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Author Topic: Crate motor failures?
Wreckerboy Verified Driver
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Region: WDC
Car #: SSM 53 "Lola"
Year : 1990
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I'm probably gonna splurge the money for a crate over the winter. Reading here, there, and other places, I have read of a number of crates failing either right out of the box, or shortly thereafter. This is not to bash Tim and the good people at Mazda - my impression is that they've been real good about standing behind what they sell.

*Are these reports indicative of real a trend?
*What can I do (should I buy one) prior to installing it, to reduce the possibility of a meltdown?
*What has people's experience been here? (I've searched and seen various threads.)

Most of the things I've read are suggestions to remove the oil pan and valve cover, re-torque everything, and flush thoroughly for casting flash. I have even read of people replacing rod bearings with name brand ones, but that might be so much internet hogwash for all that I know.

For reference, my mechanical skills are good, not great, and the last engine I built was an air-cooled VW 20 years ago.

Thanks.

Jim Daniels
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Buy one, stick it in, break it in, tune and go race.

I've bought 40ish, other than an extra valve cover bolt laying on top of one head (no problem) not a one had issues.

Way back we did not properly flush the oiling system and lost one but, that was not the motor's fault.

jigou Verified Driver
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What JD said. For every story of a crate motor breaking, there are probably 200 (or more) that were dropped in and run with absolutely no issues.

Going on year #5 with mine right now, and the only "special" thing we did (aside from installing the intake gasket backwards) was crank the engine without plugs in it for a bit to prime the oil system.

Jarrod

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Rich Verified Driver
Oh, that's where that is.

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quote:
Originally posted by jigou:
What JD said. For every story of a crate motor breaking, there are probably 200 (or more) that were dropped in and run with absolutely no issues.

I'll second that, and I'm one of the people who actually did have a failure. There are lots and lots of them running great for years without problems. Do take the time to treat it like a new motor by priming it, letting it run at something other than idle when it's first fired and timed, that kind of thing. After 1 1/4 seasons worth ot time and a fair bit of dyno time nobody believes my car has a crate in it now. I think the only mortal-driven cars I can't keep up with in a straight line around MiDiv are Steve "Midget Shot From A Cannon" Johnson's and Mike "The 1.8's are Underdogs" Asselta's cars, and those are a near thing. As for the superhuman people driving the fast cars, I'm never close enough to be able to tell. Woops, I'm off topic again.

Anyway, a reminder that no amount of engine reliability will make up for the peripherals taking a dive on you, ask the first 3 races of my 2006 season. Replace old stuff that you've been putting off replacing now while it's easy!

Steve Scheifler Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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What is your tolerance for risk? Do you typically buy "extended warranties" on brand new merchandise? Only on the really expensive or fragile stuff? Never? Lots of other good analogies, but that one is pretty close.

As noted, your odds of having a serious problem are probably very low, but not zero. Unfortunately, even if you prefer to prevent them people don't agree on how to do that or what the root causes really are. I have developed a theory or two and although I almost never buy an extended warranty (I will on some gifts) I would be inclined to check a few things on a new crate if time permits.

Dr.Dan Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Break it in! I think alot of failures happen do to improper breakin..Dan

--------------------
Daniel Mairani DDS...still here, just faster.
http://www.DanielMairanidds.com

Steve Scheifler Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Danimaldds:
Break it in! I think alot of failures happen do to improper breakin..Dan

No offense, but I disagree and have seen no evidence of that at all for the type of failures people have reported. In fact, I suspect that many people are mistaken about the correct way to break in a new engine these days, which is mostly about seating the rings.

pat slattery Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Our break in was warm it up and then let err rip. No problems with that motor ever. Put it in my sons Miata after a season of racing and still going strong.

Pat

--------------------
keeping the faith for the 1.6

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Rich Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by pat slattery:
Our break in was warm it up and then let err rip. No problems with that motor ever. Put it in my sons Miata after a season of racing and still going strong.

Pat

Yup. The only thing special I did was make sure the car didn't sit at a constant RPM or idle while it was fired up and warmed up for the first time once the timing was set at 10 degrees. According to a few bearded old farts, the most critical time in an engine's break-in isn't the first few hundred miles but the first few hundred seconds of run time.

KG
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No problems with my crate after two seasons. Do keep a close eye on the temp gauge when you hit the track for the first time. They do seem to run a bit hot the first couple sessions.

KG

RyalsRacing Verified Driver
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So what's the proper procedure for when you first start up a new motor? Don't let it idle or stay at a constant RPM?

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Steve Scheifler Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Disclaimer: This is my opinion based on things Iíve learned from various sources including personal experience. What you choose to do is at your own risk.

I would bring the engine up to temperature (~180 F) the first time under light load at variable revs while paying close attention to gauges and possible leaks. Anticipate noisy lifters but not other bad noises. If possible, donít do this until you are able to take it out and run it under load. At most, run it once to confirm everything is OK, then not again until you can run it hard. The rings only seat once and you want to get it right.

If all is well, start running it through and 1st and 2nd gears (2nd and 3rd if you have a place to do it) at or near full throttle from about 2000 RPM to about 80% of redline, then lift abruptly and let engine breaking slow you down. Repeat. After a few of those, increase RPM a hundred or so per few runs. The idea is to get the rings to seat quickly, and high cylinder pressures do that by spreading them against the cylinder walls. Acceleration and deceleration are both working for you. It feels brutal, but think of it as tough love. Put some miles on it under load with variable revs before doing any cruising.

TimBuck Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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With the same disclaimer, I agree 100% with Steve.

--------------------
Tim Buck

MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development
Mazda North American Operations
phone (800) 435-2508
fax (949) 222-2650

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Spencer N
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Sorry to bring this post back from the dead...

What type of oil should we be using when we first break in the motor? I assume the oil should be changed after the initial break in period of variable revs for 50-100 miles?


quote:
Originally posted by Steve Scheifler:
Disclaimer: This is my opinion based on things Iíve learned from various sources including personal experience. What you choose to do is at your own risk.

I would bring the engine up to temperature (~180 F) the first time under light load at variable revs while paying close attention to gauges and possible leaks. Anticipate noisy lifters but not other bad noises. If possible, donít do this until you are able to take it out and run it under load. At most, run it once to confirm everything is OK, then not again until you can run it hard. The rings only seat once and you want to get it right.

If all is well, start running it through and 1st and 2nd gears (2nd and 3rd if you have a place to do it) at or near full throttle from about 2000 RPM to about 80% of redline, then lift abruptly and let engine breaking slow you down. Repeat. After a few of those, increase RPM a hundred or so per few runs. The idea is to get the rings to seat quickly, and high cylinder pressures do that by spreading them against the cylinder walls. Acceleration and deceleration are both working for you. It feels brutal, but think of it as tough love. Put some miles on it under load with variable revs before doing any cruising.


Qik Nip Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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My engine builder (Stewart) recommends breaking his motors in with Rotella Diesel oil and following Steve's general loading approach.
Rick

--------------------
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wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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We always use a regular mineral oil (Valvoline) on the dyno and for the first race, then switch to Red Line. Seems to work very well.

CP Verified Driver
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Full season of driving to HPDEs last year (@10K miles) towing a big trailer and a full season of regional racing this year and my crate motor is still going strong. Granted I can't hang with the big dogs in a drag race, but I don't have any money into the motor either...yet.

--------------------
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Wreckerboy Verified Driver
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Talk about long forgotten posts... I ended up not buying a crate after all. There was something about unemployment that puts a crimp in the racing budget.

However, I did buy a locally built engine (Meathead/Ed York) this year and have been really pleased!

--------------------
Rob Myles
Hero To The Momentum Impaired

Bob Thornton - Race Engineering Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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After hundreds of hours on the dyno, track testing and testing for oil companies we have came to the conclusion that the best oil to use is Joe Gibbs BR 30 for the first hour and then go to Joe Gibbs XP3.
Load the engine as soon as possible, don't run easy.

Hope this helps.

--------------------
Bob Thornton
http://www.raceengineering.org
Race Engineering Championship Winning Engines

   

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