Does A Hydraulic Roller Cam Need To Be Broken In?

Does a hydraulic roller cam need to be broken in? If you’re thinking about upgrading your engine with a hydraulic roller cam, you might be wondering if you need to break it in. The answer to this question is yes, but not in the way you think, and there are a few different ways to do it.

When you get a new camshaft for your car, it’s often necessary to break it in before running it hard. But why is that?

You might also be wondering why you need to break in an iron or non-iron camshaft and what breaking it actually involves.

The easiest way to explain how to properly break in your new camshaft is by answering these questions and pointing out the key similarities and differences between hydraulic, mechanical and solid roller cams. Check out this blog post to learn more about how to break in your new hydraulic roller cam.

Also read: Best Hydraulic Cam for 5.3 Vortex | How much horsepower does a Stage 2 cam add

Roller Cam Break In Procedure

Roller Cam Break In Procedure
  1. Insert the camshaft.
  2. Preload or Valve Lash should be adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Oiling System Primer
  4. Initial Ignition Timing must be established.
  5. Ensure that the fuel bowls of carbureted engines are full and that any air has been drained from the fuel lines.
  6. As soon as the engine begins, accelerate to 3,000 miles per hour.
  7. Variable the rpm between 1,500 and 3,000 for the following 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Use a mild, smooth acceleration and deceleration pattern.
  9. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool for some time.
  10. After draining the oil from the engine, replace the oil filter.
  11. This removes any metal shards from the breaking-in process.
  12. The engine should be filled with break-in oil.

The initial invasion is concluded. After 500 miles of regular driving, replace the oil and filter again.

  • The majority of metal particles ought to have been captured at this point. At this point, you can begin to increase the filter’s flow rate.
  • We recommend using conventional oil on the camshaft for approximately 5,000 miles before switching to synthetic oil.

Engine Break In For Roller Cam

Engine Break In For Roller Cam

Avoid idling the engine. Increase the engine speed to 2,500 rpm while altering it by several hundred rpm for 20 to 30 minutes.

After a thirty-minute break-in, the oil filter must be replaced. Now that all potentially problematic bigger particles have been removed, you can increase the flow rate of your filter.

Also Read: What Is A Ghost Cam Tune?

Lunati Hydraulic Roller Cam Break In Procedure

It is important to properly break in our hydraulic roller cams. The following procedure should be followed to insure proper break in and longevity of your Lunati camshaft.

  1. Adjust the valve lash to the specifications listed in the cam card that came with the cam.
  2. Start the engine and bring it up to operating temperature.
  3. Run the engine at idle for 15 minutes.
  4. Shut the engine off and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 two more times.
  6. Change the oil and filter.
  7. Your camshaft is now ready to provide years of trouble-free service.

Crane Cam Break In Procedure

Crane Cam Break In Procedure

If you are using a crane cam for the first time, there are a few things you need to do in order to break it in properly. Follow these steps and you’ll be up and running in no time:

  • Make sure the cam is properly lubricated before installation.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
  • Once the cam is installed, slowly rotate it back and forth a few times.
  • Apply a small amount of pressure to the cam while rotating it. This will help seat the bearings.
  • Slowly increase the pressure and rotation speed over the course of a few days.
  • Once the cam is broken in, you can use it as normal.

Howards Cam Break In Procedure

Howards Cam Break In Procedure

Follow these steps to properly break in your Howards cam:

  1. Remove the old camshaft from the engine.
  2. Clean the engine block and all surrounding areas.
  3. Install the new camshaft into the engine.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper lubrication.
  5. Hand-turn the engine over slowly, making sure the camshaft turns smoothly.
  6. Start the engine and let it idle for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Shut off the engine and allow it to cool.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 two more times.

Your new camshaft is now properly broken in and ready for use.

Read More About: Twin Cam 88

Isky Cam Break In Procedure

The Isky Cam Break In Procedure is a simple and effective way to break in your new camshaft. This procedure will help to ensure that your camshaft will have a long and successful life.

  • Before you begin, make sure that you have all of the necessary tools and supplies. You will need a clean work area, a set of feeler gauges, and a can of WD-40.
  • Begin by removing the oil cap from the engine.
  • Using the feeler gauges, measure the clearance between the cam and the lifters. The clearance should be between 0.002 and 0.004 inches.
  • If the clearance is not within this range, adjust the lash caps until it is.
  • Once the clearance is correct, apply a light coat of WD-40 to the cam and lifters.
  • Install the oil cap and start the engine.
  • Allow the engine to idle for 15 minutes.
  • Shut off the engine and remove the oil cap.
  • Using the feeler gauges, check the clearance again. The clearance should now be between 0.004 and 0.006 inches.

If the clearance is still not within this range, repeat steps 5 through 9 until it is.

Flat Tappet Cam Break In

Flat Tappet Cam Break In

A flat tappet cam engine requires break-in to perform properly and last for a long period. Thus, the lifters and camshaft lobes are coupled.

Most camshafts will have break-in instructions. Every engine with a flat tappet camshaft may utilize the following procedure.

High Zinc Oil With Roller Cam

High Zinc Oil With Roller Cam

Due to the frequency of failures that occur when roller cams are covered by an extended warranty, GM engineers are contemplating requesting that zinc be added to the present oil formulations.

Zinc oil reduces wear on all metal-to-metal contact surfaces, such as the oil pump and piston rings. It will not harm the engine; it will merely prolong its life.

Also Read: Cam For Stock Twin Cam 88

Ls Roller Cam Break In Procedure

Ls Roller Cam Break In Procedure

Follow these steps to properly break in your Ls Roller cam:

  1. Make sure the engine is at operating temperature before starting the break-in process.
  2. Slowly bring the engine up to speed, avoiding high RPMs.
  3. Once the engine is up to speed, let it idle for a few minutes.
  4. gradually increase the engine speed, while paying close attention to the roller cam.
  5. After a few minutes, slowly reduce the engine speed and let it idle again.
  6. Repeat this process several times, until the roller cam has broken in properly.

Solid Roller Cam Break In Procedure

Solid Roller Cam Break In Procedure

After cleaning the camshaft and lifters, apply calcium-sulfonate upon engine startup to provide protection and long-lasting lubrication.

After that, apply lubricant for break-in to the roller lifters. Utilize a finer micron filter at the entrance. Prime the pump prior to starting the engine. This ensures an essential oil supply to the camshaft and lifters at the engine’s initial beginning.

Hydraulic Roller Cam Break In Procedure

Follow these steps to break in your Hydraulic Roller Cam:

  • Start with a clean engine. Make sure all the old oil has been drained and the filter has been replaced.
  • Remove the rocker arms and pushrods.
  • Install the new camshaft and lifters.
  • Put the rocker arms and pushrods back in place.
  • Adjust the valves.
  • Fill the engine with oil and install the new oil filter.
  • Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes.
  • Shut the engine off and check for leaks.
  • Change the oil and filter again after 500 miles.

Also Check: Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do You Have To Break-in A New Roller Cam?

It is essential to break in a camshaft roller engine. Metallization occurs during an invasion. This is the most significant difficulty with the roller lifter’s bearings. The vast majority of camshafts include specific break-in instructions.

2. How Do You Break-in Roller Lifters?

The best way to break-in roller lifters is to use a quality lubricant and to run the engine at lower speeds for the first few hours. After that, you can increase the speed and load gradually over time.

3. How Long Does It Take For A Cam To Break-in?

In terms of severe attrition, the first 20 to 30 minutes of camshaft operation are the most hazardous for hydraulic or mechanical lifter cams. At this step, the lifter and camshaft lobe wear pattern is initially determined.

4. Do You Need To Break-in A Hydraulic Cam?

Solid roller cams and hydraulic roller cams DO NOT require a break-in period. Yes, initial operation requires both the interior and outside springs. Additionally, always apply moly to the cam and lifters. I love cameras that don’t need to be broken in.

5. Should I Change Oil After Cam Break-in?

After the camshaft break-in run, replace both the lubricant and the filter. The filter needs to be changed each time you replace the oil, which is crucial. I prefer to change the oil and filter once more every 50, 100, 500, and finally every 2000 miles.

6. How Much Zinc Does It Take To Break A Cam?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific cam design and the amount of zinc used in its manufacture. However, it is generally accepted that it takes around 10-15% zinc by weight to break a cam.


The reasons for breaking in a camshaft are myriad, but one of the main ones is to confirm that the camshaft and engine will work well together.

While this seems like common sense, it’s surprising how often there are mismatches between the parts. As you can see above, one of the biggest risks of using a camshaft without breaking it in is damaging your engine—and those repairs can quickly get expensive.

Despite these potential pitfalls, a number of top notch performance shops still use new cams without any break-in processes at all.

In the end, you’ll have to think about your own circumstances and decide which approach is best for you.

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