Seafoam?

Patsfan54

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I had the telltale sign of moisture in my truck oil a few years ago, emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap, I wiped it off and hoped for the best...but it came back, so I wiped it off again and it came back again. I wasn't a believer in seafoam before that but figured it would be worth a shot for $7-8 per can. I put whatever the recommended amount is into the crankcase and drove the truck as normal, after a day I checked the fill cap, the emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap hadn't come back. I drained the oil and it appeared normal. I don't know where the emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap went but it never came back. I put the recommended amount in on each oil change now and I add a can to my tank every once in a while. I would need to buy it by the gallon for the boat so I haven't done that yet, I stick with the Yamaha ring out.

Seafoam is cheaper than buying a couple cups of fancy coffee and it's pretty much just an octane booster. Does it help, depends upon the use and if you understand what higher octane does for an internal combustion engine. The safety data sheet lists a proprietary Hydrocarbon blend <95% and Isopropanol <25%, the exact blend being a trade secret. It's an octane booster with what amounts to rubbing alcohol. It burns hotter and gets the bad stuff out, whether the bad stuff is carbon or water or whatever.

Most, if not all oils and fuels nowadays have proprietary hydrocarbon blends with additives designed to do this or that. Most all the gas you get from any gas station or the other, especially in Alaska, was refined at the same refinery.
 

iofthetaiga

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I had the telltale sign of moisture in my truck oil a few years ago, emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap, I wiped it off and hoped for the best...but it came back, so I wiped it off again and it came back again. I wasn't a believer in seafoam before that but figured it would be worth a shot for $7-8 per can. I put whatever the recommended amount is into the crankcase and drove the truck as normal, after a day I checked the fill cap, the emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap hadn't come back. I drained the oil and it appeared normal. I don't know where the emulsified foamy sludge on the fill cap went but it never came back.
Where did the water (as evidenced by the emulsified foamy sludge) go after addition of seafoam? It didn't go anywhere: Isopropanol in the seafoam homogenized the water into the oil. The water stayed in there, reducing the effective lubricity of the oil...you just didn't see it anymore. If I was to get water in my oil I would first and foremost want to drain the contaminated oil and replace it with fresh. Thereafter, identify the source of the water and correct it.
 

SmokeRoss

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I got 2 pickups running that had sat in Western Washington for way more than a decade. Seafoam helped both of them. That old gas was NASTY. At least it was old enough to not be the stupid corn gas. Corn gas should be outlawed. It ruins engines and fuel systems. Costs more to manufacture than real gasoline and takes a higher toll on the environment to produce. But at least it sounds good to the greenies. Like magic fairy dust.
 

Daveinthebush

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Where did the water (as evidenced by the emulsified foamy sludge) go after addition of seafoam? It didn't go anywhere: Isopropanol in the seafoam homogenized the water into the oil. The water stayed in there, reducing the effective lubricity of the oil...you just didn't see it anymore. If I was to get water in my oil I would first and foremost want to drain the contaminated oil and replace it with fresh. Thereafter, identify the source of the water and correct it.
I cleaned my boats valve cover lines (EGR) that run up to the air cleaner the other day. Filthy and white in them indicating water. I hate not knowing if I have engine issues, so I researched it. Apparently, if you idle an engine (such as trolling), the gasses are cool enough so that the miniscule amount of moisture in the engine condenses in the hoses (cooler temp.) instead of being burnt in the carburetor. Normally the little moisture present is burnt off when hot enough.

Might it be that the sludge on the vent cap is a similar situation?
 

iofthetaiga

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I cleaned my boats valve cover lines (EGR) that run up to the air cleaner the other day. Filthy and white in them indicating water. I hate not knowing if I have engine issues, so I researched it. Apparently, if you idle an engine (such as trolling), the gasses are cool enough so that the miniscule amount of moisture in the engine condenses in the hoses (cooler temp.) instead of being burnt in the carburetor. Normally the little moisture present is burnt off when hot enough.

Might it be that the sludge on the vent cap is a similar situation?
Correct. If the source of crankcase moisture is from atmospheric respiration vs. a leaking head gasket for example, engine heat should ultimately drive that moisture back out. Emulsifying it with the oil and keeping it in there isn't desirable.
 

iofthetaiga

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Corn gas should be outlawed. It ruins engines and fuel systems. Costs more to manufacture than real gasoline and takes a higher toll on the environment to produce. But at least it sounds good to the greenies.
The #1 biggest proponent of corn based ethanol fuel is people who grow corn. And you're correct; corn is the most resource intensive, least efficient grain we grow. Growing innefficient resource intensive, crops is not what "the greenies" advocate...but the people who grow corn are happy to have you buy what they're selling, so to speak.
 

Patsfan54

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Where did the water (as evidenced by the emulsified foamy sludge) go after addition of seafoam? It didn't go anywhere: Isopropanol in the seafoam homogenized the water into the oil. The water stayed in there, reducing the effective lubricity of the oil...you just didn't see it anymore. If I was to get water in my oil I would first and foremost want to drain the contaminated oil and replace it with fresh. Thereafter, identify the source of the water and correct it.
That's funny, the amount of water in the crankcase was likely very little since I haven't had an issue since, chances are it was do to atmospheric conditions. One of two things happened.

1. The viscosity of the oil probably didn't suffer due to the Isopropanol and water binding together since the specific gravity of the Isopropanol and water mixture would have been greater than the oil causing the mixture to drop to the bottom of the crankcase thus removing the water from the oil and restoring the viscosity to what it was. Also, as I said I replaced the oil shortly after having used the seafoam ensuring that the captured water and whatever sludge was removed in a timely manner.

2. The Isopropanol and water bound together and due to the lower boiling point of the Isopropanol and water mixture as the oil warmed up the mixture boiled off and vented to atmosphere.
 

iofthetaiga

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That's funny, the amount of water in the crankcase was likely very little since I haven't had an issue since, chances are it was do to atmospheric conditions. One of two things happened.

1. The viscosity of the oil probably didn't suffer due to the Isopropanol and water binding together since the specific gravity of the Isopropanol and water mixture would have been greater than the oil causing the mixture to drop to the bottom of the crankcase thus removing the water from the oil and restoring the viscosity to what it was. Also, as I said I replaced the oil shortly after having used the seafoam ensuring that the captured water and whatever sludge was removed in a timely manner.

2. The Isopropanol and water bound together and due to the lower boiling point of the Isopropanol and water mixture as the oil warmed up the mixture boiled off and vented to atmosphere.
No, isopropanol is miscible in both water and oil. As such it causes the water and oil to emulsify and stay that way. Once emulsified it won't phase separate like ethanol and water can (unless you add salt to the equation; salt will cause isopropanol to precipitate out). This is the exact property that makes isopropanol handy as a gasoline additive, allowing you to run that emulsified water/gasoline through your cylinders without causing damage. (The acute lean condition caused by injecting liquid water into a cylinder is what burns holes in piston heads and thus is to be avoided). But in your crankcase, leaning your lubricating oil with emulsified water isn't doing your engine any favors.

Also, as I said I replaced the oil shortly after having used the seafoam ensuring that the captured water and whatever sludge was removed in a timely manner.
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Patsfan54

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No, isopropanol is miscible in both water and oil. As such it causes the water and oil to emulsify and stay that way. Once emulsified it won't phase separate like ethanol and water can (unless you add salt to the equation; salt will cause isopropanol to precipitate out). This is the exact property that makes isopropanol handy as a gasoline additive, allowing you to run that emulsified water/gasoline through your cylinders without causing damage. (The acute lean condition caused by injecting liquid water into a cylinder is what burns holes in piston heads and thus is to be avoided). But in your crankcase, leaning your lubricating oil with emulsified water isn't doing your engine any favors.


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Water and Isopropanol draw a closer bond than oil and Isopropanol due to their polarity, since water and Isopropanol are both polar and oil is nonpolar. In a mixture of oil, water, and Isopropanol the water and Isopropanol will bind together better than the oil and Isopropanol will, so it will not be an even mixture of oil, water, and Isopropanol bonds but predominately water and Isopropanol bonds. Isopropanol is a water scavenger in an oil system. When the water in the oil represents an extremely small percentage of the mixture and Isopropanol is introduced it will bind to the water more readily than binding to the oil. The specific gravity of the bonded water and Isopropanol being higher than the oil will separate the bound water and Isopropanol from the oil thus removing the water from the oil. Depending upon a number of factors the bonded water and Isopropanol may sit in suspension in the oil, but given an external input for example a running engine that generates a heat source that rises above the boiling point of the water and Isopropanol will then evaporate. Note that in the use of Isopropanol in a gas tank the gas is never heated above the boiling point of Isopropanol or water, the Isopropanol simply bonds with the water and is held in suspension in the gas before being injected into the combustion chamber. Or as you say "the exact property that makes isopropanol handy as a gasoline additive" did you just admit that Seafoam is a handy gasoline additive?

As a side note, water injected into the combustion process in the appropriate amounts assists combustion, generates more power, and burns cleaner than a simple fuel air mixture.
 

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