Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Engine Run-In and Oil Change

Well, having finally rebuilt the engine (for a second time), got the car through its MOT, set the ignition timing and air/fuel ratio, I was finally ready to put the engine through its run-in period. Obviously I decided to do a bit of research regarding best practices during the running in, but as always, the internet offers a vast selection of wildly differing opinions ranging from 'Drive it like you stole it' through to 'Pootle along never going over 2000 rpm'.


As I'm not a prone to extremes, I decided to go somewhere in the middle and drove the car round generally very sensibly, with occasional bouts where I gave it the beans. Now, where I live is very hilly, so ther're always going to be occasions where you have to push it a little more than normal just to get up the hills, but overall I tried to stick to what I considered to be reasonable.

During the run-in period, the driving characteristics of the engine at first were rather lumpy and rough, almost struggling along the road where I felt like I was fighting the car. Thankfully, this is in marked contrast to how it drives now, 500 miles later, which is much smoother. I'm not sure if this is a general thing people notice with new engines, but I certainly have seen a hugh improvement as the miles racked up.

If you read back in this post here, you'll see that I decided to go with Millers 'Running In' oil for the 'running in', seems sensible, given the name!!! As it's now been in there for about 500 miles, the time has come to swap it out for some normal 20W-50 mineral oil.

Well, I say normal, I happen to be lucky enough to live very close to an excellent oil merchant, which did me a very good deal on some VANGUARD RALLY 20W-50 mineral oil. As this is a performance oil and I'm not planning any rallying soon, it should be more than capable of handling the day to day needs of my tiny little engine tootling back and forth work never over 50 mph!!


Oil Change
The job at hand then is very straight forward; drop the old oil, change the filter and refill with new oil. As I've covered this topic before here and here, I decided to make it more interesting by trying to get the whole thing done in less that 40 minutes, including the clear up!!

Starting with the engine warm, I quickly got to work undoing the sump bolt with a 15/16" socket.



As the tray beneath was not big enough for all the oil, I had to do it in stages, decanting it into a larger bowl which incidentally wouldn't fit under the car.




Looking at the old oil, I could see that it was very thin compared to the normal oil that I use and as I'd done less than 500 miles it was still looking very fresh. A quick inspection of the sump plug magnet showed some debris which was normal, but not as much as I was expecting, which was pretty good news.



Once all the oil had drained, I quickly changed the filter. Out with the old...


... and in with the new...


Although I had to use an oil filter wrench to remove it, I always put the new one on by hand as per the instructions with a light smear of oil on the seal. This time however, I decided not to fill the filter with oil as I usually do, just to see what would happen later on when I prime the system.



With the sump plug replaced, it was time to fill up with new oil, which by comparison was very thick and runny, almost like honey. Check out my snazzy new funnel by the way!!! I was sick of spilling oil everywhere!!



After the oil was up to the necessary level on the dipstick, it was time to prime! I removed the ignition wire from the coil so the car couldn't start and cranked the engine over on the starter motor until I had oil pressure and the oil light went out. As I hadn't filled the oil filter prior to installation, the cranking took a lot longer that I was wanting and was a bit worried that it would run the battery down. But after a minute or so, sure enough the oil pressure started to rise as the oil was forced around all the galleries and through the filter.



After a final top off of oil, I reattached the ignition wire to the coil and fired the engine up to complete the job. Looking at the time, I was at about 35 minutes, so that left me just 5 minutes to clear all the tools away and get the oil into the waste oil container ready for disposal back at the oil merchants. I use an old plastic bottle as a funnel to get the oil from the bowl into the container, also I have cardboard underneath to catch the inevitable drips.

Oil Disposal
In terms of waste oil disposal, I have my 20 litre container that I use to keep the old oil in until the next time that I'm back at the oil shop, where I drop it off for recycling. In general though, most if not all UK councils now have the facilities to take waste oil these days so there really is no excuse for dumping it. I don't want to get too preachy on the subject, but it's worth mentioning that just one gallon of used engine oil dumped into waterways has the potential to pollute one million gallons of water. I can't really visualise what a million gallons of water looks like, but it sounds like a lot!




After cleaning the bowl out with an oil rag and putting the last of the equipment and tools back in the shed, I was just over the target time by 2 minutes, which was a bit of a shame, but not too bad considering it was getting dark. Anyway, it's all done now and good for another 2000 to 3000 miles so. The only thing left to do is to get in and get some more driving done and hope the engine improves even more!!!



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