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Old 07-30-2020, 05:41 AM   #1
14WRXHatchback
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Default Too late for “hard” break-in? Is it worth doing? IAG stage 2.5 short block

Just installed my IAG stage 2.5 shortblock (ej25) recently and just hit my 500 mile mark on the block. I’ve been going by the “take it easy” style break-in and never really thought the hard break-in was something you should do but recent research kind of has me questioning my technique. Come to think of it too it doesn’t specify the technique in the info I got from IAG. I know I’m probably over thinking at this point since I’m already 500 miles deep but I thought if I need to change something I better do it now so I don’t regret anything.

So my main question is should I start incorporating some hard pulls or keep trucking with low boost and 3-4k max rpm? My new clutch should be nice and seated now and I’ve already been engine breaking just cause it’s second nature.

Background info:
• Followed IAG recommendations
• Motul 5w40 for first start and first 50 miles (babied it throughout)
• At 50 miles, changed oil&filter to supplied break-in oil from iag (10w40 mineral oil) and kept it from going much over 3k rpm and kept out of boost
• Installed at same time of motor was a ACT 6 puck sprung clutch disk and resurfaced OEM Flywheel for reuse
• Reused stock heads,cams, and all top end

Parts list:
•IAG Stage 2.5 shortblock
•Killer B oil pickup & windage tray
•ARP Head studs
•ACT sprung 6 puck clutch
•IAG AOS
•ID1050X Injectors
•IAG TGV deletes
•IAG Air pump deletes
•Perrin TMIC
•Cobb FlexFuel Kit
•AEM fuel pump (340lph)
•Custom Fabricated EL headers & uppipe
•Tial MVR wastegate
•Perrin Intake
•Cobb downpipe
•Invidia Q300 Catback Exhaust


I just don’t want problems down the road that could’ve been handled. After suffering rod knock on the old block, this new one is my baby. For now at least lol
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Old 07-30-2020, 07:32 AM   #2
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Ask 5 people and you will get 5 different opinions on this. I worry about:
1st, lifter/lobe lapping. At initial start up, do not let it idle. Get up to 2k RPM and hold it for 5-10 min. This is a good time to burp the coolant, check for leaks, and ensure oil pressure is stable. I built a pressurized oil heater tank and fill with hot oil under pressure directly at the pressure sender port (mains). Then give it 50PSI of hot oil while baring the engine over. Maybe not necessary but it make me feel better to do this before initial start up.
2nd, oil pressure, especially at idle. If you don't know your bearing clearances, this will take some experimenting. You will need to adjust idle speed and oil viscosity to obtain the HOT idle PSI you want. I like about 18-20PSI. Some will say you only need 10-15, but I have seen lobes get wiped out with stiffer springs at these pressure levels so I'm cautious now. 18-20PSI gives you a bit of buffer on a very hot day or if tracking the car. For me VR20w50 and 1000RPM on .001 mains and .002 rods gets me where I want to be. If your not hitting your desired oil PSI at higher RPM you will need to think about adding a shim to the relief.
3rd change oil frequently and look for sparkelies. After the first 100 miles it should be coming out very clean. If your at 500 miles and still getting sparkalies I would wonder about cylinder finish and if the lobes are wiping out. Listen for lifter tick progressively getting louder and do a compression check to get an idea of where the sparklies are coming from.
Everything else is up for debate (hard vs soft break-in, x miles before boost, x-miles of engine braking, ect) in my mind and has a lot to to do with how the engine was built, especially cylinder finish, PWC, lifter gap, and bearing clearance.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albersondh View Post
Ask 5 people and you will get 5 different opinions on this. I worry about:
1st, lifter/lobe lapping. At initial start up, do not let it idle. Get up to 2k RPM and hold it for 5-10 min. This is a good time to burp the coolant, check for leaks, and ensure oil pressure is stable. I built a pressurized oil heater tank and fill with hot oil under pressure directly at the pressure sender port (mains). Then give it 50PSI of hot oil while baring the engine over. Maybe not necessary but it make me feel better to do this before initial start up.
2nd, oil pressure, especially at idle. If you don't know your bearing clearances, this will take some experimenting. You will need to adjust idle speed and oil viscosity to obtain the HOT idle PSI you want. I like about 18-20PSI. Some will say you only need 10-15, but I have seen lobes get wiped out with stiffer springs at these pressure levels so I'm cautious now. 18-20PSI gives you a bit of buffer on a very hot day or if tracking the car. For me VR20w50 and 1000RPM on .001 mains and .002 rods gets me where I want to be. If your not hitting your desired oil PSI at higher RPM you will need to think about adding a shim to the relief.
3rd change oil frequently and look for sparkelies. After the first 100 miles it should be coming out very clean. If your at 500 miles and still getting sparkalies I would wonder about cylinder finish and if the lobes are wiping out. Listen for lifter tick progressively getting louder and do a compression check to get an idea of where the sparklies are coming from.
Everything else is up for debate (hard vs soft break-in, x miles before boost, x-miles of engine braking, ect) in my mind and has a lot to to do with how the engine was built, especially cylinder finish, PWC, lifter gap, and bearing clearance.


Thanks for the info! Been waiting on oil pressure & temp gauges to come in but have been on back order which has sucked not having them to monitor. Oil has been looking good though and have been checking all fluid levels and for leaks more then a fridge you know is empty but think food is just gonna be there this time. No unusual sounds or behavior either which is crazy to me being it’s my first engine rebuild I’ve done myself lol.

Also if you got some pics of the pressurized oil heater tank you built I’d love to check it out. Might be a project I take up soon to have handy for myself and all my friends project cars. I appreciate it!
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Old 07-30-2020, 12:33 PM   #4
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It's not "too late". If you want to do some pulls on it, it'll be fine.

Regarding opinions, if you look at most competition style engines they don't get 1k miles of break in. I warm the engine up, make sure there's no leaks, change the oil after burping coolant, getting the fans to cycle, and then go for a drive. Make sure the tune is right on the drive, again no leaks, and everything is fine, then start doing pulls with full engine braking. After 15-20 pulls I change the oil again and it's good to go. My engines usually burn less oil than others and make good power.

Lots of ways to skin the cat, but in general the "hard" break in works well for something that's going to see a good bit of power.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subydude View Post
It's not "too late". If you want to do some pulls on it, it'll be fine.

Regarding opinions, if you look at most competition style engines they don't get 1k miles of break in. I warm the engine up, make sure there's no leaks, change the oil after burping coolant, getting the fans to cycle, and then go for a drive. Make sure the tune is right on the drive, again no leaks, and everything is fine, then start doing pulls with full engine braking. After 15-20 pulls I change the oil again and it's good to go. My engines usually burn less oil than others and make good power.

Lots of ways to skin the cat, but in general the "hard" break in works well for something that's going to see a good bit of power.


Thanks for the info! That seems to be what I’m getting from the “hard” break in.Less oil consumption and less break in time. Seems to be a good way to go.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:55 AM   #6
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use all the throttle you want, pressure seats rings, not rpm.
Rpm will screw up your new engine if you redline it too early.
The "hard" break theory is ridden with internet nonsense repeated enough times people started to believe it.
Anybody with a clue knows you don't rip straight up to max rpm on a new motor, you work your way up over a few thousand miles.
Throttle is totally different, you don't HAVE TO get into peak boost, but it won't hurt or just use moderate boost.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:10 AM   #7
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I do 3 heat cycles, then a couple short rides/heat cycle. Then I give her hell. Never been an issue. I’ve built 100 engines at least, tho some Subaru’s, some Volvo, couple 6.0, billions of dirt bike and stand up jet skis....
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
use all the throttle you want, pressure seats rings, not rpm.
Rpm will screw up your new engine if you redline it too early.
The "hard" break theory is ridden with internet nonsense repeated enough times people started to believe it.
Anybody with a clue knows you don't rip straight up to max rpm on a new motor, you work your way up over a few thousand miles.
Throttle is totally different, you don't HAVE TO get into peak boost, but it won't hurt or just use moderate boost.
I agree that pressure helps seat rings, but your comments about RPM don't really hold water. High RPM really only hurts (and even then it's a "maybe") when the engine is cold. There's nothing in there that would prevent high RPM within 20-30 miles of first fire (assuming fluids are up to temp).

I'm curious why you think high RPM needs several thousand miles, and what you think happens in those thousands of miles that make it ok for full rev range. If pressure seats rings and you follow the hard break in method, then the rings are mostly seated in the first 100 miles. There's nothing else in the bottom end that needs "seated", and even in the top end there's very little besides the cams lapping the buckets, which is only when the cams are new.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:35 PM   #9
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The folks at IAG are not stupid, and have boatloads of experience with Subaru engines. Their process has been developed over time to get the best balance of power and reliability. If they say break-in our motors in the following manner then do what they recommend.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subydude View Post
I agree that pressure helps seat rings, but your comments about RPM don't really hold water. High RPM really only hurts (and even then it's a "maybe") when the engine is cold. There's nothing in there that would prevent high RPM within 20-30 miles of first fire (assuming fluids are up to temp).

I'm curious why you think high RPM needs several thousand miles, and what you think happens in those thousands of miles that make it ok for full rev range. If pressure seats rings and you follow the hard break in method, then the rings are mostly seated in the first 100 miles. There's nothing else in the bottom end that needs "seated", and even in the top end there's very little besides the cams lapping the buckets, which is only when the cams are new.
yes actually there are hundreds of moving parts that need "seated"
It's a rotating and reciprocating assembly that has never moved together before, the parts are never perfect. The run in is the final material removal and honing for every rotating part.
That's why pretty much every manufacturer on planet earth recommends NOT exceeding 3500 or 4000 rpms for at least 500-1000 miles.
Some very high end sports cars actually electronically limit this so dumb, ill informed owners can't screw them up.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboggess View Post
The folks at IAG are not stupid, and have boatloads of experience with Subaru engines. Their process has been developed over time to get the best balance of power and reliability. If they say break-in our motors in the following manner then do what they recommend.
If you bought a short block from them and wanted to keep the warranty I'd agree. I also would point out that there's plenty of other shops that run counter to IAG's thoughts with a good number of engines doing fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
yes actually there are hundreds of moving parts that need "seated"
It's a rotating and reciprocating assembly that has never moved together before, the parts are never perfect. The run in is the final material removal and honing for every rotating part.
That's why pretty much every manufacturer on planet earth recommends NOT exceeding 3500 or 4000 rpms for at least 500-1000 miles.
Some very high end sports cars actually electronically limit this so dumb, ill informed owners can't screw them up.
Legitimate question, have you built a Subaru engine before by yourself? There's not hundreds of parts that need seated. In fact, the majority of the parts you don't want to touch which is why you prime the oil system before first fire. I get there's always some wear down of high spots in various places, but seriously, there is no where in the engine other than valve buckets/guides and cylinder rings on the walls where you want things to "wear in". And the ones that you want to wear in will have worn in pretty much by the time you're done warming the car up for the first time. I've built multiple EJ25's now and had my hands in multiple other engines. Ran a good number of homebrew "race" engines in various endurance series, and my daily driver 05 STi has an engine I built in it, including the hard break in method that's got about 5k miles on it. It doesn't use oil and has great compression

I'm familiar with what manufacturers say for break in. Most say vary rpm and avoid extended idling or various load scenarios. Engines vary quite a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer, but here we're discussing EJ's.

In general, if there's a mechanical problem, it'll show up within a very short time of first fire. If the engine is happy warming up, happy on an initial drive to confirm things are good, then it'll be just as happy to rev high as well

Also note: in my process I change oil twice within the first 100 miles or so of fire up. This is because the seating and initial wear in does produce some shavings for sure. I would imagine most people aren't doing what I do regarding changing oil so "taking it easy" for a few thousand miles is really just letting the oil filter catch it all over a longer period of time.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:58 PM   #12
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Legitimate question, have you built a Subaru engine before by yourself?
no I have not, and that is the classic "subaru's need this" argument. The fundamentals are IDENTICAL for all piston engines, period.
Subaru engines are no different.

Again, why do you think every single manufacturer says to keep rpm's significantly below redline for 500-1000 miles if the whole assembly does not need run in time?

What could possibly be the goal of everybody recommending that if it was false? And why would super high end producers take the time to put electronic limiters on that phase out over a mileage period if it didn't matter?

I'll tell you, because they know that some dude who buys a 600k Mclaren with his inheritance is too clueless to NOT hit the rev limiter when he shows it off to his girlfriend the day he buys it and they don't want to put a new $80k engine in it under warranty. So they nip that age old problem in the bud and just prevent him from doing it with a computer.
They don't limit boost.
They don't limit throttle.
They limit rpm.
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
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no I have not, and that is the classic "subaru's need this" argument. The fundamentals are IDENTICAL for all piston engines, period.
Subaru engines are no different.

Again, why do you think every single manufacturer says to keep rpm's significantly below redline for 500-1000 miles if the whole assembly does not need run in time?

What could possibly be the goal of everybody recommending that if it was false? And why would super high end producers take the time to put electronic limiters on that phase out over a mileage period if it didn't matter?

I'll tell you, because they know that some dude who buys a 600k Mclaren with his inheritance is too clueless to NOT hit the rev limiter when he shows it off to his girlfriend the day he buys it and they don't want to put a new $80k engine in it under warranty. So they nip that age old problem in the bud and just prevent him from doing it with a computer.
They don't limit boost.
They don't limit throttle.
They limit rpm.
You hit on one of the reasons, warranty, and the others being legality and practicality. It's not everyone, but I will agree that there are a lot of manufacturers who will say "low load, low rpm, vary rpm" or similar. Specifically, I know Ford and Chevrolet actually say low load on several of their cars. That type would actually be against IAG and the whole "load the rings" bit

It's also gonna be hard to instruct people to break the car in hard, and usually the speeds you see to get to high RPM are in excess of legal limits. And getting it on the dyno to break it in is preposterous for the general public.

Each manufacturer is different, each engine is different. But I do have a good example. I bought a 2016 GT350 new in 2016 and did the hard break in on the way home from the dealer. I drove it 8k miles over the next 6 months and it burned zero oil based on the dip stick. Other guys were posting about them using a LOT of oil, and all of them had followed the recommended "babying it" break in. Small sample size, but the other guys I knew who did the hard break in and tracked the car like me also had very little oil usage.

In my experience, I understand the recommendation, but I also understand my what I've seen and done in person. I've seen 50-60 other EJ's with the same general break in method as mine. I've seen it for Evo engines, Honda engines, Ford engines, VW engines, and others. They all react the same, and all of them were used for some form of motorsports or aggressive daily driving. The ones that failed, failed due to mechanical issues that weren't related to high RPM or otherwise, they just would have failed.

So how about we agree to disagree? I don't think hard break in is needed for 99% of cars on the road. I think seating the rings is good and agree with you there. I disagree that RPM is bad at low mileage as long as the engine is up to temp. I also think if the car isn't going to see anything related to motorsports it's not needed. And generally, you're not going to screw anything up by following a recommended break in. You may use more oil and have slightly lower compression, but not enough to be like "OMG I ruined it!". Fair?
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subydude View Post
If you bought a short block from them and wanted to keep the warranty I'd agree. I also would point out that there's plenty of other shops that run counter to IAG's thoughts with a good number of engines doing fine.
Yep. In total agreement with you here that there are other shops that say do it their way, and if he bought one of those engines I would say do it that way.

What I am saying is follow the instructions set forth by the person or company that built the motor.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:15 PM   #15
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after 500 miles, there better not be anything left to break in. seriously, in a well machined modern engine, all break in is done in a matter of seconds. this is no longer the days of an engine rebuild consisting of a dingle ball hone and some new cast iron rings in your buddies garage.
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
use all the throttle you want, pressure seats rings, not rpm.
Rpm will screw up your new engine if you redline it too early.
The "hard" break theory is ridden with internet nonsense repeated enough times people started to believe it.
Anybody with a clue knows you don't rip straight up to max rpm on a new motor, you work your way up over a few thousand miles.
Throttle is totally different, you don't HAVE TO get into peak boost, but it won't hurt or just use moderate boost.


Yeah definitely. Not looking to bang off the limiter but use more throttle as you meantioned. I’ve just been so sketched out that I’ve been a granny and don’t want me being scared cause problems instead of preventing them. Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by cboggess View Post
The folks at IAG are not stupid, and have boatloads of experience with Subaru engines. Their process has been developed over time to get the best balance of power and reliability. If they say break-in our motors in the following manner then do what they recommend.


I agree with you on this. It’s just their procedures just have to do with oil type, oil change intervals and when you can start tuning and not so much wether to be a granny, just drive normal, etc. I definitely agree with you that IAG knows what their doing and have been following what they gave me to a T but just wanted some opinions on what they don’t cover in their procedures.
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:55 PM   #18
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Some very high end sports cars actually electronically limit this so dumb, ill informed owners can't screw them up.

I believe this is why the break-ins are so long too. I think that everything is seated and ready way before the 1500 miles when IAG says you can start using normal oil and changing cycles but for warranty and making sure that when they say break-in is done, there is absolutely 0 doubt that the motor will fail because of something they did or because their procedure caused it.

I like to have no doubt too that the motor will fail so I’m fine with this lol. I just wasn’t sure on how hard or how soft I need to be on it during this time. That seems to be the toss up in the community
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Old 08-04-2020, 04:15 PM   #19
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A good question would be has anyone ever broke one in wrong and had a bad result?
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Old 08-05-2020, 03:12 AM   #20
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This is a such a stupid discussion. On sti piston moves 25 feet per second at3k does anyone really think piston rings need 500 plus miles to wear in lol?
Show me at least one builder opening up motor with poor break in related issue. The whole break in thing is just there in case issue arises hopefully its shows up before 8k prm on the dyno.
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Old 08-05-2020, 03:12 PM   #21
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https://youtu.be/5Ruk6GLJgbA

Watch
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:50 PM   #22
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https://youtu.be/5Ruk6GLJgbA

Watch
I chuckled when he echoed mostly what I said.
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:30 PM   #23
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I chuckled when he echoed mostly what I said.
What was that?

I clicked and skipped around through the first few "myths" he stated and non of them sounded like anything discussed.

Obviously no way in hell I'm watching an hour video, but you are aware that there are well produced videos proving the pentagon was hit by a cruise missile correct?
It doesn't actually mean that it is substantiating anyone's claims that a missile hit the pentagon.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:01 PM   #24
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You...don't know what HP Academy is do you?
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
What was that?

I clicked and skipped around through the first few "myths" he stated and non of them sounded like anything discussed.

Obviously no way in hell I'm watching an hour video, but you are aware that there are well produced videos proving the pentagon was hit by a cruise missile correct?
It doesn't actually mean that it is substantiating anyone's claims that a missile hit the pentagon.
It***8217;s the sound of you making a red herring logical fallacy.

He talks about extended break in, commenting that break in is usually done in the first 80-100 km. He also touches on a few bits about how most reciprocating parts inside an engine don***8217;t (or shouldn***8217;t) touch. Basically what I said that it***8217;s rings and some valve train parts.

I would suggest learning more than an hours worth (he did drone a bit) of YouTube video before you give advice on something you***8217;ve never done
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