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7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Seafoam in Oil?

For my last few oil changes, I have been putting in a pint of seafoam a few hundred miles before I changed it. This last round, I just decided to put the pint in with the new oil because the can says it's ok. I've been doing some reading online and it sounds like a lot of folks say this can cause engine damage, because the seafoam knocks gunk loose that stays in your oil until it's changed. Did I mess up? I have about 3000 miles on this oil, it's Royal Purple and I was planning to take it to 5000. Do I need to go ahead and change the oil, and leave seafoam for the fuel tank?

I found this on the seafoam website, what say you?

"The most frequently asked question about using Sea Foam® is as follows: “After using Sea Foam® in my oil, fuel, or through the vacuum line (to clean carbon from the combustion chamber) do I need to change my oil?” The short answer is: No you don’t have to change your oil after using Sea Foam® in any application.
When using Sea Foam® in your fuel or through the vacuum line for carbon cleaning your oil does not need to be changed. Using Sea Foam® in your oil, at 1 ½ ounces per quart, is a safe way to clean a crankcase, free up rings or free up sticky lifters as you drive. Sea Foam® is not a chemical engine flush and therefore, it will not damage internal engine components or plug the oil pick up screen. Sea Foam® is a pure petroleum blend with no chemical additives and is safe for long term cleaning or short term pre-service cleaning.
Sea Foam® is a blend of highly refined additive oils and is compatible with all motor oils including synthetics. It is safe for all internal engine components and will not affect any seals, gaskets or o-rings. Sea Foam® cleans oil deposits and varnish in your crankcase by safely/slowly re liquefying the old oil residue so contaminants may flow and be filtered. The longer Sea Foam® is in your oil the cleaner your crankcase will become. When adding Sea Foam® to clean oil, for long term maintenance cleaning, you must check your oil periodically for color and clarity, when your oil looks dirty change it. Because you added cleaning oil (Sea Foam®) to your oil you may have to change oil before the expected service interval.
When adding Sea Foam® to dirty oil before an oil change, for best results use 1 ½ ounces per quart of oil at least 100 miles before oil is changed. "
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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DON'T USE ADDITIVES IN YOUR ENGINE OIL!!! I don't care what any "expert" tells you or what marketing line you read, or what a "great" experience others claim to have had. If you have been using good quality oil and changing it regularly you do not have any deposits in your engine to worry about. Crankcase flushes and oil cleaning additives are nothing but marketing hype designed to sell a product. The additive package in your engine oil contains all the detergent you need. Todays oils have very complex additive packages to meet the challanges presented by todays tightly controlled engines. Don't go upsetting it with aftermarket crap.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Couldn't agree more. OP, go to this post and read what a FoMoCo rep has to say about it:Sea foam??
Quote:
free up rings or free up sticky lifters as you drive.
My Crap Detector always goes off with that one. Stuck rings are so carboned up they have to be broken off in pieces and knocked out of the ring lands with a screwdriver. And some miracle in a bottle is going free them up, I don't think so.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My personal experiences

I used SeaFoam in my FUEL filter. I bought my truck from an 80+ yr old man that just drove the truck to the coffee shop and back. 53,XXX miles on the clock. A couple of months later it had some issues with the cold advance solenoid sticking. I drained my fuel filter and filled it with SeaFoam, ran the truck for about 2 minutes and shut it off. After sitting for about an hour, I started it and took it out on the freeway and drove it like I stole it for about 15 miles..FIXED!!!

I have poured it down the throat of a gasser and watched thick black smoke come out of the exhaust. It did remove carbon from one high mileage engine and it hasen't been back to my shop for 3 years now and I know the owner and it is still running. I have also done it to another high mileage gasser and it removed so much carbon that had built up on the piston rings that it lost it's ability to hold compression and I ended up having to rebuild it. Owner knew going into it that it was a possibility so it wasn't a suprise.

Bottom line: that stuff will clean out gunk, but I have never and will never stick it in the lubrication system of any engine.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, do I need to change my oil now or is it safe to run it another 2k with the seafoam in there?
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's up to you, but I would change it to be on the safe side. Whats another $75.00 oil change vs. how much for a rebuild ?

You might be okay, but I am not gonna say run it and if it spins a rod or main bearing take the blame
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well looks like I'll be changing it then.

I know this doesn't pertain to the original question, but what do I need to do to run the old oil through the fuel tanks? Do I need to filter it or just dump it in? Is a quart per fill up per tank a good amount?
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If the oil is mostly clean, then you can (IMO) just dump it through a 1 micron filter sock and mix it in your tank 10 or 20 percent. If the oil is questionable, then you want to go through a whole filtering and dewatering process... but the goal is still 1 micron. After doing a short oil change on my lady's astro I put the oil through the sock and then in my tank and ran it, but the oil still LOOKED good. If in doubt, don't
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Your injectors are very sensitive (and expensive) little mechanical wonders. Very tight tolerances, etc. Used lube oil, even highly filtered, always contains metal wear particles. So, just how much money do you think you will save burning your used oil? If you want added lubricity there are better ways to get it. If you're just trying to save a few bucks, well, you probably won't. Years ago there were systems that some truckers used that fed engine oil directly into the fuel tanks at the rate of 1 gal per 1000 miles. The object was to avoid the need for oil changes. Most engines held about 10-12 gal so every 10-12,000 mi, the standard interval of the time, you had a complete oil change. Fuel systems were much more forgiving back then. No engine manufacturer will go along with that today. Your engine is made to burn clean fuel. I suggest you keep it that way.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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For sure. A mechanic who's worked on quite a few WVO and WMO fed 7.3/6.9 engines said he found premature injector nozzle erosion and another abnormal failure which I can't recall.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1693ta View Post
Fuel systems were much more forgiving back then. No engine manufacturer will go along with that today. Your engine is made to burn clean fuel. I suggest you keep it that way.
IDIs are known to be tolerant of other kinds of fuel, especially including heavier oils mixed in with the diesel fuel. I would be more reluctant to run it in a 'stroke since it's directly injected.

A standard diesel fuel filter is 20 microns. A 1 micron sock is going to do 5 microns or better in the real world. It will likely make the oil actually cleaner than the diesel fuel you bought at the store, which typically has significant impurities beginning at five microns.

With that said, once the sock has been damaged or even folded repeatedly you can't trust it, and it's far safer to use a real filtering system. But the simple truth is that the diesel that you get from Chevron or wherever is not actually filtered to 1 micron, or even 5 microns, and you can easily do a better job at home than the refinery bothers to do, because they don't care about your vehicle and if you can't prove their fuel damaged it they don't have to.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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No engine manufacturer will go along with that today. Your engine is made to burn clean fuel.
Speaking of mfgrs, I remember years ago a factory engine rep saying most normal engine wear comes from acids and other chemical dilution of oil which no amount of filtering is going to remove. The corrosive acids, etc, formed in old engine oil has got to do wonders for any injection system over the long haul, especially an extremely hot injector nozzle.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Good point about the acid. As far as filtration, it's correct that the fuels and oils we all buy are not as finely filtered as we would like. 10-20 microns is normal. If you want it finer then that you have to do it yourself. The difference is that many of the particles are organic, compared to the metal in used oil. And the acid. We run 1 micron filters on a number of hydraulic systems on our equipment because hydraulic contamination can be a nightmare. Want to find out how well your filters are working? Ask a test lab to do a particle count. They will give you a count at each micron level. I've sent out fresh from the drum samples for a baseline. The oil in our machines is cleaner then from the drum.
Despite the engine design it was still designed to burn clean fuel. Waste oil belongs either in a recycling center or a waste oil furnace.
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