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360 Initial Startup Procedure

Contributed By: Rod Linnett

I found this on a discussion group, should be useful.

Some guys say this stuff isn't reallly necessary, but this is what I do and the engines I've done it with are still running strong years later.

I assume you packed the oil pump gears with petroleum jelly (NOT grease). If not, do it now.

  1. Fill the engine with straight 20-weight oil. You don't need super-expensive stuff for the first fill. 5W-30 is also OK. Pre-fill the filter as well -- as much oil as you can get into it.
  2. Pre-lube the engine. Best way: with a BIG drill and an old distributor shaft welded on a shank. Spin the oil pump with the valve covers off until you see oil at each rocker arm. Second-best way: crank the engine with the coil wire unplugged until oil appears. You should see oil at each rocker arm in sequence as the oil passages fill. (If you use the second way, use this is an opportunity to make sure the fuel pump is filling the carb bowl with gas at the same time.)
  3. Replace the valve covers and static-time the distributor as close as possible to TDC.
  4. Pull the No. 1 plug, reconnect the coil and crank it for a second to ensure there's spark. You don't want to crank the new engine over for a long time if the ignition isn't working. Once you're satisfied you have spark, put the plug back in and reconnect it. Get a long slot screwdriver and have it ready to adjust the idle speed.
  5. You're ready to fire it up. This is a two-man operation. As a precaution, have a fire extinguisher handy. New engines tend to backfire flames through the carb, especially if you haven't got the timing right, and you definitely don't want a fire. Start the engine normally. It should fire up quickly if you cranked it earlier because the carb will already be full of gas. If it doesn't start right away check the timing again.
  6. As soon as the engine starts, tighten down the idle speed screw to get it running at 2,000 to 2,500 rpm. If you can't get it to that speed with the idle screw, a bungee cord on the throttle linkage will work.
  7. Leave it running at that speed for 20-25 minutes. Check everywhere for fuel or oil leaks. Be ready to shut it down instantly if you find a fuel leak (bad). Turn the idle screw back out until it's running at 1,000 rpm or less, then shut it down.
  8. Drain the oil immediately. Check carefully for metal debris in the oil. Replace the filter and refill the engine with the best 5W30 oil you can get, but NOT synthentic. Start it again at normal idle speed and set the timing.

Run the engine for 500 miles, then change it again. Synthetic is OK now if you prefer it. Then run it for another 2,000 miles and change it again.

During the first 2,000 miles, avoid steady speeds and high rpm. Try to constantly load and unload the engine. That will help seat the rings and valves. After that, drive it normally, change the oil regularly and the engine should be good for 200,000 miles before you have to do it all over again.

Rod Linnett
'79 Chero 360, TH 400, QT, D44's Wollongong, NSW,(Toyota Infested) Australia

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