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Monday, June 24, 2024

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Monday, November 6, 2017

First Oil Service

After putting around 200 miles, a good share of drive cycles and quite a few ring seating runs on the engine I decided to do an oil service. The point was to examine oil color and quality, inspect the oil filter, and perhaps most importantly, remove as much of the wear metals from the engine as possible.

(Image: First oil service)

As I pulled the drain plug I realized I could see through the oil but once collected in the pan I found it opaque with an obvious pearlescent, shimmering quality, which was the result of a lot of very fine metallic particles suspended in the oil. The off-yellow filter material had turned a medium gray but as I split the pleats I did not find any obvious metallic particles. From these observations I think I can conclude that the engine is breaking in normally.

I refilled the engine with 6.5 quarts of the same Amsoil SAE30 break-in oil and intend to run this oil for another 300 miles or the remainder of the current tank of fuel plus one more tank. That will put a total of around 500 miles on the engine since the overhaul. At that point I'll likely transition to a conventional (non-synthetic) 5W-30 like Castrol GTX Ultraclean and run that until 1200 miles. Then I'll migrate to synthetic and call the break-in process complete.

Break-In Update

I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly the engine has gained strength and I think I can associate this with the rapid seating of the rings and ultimately my decision to specify a plateau finish on the cylinders. I'm also happy with how much power the engine is currently producing. Prior to the overhaul I recall having to lean on the throttle on a regular basis to achieve reasonable acceleration but following the rebuild I've found myself applying throttle more gingerly, especially around town, simply to avoid unwanted attention from the local constabulary.

I think the power gains have stabilized at this point, which probably means the rings are seated but I obviously want to give them a bit more time as the price for going to synthetic oil too early is glazed cylinders and persistent high oil consumption. I'm not planning any more ring seating runs and I'm also not restricting RPMs (after the oil has reached normal operating temperature, that is) but I am planning to make an effort to vary RPM until at least the 500 mile mark.

The transmission continues to function reasonably well. I would characterize the shifts in D mode (full auto) as smoother in general and I attribute this to the fluid I'm using (Redline D4 ATF). Oddly and somewhat ironically, in position 3, however (sport mode, which increases line pressure), the 1-2 shift is randomly more ponderous than I would like but this is nothing new. In any case, for all that can and will go wrong with transmission overhauls, so far (knock on wood), it appears that the shop rebuilt the unit correctly and my decision to replace all of the solenoids with new-old-stock parts has not backfired. And for that, I am grateful.

Upcoming Tool Sale

As mentioned during the project I'm planning to sell a few of the tools I no longer require and have been working to make it possible for interested parties to buy the products with a credit card. Among the tools that will be for sale:

I had plans to sell my used cams and carriers but I had to take those parts off the table simply because I could not determine their remaining service life and I didn't want to put my reputation at risk in the event I sold the parts, even with full disclosure as to their condition, and they later failed. These parts will be going to the recycling pile instead.

I also planned to sell the AMC cam carriers I pulled from my new head but while I was inspecting them more closely I found a minor casting defect in one of the intake carrier caps (acceptable for use, but try explaining that to a nervous buyer). More critically, I realized that AMC managed to install, line-bore and stamp "E1" on a standard bearing cap (used in positions 2 through 7) in position 1, which clearly requires a thrust bearing cap. To add insult to injury, the carrier was provided without the alignment dowels required in the E1 position. The only solution would have been a complete replacement of the carrier but I wasn't about to get involved with that for so little return. The exhaust cam carrier turned out to be in good shape but I decided against offering it for sale since it is less marketable without its mate and I didn't want to store it until it sold. So the AMC carriers will be going to the recycling pile as well.

For those items that made the cut I have to prepare each box for shipment so I can include the final weight and dimensions for accurate real time shipping quotes. Once they're ready I'll provide access to a new "For Sale" section from which you'll be able to order. Stay tuned for the sale announcement.

Mileage: 257038