[torsen] RE: Preparing New Engine For Use ... (urq)

CyberPoet thecyberpoet at cyberpoet.net
Wed Apr 23 14:42:20 EDT 2003

I suspect that the engine, if acquired from the VAG supply
chain, was sealed up and stored properly during that
decade, including a host of silicates to prevent rust,
appropriate greasing for the engine internals and so forth,
to ensure the initial engine run-up is smooth, even 10
years later.

If, for any reason, you suspect that is not the case (and
for those of you who plan on storing an engine/car in the
future), here is the best advice I know of:

For storage:

- Remove coolant, brake fluid, hydraulic fluids, gasoline
at the lowest point in the system.

- Cap off the fuel lines at the fuel filter and fill the
fuel tank to max (to the point the fuel reaches the top of
the neck -- fuel displaces water vapor and keeps the
lines/tank from rusting).

- Remove and cap the oil filter connection point with thick
aluminum (think oven liners, not aluminum foil) and use
hose clamps to hold it in place..

- Yank the plugs, fill the cylinders with oil, reinsert the

- Fill the oil intake until it reaches absolutely full (so
that the entire engine is filled to the gills with it) and
cap it.

- Yank the coolant hoses off, drain all the coolant (if you
haven't already), spray each water passage down with a
heavy spray lubricant (including the outside of the ports),
then cap off with thick aluminum (think oven liners, not
aluminum foil) and use hose clamps to hold it in place.

- Remove all rubberized parts (hoses, etc.) and store them
individually, not in place on the engine. Spray each hose
connection point with the same heavy spray lubricant and
then plug with thick aluminum. Store timing belts,
serpentine belts, accessory belts off the engine as well.

- Disconnect all electrical/electronic connectors, smear
with an electrical grease and then wrap with aluminum foil,
twisting the foil over the wire and sheath to seal it.

- Store in a sealed crate, insert a gallon-sized silicate
drying agent in the box, store in a cool, dry place. Swap
the silicate and drain the reservoir at least once every
six months.

- If this isn't enough, do the above, then find an
air-tight container and pump out all the air and fill with
pure nitrogen (for those who hope to keep a race engine for
25 years in storage).

To re-awaken (applies to your case):

- Remove aluminum foil or other covers over connectors,
check the state of the electrical grease, if not fresh,
remove with a nylon toothbrush and reapply, then reattach
the connectors to their original positions;

- Remove all aluminum passage caps and clean off grease,
checking for rust or other build-up that may make the
connection bad when the hoses/lines are reattached.

- Flush out all the coolant passages with hot water
(removes any residual grease/lube) & redrain;

- Remove any stored oils/fluids from the engine, including
from the cylinders (may require a pump, if the engine was
truly full with oil at time of storage). Permit to drain
for at least an hour before starting the refill process.

- Attach new oil filter, air filter, fuel filter & refill
engine with fresh light oil to the recommended hash marks;

- If the engine is 'dry' from storage (i.e. - someone
stored it by a different methods, sans fluids), spray each
cylinder with a light coating of very light motor oil (5 or
10 weight) from the spark plug hole.

- Clean off excess spray lubricant, reattach all the hoses,
refill the cooling system, brake fluids, fuel system;

- If any old fuel is in the fuel system, remove it before
proceeding and refill with fresh fuels;

- Fill the cooling system with either distilled water or
the correct coolant mixture. I prefer distilled water for
the first run-up (it will become obvious why in a little

- With the spark plugs out and the fuel system not
energized, turn the engine over by hand, or by placing car
in second gear and pushing for 50 feet, or by running the
starter hot (not from the ignition key, but by powering it
directly). This will turn over the engine slowly, to clear
any stickage. Check to see if everything is OK. Make sure
to turn it over at least 20 revolutions. If there was oil
stored in the cylinders, it should splatter out (and
placing a rag over the spark plug openings may help keep
everything tidy).

- Energize the car, pump out a cup of fuel at the fuel pump
to remove any sediment stored in the lines or tank. Then
reconnect the fuel lines & insure adequate fuel.

** ONE WORD OF CAUTION HERE: If you stored the engine with
oil in the cylinders and you don't get all the oil out of
the cylinders before starting the car with the plugs in,
you are asking for disaster, as oil does not compress the
way air does, so that oil has to go somewhere, and may
result in: bent valves, bent o-rings, warped head, broken
connecting rod, warped cam or crank, bad journal bearings
or other serious damage. Always ensure the cylinders are
free of excess oil before starting after storing with oil
in the cylinders **

- Start the engine. Do not rev it, do not give it excess
gas, do not depress the pedal. Listen closely for any
unexpected sounds -- shut down immediately if you hear any.
After 2 minutes, shut down and check the fluids again (feel
the oil from the dipstick between your fingers, look at the
coolant for discoloration or particles). If OK, continue...

+ Restart and allow to run for long enough to come up to
operating temperatures with no load (10 to 20 minutes).
Shut down, drain all fluids again, yank all filters and
replace with new ones. Cut open the oil filter to check for
any metal shavings or other signs of unexpected component
failure. Check the distilled water from the cooling system
for discoloration and/or presence of materials indicating
the system is not 100% (if found, flush the cooling system
with an acidic solution).

+ If everything is A-OK, refill the oil, coolant, etc and
restart. Allow to run for an hour before driving, then
drive the first 600 miles at no more than 1/2 the redline.

+ Change oil & filter again at 600 miles (if overly
paranoid or you just love your engine, do it at 300 miles
as well -- the initial shavings are what will cause 85% of
the damage to the engine in it's lifespan).

+ From 600 miles to 1500 miles, drive it like you love it,
but always permit it to come up to temp all the way before
exceeding 50% of redline.

+ At 1500 miles, change the oil yet again, and then drive
it as you please...

Remember, permitting it to run 1 to 5 minutes before you
drive it off each time you start it will greatly extend the
life of your engine (he said, having recently sold a
300,000 miler that was burning no oil and still on the
original engine).

=-= Marc Glasgow
Tampa Bay's best Mac Consultant since 1990

Steve Wrote:

I have a brand new engine that I am preparing to install in my car 
(3.6l V8,
PT code).  While the engine is brand new, the engine number is very 
low, in
fact from looking at the service fiche the engine predates all engines 
in cars shipped to the USA!  I thought I would post here to see if 
there are
any suggestions regarding breaking in a brand new engine that was
manufactured over 10 years ago.  Right now I'm planning to pull the 
plugs and crank it over for a while to get the oil into the engine 
attempting to start, but I thought I'd see if any here had any other
suggestions.  Overall the engine appears to be in good shape ... even 
crankcase ventilation hoses are as supple as the replacement parts 
from the dealer.

Steve Buchholz
San Jose, CA (USA)

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