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Discussion Starter #1
Seafoam, like most additives, makes a lot of claims. But I think the reason it's so universally loved is A) It's simply, with a few simple ingredients. And B) Most of us who have used it, have had great results. (Smoothing out a rust idle, making a carbed engine that won't start, fire right up, etc.) I used to work at a hardware store, when I was in high school. And every spring, people would bring in improperly stored lawn mowers that just wouldn't start. A capful of seafoam directly into the intake, and a good hard pull, and it fired right up. I would suggest they put a capful into their fuel tank (small push mowers) before winter storage. They usually wouldn't, and I'd see them again the next spring!

So as a fuel system cleaner I know from my own experience that it works really well. And there are lots of success stories all over the forum. It's not a 'mechanic in a can', so if your issue isn't fuel related (or major), then it won't help. But the fact is, a rough running bike from a dirty carb or fuel injector, or bad gas, can often be cleared up with that famous white can.

But there is also a claim that it cleans carbon buildup. I wasn't personally convinced of that. That's a big claim and I always figured, it's good for fuel systems, and I'm just not worried about carbon buildup. But this video shows a guy with a bore-scope actually showing how well seafoam works at breaking down carbon. He treats this lawn mower twice, with great results. Then soaks the piston heads in seafoam and ends up with a clean piston. Cool!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdT4DPFXIkM

Like he says in the video, I think that would do more harm than good (soaking the pistons) unless you had a real serious issue caused by carbon buildup (commonly, pinging and knocking even with premium fuel. TONS of carbon can raise compression and cause 'hot spots'. But that would be unusual and probably the result of an engine that was running poorly for a very long time to begin with.)

What do you all think? Personally, Carbon is just a fact of life. Plenty of other major components are far more likely to wear out long before my modern engine with modern fuels has built up enough carbon to be worried about. So I'm not losing any sleep over carbon. But it is impressive that seafoam is actually effective at removing carbon buildup. Makes one wonder if the occasional seafoam treatment (just adding it to fuel) could actually prevent carbon buildup, especially in more sensitive areas. I continue to use it as a fuel stabilizer, for which it works well.

-John
 

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Here is the other side:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh1AS8j17ZY

I used Seafoam in a motorhome power plant...it worked (Carb)
I used it in my van, no change (FI)

I would NEVER add it to my oil, according to Chevron Oronite Co. LLC
How can Seafoam tell the difference between oil build up and additives that are supposed to cling to the metal and do their job? Where does this stuff go when removed? Does it also remove gunk in the oil filter and circulate it through the engine?
Oil is a complex chemical soup and adding things into the crankcase can upset the make-up with undetermined results.

Most modern engines using modern oil are clean inside anyways, so no cleaning needed.
 

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I would NEVER add it to my oil, according to Chevron Oronite Co. LLC
How can Seafoam tell the difference between oil build up and additives that are supposed to cling to the metal and do their job? Where does this stuff go when removed? Does it also remove gunk in the oil filter and circulate it through the engine?
Oil is a complex chemical soup and adding things into the crankcase can upset the make-up with undetermined results.

Most modern engines using modern oil are clean inside anyways, so no cleaning needed.
Most of the people who put it in the oil don't leave it there for long. They tend to remove it after 100-200 miles. People I know, who use it, change the oil, run another 1-200 miles and change the oil again. The filter should still do it's job of filtering anything out, even if it's reduced in size. I wouldn't worry about it.

**Disclaimer** I have never used Seafoam, this is just second hand knowledge about practices I have seen used and first hand oil and filter knowledge from days in the auto industry. I am far removed from the auto industry these days, with the exception that I drive a car and ride the crap out of my motorcycle. Everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of whiskey.
 

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If 100 to 200 miles is enough to remove deposits, would it also be long enough to remove additives and upset chemistry?

As far as the filter goes, to me it is a concern because every filter has a minimum particle size and if that particle is reduced, then it will pass through. Is it harm full? That is one of the unknowns. If Seafoam were absolutely harmless and performed a necessary function, as a manufacturer of oil, I would add it in order to promote cleaner engines and sell more product. Wait a minute, I think that the additives are already present that do that.

Just some thoughts to roll around in the old noodle....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wouldn't/don't use it in the oil either. Not unless I had a really good reason and was really convinced I needed to. For example, a former car I owned was plagued with a tiny cam chain oiler that could become clogged. Internet wisdom suggested seafoam in the oil when the top end became noisy (indicating clog). Did it twice, worked both times, ran it in the oil for a few minutes then changed oil.

But as a general fuel stabilizer, fuel system cleaner, etc. I think it works well. But the point of posting this video was just that I was surprised that it actually worked to remove carbon.

I did the valve job on my VN900 at 30k (second time), and things were very clean then. If the oil is changed on time, things shouldn't need cleaning! (Like Sfair said).
 

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If one has nothing to lose, then it is certainly worth a try.
But as a regular maintenance item, I will pass.

What has happened is with modern engines, there is almost nothing left for the home mechanic to do, so some potion poured into the oil, or tank, can make one feel a sense of accomplishment.
Even sparkplug changes are almost out of the reach (literally) of a do-it your self in new FI engines.

Now, if someone can come up with an effective additive that will clean the carbon off of the backs of intake valves on German DFI engines, I will use that!
 

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Just as an add, many folks have posted pictures of the insides of their engines for various reasons and if you take a look, they are clean inside!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah. Modern engines are fantastically reliable with little required maintenance. That's an interesting point! The idea that maybe people like doing unnecessary (potentially harmful) maintenance might satisfy some primordial need to wrench on their machine!
 

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might satisfy some primordial need to wrench on their machine!
I think that is closer to reality than most folks would care to admit.

Many put millions of trouble free miles on their machines with never a thought, or actually adding, any aftermarket fluids to any place that will accept more than a drop.
 

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For fuel:
I think it's brilliant! I used to think fuel system cleaners were just a hoax and modern gasoline already contained enough cleaners and detergents to keep things running smoothly. I can't remember why, but I got convinced to dump a can of seafoam in my car once and I could definitely tell a difference in idle and response after just half a tank! I now run a bottle of cleaner (usually either seafoam or loaded gumout) through my car about 2-4 times a year just to keep the injectors clean and spraying nicely. I also put some in my cans for the carbed mower and bike. It seems to keep carbs from gumming up very nicely. I know it's about 90% Coleman camp fuel, but, honestly, I don't really care. It's really cheap for what it does and how well it works.

For oil:
If you change the oil regularly, I don't see any point. Modern oils perform very well and having an engine failure because of the oil itself is practically unheard of anymore. I may consider throwing some Seafoam in the oil (likely with a new batch of oil) for 100-200 miles only if I suspected some sludge buildup due to poor maintenance in hopes that it will break up the sludge. After that, I'd drain it, swap the filter and put new oil in there. Other than that, I don't see any reason to put in in the crank case.

For carbon:
Who really cares? I rebuilt an engine once and had to tear it apart after about 5000 miles because a bad torque wrench = blown head gasket. Just in that short time, the pistons got a nice glazing of carbon. It's very rare that you'll get enough carbon built up to cause pinging, but other than that, it doesn't hurt anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For fuel:
I think it's brilliant! I used to think fuel system cleaners were just a hoax and modern gasoline already contained enough cleaners and detergents to keep things running smoothly. I can't remember why, but I got convinced to dump a can of seafoam in my car once and I could definitely tell a difference in idle and response after just half a tank! I now run a bottle of cleaner (usually either seafoam or loaded gumout) through my car about 2-4 times a year just to keep the injectors clean and spraying nicely. I also put some in my cans for the carbed mower and bike. It seems to keep carbs from gumming up very nicely. I know it's about 90% Coleman camp fuel, but, honestly, I don't really care. It's really cheap for what it does and how well it works.

For oil:
If you change the oil regularly, I don't see any point. Modern oils perform very well and having an engine failure because of the oil itself is practically unheard of anymore. I may consider throwing some Seafoam in the oil (likely with a new batch of oil) for 100-200 miles only if I suspected some sludge buildup due to poor maintenance in hopes that it will break up the sludge. After that, I'd drain it, swap the filter and put new oil in there. Other than that, I don't see any reason to put in in the crank case.

For carbon:
Who really cares? I rebuilt an engine once and had to tear it apart after about 5000 miles because a bad torque wrench = blown head gasket. Just in that short time, the pistons got a nice glazing of carbon. It's very rare that you'll get enough carbon built up to cause pinging, but other than that, it doesn't hurt anything.
All three seem reasonable!

On the latter point I'm with you. Except for some carbon issues on valves on GDI engines (A fear of mine since my car is GDI), and the excruciatingly rare extreme buildup of carbon causing pinging (usually the result of some sort of serious neglect, like poor modifications to the engine and running the engine far too rich; as one example), carbon just isn't a big deal. And yet people talk so much about using this oil or that oil or this additive or that in order to prevent 'carbon buildup'. Maybe because they've heard it in marketing so long they were convinced it was a real problem. Carbon, soot, etc., it's just gonna happen. It's part of it.

But, all that aside, I was impressed that it actually WORKED. And if one encountered an engine that actually had a significant buildup of carbon, then this seems like a cheap easy solution when one has nothing to lose and everything to gain!
 

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I split my cases open on on my 1500 after 40,000 miles to fix my POG and it was very clean on the inside. So I'm another believer that regular oil changes will do all you need for keeping your engine sludge free. I have tried it in the gas on occasion for my bike and my truck and I can't say I noticed anything, but I wasn't trying to fix a problem. Just using it for the chance it is actually helping clean off some carbon. Don't know if it does or doesn't though.
 

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It works good for cleaning parts too

It is rather expensive to use as an all around parts cleaner, but I used it to de-carbon a bolt of an old Remington 870 that had not been cleaned in probably 15 years. A little elbow grease, some seafoam, and a brass brush and it was good as new.

I pour it in the tank of my 2003 1500 classic for winter storage, and once more after the first tank. I just use what is recommended (more or less), and I've never had a problem.
 
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