Dynamometer Break-In: Worth It


Running a new engine on a test stand or, especially, a dyno, makes so much sense we don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it. OK, it costs $1,000 or more for a 3-hour break-in, but you end up with a proven, leak-free engine when it comes time for the first flight in your new airplane. Sign us up.

Many shops have a simple test stand where they can run the engine, but the ideal is a dyno where the engine is run under load (as if on the airplane) and engine power recorded.

Breaking in a new engine is best done on a dyno where it can be run hard and long and closely monitored. It’s safer and results in a better performing engine that burns less oil.

Besides validating the new engine is ready for flight—before your rump is in the seat—a dyno break-in gets around the problem of what’s good for a new engine and what’s good for the new airframe being at cross purposes. The engine absolutely needs to run hard against a load for an extended time to break in the rings while the airframe should be taken in the air in short, low-power flights. So break in the engine in safe, controlled conditions on a dyno and enjoy that short first flight that much more.

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Tom Wilson
Pumping avgas and waxing flight school airplanes got Tom into general aviation in 1973, but the lure of racing cars and motorcycles sent him down a motor journalism career heavy on engines and racing. Today he still writes for peanuts and flies for fun.



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