive power going into the traction motors, the power is routed to the dynamic brake grids] for about an hour making full hp [3600 - 4400hp depending on unit] while checking for external leaks in the cooling, fuel oil and lube oil systems...

the last engine i finished is still running strong with no major mechanical failures [finished the rebuild in dec 03] and i thought it was going to fail because the engine rear geartrain was in real rough shape [turbocharger overrunning clutch failed and chewed the crap out of the gears - spent 24 hours cleaning up the gear surfaces as they didn't want to remove the engine to change the gears]
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Someone emailed cummins and got a break in procedure for the 5.9. Cummins recommended heavy loads and big hills to seat the rings after the first 500 or 1000 miles. They also were very specific about leaving the oil in the engine. Instead of changing it at 500 like some suggest (I am guilty of this myself). The dirty oil helps everything seat.
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Break in theory of diesel engines .....myth?

Hey Nick do you know of Al Krug...he is a BNSF engineer who writes photo essays of his job...anyway he wrote in one that he doesn't like to walk near the sides of units that are in run 8 (moving in his case) because he is afraid of what happens when one throws a rod. I guess he has had it happen more than once and is a little gun shy. Is that a consideration in your job?

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