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Problem after Seafoam use


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I had some problems with my piston rings witch where stuck and because of that my engine was using oil. It ran pretty strong and work fine besides the oil use.

I had the advice to use Seafoam, so I took out the spark plugs and put some Seafoam on the pistons. Re-installed the plugs and left it for about 45 min.

After firing up nothing really strange to here or see. But after a couple of minutes it started to explode out of the tailpipe. Found a small problem in the ignition and after that repaired it did not explode no more but still not run good.

The problem is on idle as well on higher rpm's. Can this have to do something with the Seafoam? Also added some to my engine oil and changed spark plugs but no result.

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I don't think Seafoam Motor Treatment is meant to spray or pour into the cylinders. It is to be added to the fuel and oil per instructions on the container.

When you put a liquid into the cylinder and put the spark plug back in there is a possibility of damage by what is known as hydralicing. Liquid does not compress. so, if the volume of liquid put into the cylinder exceeds the volume of the combustion chamber at top dead center of the piston travel and the valves are closed something has to give and and it won't be the liquid, probably the piston or connecting rod. Hydralicing is fairly common in top fuel drag racing where huge volumes of nitromethane are fed to the engine to produce 500 plus HP per cylinder.

If you suspect stuck rings, use Seafoam or Marvel Mystery Oil in the fuel. If you put it in the cylinders as a liuid to soak the rings, crank the the engine over without the spark plugs before attempting to start the engine to clear the excess liquid out of the cylinder. You might try drizzling a small stream of the liquid into the carb while the engine is running at a fast idle

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Americans don't always agree on "backfire" (explode, while apt, is the wrong English word)...

Backfiring out the tailpipe/exhaust (exploding out the tailpipe) is often confused with "coughing" (exploding) (backfiring) out the carb...

I've never heard of a carb being damaged/broken because of coughing/backfiring out the carb, but there's lots I've never heard of...

It's more likely you still have a fuel or ignition problem of some kind...

A better description of the engine and its problems would help...on idle does it miss, run rough, lope, try to die?? The same with the higher speed problem/s...if it runs smoothly in between you've luckily escaped Bob's hydraulicking dangers (your rings probably had enough clearance the liquid seeped down into the pan).

Any black smoke at any engine speed??--that'd be a sign the engine was flooding (too much fuel) either because of carb letting in too much fuel or poor/weak ignition/improper sparkplug not strong enough spark to fire all fuel.

Do you have any kind of repair book/manual that has a "troubleshooting" checklist (step by step instruction on how to locate fuel/spark problems?? If so, what all have you checked/tried??

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The car and engine we are talking about is a '59 Ford Fairlane 500 with a 223 L6 all stock. The engine had not run in about 30 years. I have done a complete gasket set including a head gasket and valve stem seals. All new ignition, fuel pump, filters and oil, coolant (and flush the system) and some other stuff. After all work done it was using oil. After another topic we think it the oil scraper rings are stuck and there for I am trying to free up the rings. I think all Seafoam has leaked down the rings before we started again.

I have been trying to start today, but it would not start. Only when I give it full throttle it will idle a bit. The spark plugs we put in should be specially made for Ford by Champion and our other '59 Ford with the same engine is running fine on it!

Before the Seafoam and missfires it ran really good!

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Start with the basics: run a compression test, if it's missing, you can spend a ton of time andmoney chasing a ghost of a miss when it's a cylinder with no compression. make sure you have the spark plug wires back on in the correct firing order [been there, done that !! ]

Double check that the throttle shaft and choke move freely and are not binding.. they are pretty tough, but can be damaged.

if the compression is ok, then inspect the spark plugs again: do they all look the same, any black and oily ?? any pure white ?? if it backfired through the intake and carb, it could have blown out an intake gasket, causing a very lean mixture on a few cylinders.

The fact that it will only 'idle' with full throttle says to me that you need to check the intake gaskets and the carb again.

Take some WD40 or starting ether and spray carefully around the base of the carb and around the intake to head junction, see if the engine rpm increases or smooths out.. BE CAREFUL with the flammable sprays !!!

Let us know what you find.

Greg L.

Edited by GLong (see edit history)
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Start with the basics: run a compression test, if it's missing, you can spend a ton of time andmoney chasing a ghost of a miss when it's a cylinder with no compression. make sure you have the spark plugs back on in the correct firing order [been there, done that !! ]

Double check that the throttle shaft and choke move freely and are not binding.. they are pretty tough, but can be damaged.

if the compression is ok, then inspect the spark plugs again: do they all look the same, any black and oily ?? any pure white ?? if it backfired through the intake and carb, it could have blown out an intake gasket, causing a very lean mixture on a few cylinders.

The fact that it will only 'idle' with full throttle says to me that you need to check the intake gaskets and the carb again.

Take some WD40 or starting ether and spray carefully around the base of the carb and around the intake to head junction, see if the engine rpm increases or smooths out.. BE CAREFUL with the flammable sprays !!!

Let us know what you find.

Greg L.

Agree with starting with the basics. Compression, vacume, fuel, spark. I don't trust mechanic in a can except as lubricants and penetrants. Mystery oil in the gas as top cyclinder lube is gentle enough for cleansing the combustion chamber.

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Also because of excessive oil consumption....check for carbon buildup on valves and valve ports....they may not be closing properly.....also because of the rings sticking you may want to check for broken or cracked rings...

Edited by jwd014
another thought (see edit history)
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  • 6 months later...

I know this is a old tread but wanted to explain what was the cause of the problem.

Nothing to do with fuel delivery. The problem was in the ignition as we discovered on an other tread. So for as far as we can see right now, the Seafoam does not do any damage.

Thanks to all who tried to help out!

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