These procedures are for our rebuilt engines / new heads. If you have purchased and engine from someone else or had it rebuilt by someone else, call them and find out their specific engine break-in procedure. It may differ from ours, so make sure you follow the guidelines they set up.

(i'm working on getting the pics back up on this new site. In the mean time, if you have questions, let me know)

Sooooooooo, you’ve purchased one of our engines? Good choice. You are now one of the CHOSEN FEW.

 Well, at least to us you are. :-)

We’re sure you’ve heard a million different recommendations from a million people about how to do the initial start up “break in” of an engine. Here is what we recommend for our engine...


We recommend JOE GIBBS BR-30 BREAK IN OIL for the first 400 miles. It is one of the things that will be the most beneficial for your new engine to help with proper break in. 

You are going to need between 4.5 to 5 quarts of oil. Either way, we recommend your first oil and filter change at 400 miles after the installation. 




Synthetic oil is NEVER (EVER!!) recommended for break in, and we don’t actually even recommend it after break-in. All we we build is 22R/22RE engines and we have always recommended conventional mineral oil for the life of a 22R/22RE. Just look at it this way: your last engine survived 250 to 350 thousand miles using conventional dinosaur oil (and the guy that owned it before you NEVER kept a regular schedule). Just stick with a REGULAR oil change interval that makes sense and use conventional 10w/30 oil. We’d recommend between 3,000 to 5,000 miles. The amount of time you run it, the mileage distances, how often it gets to proper operating temp when you drive it and the general tune of your engine are all factors. This is when we have to leave it up to you to take care of your engine. PLEASE give it every chance to survive. You’re a smart person, take care of your investment. 


NON-PHOSPHATE COOLANT ONLY! CHECK THE INGREDIENTS ON YOUR BOTTLE OF COOLANT! PRESTONE is recommended. Use a 50/50 mix of coolant and DISTILLED WATER. Your tap water is not good enough! Buy a gallon of distilled water for every gallon of Prestone you are going to use. Mix it to a 50/50 combination. You guys that are early 1990’s and above, Toyota recommends their “RED” coolant. if that is what came out of it, replace it with the same.

We’ve seen bad things happen when you use TAP water and coolant mix. Don’t mess around. Do it right the first time. Don’t skimp here. Distilled water is about a dollar a gallon. 

Fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mix of NON PHOSPHATE COOLANT AND DISTILLED WATER. Open the heater valve (put it to HOT on your interior heater valve). Put a cooling system pressure tester on it. Pump it up. Does it hold pressure for a few minutes? Any leaks? FIX THEM NOW!!!! Check your coolant level again.

I recommend leaving your radiator cap OFF, and leave a small amount of “headspace” in the radiator. Gently squeeze every underhood hose to help purge the air pockets from the system. 

Since the heater valve is the highest point of the cooling system, Toyota trucks can be hard to get all of the air out of the cooling system. Make sure you double, triple and recheck again that you have all of the air from the system. 



When you (or your shop) are going to fire up your engine for the first time......


Since I’m sure you (OR YOUR SHOP) have set the distributor to the general area of #1 TDC (watch the video here), it’s time to crank it over. 

TEST THE THROTTLE POSITION SENSOR!!! Your timing depends on a properly functioning / correctly set TPS!!! 

Roger over at has the most detailed and easy to follow procedure for testing and adjusting your TPS. 

Click here and follow his testing and set-up procedure. Don’t rely on the fact “it was running fine before”. A few minutes testing and adjusting it now will save you frustrating hours trying to tune / time your engine. 


DID YOU PUT OIL IN IT?  Did you pre-fill the oil filter? Cool, go onto the next step. 


Now, find the EFI fuse in the underhood fuse box. Pull it out. (some early 1985-1986 trucks have the EFI fuse in the cab fuse box, at the drivers side kick panel)


Carbureted guys, remove the fuel supply line BEFORE the fuel pump and CAP IT OFF. 


Remove the coil wire (the one from the coil to the distributor). 


Crank it over.  (WITHOUT the coil wire installed onto the distributor cap and the EFI fuse REMOVED)  It may take 10 to 30 seconds of total cranking time to get the “oil” light to go out or your gauge (if you have an SR5 truck) to register in the ‘normal’ range. 


Once the “oil” light shuts off after cranking (or if it has hit in the ‘normal’ range for you SR5 kids), put the EFI fuse back in and install that coil wire back into the distributor. 


Crank it over once again. Should start up right away (it may take a few seconds of cranking to get the proper fuel pressure). Once it fires up (and it will if you’ve followed the stuff shown above), jump out of the cab and look under the truck right away. Leaks?!!!!???? No? Good. 




Any fluid leaks? Any fuel leaks? Did you remember to hook up that fuel return line? Did you remember to tighten that coolant line at the heater core side? It should be pretty obvious if you forgot something. ANY fluid leaks under it are BAD! Shut off the truck and tighten those hoses NOW! If there is a seep, drip, leak or anything close to that, STOP NOW AND FIX IT!!!!


Once you are happy with your installation (NO LEAKS? NO OIL LEAKS? NO COOLANT LEAKS?), go to the next step.  


To properly break in your engine / camshaft, run the engine for 15 minutes at 1500 to 2000 RPM. This will properly break in your camshaft and help seat your piston rings. Keep an eye on your temp gauge, keep an eye on your oil pressure (gauge) light too.  




DO NOT SKIP THIS SECTION. Tuning is the most important part to all of this....


Setting timing on your engine properly is one of the most critical parts to make it run right and perform to its potential. This is not a 350 engine you worked on as a kid. This is not an air cooled VW bug engine that you can tune “by ear” and set the points with a matchbook cover. Not tuning your 22R/22RE properly engine can lead to very poor performance, bad gas mileage and SEVERE engine damage. Don’t mess around. 


Once It’s up to normal operating temp, you can now set the timing with a timing light. Grab a paper clip and straighten it out and then bend it to a “U” shape. Inside of the small plastic box that is next to the underhood fuse box, you’ll find a diagram (shown in the second pic below). Insert the paper clip into the terminals marked “E1” and “Te1” (as shown in the 3rd picture below). 









1985-1986 (and some 1987‘s) EFI trucks do not have this box, you’ll find the spot to jump it at the DRIVERS side fenderwell. It is the connector that has 2 wires (not 1, not 3 or 4, just 2). It looks like a wiring harness connector and should be “plugged” into a rubber grommet mounted on the inner fenderwell. It's the same connector you've used to count the codes when your "check engine" light is on. Shown below.


Fire up the engine and make sure it is at normal operating temperature, and close to normal idle speed (700 to 900 rpm). Point the timing light down to the front pulley, with the connector jumped, slowly turn the distributor until the mark on the front pulley lines up with the “5” degree mark on the oil pump pointer. You are now set to “base timing”. Now pull the jumper out of the diagnostic box, the timing should move up to the “12” degree mark. If it doesn’t move when you pull the jumper out, it’s possible you have the throttle position sensor mis-adjusted or the jumper wasn’t fully seated into the diagnostic connector. check both and then perform the above steps again. 



Your truck does not have computer controlled timing, so it’s a little different. To set the initial base timing, remove BOTH vacuum lines at the vacuum advance on your distributor and cap both lines (golf tees work perfect). With the timing light (and vacuum lines off and capped) pointed at the lower pulley, turn your distributor until the pointer is at the 0 degree mark. While it’s still running, re-connect the inner vacuum advance line, it should jump to about 5 to 7 degrees at the timing marks. Connect the second vacuum line next. There shouldn’t be any change (you shouldn’t have vacuum at that line at idle). If you don’t have any change in timing when you connect the “inner” vacuum line (and there is vacuum at the hose when running) you may have a bad vacuum advance unit. Get a hand held vacuum pump and test both diaphragms. Both should hold vacuum and not bleed down. If not, replace the vacuum advance unit and perform the steps listed above. 





Now that you have the timing set properly, coolant level checked and oil level checked, time for the road test. During the first road test, leave the stereo off and listen to the engine. Keep one on on the road and the other eye on the coolant temp gauge and oil pressure light (or gauge). Drive it as you normally do, but keep listening for anything out of the ordinary. On acceleration listen for pinging (pre-detonation), if you hear ANY at all, take it back to the shop and double check your timing. Very critical. Incorrect timing will ruin your new engine. 


Once you do your original road test, bring it back to the shop. Recheck for any coolant seeps, oil drips and fix them now. Recheck the oil level. Once it has cooled enough and there isn’t any pressure on the cooling system, check the coolant level and top off as needed. Once you are going to leave it overnight the first time, put a large chunk of cardboard under it. The next day, check for any drips on the cardboard. Then before you start it, recheck the coolant level (remember, it may take a few trips to get all of the air out of the cooling system). 



Before you start putting a pile of miles onto your rebuilt engine, we recommend taking your truck to a shop that has a emissions tester / exhaust gas analyzer to have it checked. By checking the tailpipe emissions, it may help you solve any issues before they become problems. If your engine failed due to blown head gasket, oil consumption etc...., it may have done damage to your catalytic convertor. An emissions test / exhaust gas analyzer test will tell you if your truck is running properly not running too rich or too lean. This is especially important to you carbureted folks. 

We built the best engine possible. We have to leave the break-in part and tuning up to you. Please follow our instructions, and if you have ANY questions about any part of what is described above, STOP and call us right away. Once it is in your hands, you need to make it work right.