When you rebuild an engine with a flat tappet cam, there are a few very specific break-in procedures that should be done to get the longest life, and best performance from your camshaft. Edelbrock gets a lot of questions about what exactly this entails, and what the proper break-in methods are for their flat tappet camshaft line. In this video, resident Edelbrock expert August Cederstrand walks us through the correct break-in methods for flat tappet camshafts, and what are the best practices to get the most out of your new setup.
Since the flat tappet camshaft operates with the help of any mechanical wear buffers in-between the cam and the lifters, the parts will go through wear-in together. What this means for your setup is that the lifters and cam lobes will match to one another over the life of the parts. That also means that with a new flat tappet cam, getting a set of new flat tappet lifters is absolutely essential, something August goes into depths to explain in the video. While installation and setting the flat tappet cam is no different along the way than a roller cam, the break-in is where everything comes into play.
The most crucial step in the break-in process for your cam is to drain any oil in the engine, throw on a new oil filter, and fill the engine up with an oil that has a high level of zinc and phosphorus. These additives will act as a buffer between the cam and lifters during the break-in period.
Once you first start-up the engine, you need to bring the engine up to 2,500-rpm right away, with the timing between 25-40 degrees, and keep it there for 10-minutes while keeping an eye on the oil pressure. Then, increase the engine to 2,800-rpm for an additional 10-minutes, and decrease to 2,000-rpm for another 10-minutes.
Follow this with another oil change, and you should be ready to roll with the confidence that your camshaft and lifters are broken-in. Enjoy!
Shawn Henry is a Texas native who has spent the majority of his career building and selling F-Bodies and Corvettes. Now studying journalism, he is taking a new direction with his love of performance vehicles.