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Recommended break-in procedures can be helpful to owners of new vehicles. We all want to get maximum life and performance from our engines, so what's the best way to break it in?

I hear conflicting advice regarding this. Some say to baby it. Some say to run it hard. Some say to drive it like you normally would. My question is, what do Club Frontier members do?

The Nissan Owner's Manual found here suggests the following:

During the first 1,200 miles (2,000 km), follow these recommendations to obtain maximum engine performance and ensure the future reliability and economy of your new vehicle. Failure to follow these recommendations may result in shortened engine life and reduced engine performance.
*Avoid driving for long periods at constant speed, either fast or slow, and do not run the engine over 4,000 RPM.
*Do not accelerate at full throttle in any gear.
*Avoid quick starts.
*Avoid hard braking as much as possible
*Do not tow a trailer for the first 500 miles (800 km). Your engine, axle or other parts could be damaged.


The following website is notorious on internet forums, etc. found here It suggests that you run an engine hard, and that no other break in method is acceptable. It also suggests that the break in window is very narrow. The conspicuous point here is that this advice is directly contrary to the manufacturer's recommendations. In fact, this page acknowledges this fact more than once, but never says why. I haven't met a person that supports this procedure aside from some internet experts. It would be profound to find a person who followed this procedure for a car or a truck and can scientifically compare the results with a similar model that was broken in following the manufacturer's recommendations. The article speaks about motorcycle engines, which may or may not be comparing apples to apples.

In addition to the above, I commonly hear people say to not switch to synthetic oil too early, not before 3,000-10,000 miles. The logic here is that the synthetic doesn't allow a good break in. Perhaps because of the reduced friction of the synthetic oil. This is also debatable, but generally good advice since one may switch from conventional to synthetic with no adverse affects. There are manufacturers that use synthetic oil at the factories. Some say that the point here is to change your oil often and regularly, conventional or synthetic, to take the best care of your engine. Obviously complete and routine maintenance is key to long term vehicle/engine life.

Specifically, does anybody know how the Frontier engines (QR25DE, VQ40DE) are set up from the factory with regard to break in? It is possible that modern engines like these are somewhat "idiot proof" with regard to break-in, but to what degree is debatable as well. Nissan's website advertises the VQ40DE engine with "race bred friction reducing technology," perhaps akin to Titan's VK56DE engine with molybdenum coated pistons. It makes sense that any "friction reducing technology," while being beneficial to thermal efficiency, could affect break-in like synthetic oil could. These engines are run at the factory, but it is unlikely that they are broken in even partially, making it the responsibility of the consumer to complete the process themselves.

Bottom line: what have you done to break-in a new engine? What have you done to your Frontier, family car, old sports car, minivan, whatever. What were your results? Thanks for your input.
 

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IMO, once the rings were seated, the motor was for all intents and purposes broken in. That was done at the factory.

On an old motor when you built it, the first thing one did was go out on a long stretch of deserted road to seat in the rings. Done in an automatic transmission vehicle by 1st disabling the ability to down shift, then getting up to about 55 or 60 and flooring it until reaching 80 or 90. Then removing food from gas and letting engine compression bring speed back down to 50 or so, flooring it again to 80 or so, repeating about 10 to 15 times.

Take it back to shop, drain oil, change filter, refill, then do another change at 500 miles. Motor was "broken" in.

Newer motors are built to tighter tolerances.

I would personally drive it as you intend to drive it. If new and it breaks, it will be under warranty. If you break too many, then maybe it's time to change driving habits.
 

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I followed nissans recommendation. I switched to synthetic on my 3rd oil change.
 

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I followed the owner's manual with my break in. The procedure certainly cannot hurt anything and besides, what's the big rush to put the hammer down? If someone plans on keeping the truck for 200,000 Miles, the first 1,200 miles of restraint are but a 0.6% flyspeck in the total you'll drive and the seat time is insignificant.

But to each their own. Somewhere I once read an edited version reading something like:

* RACE the engine to redline
* DO NOT use the recommended oil. Use what your Uncle recommended.
* TOW heavy loads
* ACCELLERATE briskly
* BRAKE heavily
* CRUISE on the Interstate at the same speed for many hours
* SPEED SHIFT
 

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I got my truck stuck in deep mud the second night i had it. Where you couldn't see the right rear portion of my bed. It was the best break in process i can think of.
 

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I've had 2 built motors for my Mustang. Both of them suggested "Break it in how its going to be driven." My first street race on the first motor I had 98 miles on it. First Race on the second motor I had a little over 100.

The second shop breaks it's race cars in by assembling the motor and putting it in the car which is strapped to the dyno. They build 6 and 7 second 1/4 mile race cars.
 

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Well given the various perspectives here, I would do what the "professionals" recommend doing. Anyone can build a race motor and run it like they stole it, but as most only care about HP/TQ over reliability and longevity for years to come. I guess if you are paying for your ride and have cash to burn, your feelings on the matter will differ from others which is all good. The past 3 Nissan's I've had have been treated the exact same way with me switching to Mobile 1 on my 3rd oil change and following the recommendations of the burgers boys/girls to the best of my ability. To date I NEVER had to add any oil during the 7500 mile service period between changes and my consumption was VERY low with the only additions being to offset the change of oil filters midway to 7500 miles.

On my 14 year old 91 Mustang GT prior to its sell with 105K miles that was purchased with 5k miles in 91 it used only 1/2 a quart every 3500 miles which was pretty good for a 14 year old. :D

Depending on which Mustang motors you are referring to, their reaction to the abuse you mention has a very different results. The newer modular was very happy to see higher RPM's with less failures, where the old 5.0 hated abuse too early in its life as it was better balanced than the poor old Windsor motor.

Owner beware and chose you own path to Nissan burger happiness. Me personally, since I drive my cars/trucks for 10 + years, I'll be following what the "professionals" recommend. :) An NO, I'm not knocking others that chose another path, I just want you guys/girls to consider both sides of the discussion. ;)
 

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My take on this... 500mi. oil/filter for assembly crud... 1000mi. again for crud.
Then drive it like I stole it! If if fook'n blows... it's better warranty'd than not.

3000mi oil changes with regular Dino lube.
 

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'09 PRO-4X, KC, 6-speed manual

I'm up to about 425 miles, I have always believed in a break-in procedure, I would never hammer on a new engine because I have a tendency to keep my trucks for 8+ years.

With this truck I'm doing the following
- No WOT or even hard acceleration in any gear until after 700 miles
- No loading or lugging the engine at low rpm's
- No running the same rpm for more than 10-minutes at a time until after 700 miles
- Will probably do an oil and filter change at about 700 miles
- 0 - 150 miles no rpm's much over 2,000
- 150 - 250 no rpm's over 3,000, and only up to 3,000 a few times, for very short periods of time.
- 250 - 450 no rpm's over 4,000, and only up to 4,000 once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 450 - 600 no rpm's over 5,000, and only up to 5,000 once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 600 - 700 rpm's up to redline, and only up to red once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 700 - 900 rpm's up to redline for only brief periods of time, rpm's up to 4,000 for sustained periods, WOT can be used
- 900 - 1,000 rpm's up to redline for only brief periods of time, rpm's up to 5,000 for sustained periods, WOT can be used
- 1,000 and on, what ever, when ever, for how ever long, let the games begin
 

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Discussion Starter #15
'09 PRO-4X, KC, 6-speed manual

I'm up to about 425 miles, I have always believed in a break-in procedure, I would never hammer on a new engine because I have a tendency to keep my trucks for 8+ years.

With this truck I'm doing the following
- No WOT or even hard acceleration in any gear until after 700 miles
- No loading or lugging the engine at low rpm's
- No running the same rpm for more than 10-minutes at a time until after 700 miles
- Will probably do an oil and filter change at about 700 miles
- 0 - 150 miles no rpm's much over 2,000
- 150 - 250 no rpm's over 3,000, and only up to 3,000 a few times, for very short periods of time.
- 250 - 450 no rpm's over 4,000, and only up to 4,000 once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 450 - 600 no rpm's over 5,000, and only up to 5,000 once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 600 - 700 rpm's up to redline, and only up to red once in a while, for very short periods of time.
- 700 - 900 rpm's up to redline for only brief periods of time, rpm's up to 4,000 for sustained periods, WOT can be used
- 900 - 1,000 rpm's up to redline for only brief periods of time, rpm's up to 5,000 for sustained periods, WOT can be used
- 1,000 and on, what ever, when ever, for how ever long, let the games begin
Wow nice response. I'm following about the same procedure, except I'm just keeping my general RPM's less than 4000 for the whole period. Are you deliberately taking it to redline between 600 and 700 miles as part of the break-in? I am personally going to wait until at least 1500 miles until I start working it like that (if then).

So a guy at the dealership said that no oil change is necessary until the first recommended maintenance interval at 3750 miles!

I will be over 700 miles this weekend, so I will do an oil and filter change. (For the crud as Devius put it) Then again before 1500 miles. The one after that will be after 3000 miles, probably closer to 4000. The next one after that will be synthetic.
 

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Are you deliberately taking it to redline between 600 and 700 miles as part of the break-in? I am personally going to wait until at least 1500 miles until I start working it like that (if then).
The procedure I wrote up, was derived from the procedure that was shared with the S2000 (9k rpms is that redline) community from a Jordan Honda F1 team mechanic. His point of view was an engine will never be happy with an rpm unless it gets to experience it in the early stages of its life. The procedure was based upon very slowly increasing the rpms the engine is subjected to as the miles are increased. Notice the words very short periods of time? That is in reference to just getting the rpm easily up to that rev, and then letting it come right back down quickly. Sort of just a toe in the water kind of thing.

The 600 to 700 miles is based just upon the fact that redline is the next step up after the 5,000 rpms were experienced, and it will again be for a few times, and each onre of those times will be for a very short duration, as in like a second or two.

And you will notice that not until 1,000 miles will I really be hammering on it. And I will say right here and now, my truck will be seeing 5,000+ rpms every time I drive it after that 1,000 miles. I have never babbied my engines from revs.
 

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- No loading or lugging the engine at low rpm's [/QUOTE said:
Its harder to keep the auto's (at least mine) from lugging. Mine likes to shift into overdrive at lower speeds when driving around town. Its annoying so I just turn it off now and use it for the freeway only.

Is this okay, or can it cause other issues?
 

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waited til 1000 miles then had some fun, i didn't used synthetic oil til about 5k miles, i don't beat on my truck but i do drive it like i stole it every once and a while, if you want your engine, trans, your whole truck to last 200-300k miles you have to take care of it and that all starts during the break in period. remember a bull built race engine is much different then a stock nissan v6 engine so of course the break ins will be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Its harder to keep the auto's (at least mine) from lugging. Mine likes to shift into overdrive at lower speeds when driving around town. Its annoying so I just turn it off now and use it for the freeway only.

Is this okay, or can it cause other issues?
I am also interested in finding an answer to this one. Anybody?
 

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Knock the tits off the cylinder walls, change the oil/fil. at 1000 miles, and drive it. Couple of 3k oil/fil changes w/dino, dump in some premium synthetic oil w/a good filter, change every 10K, and drive it. Should do 250K w/o oil related problems.
 
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