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Thread: Breaking in a New/Rebuilt Engine & Driving Tips

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    FROM THE CHAT ROOM:

    How do I break it in? Drive 50MPH the first 500 miles? Warm it up before I take off? I do appreciate your advice.

    chinook

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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    Break-in of a reman is no different than a new vehicle.

    DO NOT warm up excessively, perhaps a minute or two to let oil pressure come up full.

    Drive moderately, accelerating at less than full throttle. Shift about 3,500 RPM and most importantly do not let the engine lug.

    Try to keep above 2,000 RPM, however it is a good idea to vary speed frequently, avoiding any long sustained constant speeds. 3,000 RPM in 4th is about 55 mph. [Most VDO speedometers in buses run about 2-3 mph faster than actual according to my police radar gun.]

    Avoid driving above 3,500 RPM for any significant amounts of time, but an occassional run up towards 4,000 RPM, like accelerating onto an Interstate, won't hurt it. If you can't hold 2,000 rpm on a hill, downshift and hold at 3,000 rpm until you reach more level ground and can shift back into the next gear. DO NOT rev the lower gear up towards redline and shift again, only to have to repeat the process.

    Do a complete oil & filter change at 300-700 miles. After that oil change, you can drive normally, though you'll find continuing those practices will add considerably to both engine life and mileage.

    Capt. Mike
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 09-27-2008 at 06:08 AM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Raleigh, NC USA
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    Transferred from another post to consolidate similar topics.

    What is the proper way to drive a Westy?

    josh, Junior Member, 01-05-2001 05:44 PM

    . . . anyway I have now replaced the engine with a factory reman and everything that goes on it and I was wondering what is the proper way to drive a westy. I am thinking perhaps that the 70 - 75 mph combined with the oil leak probably was responsible for the [previous failure]. The engine I have now is a 1600 . . ..

    What are some good rules of the road to abide by. SHould we simply not be exceeding 60 or 55 MPH. I would love to protect my investment as I am a college student (although a late in life one) and want to use this for a long time as I primarily exist in the outdoors for recreation and like to travel cross country. I am thinking about getting an oil pressure and temp guauge as well as the head temp guage in order to be able to keep an eye on my engine a little better. Any other tips on how to drive the westy? Or how often and what to check on trips? Thanks for any advice.

    nosliwmit, Member, 01-05-2001 07:06 PM

    Obviously there isn't a "right" way to drive the vehicle (within reason, of course), but I don't think Westies were built for speed, and there's just no point being in a hurry (my opinion, of course).

    My '85 doesn't often get over 65 mph, and I usually cruise at 60. I've managed to convince myself that the engine will last longer if I don't make it work as hard.

    I have a friend with an '84 who drives it 70 or 75 all the time. Of course, he just had to replace his engine a few months back. Coincidence or not, I don't know.

    Good luck.

    Gary B. Dixner Member, 01-06-2001 12:25 AM

    Wouldn't drive a Westy without a tachometer. Engine noise doesn't intrude on the passenger compartment, epecially at highway speeds with all the wind noise. So you can become desensitized to how hard that little four banger is working back there. Our Honda Odyssey van is at 2,000 RPM at 70 mph. I think our 85 Westy is cranking about 3,500 at 60. Most of the experts on this site recommend 55 to 60 as a cruising speed. I think this is good advice although I can't convince my daughter of this. She drives her '87 at 70 to 75, so it works twice as hard as the Honda. Plus piston speeds per 1,000 rpm are probably even higher. I keep expecting her engine to die but so far it hasn't. Best advice is limit rpm to 3,500 when necessary for short duration (climbing hills, through the gears, etc.) and 3,000 plus a little for long duration (cruising on the highway). Driving habits and rearview mirrors are important. I try to help other drivers, especially truckers, pass safely.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 09-27-2008 at 06:09 AM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    josh:

    [Questions regarding your oil leaks on the old engine should be posted under the "Oil leakage" thread this forum. See "'81 Westy too hot" for a discussion on gauges until I can get a topic posted in the proper gauges forum, but thanks for pointing out you couldn't find it.]

    There isn't a lot to add to my 'break-in' advice. I'm a firm believer in moderation and each of my 3 Westies have backed up that theory by excellent service without failure. I'll relate one story. Three of us Westy owners happened to get on the ferry from NB to Newfoundland together. After boarding we met up in the lounge and exchanged the usual "How's the Westy doing?" A driver with Alabama plates said OK but he was on his 3rd engine. The other guy and I were both surprised and asked him more. "Usually blow at 60-70,000" was the basic response. We both had well over 100,000 miles so asked him about his maintenance and driving. "Change oil every 7,500 miles like the book says," & "I run her 75-80 on the Interstates." We were also able to figure out he tended to shift near redline and flogged her bad on hills. His responses explained his engine life.

    I ask you to revisit some old physics basics. You're driving a square box with zero aerodynamics. It's basically overloaded (5,000+ GVWR) for its meager engine. Most Westy owners tend to drive in the Heavy Duty category (see "Oil types & weights" in the TIPS forum). Thus power requirements, which climb exponentially, really show up in the upper ranges. Temperatures skyrocket, mileage drops, and the vehicle just isn't as stable or comfortable to drive. There seems to be a direct correlation between maintenance and driving styles to engine reliability and longevity. Most of the high mileage owners I talk to have moderate driving habits in common. Pays your money, takes your choice!
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 09-27-2008 at 06:09 AM.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Mountlake Terrace, WA (Seattle)
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    Default 82 air cooled

    Hmm,
    This is my first westy (82 air cooled). I assumed driving it at around 70 mph was safe. It had about 7k miles on its rebuilt stock engine. We have put about 1k miles on it since we have owned it. I wonder if that trip between Portland and Seattle where I averaged about 70 mph might have damaged it? (Ill keep it under 65mph now) I hope not.

    Also I notice when I park it with a heated up engine after normal driving, it will not hold its idle when I restart it. I have give it lots of gas to keep it from dying or hope I can immediately drive off and keep the engine at higher RPMs to prevent stalling. I wonder what this could mean? The engine stars up just fine and holds a strong idle when its cold.

    Any advice?
    Kipp

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