Over time, the internals of your engine get clogged up with all kinds of nasty stuff. Inside the crankcase, where the oil lives, varnish and tar build up on the surfaces of the pistons, rings, lifters and in the oil galleys that supply the oil to all the components. This lowers the engine’s ability to cool and lubricate itself, reducing the efficiency, performance, and life of the engine.
The same build up occurs inside the fuel system as well, clogging the injectors or carburetor jets, gumming up the intake valves and on the tops of the pistons too. If the valves don’t move freely, then your engine’s breathing is greatly hampered. Carbon deposits on the pistons and valves can lead to hot spots which cause detonation, which lowers your engine’s performance. The trick is how do you clean? Virtually every engine, from 2-stroke lawnmowers to big rig diesels face the same problem.
Cleaner Is Better
Sea Foam has been around for over 70 years, and it is one of the most trusted treatments for all engines. While Sea Foam makes a range of excellent products, the main one is Sea Foam Motor Treatment. Sea Foam is specially formulated to safely and slowly re-liquify the gum, sludge, varnish and carbon deposits from the hard parts in your engine so they can be flushed out of the system.
Sea Foam helps lubricate the moving parts, particularly in the fuel system. Ethanol additives dry out the seals and leaves a varnish that makes it harder for oil to lubricate the parts. Removing this varnish brings the engine back into top working order. Inside the fuel tank, Sea Foam absorbs water, allowing it to be burned up in the combustion chamber without issue.
How To Use Sea Foam
In The Crankcase
When added to the oil, Sea Foam will clean up sludge, quiet noisy lifters, and remove oil varnish. One can treats 16 quarts of oil so you get two treatments in one can for most vehicles. The best method is to add the treatment 500-1,000 miles before the next oil change, and then add the rest after you have changed the oil. This will get the big amounts of varnish and sludge out, and the second treatment keeps things clean.
In The Fuel Tank
One can treats up to 16 gallons of fuel. This will remove deposits from the fuel pump, injectors or carb jets, control moisture, and stabilize the fuel. In diesel engines, it will de-ice and has anti-gel properties.
On The Top-End
To clean carbon deposits from air intake systems, intake valves, and combustion chambers inside the engine, including GDI engines, Sea Foam recommends using Sea Foam Spray Top Engine cleaner and lube (Part # SS-14). Sea Foam Spray is the same great Sea Foam only in aerosol spray instead of liquid form. Sea Foam Spray is used by inserting the included application hose and patented “HOOK TOOL” into the air intake just in front of the throttle plates in the throttle body. Then start engine and let it warm up to operating temperature. Increase idle speed to 2,000 RPM and spray the contents of the container into the engine. Shut the engine off and allow it to “Hot Soak” for 15 minutes. After the Hot Soak period restart the engine and road test the vehicle aggressively until the exhaust is clean (road test normally takes 5 to 10 miles of driving). Easy to follow directions are also available right on the Sea Foam Spray container.
Treatments like this may seem complicated, but with a little bit of prep work, you can do it yourself and restore your vehicle’s power and performance. If you have any concerns, stop by your local NAPA Auto Parts Store or NAPA AutoCare Center.
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A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.