Originally Posted by bmwrench
If you have to replace a lifter, soak it overnight (at least) in motor oil. They are cast iron and absorb oil, just as an iron frying pan does. Whether you are replacing them or not, smear the faces with cam assembly lube, or if you don't have this ass'y lube, get some CV Joint grease from the local auto parts store. The first minutes of use for lifers and cam are the most critical in their lives.
In a former life when starting an engine with a new cam and/or lifters it was highly recommended to raise the RPM well above idle ASAP as it supposedly would decrease the load on the lifter face and get it spinning to avoid the initial "first minutes" wear for both the lifter and cam lobe.
Preset everything, valve adjustments, ignition timing, fluids etc etc and double check everything. Engine starts and runs, gets oil pressure, no fluids spraying out or other immediate problems then rev it up a bit and hold it. I think we used to try for 2000 rpm for 20 minutes. However a running airhead will not stay cool so a few minutes may have to be good enough.