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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there a definitive way of knowing your new build is thru break in?

I know there are many methods of break in, most of which indicate various procedures followed by a mileage parameter, but outside these general guidelines, how do you *really* know?

Just curious.

Thanks--Jason
 

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I've always used careful warm ups, slowly increasing speeds and numerous oil changes.

edit: I guess I *know* because people who have had cars and bikes with long engine life adhere to good manitenance and gentle break-in.
 

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04 Ultra
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Ride it like you stole it!! I've been breaking in new bikes hard for years and no engine failures after 12 or 13 bikes. I started this 40 years ago in my motorcross days. I'd get a new bike putt around for 10 minutes and then drop the hammer. Did the same with my 04 Ultra. My bikes also seem to run a little stronger than most.

Not necessarly recommending this method for you but it has worked for me.
 

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One way to know when your motor is getting well broken in is listen for the motor "run-on" after you kill the ignition.

When my motor was still new and tight, it would stop dead as soon as I turned the key. As it broke in more, it would swing through maybe another revolution before coming to a stop. I'd say it was around 2,500 miles before it really settled in. Now when I turn the key off, it makes a glug,glug,glug and stops.

Note: I'm not talking about dieseling...where the head is so hot, the combustion mixture is actually being ignited. I'm just talking about the inertia of the fly wheels coming to gradual stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks.
I was really after how you know, not how to do it (which i'm sure is a thread itself).
Anyway, Thanks for the input.
 

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IronButt
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WEll,

To know when it is done, ok

First off not going into the Break in thing, when you have stabilized in compression and leak down. The seating of rings is in the first 15 miles or so this will make or break the deal, do the break in right and you will be fine. Take it easy for 500 miles and you are fine. Nikasil is another animal, same deal 15 miles or so but get 100 miles on it and they are done. I heat cycle, then put 30-50 miles on it loading it to about 1/2 throttle pulls, You are done, I have customers pick them up from out of state a beat them all the way home no issues. Again two different animals, I like to see 500 miles on a iron liner before pounding on them.

A leak down guage is the best way to tell ring seal.
 

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Rocker said:
Ride it like you stole it!! I've been breaking in new bikes hard for years and no engine failures after 12 or 13 bikes. I started this 40 years ago in my motorcross days. I'd get a new bike putt around for 10 minutes and then drop the hammer. Did the same with my 04 Ultra. My bikes also seem to run a little stronger than most.

Not necessarly recommending this method for you but it has worked for me.

I cringe when I read advice like this. This is exactly what NOT to do.

Proper warm up is essential, and run it where you can constantly change RPM, such as a traffic light to light situation. Do not change your oil until 1,000 miles because the rings do need to seat, and slick viscosity won't help..
Running it "like you stole it" is a great way to score the cylinders. Usually the same kind of people think they're engines run better.
Trust me, they don't..
 

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I have heard the beat it break in procedure for years. Break it in like you ride it. But it is mechanical, I can't believe that beating will ever help.

I guess the discussion would be how much does it really need. The problem with people's break in procedure is you really don't know what the effect was.

Unless you open up the engine right afterwards your guessing. These bike go for a long time. Most people don't ride them until they die, or if they do its years from know and other factors.

Improper breakin could take off 20k miles, we usually don't know it, unless your going to follow it for the next X years. Even then so many factors.

If there is anyone out there that may be opening up engine right after break in, it would be the manufactors. They got the money, resources and interest to do it. Are they? I don't know.
 

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2005 Road King Classic
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Aviation air cooled engines are broke-in when head temperature drops about 50 degrees in the space of a few minutes with no change in engine operating conditions.
Here is a great link on breaking in an aircraft engine, and leads credance to the ride it like you stole it mentality. Being air cooled, I think this applies more to us than automotive break in procedures.

www.cessna.org/benefits/articles/breakin.html
 

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bbrowncods said:
Aviation air cooled engines are broke-in when head temperature drops about 50 degrees in the space of a few minutes with no change in engine operating conditions.
Here is a great link on breaking in an aircraft engine, and leads credance to the ride it like you stole it mentality. Being air cooled, I think this applies more to us than automotive break in procedures.

www.cessna.org/benefits/articles/breakin.html
That's a great article. Thanks!......Bill
 

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bbrowncods said:
Aviation air cooled engines are broke-in when head temperature drops about 50 degrees in the space of a few minutes with no change in engine operating conditions.
Here is a great link on breaking in an aircraft engine, and leads credance to the ride it like you stole it mentality. Being air cooled, I think this applies more to us than automotive break in procedures.

www.cessna.org/benefits/articles/breakin.html
I posted something along these lines about a year ago. If it's good enough for engines that need certification, than it's good enough for me.

I ran mine hard, but didn't beat on it for my breakin and all seems well.

And just for posting that last statement be on the lookout for my post about some kind of failure.:thumbsup:
 

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bbrowncods said:
Aviation air cooled engines are broke-in when head temperature drops about 50 degrees in the space of a few minutes with no change in engine operating conditions.
Here is a great link on breaking in an aircraft engine, and leads credance to the ride it like you stole it mentality. Being air cooled, I think this applies more to us than automotive break in procedures.

www.cessna.org/benefits/articles/breakin.html
The thing to remember here is that aircraft recip engines rarely achieve 3000 RPM's so their "balls to the wall" is right in the Harley keep it below 3000 RPM range for the first 50 miles, 3500 RPM's for the next 450 miles range. I would not want my Harley engine on the right side of the tach until all the engine mating surfaces were well aquainted.
 

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"Ride it like you stole it!! I've been breaking in new bikes hard for years and no engine failures after 12 or 13 bikes"

OK let's examine that statement:

To all let me see your documentation! Evidence. Test results.
I have rigorously leak down tested new builds I did recently and have evidence that with the parts I use, hastings rings, and the honing proceedure, diamond honed with a plateau finish, finished with a brush the motor is broken in by the time the first few load and unloads are done on the road between 2-3500rpm. Cast piston clearance of .0012 95" motors

So go ahead if it makes you feel better go ahead "Ride it like you stole it!!

Understand that leakdown tests or hard evidence tells a story though. Just because you have "no engine failures after 12 or 13 bikes" means nothing. They could be running well with 10%+ leakdown and no oil useage. I can't assume that either. Take a look at some leakdown numbers after the Mototune break-in and see what you get. If it is better than 2% after break-in then we may be on to something.

BTW the aircraft article interesting but nonetheless not apples and apples. We use no chrome plated liners or other materials or machine work processes that would require such a hard break-in.

Sidenote:
When I was a kid a Caterpillar chrome ring breakin on a D-8H I rebuilt was running the unit under load and sprinkling in Bon Ami in the air stream until oil stopped coming out the exhaust stack.

Take a look at some of the respected quality companys advice about break-in and decide for yourself.
These would include:
Axtell Sales, S&S, Bishops Performance, Zippers and more. For another approach Latus Motors HD and Mototune.

I speculate that you will find in the real world that either method is equal as long as the machine work, tolerances, assembly practices, and materials are all right. So in other words IMO it doesn't matter because it's all over after a test ride and not too hard at that. That's what my leakdowns showed. BTW leakdowns were around 5% before even starting the motor, but that may be skewed with oil from assembly.
 

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04 Ultra
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Gee, I didn't mean to open a can of worms here. My last sentence in my post even stated that I don't necessaraly recommend this for you, just the way I do it. I respect all of your opinions and always open to a better way.

Here is a article that has been around a while. I post it, not for an argument, but just imformational. http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm
 

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IronButt
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I like the dyno break in but no way is it like riding it on the street. First off a 60 thou + test device is allowing you to control load. Like I stated heat cycle, then apply load on a moderate level this is pushing the rings into the wall to allow seating. Rings on a harley will seat very fast this is know by doing a leak down test, test before you run it and then after heat cycle and a small test ride. I have even done the tear down on mine after using the dyno to break it in. Old habits I guess but I wanted to see the cylinder,piston, as well as doing a leak down test. But back to the point those with new builds ride the bike for 25 miles no steady throttle keep it under 3500 and rolling into it will load the motor and force the ring to seat. Every thing in moderation here, dont get crazy with the wick keep it slow and easy let the engine work, short shifting is not making the engine work. I like to get 20mph on the speedo and use 3rd and roll into it steady, this is loading the engine and seating the rings, I will do this several times. I then take back and do a leak do I will find that my leak down has dropped into the 2-3% range. Done deal. Provided the customer does not abuse the engine all will be well with the world.
 

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Hellbound Train
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I have always and will always, follow the manual. Even on a re-build. After all, they designed and built the fuk'er so they might know something about it.:RTFB:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys. I really didn't mean for this to get into a break in method discussion, just info on how to check.

Sounds like the leak down test (how do you do that?) is a good way. Plus, someone else mentioned head temps.

My observations for my new 98" build over the past 250 miles has been;

Zero or undetectable oil consumption

Heads temps were initially 285 or so and now run at 210F. I'm guessing this is a good sign.

Otherwise, one of you guys also mentioned how quick the bike stops when turned off. Mine did initially stop dead quick. Now, it cylces just a bit. Guessing that's another good sign.

All of these things together seem to say the bike is done with break in.

Thanks again! --Jason
 
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