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The main criticism 540 Rat gets is entirely due to his) and others) use of testing procedures, primarily the pressure / galling test, that have no resemblance or correlation to any conditions inside an engine. Not accounting for a moving film of oil under pressure is his primary fallacy when attempting to rate oils.

Entertaining ? Maybe. Science ? No.

Z
 

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Z, I am going to disagree. No, his test NOT is quite like anything in the engine as it runs. However, as Rat himself points out, his test isn't designed to mimic an engine, but rather to test an oil to failure as rapidly as possible. And it would seem that his testing correlates nicely with real world results. I remember when the Joe Gibbs team was first out on the track, They were, of course, running their own oil. For the first season, they couldn't even finish a race. Then they started to improve. I don't know if they switched oil for awhile or not, but I remember that they reformulated ALL of their oils. Some are now okay, most still crap. And the folks who choose oils that in the Rat's top 25 don't seem to be having oil related problems. So why not choose what you like from among his top 25 ? or even from his top 50 ? I see ALOT of folks having trouble with 'break - in' oils, which are in the very bottom performance of what he has tested. BP Break In is among the worst, and realworld experience seems to match that. LSG
 

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I use this twice on my FE. The first time. A cracked block prompted the cam be reinstalled in another block and broke in again. The second time the lifters were not on the original lobes. The lifter tray was knocked over and scattered. I had no issue with the second break-in.
I swear by both of these products. Use them, you probably won't have an issue with your break-in. Change the Penn Grade 30WT break in oil after break in. Change the oil again after the initial break-in with the same Penn-grade and run it for 500 miles. Then you can move on to something more readily available like 20-50 VR1. The oil is green. There are no Leprechauns in the product! :rolleyes:

I have always used Isky Rev Lube!!!!!
 
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Anyone that knocks Brad Penn/Penn grade isn't speaking from experience with the product. I've never had a cam failure during break in. That speaks to about 40 engines. I also used Babe Erson cams for all my custom grinds. It's now Steve Long Cams in Corona, Ca. He makes some of the best flat-tappet cams out there and also uses a technique on his grinds with lobe taper to help with the break-in. He also has a coating that helps keep the lubricant on the cam. The coating was still on the cam I mentioned previously after 400 miles. The only cam I had an issue with was a retrofit roller that the lifter bar came apart on and the roller turned sideways. I assisted in the build, but it wasn't mine specifically. Even Comp cams have become junk. The cast cores are coming from China.
The local FE guru machine shop here has cams from Comp that won't even slid in the block because they're not straight.
 

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Captain, at the shop from which I retired, we sometimes did 40 engines a month. We've had plenty of experience with Brad Penn oil, and the fellow who we saw with the big block Chevies, the guy with four failures in a row, was using Brad Penn break in oil. Yes, it really IS that bad. There is a reason that its nicknamed 'oil of green death'. There are HUNDREDS of better choices. That, and many of our old favorites have the same name, but have been reformulated several times. If ones buys Delo 400, for example, 'because we've always done it that way' ---well, what you are buying NOW is not the same as the stuff you had before. The fact that your engines didn't fail only means Brad Penn was ENOUGH to protect your engines. The next guy with another 50#s on the seat may not be so lucky. Your engine, your choice. LSG
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thanks for everyone's responses. It gives me a lot to digest. I was planning on using VR-1 30 wt. break-in oil and I did use a zinc based assembly lube, so maybe all will be good. The reason I even brought this up was because of the Crower recommendations that was posted above - they recommended pouring ZDDP over the cam and lifters, which I didn't do, but I did use a Zinc based assembly lube. As far as the springs, they are 308 lbs/in rate single spring with a damper.
 

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another item not mentioned is to fill your carb fuel bowls, either with a funnel through the vents or using your electric fuel pump if you have one. That and have your engine at #1 TDC and your rotor slightly before the spark plug tower for #1 wire. Have someone else twist the key while you’re on the loosened distributor to rotate it until the engine starts. You want the engine to fire immediately and then crank in some idle screw to maintain 2000+ RPMs for the break in.
Lastly, count your idle screw turns so you can return it to where you started from. You want that transition slot in the carb to be returned to a square- looking position, and ultimately set your desired idle speed with distributor timing, not that screw.
 

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The main criticism 540 Rat gets is entirely due to his) and others) use of testing procedures, primarily the pressure / galling test, that have no resemblance or correlation to any conditions inside an engine. Not accounting for a moving film of oil under pressure is his primary fallacy when attempting to rate oils.

Entertaining ? Maybe. Science ? No.

Z
While his methods are not fully described, it sounds like other tests I have seen using a spinning wheel, a bar pressed against the wheel and an oil bath. The resulting scar or gall in the bar is measured and divided by the pressure applied. The smaller the gall the less wear and higher the psi. One could argue that that is not a good representation of oil use in a main or rod bearing situation, it is pretty darn similar to an oil's interaction between a lifter and camshaft which are splash lubricated (the exception being solid lifters with a small hole drilled in the face).
 

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another item not mentioned is to fill your carb fuel bowls, either with a funnel through the vents or using your electric fuel pump if you have one. That and have your engine at #1 TDC and your rotor slightly before the spark plug tower for #1 wire. Have someone else twist the key while you’re on the loosened distributor to rotate it until the engine starts. You want the engine to fire immediately and then crank in some idle screw to maintain 2000+ RPMs for the break in.
Lastly, count your idle screw turns so you can return it to where you started from. You want that transition slot in the carb to be returned to a square- looking position, and ultimately set your desired idle speed with distributor timing, not that screw.
^ ^ ^ This. In addition, you can set your initial timing using a voltmeter or test light to the desired advance, and for break-in I'd probably add an additional 4-6 degrees from spec to keep exhaust heat down.

A couple more.... I fill my cooling system with straight water during break-in for the possibility of a leak or spill. I don't want glycol on the floor OR in the crankcase. A box fan in front of the radiator is a good idea to keep air circulating as is a wet rag (in case you have to toss it over the carb) and a fire extinguisher. I'd also secure the battery ground cable with Vise-Grips and not via the nut and bolt so you can unclamp and remove it in a hurry, in case of electrical issues. Resist the temptation to see the engine speed to 2,000 rpm and leave it. You want to VARY the speed between 2,000-2,500 rpm over the course of 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the exhaust manifolds or headers and advance the timing if they start to show signs of overheating. I also recommend a magnetic oil pan drain plug.

While I'm thinking.... verify, preferably when pre-lubing the oil pump before starting, the operation of the oil pressure gauge and make sure you have pressure immediately when firing. I'd also monitor coolant temperature over the break-in period. I wouldn't mess with any adjustments, other than adding in more timing if needed, until break-in is complete. I'd also immediately dump the oil and filter after break-in, while still nice and hot. Refill and then check the tightness of all nuts and bolts. If anything came loose then try and figure out if you just forgot to tighten it or if you need to add threadlocker or safety wiring.
 

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It seems, when talking about a cam lobe and lifter, that this would not be relevant anyway......
you’re right, the oil film is not under pressure from the pump. But unlike the static testing done by the oil charlatan, the oil that is splashed on the cam / lifter surfaces is continually being replenished, a substantively important departure from the oil used in the static galling test. The replenishment of the oil that gets between the cam and lifter does constitute a moving film. This film keeps the cam and lifter from chewing each other up.

Again, the testing done by the Rat man is purely entertainment, and not very good at that either. Making a decision on what oil to use based on those galling / pressure tests is using the same thought processes that were used at the Salem Witch trials 300 years ago.

I’ll keep my faith in the billion dollar research labs like the one that ConocoPhillips has down the street from my home. They, Exxon-Mobil, and Shell, have been doing a pretty good job making quality lubricants. The last time I took a tour thru the ConocoPhillips / Chevron research center there wasn’t a ball bearing / galling test in sight. The lead scientist at the lab assured me there would never be any such witchcraft practiced on the premises as long the PhD’s were in charge. I can rest easy knowing the Rat blogger is sequestered in his basement, writing his latest manifesto.

Z
 

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you’re right, the oil film is not under pressure from the pump. But unlike the static testing done by the oil charlatan, the oil that is splashed on the cam / lifter surfaces is continually being replenished, a substantively important departure from the oil used in the static galling test. The replenishment of the oil that gets between the cam and lifter does constitute a moving film. This film keeps the cam and lifter from chewing each other up.

Again, the testing done by the Rat man is purely entertainment, and not very good at that either. Making a decision on what oil to use based on those galling / pressure tests is using the same thought processes that were used at the Salem Witch trials 300 years ago.

I’ll keep my faith in the billion dollar research labs like the one that ConocoPhillips has down the street from my home. They, Exxon-Mobil, and Shell, have been doing a pretty good job making quality lubricants. The last time I took a tour thru the ConocoPhillips / Chevron research center there wasn’t a ball bearing / galling test in sight. The lead scientist at the lab assured me there would never be any such witchcraft practiced on the premises as long the PhD’s were in charge. I can rest easy knowing the Rat blogger is sequestered in his basement, writing his latest manifesto.

Z
I get your drift.
 

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you’re right, the oil film is not under pressure from the pump. But unlike the static testing done by the oil charlatan, the oil that is splashed on the cam / lifter surfaces is continually being replenished, a substantively important departure from the oil used in the static galling test. The replenishment of the oil that gets between the cam and lifter does constitute a moving film. This film keeps the cam and lifter from chewing each other up.

Again, the testing done by the Rat man is purely entertainment, and not very good at that either. Making a decision on what oil to use based on those galling / pressure tests is using the same thought processes that were used at the Salem Witch trials 300 years ago.

I’ll keep my faith in the billion dollar research labs like the one that ConocoPhillips has down the street from my home. They, Exxon-Mobil, and Shell, have been doing a pretty good job making quality lubricants. The last time I took a tour thru the ConocoPhillips / Chevron research center there wasn’t a ball bearing / galling test in sight. The lead scientist at the lab assured me there would never be any such witchcraft practiced on the premises as long the PhD’s were in charge. I can rest easy knowing the Rat blogger is sequestered in his basement, writing his latest manifesto.

Z
No matter which side of the fence you're on, this was good writing, Z, and I chuckled a bit. Well said. =)
 
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Captain, at the shop from which I retired, we sometimes did 40 engines a month. We've had plenty of experience with Brad Penn oil, and the fellow who we saw with the big block Chevies, the guy with four failures in a row, was using Brad Penn break in oil. Yes, it really IS that bad. There is a reason that its nicknamed 'oil of green death'. There are HUNDREDS of better choices. That, and many of our old favorites have the same name, but have been reformulated several times. If ones buys Delo 400, for example, 'because we've always done it that way' ---well, what you are buying NOW is not the same as the stuff you had before. The fact that your engines didn't fail only means Brad Penn was ENOUGH to protect your engines. The next guy with another 50#s on the seat may not be so lucky. Your engine, your choice. LSG
Hello: I used Kendall for years. Great oil in the 80's and the only one that didn't turn into black water after a 1000 miles. ( Castrol is garbage). The last time I went through the block change and dumping the lifter tray was about two years ago, not ancient history. I don't question for a moment that there are all kinds of quality control issues anymore. However, most of the information coming in about cam failures are new flat tappet cams and from those who used to be noted as quality manufacturers. As I am sure you're aware a large conglomerate bought most of the well known cam manufacturers out and most of the cam cores are coming from CHY-NA. I don't have to explain to you what the issue is. I am still kicking myself for not going roller when I had to change blocks after two cylinder failures. I've never heard anyone call it the green death. I did spend some time in what was known as "Green Hell" aka Ft. Sherman, Panama.
Anyway, I think we're all going to have to reevaluate what we have trusted for a half century.
 

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I have always used Isky Rev Lube!!!!!
Great product in my opinion and probably was the savior of the cam and lifters I scattered in the replacement block. I knew Ed, Vic and Joe Reath well. I used to go to Signal Hill ( Long Beach) quite often. Always great to sit down and have a bite with them and hear the stories. I have a can of the stuff here. At the rate we're going I see most of the products banned. I think my only complaint was trying to get it all out of a cast aluminum Cobra oil pan.
 
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Great product in my opinion and probably was the savior of the cam and lifters I scattered in the replacement block. I know Ed, Vic and Joe Reath well. I used to go to Signal Hill ( Long Beach) quite often. Always great to sit down and have a bite with them and hear the stories. I have a can of the stuff here. At the rate we're going I see most of the products banned. I think my only complaint was trying to get it all out of a cast aluminum Cobra oil pan.
OMG.. Kelly & Denis of Kelly's Block welding service machined my engine, Reath shave and balance the oem aluminum flywheel and the rest of the parts! My dad use to run Isy's cams in the 40's and later 50's (after Korea) and Ed's brother invited us over to his house in NoCal.... Ed did a very specialized cam you one of my engines as well!!!!!!!!

Dad use to run Lions Drag, Culver City Speedway and El Mirage!
 
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OMG.. Kelly & Denis of Kelly's Block welding service machined my engine, Reath shave and balance the oem aluminum flywheel and the rest of the parts! My dad use to run Isy's cams in the 40's and later 50's (after Korea) and Ed's brother invited us over to his house in NoCal.... Ed did a very specialized cam you one of my engines as well!!!!!!!!

Dad use to run Lions Drag, Culver City Speedway and El Mirage!
I am a youngster in comparison to them, but going into Joe's shop was a guarantee I was going to find something I had to have. I remember the consignment parts. Of course going to the "Super Shops" on PCH that was always packed too. The "Service Centers" in Downey, Ca. Sadly when I exited military service in 91' the place had started to change. Hell, there was even a custom car spring manufacturer in Signal Hill. I made the mistake of ordering the 190 lb rate leaf springs for my car. Rode like a covered wagon. Simpler times..,,,
 

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I am a youngster in comparison to them, but going into Joe's shop was a guarantee I was going to find something I had to have. I remember the consignment parts. Of course going to the "Super Shops" on PCH that was always packed too. The "Service Centers" in Downey, Ca. Sadly when I exited military service in 91' the place had started to change. Hell, there was even a custom car spring manufacturer in Signal Hill. I made the mistake of ordering the 190 lb rate leaf springs for my car. Rode like a covered wagon. Simpler times..,,,
OMG...ok, for PR purposes I'll just say I remember reading about that in the history books!!! HA :geek: I use to buy my BFG T/A's (the one with the rectangle/square tread pattern) there! Oh the parts I bought there and although it was a bit like a volume suppler, they still took care of the customers!
 
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I can feel your pain @kblagron breaking in a flat tapped cam is nerve racking.
I am no expert at all in this field, since i broke in only two flat tapped cams so far. But I listened closely to my engine guy how did hundreds of break ins over the years. Most of the tips and hints above are identical to what I did based on my friends recommendations. I used Maxima Break in oil, drained it, run VR-1 for 150 miles, drained and continue to run VR-1 since then.
The only thing to add is, if you run into an e.g. temperature problem. Shot the engine down and let it cool off completely and continue the next day. You don't need to have the 20 minutes in one run.

Fingers crossed!
 
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