When you fi re your Cleveland for the first time, you get a rush of excitement and anticipation because all of your hard work either proves or disproves itself with the roar of combustion. Don’t get so caught up in the experience, however, that you forget what you’re supposed to be doing.
Preparation is everything before firing your Cleveland. You want all moving parts soaking wet with lubrication, which is why you want to prime the oiling system first to get bearings and cylinder walls wet. This is performed by driving the oil pump shaft counterclockwise with a high-torque, 1/2-inch-drive drill made for endurance. During the priming process, spin the starter (spark plugs removed) to get the cylinder walls wet with oil. There is a lot of blue/white smoke when it fires; however, all is good and wet with less risk of damage to dry surfaces. Fire your engine with straight SAE 30 weight conventional engine oil and then do the first oil change at 500 to 1,000 miles including filter. Never use synthetic engine oil for break-in.
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Mix in a bottle of ASL Camguard to soften the break-in process because it does the good work of a zinc additive (only better), reducing wear and tear. At the minimum, you want a zinc additive to minimize wear, especially with a flattappet cam.
Ignition timing should be somewhere around 6 to 12 degrees BTDC at idle and total timing at 3,500 rpm at 34 to 36 degrees BTDC. This keeps things safe and minimizes the risk of detonation. You want the air/fuel mixture on the fat (rich) side to prevent detonation and a lean meltdown. You can always go leaner with time and testing. Oil pressure should be around 40 to 60 psi or 10 pounds per 1,000 rpm. At 5,000 rpm, you want a solid 50 pounds minimum.
Written by George Reid and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc