I just picked up my EL Ltd the other day, and I have a question for anyone willing to answer. I've hear varying accounts about breaking in a new car and engine. What, if any, guidelines should I follow for the first couple of months and/or first couple thousand miles?
Thanks a lot for the help.
My '02 Sport Trac had engine break-in instructions in the owner's manual. When I read through my Expedition owner's manual, I noted there were no break-in instructions. I asked my local Ford mechanic about this, and he said there is no break-in period with this engine. Hmmm...I'm playing it safe anyway. I'm not a mechanic by any stretch, but I'm staying below 4,000 rpm's for the first 1,000 miles just to be sure. With all the low-end torque of the Expy's engine, you'll still have plenty of giddy up without having to wind it out.
Anyone out there know if no break-in period is indeed a characteristic of this engine?
Found this somewhere else a long time ago, have it saved on my comp now:
Many, Many, I say again M A N Y hot cold hot cycles are the best thing you can do for a new factory assembled motor. On start up try to teach yourself to get in, put in the key, turn to RUN and stop, put on seat belt while the computer boots, NOW turn the key to start, watch the lights and gauges and pay attention to the tachometer for a few seconds. The engine will settle back a few hundred RPM, NOW shift to drive and again pause a little with the brakes on. Release the parking brake (you do ALWAYS use the parking brake don't you).
Now spend some time training yourself to NOT turn the steering wheel UNLESS the truck is rolling. I trained myself this technique of steering many years ago and my front ends last years beyond what "normal people" get before ball joints and wheels bearings need replacing. Turning a power steering lock to lock while the vehicle is halted is a BAD thing teach yourself to NEVER do it! Same goes for turning all the way to the steering limit stops. Never ever continue to keep turning the wheel once the mechaincal stop is hit, in fact TRAIN yourself to ALWAYS back off a tad when you hear/feel the limit stop.
OK, Lets BED the brakes. You should do this emmediatly as you leave the dealer, in fact I do a lot of it in his lot (my dealers lot is big enough). Get up to 30mph and when safe do a very hard (not lockup or ABS starting) but very hard braking just shy of a full stop, as you feel the truck about to halt, let off and smoothly accelerate back to 25, 30 mph. Repeat this 4 or 5 times while looking for a clear parking lot or unused back road. Let about 3 or more minutes pass between hard braking series to let the rotors settle to the new temp. Do this in a place where you do NOT have to come to any complete stops with the brakes while the rotors are hot! We are deliberatly trying to get the rotors VERY hot.
Once you have a SAFE place to do some more of this, do another hard brake series and get out of it while still rolling as before, but this time just coast to a normal stop. Clear your rear and shift to reverse and get up to a fair clip and do a hard brake in reverse, but again NOT to a complete stop. Do this several times as far to the rear as you can in the selected place but try very hard to NOT bring the truck to a complete stop with the brakes pads holding the very hot rotor.
What we are doing here is "burnishing" the pads, and forcing very controlled and even heating to the rotors and attaching assemblys. There NO such thing as WARPED rotors... BUT there is a condition called material trasnsfer, caused by superheated PADs that leave some of their material on the rotor and causing them to pulsate due to the uneven surface.
For the first few days try to set up your stopping to NEVER bring you to a full stop with the pads HARD clamped to hot rotors. This is hard to do and do not ever forget safety for you and others. If you must bring the monster to a quick and complete stop as soon as you are stopped ease up on the brakes and try to creep if there is room.
Most of the first several days I try to set up stop lights so I have a good buffer between me and cars ahead, I brake fairly aggresivley and with a two car buffer ease up and roll out until one car buffer then slowly creep up to the car in front. Usually the light changes before I need to full stop. Not always but this method lets some cooling and no pad to rotor in fixed spot. Do this a couple of times during the first 100 miles and your brake pads and rotors will last a long time and stopping power will be greatly enhanced.
Do not be tempted to try and break in over a weekend with some sort of long trip just to build miles. The setting of the rings can be done in less than 500 miles and takes patientce. I must re-state Many, Many hot cold cycles are much better.
For the first 500 miles try to do town type driving. It is OK to be a little hot on the take off. Just refrain from spending ANY time at RPM above 3500 or below 1500 under load (lugging the motor). Deliberatly do trips "to the store" where you get her up to full operating temp and while "shopping" she will cool off. Do a LOT of frequent shopping. Don't get everything at the one Lowes or Autozone "in town". Cruise accross town to a buddies house, drink a beer while he is admiring you new ride. Think safety and drink a soda or two for another hour or so while the engine cools and you detox. Repeat for as many buddies as you have. Watch the drinking and driving, your truck can not give you enjoyment from a jail cell.
At least once every driving cycle and after fully up to operating temp, do one good strong take off from stop up to 3500rpm and throttle shift the 5R110 auto tranny. Throttle shifting is when you use enough foot to run the rpms to where you want them then lightly let up and feel the auto shift up, get back firmly on the foot until RPMs are back and continue this through the gears. Practice this with another vehicle to get the feel. After the 500 mile mark do not be afraid to do this up to 4200rpm on occasion. But try to never spin the motor past 3500 unless it is under power and emmediatly falls off back to lower rpm.
Cruise control is forbiden the first 500 miles! For the next 500 only occasionally to learn how it works and feels. After 1000 you can use it when ever you want.
At 500 miles replace the Factory Motorcraft FL820 and 5w20 with same and enjoy the next 500 miles increasing the drive cycles and shortening the cool cycles. I change oil at 1000 also but admit it is overkill, I just dig doing it and LOGGING it because the rest of the trucks life some other monkey is going to change my oil while I watch.
Every chance you get, pull into a large parking lot and AWAY from every body spend some time in reverse, and straight line 4x4 hi and low. Do NOT turn the truck while in 4X4 on dry ground, just straight forward and reverse.
All my Ford Gasoline motors always take 5 to 8 thousand miles to "break in" where the MPGs get best. Don't even start to be concerned with low mpg figures until she is fully loosened up. With a auto trans, transfer case, 4x4, big rear end, and lots of engine this takes time, be patient.
Train your self to always shut off the radio and heater/AC as part of your normal daily shut down procedures. Periodically change the heater and AC controls to "exercise" the various dampers and doors and modes. If you do this as an **** psychotic obsessive compulsive daily routine then the vacuume actuators will always work.
If you are like me and plan to wear out the factory tires before you switch to better ones consider rotating in the X pattern at the 500 and 1000 mile oil change. After that rotate X pattern evey normal oil change. The X pattern tire rotation puts a left front tire spinning forward on the right rear where it will now spin backwards. This pattern should only be done on NEW radial tires and not ever done on radial tires driven exclusivly in one direction since new and only rotated front to rear same side. Tires break in also and how you start it is how you should continue for life of the tire. Fords spare tires are always on el-cheapo steel wheels and I don't bother to get the spare into the rotation mix. UGLY!
a old school mechanic told me that the best thing to do is for the most part drive easy. but when u get the chance, excelerating hard (not to the floor, but firm) from 30-50mph. the more u do this the more chances u are giving your piston rings to seat and make some nice grooves. but most importantly do not use synthetic for the first 10,000 miles. as synthetic oil will interfere with the piston rings seat properly.
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