Hughes Engines Tech Center: Firing Up a Fresh Engine

Firing up a brand-new engine is usually the culmination of many days and many dollars’ worth of work. But it must be done correctly to forego any instant damage. Among the most important things during the first turn of the key is getting the engine to start quickly.

A quick start gets proper oil pressure pumping and promotes things such as flat tappet rotation and piston ring seating right off the bat. Break-in oil like Red Line’s specially-formulated 40 fluid contains high levels of zinc and phosphorous to fight off initial wear, but even it relies on some RPM, oil pressure, and heat to work properly.

Therefore, the most important thing you can do before spinning over that big or small block is make sure you’ve properly prepped it to light up as soon as possible. Hughes Engines has a pretty solid formula for fresh firing and, with their decades of Mopar experience, we’d be inclined to follow their well-trodden footsteps:

With the engine on the compression stroke on #1 cylinder, set the crankshaft to 10 or 12 before TDC as shown above. Install the distributor so the rotor has just passed the #1 cylinder terminal on the cap as shown above. Make sure you have fuel in the carb, lines and tank. Fire it up! Rev softly between 1,500-3,000 RPM for 30 minutes.

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Kent Will

Kent grew up in the shop with his old man and his '70 Charger R/T. His first car was a 1969 Super Bee project when Kent was fourteen. That restoration experience lead to pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a career in manufacturing. Since then, the garage has expanded to include a '67 Satellite, a '72 Scamp, and a 2010 Mopar '10 Challenger.

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