12 fastlane camshafts, ZDDP was caught in the crosshairs. When ZDDP-formulated oil quietly went away, the rate of flat tappet cam failure went through the roof. It wasn’t unheard of to see the lobes wiped off cams during engine break-in. Fortunately, several oil manufacturers now offer quality oils with comprehensive additive packages (including ZDDP) designed for use with flat tappet camshafts. Mineral and synthetic oil from Brad Penn, Joe Gibbs Driven, Valvoline VR, and others are stocked by Summit Racing. Additionally, COMP Cams, Lucas Oil, Red Line, and others offer ZDDP in additive form to treat regular oil, also available at Summit Racing. HERE ARE A FEW TRIED AND TRUE TIPS TO MAKE FLAT TAPPET CAM BREAK-IN GO SMOOTHLY! • Clean the cam with mineral spirits or wash it in solvent before installation. Carefully inspect the cam for defects such as deep scratches, and lobe damage. We also like to rewash the cam with hot soapy water and let it fully dry before installing it. • Coat the camshaft lobe, journals, distributor gear, and lifters with the installation lube provided by the manufacturer. Use all of the lube. If the cam didn’t come with lube, use a high-pressure lubricant such as molybdenum disulphide. • When using dual valve springs, always remove the inner spring during break-in. If using a high load single valve spring, replace it with a lighter spring during break- in. • Install a fresh oil filter and use high quality engine oil with a good amount of zinc additive. • After the cam and lifters are installed, pour a bottle of cam break-in lube directly over them through the lifter valley. • Set static ignition timing, carburetor tune, and basic valve lash so the engine will fire quickly and get up to a high idle speed. Break-in is not the time to tune the engine. • The engine will be operating at higher than normal speeds during break-in, so keeping the engine cool is imperative. An old trick we use is to place a couple of high capacity electric fans in front of the radiator to aid in cooling. Pointing a slow running water hose directly at the radiator core also helps. • After the engine starts, bring the RPMs up to 2,000 to 2,500 during the first 30 minutes of operation. Vary the RPM between 2,000 to 2,500 periodically so that oil splash is directed at different parts of the camshaft. Some engines tend to have internal windage patterns that starve camshaft journals from oil spray at specific engine RPM ranges. • When the 30-minute break-in period is complete, change the oil and the filter. Always use good quality mineral or synthetic oil with high amounts of zinc. • Replace the inner valve springs or swap in the regular springs. Re-lash the camshaft. At this point you can tune the carburetor and ignition timing.