Originally Posted by Rhett
Do Not Idle the Engine-
As soon as the engine starts, raise the rpm to 2,000 rpm. You should also constantly vary the RPM between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM for the first 20 minutes. This is the only way to insure proper lubrication during this critical period since the camshaft to lifter contact area relies almost exclusively on oil splash from the crank and connecting rods. Make sure that you run the engine for a full 20 minutes using this procedure. It will seem like forever, but it is one of the most important steps to insure long, dependable performance.
Once Break-in is Complete-
Drain and replace the engine oil and filter with new, fresh oil and a new filter. Recheck for any fluid leaks and check all fluid levels. If you installed a mechanical lifter style camshaft, flat faced or roller style, the valve adjustment should be rechecked at this time with the engine fully warmed up. Hydraulic lifter equipped engines should not require any readjustment.
Good points, to be sure...here is Lunati's recommendation. You'll note some variance, especially in the first twenty minutes of the procedure.
Apply cam lube liberally to both the lifter faces and lobe areas of your flat tappet cam and lifters.
Lunati recommends “pre-oiling” your engine prior to start up. Failure to do so will result in premature parts wear and possible cam failure. Dry cam lobes and lifters will wear out immediately upon start up. Lunati will not warranty cams that have failed due to improper break-in, lack of lubrication, or dry start ups. Oil pump primer tools are available through most major auto parts suppliers and speed shops.
We have found that utilizing straight 30 weight, non-detergent motor oil works best for initial start up and cam break in. Switching to a multi-grade, premium quality oil for your climate conditions is acceptable after the first 500 miles of engine operation. DO NOT use synthetic or synthetic blend oils prior to the first 5000 miles of engine operation.
Lunati recommends filling the oil filter with fresh oil in addition to the crankcase prior to initial start up.
Filling the carburetor float bowls, or priming the injection pump will facilitate quick engine start up. This prevents cam and lifter wear during the initial engine firing. Once the engine fires, Lunati recommends setting the throttle RPM at 2000-2500 for the first 20 minutes of run time. After the first 20 minutes, we suggest increasing the engine RPM in increments of 500 RPM for 1 minute at a time up to 3500. After reaching 3500 RPM and maintaining for one minute, begin to decrease RPM in increments of 500 RPM for 1 minute at a time until the engine is back down to 1000 RPM. Once this is accomplished, your Lunati cam and lifters have successfully completed their initial break in run cycle.
In the event your engine develops a problem (overheating, fuel leak, etc.) shut the engine off immediately, let it cool down, repair the problem and resume your break in procedure.
...and, Crane has this to say:
Use a high quality 30 or 40 weight oil, preferably a Pennsylvania base oil, or a high quality Pennsylvania based multi-viscosity oil, such as 10W-30 or 20W-50.
Also, for extra protection, an antiwear additive (zinc dithiophosphate) must be added, such as Crane SuperLube (Part Number 99003-1).
IMPORTANT! Do not allow the engine to run UNDER 1500 RPM for the first half-hour or so.
Also, change RPM frequently to direct oil to different places. Slow idle speeds or continued operation of the starter will result in severe cam and lifter wear during the initial start-up period. Prime the carburetor before starting, so that you may immediately start the engine and bring it to break-in RPM. Try to place a load on the engine, such as normal driving conditions, in order to insure proper operating temperatures and distribution of lubricant.
REMEMBER . . . the first 10 minutes are the most important in a new camshaft's life. Tests have shown that if there is no spalling or metal pick up during the first 10 minutes to one hour of operation, the cam will last a normal life. After you have completed the "break-in," immediately change oil and filter. Regularly maintain your engine, its oil and filter, and valve lash adjustment. Your reward will be an engine that delivers maximum horsepower and performance.
Comp has this to say:
They all have something to say that is slightly different, which is a good reason to follow the recommendations of your camshaft manufacturer.
Howard's cams has this to say:
The first few minutes of engine operation after installing a new cam are critical. It takes time for the engine’s oiling system to reach efficiency and while you’re waiting for that to happen, metal-to metal contact can occur. If it does, something is going to fail then or later. Especially critical is the lifter/cam lobe area. If metal touches metal here without benefit of solid lubrication, galling will occur and something (the lifter, the lobe or both) is going to fail.
To prevent these and similar problems not covered by any warranty, please follow the steps outlined here:
1. New lifters must be installed with any new cam installation. The surface of a new lifter, which rides on the cam lobe, has a spherical shape with a 0.002” crown, which is almost impossible to detect. Used lifters won’t have that crown and will quickly destroy cam lobes. Note that if you later take your engine apart, lifters must be reinstalled in the bore from which they were
removed. Each lifter wears in a way that mates it to a given cam lobe; switching lifters is the same as using old lifters with a new cam.
2. Install the valve train components (lifters, valves, springs, etc.) recommended by the cam manufacturer. These items have been tested and proven for compatibility with the cam.
3. Coat the cam lobes, distributor drive gear, lifter cam faces and other critical components with a moly-disulfide lube like our Camshaft and Engine Assembly Lube for protection against metal-to-metal contact during initial break-in.
4. Check the entire valve train for interference and adequate clearance during assembly. The four areas of major concern are covered in “How to Install a Performance Camshaft.”
5. Fill the oil pan with top-quality MS-DG engine oil meeting the SAE or API specifications set by the engine manufacturer. A Pennsylvania-based detergent oil is preferred. Use a straight viscosity of 20W or 30W for break-in; do not switch to a multi-viscosity oil until after the break-in period. For added protection, a zinc-phosphorous additive should be added to the engine oil during break-in because they can produce undesirable combustion chamber deposits. (ed: This appears to be a sentence failure.)
6. Before starting the engine be sure:
• The valves are correctly adjusted. Set solid lifters 0.003” to 0.005” tighter than specified.
• To prime the oil system by turning the oil pump manually until pressure is indicated on the oil gauge. Be sure crankcase is filled to proper (normal) level.
• To put gas in the carburetor float bowls, prime the accelerator pump and have gas in the tank.
• There’s water in the radiator.
• The battery is charged.
• Nothing will get caught in the fan, fan belts, and alternator/generator belt or by the crankshaft. Check the entire engine compartment for loose tools
• Ignition timing is set accurately.
To avoid galling, the engine should start right away. Avoid a long grind on the starter and over cranking the engine before firing. Low oil pressure could damage camshaft and other components.
7. When the engine fires, immediately rev it to 2500-3000 rpm. Do not idle the engine for the first 20 minutes. Much of the oil for lubrication and cooling the camshaft comes from crankshaft splash. Below 2500 rpm, turbulence is probably not enough to lubricate the cam fully. The engine may be run on the road or in the shop, but the shop is best. If adjustments are required during the first 20 minutes, shut the engine off.
8. Vary rpm frequently during this initial break-in period to change oiling within the engine.
9. After completing the break-in period, change the engine oil and filter. Regularly change engine oil and filter and maintain proper valve lash adjustment on solid lifter engines.
Following these steps will extend the trouble-free life of your cam and assure you of an engine that delivers the maximum possible performance.