Streetbike Engine Break-in Procedure
The following streetbike engine break-in procedure is
something that I have been
gradually perfecting for the past 15 or so years. Every aspect of the process is traceable
in some form or another, with many subtle changes occurring along the way.
I have received help from other engine builders, most
recently as a result of the introduction of aftermarket plain-bearing crankshafts and the
special requirements associated with them.
In this area I utilized the wisdom and guidance of Mr. Ray
Bellucci. The "godfather" is
pretty tight-lipped about his secrets, so I won't reveal exactly which aspect it is. You
be assured that I was greatly appreciative of his input, as I'm convinced you will be!
This is the exact method that I currently use on all
streetbikes, from my Team Suzuki
Sport GSXR 600 SS to my Unlimited Streetbike Shootout 1500cc Bandit.
Start with regular Quaker State 10W-40
Motor Oil (20w-50 if you can find it , in the
green bottle @ $1.25 per quart - no fancy stuff! ) to full level in the view window.
- Remove the spark plugs and turn the engine over with the
bike's starter until the oil
pressure light goes out (This occasionally takes a while, a battery charger might come in
handy). If the light does not go out, investigate the problem! Replace the spark plugs and
perform a final safety inspection.
Do not start the engine until you are ready to
ride the bike, if you wait more than an hour perform the first steps again.
Make sure the bike is 100% ready to ride.
Including: fresh gas, proper air pressure in the tires, double check the rear axle, and
triple check the oil drain plug and oil related fittings (oil cooler, etc.).
Additionally, ALWAYS use some type of air
cleaner and an exhaust baffle. You can ruin your cylinder bore or not hear potential
problems (not to mention it is the proper way to ride on the street! ).
Reset your trip meter and prepare to ride.
- Start the bike, adjusting the idle to at least 1700 to 2200
RPM. Look for oil leaks, if you find a leak turn off the engine and repair the problem. If
everything looks good,
IMMEDIATELY RIDE THE BIKE. You must gas-load the rings for them to seal properly, do not
Ride the bike calmly at first varying the engine RPM and
watching for signs of trouble. If something feels wrong, it probably is, STOP THE BIKE AND
TRAILER IT HOME. Within the first several minutes it is not uncommon to have to readjust
your idle back down as the rings begin to seat.
Special Note: If you are serious about this procedure, you should have an
oil pressure and a temperature gauge installed. This allows you to actually KNOW if there
is a problem.
I use a back-lit temperature gauge available from Yoshimura,
Street and Competition sells a less expensive version made by Daytona. I made my own oil
pressure gauge from parts purchased at my local NAPA auto parts store.
If everything seems to be going well, don't be afraid to get a little aggressive with the
gas. Avoid full load, redline rpms. Keep the bike moving, you should avoid heavy traffic
and excessive idling or sustained constant RPM on the highway. Try not to allow the bike
stay at any certain RPM for very long.
Ride the bike for approximately 15 miles. Return and allow the bike to cool completely
(over night is best). You may want to remove the drain plug and allow the oil to drain
during this time. Inspect the oil for any debris. Re-install the drain plug and replace
the oil with fresh Quaker State, its inexpensive, easy and very important.
You may wish to recheck the torque on the head gasket nuts,
but if you use stock or spring steel type gaskets, I have found it to be a waste of time.
It's also a good time to check the valve adjustment, and you
should also perform a compression and leak-down test on the engine. That will give you a
guideline to judge the ring seal by.
Next ride, adjust the idle to its proper position and travel
approximately 40 to 75 miles.
Once again avoid full load, red line, and long term high RPM running, but you can be
fairly aggressive if conditions allow (this depends on where you live, I am not endorsing
breaking the law!).
Again, allow the bike to cool, and If there are no signs of
oil leaks or trouble, I would consider the bike ready to race. At this time, install a new
oil filter, and change the oil to whatever your favorite race oil might be. (check with
YOUR engine builder for type and quantity).
A bit of personal input for budget conscious riders: I have
found that the Quaker State
out-performs, on the dyno and race track, all other non-synthetic motor oils that I have
This procedure should be considered a general guideline, not the final word. If you feel
that these requirements are excessive for your machine, adjust the mileage accordingly,
use your best judgment , it is YOUR engine. Remember, Pro-Mods normally don't receive any
break-in( unless you count the burn out)and some engine builders put engines through their
paces immediately on the dyno. On the other hand, factory recommendations are far less
aggressive, even though most machines today are pre-tested before delivery to the dealers.
I also use a procedure known as heat cycling , but I have found this to be time-consuming
and unnecessary for most street applications.
This entire process can be duplicated on any rear wheel dyno.
I hope this clears up some of the mysteries in this high-performance world of ours!
NEWS GOES HERE!