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Sludge problem

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jimbo17, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,718


    I have seen these problems for years now and I have always used one of the following products.

    Marvel Mystery Oil, Rislone engine treatment, mineral spirits, AFT, Sea Foam and a few other things over the years to try and clean it out of an engine without taking the engine apart.

    This time it's an engine that had the oil changed every 3.000 miles like clock work and yet the problem is there.

    Engine has 120,000 miles on it.

    If you have used something that works to clean the sludge out of an engine please let me know.

    Thanks Jimbo
  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,254

    Rusty O'Toole

    I wouldn't bother. Disturbing the sludge is asking for trouble. Change the oil and filter more frequently. This will remove the loose sludge. The stuff that is caked to the inside of the engine can stay there and do no harm.

    I don't like the idea of all that sludge loosened up and running through my oil pump, bearings, lifters etc. Better leave it where it is.

    If it only has 120,000 miles and has had the oil changed every 3000 this suggests 2 things: someone was using cheap oil, or the vehicle was used for very short trip, stop and go driving.
  3. Super Streak
    Joined: Nov 22, 2011
    Posts: 257

    Super Streak
    from Florida

    I always heard sludge is usually the result of an engine not getting up to operating temperature. I've had engines apart with more mileage than that with no sludge.
    You've got to be careful using that the stuff doesn't clog your oil pump screen or a small chunk doesn't jam the oil pump it's self.
  4. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,795


    What oil are you using? What does the sludge look like?
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  5. What kind of oil are you using? HRP
  6. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,198

    from Missouri

    BG makes a good engine flush.
  7. jack_pine
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 348

    from Motor City

    I gotta +1 what Rusty O'toole said. The solvent or kerosene- type products DO, IN FACT loosen up sludge but, where's it gonna go? Right to the pickup screen on your oil pump. No more oil pressure.

    See how bad it actually is 1st hand: Clean out the stuff you can in the valley, under the valve covers and for God's sake - remove the pan and get it out of there.

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  8. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    from Pelham,Tn.

    I agree with Rusty O'Tool. I would also quit useing Pa. oil, like quakerstate and Penzoyal.
  9. Make sure the coolant temp comes up to where it belongs. And make sure the crankcase venting (PCV) is working properly.
  10. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,088

    Jalopy Joker

    no easy solutions - loosen sludge from one part to the next.
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,208


    I'd a have to agree with the engine never getting warmed up thing being the prime cause of sludge. That can be due to the car never being driven far enough to warm the engine up fully as the owner lives/lived too close to work and the places the car got driven or it might be due to the car not having a proper thermostat in it for one reason or another. Some of us cause our own problems in that department as we all too often start the rod up and back it out of the garage to have more work room on the new project with it running a total of two minutes and then fire it up and drive it back in while it runs a total of one minute and do it several times a week t while never driving it anywhere to get the engine up to full operating temperature.

    One other problem is crankcase ventilation and if it still has the road draft tube those are called road draft tubes because they only work at road speeds where the air going past the end of the tube causes a venturi effect drawing the fumes out of the crankcase into the airstream They don't do much of anything at low speeds except let blowby cloud up around the car if you have bad blowby. The mosture and fumes trapped in the crankcase are a prime cause of sludge along with with the cold engine.

    Oil choice, that has been bandied around since as long as I can remember and some seem to be more prone to sludge than others.
  12. This ^^^
    I had one sooo caked up it really should have been taken apart.
    So what did i have to loose ?
    Ran the sea foam treatment and within 3 miles the rest of the oil pressure went away.
    It took a lot of screwing around to get the junk out. The oil was dumped strained and ran again each time with a new filter every hour 6 times a day for a week. 3 cases of cheap jobber filters. 1 hour run time clogged the filters at first, and every one was cut open to see how much shit was getting caught.

    At night the crankcase was filled with 5 gallons of diesel fuel and an air bubbler agitated it over night. In the morning drain and strain diesel fuel, remove spark plugs crank over and replace plugs add oil and do something else for an hour till the next oil change.

    The pick up screen was visible thru the drain hole so a custom blow gun was fashioned to blow the crap off and then 2 gallons diesel fuel rinsed it out of the pan every hour or so.
  13. Wedgehead426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2013
    Posts: 114


    Also, if you are pulling the pan, to clean it, change the pick-up. Screw trying to clean it.
  14. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    It's difficult to believe that oil could sludge up in 3,000 miles unless it took several years to put 3,000 miles on it or it was some very bad oil. Just the detergent in the oils should keep it clean unless the motor has a tremendous amount of blowby and no oil filter. Even engines that are dirty when purchased usually clean up somewhat by changing oil every 3,000 miles.
  15. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,293


    That's a tough one. On one hand you just want to run it but you know you should do something about all the sludge. I sure wouldn't do anything to loosen it and chance compromising the oiling system. Best to do like others have said and pull the valve covers , intake/valley cover and oil pan and do a good manual scrape job. Change the oil and filter often. That's what I've done in the past quite successfully.
    Is there really some truth to the Pennsylvania crude makes more sludge story?
  16. navyboy
    Joined: Mar 11, 2013
    Posts: 278


    Pull the pan and clean it, more often oil changes.
  17. jmpowie
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 202


    If you want to clean out the sludge pour in some Seafoam in your oil. Run the car for 30 min and drain the oil. It is crazy how good the stuff works.
  18. Hemiman 426
    Joined: Apr 7, 2011
    Posts: 587

    Hemiman 426
    from Tulsa, Ok.

    The "old" saying was that Pennsylvania crude was more of a "paraffin" base, where the west coast crude was an "ash" base.. Main problem is not with the "base", but the frequence of oil changes and engine operating temps...
  19. Read above .

    Its good to do if you do it semi regular on a clean engine to keep it sludge free.
    If you do it on one that's all crud fucked on the inside already you'll have trouble. Yeah it works well, breaks all the shit loose and clogs the oil pump pick up. Don't do it on a sludgy engine unless you already planed a tear down. Been warned.
  20. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,084


    Quite a process. In hindsight, would it have been easier (and faster) to pull the engine apart and clean it in a hot tank?
  21. With hind sight, i don't think it could have been any cheaper but actually much more costly to tear it down. it was 36 filters at 2.99 each, 5 gallons of diesel fuel, 2 gallons of oil, a stack of paint strainers and about 15 hours. It was an experiment and gamble that paid off. I wasn't gambling I just had to think and do nascar pit stop oil changes. Lol
  22. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    When I was younger I wiped out a great 389 Pontiac engine because as I was putting tripower on it I decided to scrape the sludge from the lifter area. It went into the pan and plugged up the oil pump screen and suddenly I had 3 psi oil pressure and a funny knock coming from the crank. :(

    Best sometimes to leave sleeping dogs lie, especially when you are dumb and young like I was.


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