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      07-14-2009, 10:12 AM   #1
akina335
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Hard break-in

I know this is a highly debatable topic but I was wondering who here broke in their M3 engines hard. I have always broke in my cars hard, keep in mind that everything has to be up to operating temps before "getting on it". My E46 M3 that I just sold was broken in hard and it didn't burn a drop of oil. Same for my 335i and my old RSX Type-S.

I have an E90 M3 on order and I'm a little concerned about the oil consumption that I have seen posted up. Are the people who are breaking it in per manual having higher oil consumption rates vs. the people who broke it in hard? It is my understanding that the cylinder walls of a new engine have hone marks on them to help seat the piston rings. If there isn't enough cylinder pressure, the rings aren't pushed up again the hones hard enough to make a good seal. Eventually the marks wear out before a good seal was made. I also heard the first 20-25 miles on a new engine are crucial. Hence, hard break-in=better sealing.

No flames please. Just trying to gather more info.
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      07-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #2
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If it just a matter of running the first 20-25 miles hard on the engine to get proper break-in, don't you think BMW would do that for you--especially given this is an M car and the engine itself costs more than $20k? Actually, I bet that they run every single engine at the factory under whatever conditions that are best for early break-in. BMW has nothing to gain by recommending a break-in procedure for the owners that is not good for the engine. Overall, there is nothing unusual about the oil consumption reports that I've seen or personally experienced.
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      07-14-2009, 10:29 AM   #3
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If it just a matter of running the first 20-25 miles hard on the engine to get proper break-in, don't you think BMW would do that for you--especially given this is an M car? Actually, I bet that they run every single engine at the factory under whatever conditions that are best for early break-in. BMW has nothing to gain by recommending a break-in procedure for the owners that is not good for the engine.
They tell you to take it easy because of liability concerns.With modern manufacturing techniques there is no real breakin required.Your rings are seated in the initial warmup of the motor.I break in all my stuff fast with regard to a full warmup and I never had a BMW that had oil consumption issues and I have had an M(E28 M5) with over 200000kms that never used oil between 10000 km changes.My wifes N54 has over 20000 kms since the last change and the oil is still at the top and I understand lots of people have had issues with them.My $.02
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      07-14-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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They tell you to take it easy because of liability concerns.With modern manufacturing techniques there is no real breakin required.Your rings are seated in the initial warmup of the motor.I break in all my stuff fast with regard to a full warmup and I never had a BMW that had oil consumption issues and I have had an M(E28 M5) with over 200000kms that never used oil between 10000 km changes.My wifes N54 has over 20000 kms since the last change and the oil is still at the top and I understand lots of people have had issues with them.My $.02
What exactly is the liability concern?
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      07-14-2009, 10:38 AM   #5
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What exactly is the liability concern?
I was told this by a Porsche exec that they wanted people to get used to the performance of the cars before really pushing them.He told me that the breakin requirements were crap as the engines are bench run to full throttle for a brief period and all the cars were test driven at speed before being shipped.My engine builder friends tell me that the modern engines are broken in totaly in during the 1st hour of running.You have more time on a new car before you receive it at the dealer.
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      07-14-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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I was told this by a Porsche exec that they wanted people to get used to the performance of the cars before really pushing them.He told me that the breakin requirements were crap as the engines are bench run to full throttle for a brief period and all the cars were test driven at speed before being shipped.My engine builder friends tell me that the modern engines are broken in totaly in during the 1st hour of running.You have more time on a new car before you receive it at the dealer.
I would think your engine builder friend has a point--which is what I meant by BMW probably breaking in the engines at the factory--but I also think there is still benefit to being careful for various reasons.

I do not agree with what the Porsche exec said at all. The manufacturer is not liable for how the user decides to operate the product. Your insurance company is to extent that is stated in your policy. Break-in procedures for lower powered regular cars are similar, so clearly that is not the issue.
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      07-14-2009, 10:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
I would think your engine builder friend has a point--which is what I meant by BMW probably breaking in the engines at the factory--but I also think there is still benefit to being careful for various reasons.

I do not agree with what the Porsche exec said at all. The manufacturer is not liable for how the user decides to operate the product. Your insurance company is to extent that is stated in your policy. Break-in procedures for lower powered regular cars are similar, so clearly that is not the issue.
+1.......from a legal perspective (trust me I know ) there is no liability in someone buying an //M that is advertised as being more of a sports car, with lots of power and ability and killing themselves because they didn't know how to handle it. Plus, if there was liability, I promise you no court would view break-in procedures as reliving BMW of that liability.

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      07-14-2009, 10:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
I would think your engine builder friend has a point--which is what I meant by BMW probably breaking in the engines at the factory--but I also think there is still benefit to being careful for various reasons.

I do not agree with what the Porsche exec said at all. The manufacturer is not liable for how the user decides to operate the product. Your insurance company is to extent that is stated in your policy. Break-in procedures for lower powered regular cars are similar, so clearly that is not the issue.
Hey it what I told and I might a been a little foggy as it was after a track day in the barBut it still does not change my experiances with engine break in.
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      07-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #9
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Hey it what I told and I might a been a little foggy as it was after a track day in the barBut it still does not change my experiances with engine break in.
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      07-14-2009, 11:29 AM   #10
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take it easy for the 1st few hundred miles. It is not only the engine that you need to worry about.

I do a "hard break-in" using varied revs in high gear, that has always worked for me.

It is not safe to drive "hard" even when one puts on new tires. So just take it easy for the 1st 500miles. Make sure you have good oil!

enjoy!
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      07-14-2009, 11:31 AM   #11
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      07-14-2009, 11:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead999s View Post
I was told this by a Porsche exec that they wanted people to get used to the performance of the cars before really pushing them.He told me that the breakin requirements were crap as the engines are bench run to full throttle for a brief period and all the cars were test driven at speed before being shipped.My engine builder friends tell me that the modern engines are broken in totaly in during the 1st hour of running.You have more time on a new car before you receive it at the dealer.
Well, I don't think what Porsche recommends for their cars is relevant to our BMW's. That's not my concern...

I only care what BMW recommends, and it not just about 'liability'.

I have talked to enough engine builders (BMW and other brands) to tell you this much...

A modern high-performance engine does not require a soft break-in procedure, but it's still a good idea to take it easy on it in the beginning.

From the discussions I remember having in the past, (about the E46 M3) several engine builders say that an engines sliding contact surfaces (especially the main crankshaft bearings, and connecting rod bearings) all benefit from a partial load duty cycle for at least the first 800-1000 miles.

After this period has past, all these internal engine components are better equipped to handle a full load going forward. (since all the 'high spots' have been evenly worn away)

Think of this as the 'bedding in process' similar to how the brake pads need to be properly seated before they can work to their fullest potential. This was the analogy used to explain why you might want to play it a little safe with your brand new engine.

Despite what some of you may have been told, all engines will sustain wear on the internal metal parts, even with the proper oil level in the crankcase. There is no way to completely avoid all metal-to-metal contact from occurring. The pistons, rings, bore, and bearings are all going to get scuffed to a certain degree. No way around that...

The majority of your internal engine wear (on properly spec'd factory built engine) will occur in just the first few hundred miles. If you were to take an engine oil analysis after a few hundred miles, and send it to a laboratory for a complete breakdown of the contaminates present, you would see the evidence of elevated copper, magnesium, lead, iron, and other trace metals. These elements are the remnants of the scuffed main bearing shells, scuffed connecting rod bearing shells, piston bore wear, piston ring wear, camshaft journals, cam followers, etc.

I had seen these levels spike on certain cars from a few owners that have put the hammer down from the time they drove their cars off the lot.

All these metal particles are is floating around (suspended) in your used motor oil. That's why it is so important that you get that oil changed out at the 1200 service interval. You are essentially purging the contaminates from the oil system. The bearing clearance tolerances on the M3 engines are tighter than a typical 3-series engine. These contaminates are small enough to partially block some of the small oil passages in your engine, which could potentially lead to problems down the road.

Every individual owner has to make a decision as to which path they want to take. Knowing what I know...I'll stick to taking it easy on the car for at least the first 1200 miles. I won't hurt anything, and it's very likely it will lead to a more reliable, trouble-free car in the future.

One other thing...

For those of you who think that a 'soft' break-in is hogwash...

Remember you are also breaking in the clutch, transmission, and rear end diff at the same time. Those mechanical components also benefit from a controlled and measured break-in procedure.

Just my 2 cents...
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      07-14-2009, 12:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akina335 View Post
No flames please. Just trying to gather more info.
I was also wondering about the recommended break in procedure. I have always broken in my motors in a "ramped up" style.

Basically, you increase loads over time with lots of vacuum.

Here is what I have done with all my motors, inc the M...

Obviously I would fully warm the motor first....

I would basically ramp up the loads on the motor over a few hundred miles. For example, <100 miles = 5500 rpm. <200 miles = 6500 rpm, etc. etc.

To get a good amount of lubrication in the cyls, I would take it up to said rpm, then back off the throttle all the way and let it slow via compression braking. This creates a lot of cyl vacuum and sucks oil back into the cyl.

Ask any engine builder and they will tell you the rings are seated with LOAD, and farily quickly.

I could go on and on...basically, you have to do what you are comfortable with....plain and simple. There are a lot of articles and tech write ups online about this...just check them out and go from there.

I can tell you that all of my motors never burned any measuable oil. Even my old 87 Toyota 4x4 with 287K on it did not burn any measurable oil between oil changes. However, some bastards stole it the other year...

At any rate, you will get a wide range of opinions about this.

Thus far, I have 5500 miles on my M. I have not seen a drop in oil level. However, without a dipstick, it is hard to tell if I am really getting "accurate" results. At any rate, time will tell....

Good luck with your decision....
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      07-14-2009, 12:30 PM   #14
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Remember you are also breaking in the clutch, transmission, and rear end diff at the same time.
Indeed, but don't forget the BRAKES .
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      07-14-2009, 12:35 PM   #15
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Why would you not just follow instructions for 1200 miles? I don't get it.
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      07-14-2009, 12:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Remember you are also breaking in the clutch, transmission, and rear end diff at the same time. Those mechanical components also benefit from a controlled and measured break-in procedure.
Excellent point there. It's not just the engine but the clutch, transmission, and diff. I was chatting with the guys at the dealership and they were focused on the non-engine component of the break-in as being more of the issue than the engine.

I followed GT3 Tim's approach for break-in. No oil use whatsoever....however I suspect the break-in may have little to do with oil consumption and that may be based on a host of factors we can only speculate about.

You'd need a pretty large sample of various "techniques/results" to have enough power to determine if break-in method affects outcomes.

I think it's fair to say with some certainty that beating on the car before all the fluids are fully warmed up isn't going to do it any good in or out of the break-in period. I usually wait until the temp hits 210 or so for at least 10 minutes...the gauge extrapolates oil temp based on both oil/water temp sensors and as such I don't fully "trust" it to reflect actual oil temp.
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      07-14-2009, 01:14 PM   #17
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Just go with what the company that spents millions in research and development suggest. BMW built the engine after all.
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      07-14-2009, 02:17 PM   #18
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[QUOTEBeer tastes best after the adrenaline rush at the track!
][/quote]

The worst beer I ever had was good.

I find it strange that one would think you had to run an engine hard to break it in properly. How would increasing rpms to XXXXX under heavy and hot conditions help the longevity and provide for a better running engine. Why not drain the oil, start the engine, and let it run for a day or two. That would be leaning on it.

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      07-14-2009, 02:37 PM   #19
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Once again I am amazed at the general lack of mechanical understanding shown by a lot of people on this board.Bearings in a modern engine should never touch another surface if it has been put together correctly.Bearings do not have high spots that need to be worn off to be broken in.If a bearing is showing wear when it is torn down,it due to a failure of the oiling system.I have seen main & rod bearings with hundreds of thousand of miles that show no wear in engines that were properly maintained and were worked hard.Yes rings do need some break in but that is handled by the 1st warmup in this age of microfinished cylinder walls.
My 89 325is is probally the best example of a fast breakin as it was used at a trackday @ Mosport with less than 100 kms on it for 3 day straight days when it was brand new .It had 1500 kms on it by the end of the weekend and the 2000 kms service was dome.Always used Mobil 1 in that car and I drove that for 100000 kms with no issues.Sold it to a friend for his wife and the last I saw of that car it had over 250000 kms without any engine issues and never used oil.Yes rear ends & transmissions do require some breakin but that is another issue.The one thing that I am anal about is not pushing a car hard till it has full operating tempatures.That is my $.03 this time.
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      07-14-2009, 02:54 PM   #20
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Clutch, dif, tranny and brakes are my main concern during break in.

FWIW, I asked the guy I asked a few people at BMW Welt on my 135i ED, and the best answer I got was from the gentleman giving the factory tour. He said, "I think maybe maximum speed for only 10 minutes or less under 1000 kilometers."
Other answers were mostly along the lines of, "don't burn the clutch or brakes."

I took it pretty east for the first 500 miles, mostly only in gear pulls, lots of engine braking. I'll probably be a bit more aggressive when I pick up the M.

My best breakin results were with my 50th of the 550 986 Boxster S. I bedded the brakes, then drove I like I stole it per the reccomendation of my salesman. I think the car made more power as a result, as I manages to run a 13.6@103 bone stock at ETown, out ran e46m3 verts, S4s, and kept with M3 coupes very well.

I'll be breaking in the M3 aggressively. I plan on bedding the brakes on some twisties in southern Germany, then having fun!

The main thing I did with the Porsche that I'll do again are *click* pause *click* shifts, double clutching (not just rev matching), and being very careful not to shock the driveline.
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      07-14-2009, 03:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead999s View Post
I was told this by a Porsche exec that they wanted people to get used to the performance of the cars before really pushing them.He told me that the breakin requirements were crap as the engines are bench run to full throttle for a brief period and all the cars were test driven at speed before being shipped.My engine builder friends tell me that the modern engines are broken in totaly in during the 1st hour of running.You have more time on a new car before you receive it at the dealer.
+1 i have heard that all cars coming from the factory are briefly full throttled before shipped.
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      07-14-2009, 04:02 PM   #22
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They tell you to take it easy because of liability concerns.With modern manufacturing techniques there is no real breakin required.Your rings are seated in the initial warmup of the motor.I break in all my stuff fast with regard to a full warmup and I never had a BMW that had oil consumption issues and I have had an M(E28 M5) with over 200000kms that never used oil between 10000 km changes.My wifes N54 has over 20000 kms since the last change and the oil is still at the top and I understand lots of people have had issues with them.My $.02
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