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Break-in and Tuning
Few things are as religious as firing a new engine for the first time. With those first hot pulses of
reciprocation, a new engine begins to warm up and come into its own. But, before you can fire the
engine safely, you need to make sure the engine and all of its support systems are ready for
action. Does the engine have a good cooling system? What about the exhaust system? Are the
catalytic converters in good condition? Have you examined the ignition and fuel systems? What
about the car’s electrical system? What kind of shape is the driveline in? Is the driveline up to the
amount of power you intend to throw at it? What about the braking system? Have you looked at the
tires lately?

We ask these questions because your vehicle needs to be a complete, well-functioning package
when you go to take that first spin with a new engine. Building a powerful engine and installing it in
a vehicle with really bad brakes is just plain stupid. Putting a clogged radiator with rotted hoses in
front of a new engine is courting trouble. How good is your vehicle infrastructure?
Cooling System
It goes without saying that your new engine needs a good support system to live a long time. Start
with a brand new radiator and a cooling system filter in the upper radiator hose. The coolant filter
captures stray rust particles that dislodge and wind up trapped in new radiator tubes. During the
first several thousand miles, check the coolant filter and make sure it is clean. A clogged coolant
filter will create the same kind of overheating issues a clogged radiator will.
Did You Burp It?
Fresh engines need coolant in contact with every square inch of the water jackets. When you are
servicing the cooling system with the correct mix of antifreeze and water, keep the heater hose or
temperature sender loose to allow all air to escape from the water jackets before firing the engine.
Leaving a hose or a sender loose at the top of the engine allows air to escape, which eliminates all
air pockets (hot spots) inside the engine.
While we have your attention, use the right mix of antifreeze and water. When you use too much
antifreeze, you hurt the coolant’s ability to transfer heat from the engine to the radiator. Too much
antifreeze can be worse than having too little.
You would be surprised how many of us will install the old thermostat in a new engine to save a few
bucks. But, here are the facts about thermostats. First fact, never run your engine without a
thermostat. Simpleton shop logic believes not running a thermostat will help the engine run cooler.
Perhaps it might in northern Canada, but not in Missouri in the middle of the summer. When you
remove the thermostat, the coolant never has a chance to stay in the radiator long enough to get
rid of its heat. As coolant rushes through the engine and radiator, it just gets hotter and hotter,
causing your engine to overheat. If you get stuck in traffic without a thermostat, count on a boil
over. Cruise down the highway on a hot day without a thermostat and you will experience a boil
over. The thermostat is very necessary to proper engine cooling.
It’s a good idea to stick with a 180-degree thermostat for a good balance of heat transfer and heat
retention. Hot-rodders like to run 160-degree thermostats mostly because it has become habit.
Small radiators, which are common in hot rods, don’t get rid of heat as efficiently as large ones,
hence the logic behind a cooler thermostat. But, 160-degree thermostats aren’t always the answer
to cool cruising. When we speak of heat retention, this is just as important as heat dissipation.
Engines have a minimum temperature that they have to function at – especially computer-controlled
engines, which have to run at 192 degrees. A good rule of thumb is this : older carbureted engines
need 180-degree thermostats. Newer, computer-controlled engines need 192- to 195-degree
thermostats. Proper engine temperature is important to proper fuel atomization and burning. It’s
also important to good oil flow throughout the engine. The happiest engines run with a coolant
temperature of 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Complement your new radiator with all new cooling system hoses and a new water pump. Even
though a water pump may look fine and be free of leaks, that doesn’t mean it was pumping
effectively when the old engine came out. Water pump impellers become covered with rust and
scale, which reduces pumping efficiency. When you’re shopping for a new water pump, aim for a
high-flow unit in the best interest of cooling efficiency.

When you fill the cooling system the first time, opt for the appropriate 50/50 mix of ethylene-glycol
and water. A lot of us fill the cooling system with water, which really isn’t a good idea. If you’re
concerned with leaks, then be mindful of this when you are assembling the engine. Do it right and
avoid the leak fest when it’s time to fire the engine. Double-check all hoses and connections before
the coolant goes in. Use a good cooling system rust inhibitor while you’re pouring in the coolant.
Because coolant grows with temperature, don’t fill the radiator to the top. Fill it just to the top of the
tubes. As the engine warms up, the coolant will expand and take up the top tank. Have a pan ready
to catch any overflow.
Ready to Launch
When you are about to fire a new engine, there are important considerations you must be attentive
to first. For the break-in period, it’s a good idea to use Castrol conventional SAE 30 oil – save the
synthetic for after the engine is broken in. Although a good many of us never do this, you should
prime the oiling system and be sure there’s oil pressure. This not only confirms oil pressure and
flow, it pre-lubes the bearings for that initial fire-up. Oiling system primers fit into the distributor
opening and onto the oil pump shaft. When you spin the oil pump (the drill needs to be running in
reverse, or counterclockwise), oil should flow from the rocker arms and there should be a healthy
reading at the oil pressure gauge.
Installing the Ford 289 onto an Engine Dyno
Since Jim Grubbs wanted
to know the kind of power a
stock small-block Ford
makes, he wasn’t releasing
the 289 to Jeff Fischbach
until it was fired and had a
couple of dyno pulls under
its belt for Mustang
Monthly magazine.
When you install the distributor, make sure you get the timing right. Put that timing mark on TDC
(number-1 cylinder) and put the rotor on number 1. Installing small-block Ford distributors is a pain
in the neck. It’s hard to get the distributor seated and timed properly. A good rule of thumb is to get
the rotor as close to number 1 as possible, then hand-crank the engine, which gets the distributor
lined up with the oil pump shaft. Finally, back-crank the engine and see where the rotor is
Ford 289 engine istalled on the dyno and ready for start up
Jeff’s stock 289-4V engine is
on the dyno and ready for
action. Jim Grubbs’ talented
staff has done a magnificent
job on this engine. It is built
for good low-end torque and
solid reliability. We’re about to
learn how much power it
Carburetor static tuning is pretty simple. Be it an Autolite or a Holley, the drill is the same. Idle
mixture screws get seated, then backed out 1-1/2 turns. Idle speed tends to be hit and miss. It’s a
good idea to back the idle speed screw off to where the throttle plates are closed, then milk the
speed screw open (during cranking) until the engine fires.
After you’ve broken in the cam, let the engine run at a fast idle (about 1,200 rpm) until the
thermostat opens. Keep the radiator cap in place, but loosen it enough to allow air to escape
without spraying you with coolant. Like we said earlier, fill the radiator only to the top of the tubes,
but no further until the engine is hot and the coolant fully expands. It’s also important to remember
coolant has a higher boiling point under pressure. Keep the radiator cap secured once all air has
escaped from the water jackets. You may actually burp off all air by removing the heater hose at
the intake manifold as the radiator is being filled. This allows most of the air to escape without
having to wait for an open thermostat.
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This has been a sample page from

How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford How to Rebuild the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
One of the best reference books available for rebuilding the
Ford 221, 260, 289, 302, Boss 302, 351W, 351C, 351M and 400
Over the years, the small-block Ford has remained one of the most
popular and widely used engines on the planet. From the earliest
Fairlanes and Mustangs to the latest Mustangs and light trucks, the
Ford small-block has powered them all. With the amount of aftermarket
support and rebuildable cores out there, you don’t have to worry about
spending an arm and a leg for a quality rebuild – especially if you do
the teardown and assembly yourself. This all-new color edition of How
to Rebuild the Small-Block Ford guides you step by step through a
rebuild, including: planning your rebuild, disassembly and inspection,
choosing the right parts, machine work, assembling your engine, and
first firing and break-in. The Workbench format also gives you helpful
hints and tips on performance upgrades, including cams, heads,
ignition, induction, and more. It also points out problem areas to watch
for, professional builder tips, jobs that need special care or special
tools, and more. Whether you're a first-time engine builder or a
seasoned professional, this is the essential guide to rebuilding your
small-block Ford.
Chap. 1 - Before You Begin
Chap. 2 - Engine Disassembly
Chap. 3 - Selecting Parts
Chap. 4 - Machine Shop
Chap. 5 - Engine Assembly
Chap. 6 - Break-In Tuning
Chap. 7 - Buyer's Guide
Chap. 8 - Engine Math
This is one of the best reference books available for rebuilding the small
block Ford and something that any enthusiast will love!
How to Rebuild
the Small Block Ford
by George Reid
Condition: NEW
8-1/2 x 11"
144 pages
495 Color Photos

Item: SA102
Price: $
Click here to buy now!

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