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Thread: camshaft break-in

  1. #1
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    camshaft break-in...(did I break it?)

    Hi all,

    I'm going to change the cam and lifters in my '54 sometime next month and have a few questions that can probably be answered here.

    First, I am using Lucas-oil assembly lube to put the whole thing together. Do I need any sort of 'special break-in-oil' or will my regular oil be fine in combination with the assembly lube? (I have Castrol Classic 20w50)

    Second, I've seen break-in procedures around (running the engine at various rpm, for 20-30 minutes), what is the best way to do it for a nailhead? And do I need to change the oil right after that or do I drive it for say around 300 miles and then change?

    Last, I'd like to thank all of you for putting up with all my **** questions ;P



    Grtz from a Belgian Buick driver
    Last edited by james92; 05-16-2018 at 12:17 PM.

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    Assembly lube and a break-in additive like Comp cams engine break-in additive 159. Your described break-in procedure will work. Drain at 300 miles and go back to your usual change interval. Castro 20w-50 is a good choice!

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    Keep it above 2000 rpms during the first 20 minute break in and vary the rpm some. Don't rev it and make incremental changes in rpm. Let it cool all the way down after the break in period before starting again.
    Steve B.



    67 GS 525 Buick Stage IV
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    Quote Originally Posted by 322bnh View Post
    Assembly lube and a break-in additive like Comp cams engine break-in additive 159. Your described break-in procedure will work. Drain at 300 miles and go back to your usual change interval. Castro 20w-50 is a good choice!
    Won't the assembly lube be enough, given that the oil I have is aready 'high zinc' (1200ppm)? All the additives I can find won't get through because they have substances illegal for Europe/Belgium.

    I've also read some articles on the Penrite website stating 'break-in' additives are mosly bogus because they won't be 'active' before the oil is hot (5-10 minutes) and that proper assembly lube and good oil will work just fine.

    My dad seems to think it'll all be just fine, I just don't want te wreck my engine

  5. #5
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    You will probably be fine unless you installed a high lift cam with stiffer valve springs. But check with some of you local engine rebuilders and ask what additive or procedure they use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 322bnh View Post
    You will probably be fine unless you installed a high lift cam with stiffer valve springs. But check with some of you local engine rebuilders and ask what additive or procedure they use.
    I'm installing a stock '56 cam. Nobody around here builds engines as far as I know so... *lol*

  7. #7
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    The original '54 cam was steel & had a matching gear on the distributor. A stock '56 cam was cast iron & the steel gear on the cast iron cam will wear the cam gear in short order. Then you will have MUCHO metal flakes in your oil.
    BE CAREFUL.


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom forged pistons
    Front & rear neoprene seals
    Many other "Nail" parts
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by telriv View Post
    The original '54 cam was steel & had a matching gear on the distributor. A stock '56 cam was cast iron & the steel gear on the cast iron cam will wear the cam gear in short order. Then you will have MUCHO metal flakes in your oil.
    BE CAREFUL.


    Tom T.
    Did you ever find a source for the cast gear for distributor? Or still have to find a 56 (or even later) distributor?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by telriv View Post
    The original '54 cam was steel & had a matching gear on the distributor. A stock '56 cam was cast iron & the steel gear on the cast iron cam will wear the cam gear in short order. Then you will have MUCHO metal flakes in your oil.
    BE CAREFUL.


    Tom T.
    Well at one point in it's life it was already converted to '56 spec and 1:6 rockers, so I assume the cam in it already was a '56.
    How can I make sure the distibutor will work?

  10. #10
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    ALL "Nail" distributor are INTERCHANGEABLE. So you could go the more modern route & install a "windowed" distributor from a '57-'66 "Nail". Much easier to find parts for & much easier to upgrade to electronic ignition. I do distributor overhauls as well as upgrading & re-curving. Just need a GOOD core to begin with & will be able to supply ALL the nec. parts.

    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom forged pistons
    Front & rear neoprene seals
    Many other "Nail" parts
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

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