Check Your Plumbing

Whenever you’re installing your engine, it’s also a great time to check all of your plumbing. And if the reason you are installing a new engine is because you blew up the old one, you absolutely must make sure all of your external oil lines are clean and free of debris. For a dry sump engine, this means everything from the engine to the pump to the external tank and back. If you race a wet sump engine you are not off the hook either. If you run an oil cooler you must make sure that any of those lines are flushed and clean as well.

if the reason you are installing a new engine is because you blew up the old one, you absolutely must make sure all of your ...

If you run and inline fuel filter, double check to make sure it is installed correctly. Inline filters are designed to work with the fluid flowing in a particular direction. Most fuel filters have an arrow designating which way to flow through it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be installed backwards by accident. If this happens it will severely limit the amount of fuel making it to your engine.

Time to Burp

No, this isn’t an invitation for rudeness. We mean you should burp the coolant to make sure you don’t leave any air pockets in either the radiator or the engine’s water jackets. One of the easiest ways to do this is to leave the upper radiator hose off the engine when filling the radiator with coolant. Slowly fill the radiator with water until you see it beginning to come out of the water neck on top of the engine. This makes it easy for any air bubbles to make their way out of the engine. Then attach the upper radiator hose and continue filling the system. The additional water will backfill the upper radiator hose and you should have an air-free coolant system.

Make the Rumble

When you do fire the engine up, it can be helpful to have one or two members of your crew on hand. Have one person keep an eye on the gauges and near the ignition cutoff switch in case a problem is spotted. Another person should be on the lookout for any water, oil, or fuel leaks. And everyone should keep their ears open for strange sounds. Make sure you have your timing light hooked up and ready so that you can ensure the correct timing, and adjust it as necessary, right away. Don’t let the engine idle for too long, go ahead and rev it up to 2,000 rpm or so to get the oil pressure up.

This is also a good time to have an infrared temperature gun handy. Using the gun, check the temps near all the cylinders on both heads, or at the exhaust pipes, to make sure they are warming up at an equal rate. This can help you spot a dead cylinder quickly. Also, do not forget to check that the temperature is coming up in the radiator. If the radiator stays cold that means you have a coolant flow issue.

The process of priming the engine’s oil galleries before firing it up is fairly simple

If the engine is new, begin your break-in procedure. If you are unsure how to properly break-in a new engine, a quick search on circletrack.comshould reveal several stories we’ve done on the topic. After the break-in is complete, recheck valve lash if you are running a flat tappet cam and re-tighten all the header bolts as they have a tendency to work themselves loose. This is also a great time to change the oil, especially if you are running break-in oil, as well as the oil filter.

And that’s about it. With your first fire-up behind you, it’s time to go hit the racetrack and have some fun.