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  • SeaFoam and Marvel Mystery Oil

    the post on MMO is interesting, and I've always wondered what the actual science is behind both that and SeaFoam. My favorite uncle, who was a mechanic all his life and also in WWII in Europe, had a shelf full of SeaFoam cans in his shop and swore by it. He specialized in marine (boat) engine work. One of my earliest memories of him, back in the '60s, were all those cans of SeaFoam stacked up. And I've never heard anything but good about both of these additives. But I'm always a little suspicious of anything that is "good for everything", and both of them claim to work equally well whether added to the gas tank or the oil. Since the oil and gas have completely different functions, it is curious how these additives can really help, especially when added in a few ounces per tank (or oil change). Does anyone out there understand the "mystery" behind the Mystery oil, or the Seafoam? I still use 'em, just curious :- )

  • #2
    Anytime you are interested in the composition of a product. Google the product name and add MSDS to the query. That will bring up the product composition sheet required by law.

    You may find "proprietary composition" listed but a careful internet search will usually narrow that down. For the chemical compounds you find, just google them for definition and you'll have a handle on the product and how it works.

    MSDS sheets made a Chemist's job easier to determine what was happening in the industry.

    Bob

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    • #3
      The SeaFoam hasn't been on the West Coast for very long, at least not in the So. Cal. area stores I frequent.
      This may end up a little bit of a thread hyjacking..

      While not advertized for oil, I've used the Lucas fuel additive (and for the last few years their oil additive) for about 20+ years.

      The fuel additive goes in after every oil change. I have an 03, Yamaha R1, sport bike that's never been apart but looking down the throttle bodies, you can see clean valves and bright aluminum intake ports. Very little residue of any kind.
      Oh, yea, the bike has just over 99,000 miles on it.

      As for the oil additive, No details here, but I'd bet my 59 Lark 2dr. wagon, daily driver most likely wouldn't be running very well...if at all, without the oil additive in it that I did a coupla years ago, somewhat dumb move on my part, but the oil and the Lucas additive came thru for me, and the 259 is still running. No clue has to the miles on the Larks engine, but I've owned it for about 8+ years and only the rocker covers, distributor and intake manifold have been off of it.

      Mike
      Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 10-17-2010, 08:55 AM.

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      • #4
        I have used Sea Foam a numbe of years when referbishing automatic trannys. Put in the tranny , run in all the gears for about ten minutes, drain, replace filter and fill with new fluid and always had great results. We have used a lot of Marvel Mystery oil when trying to to unstick siezed engines.

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        • #5
          I have great respect for Mike's experience and he and I agree on nearly everything, but we'll have to agree to disagree on additives. Until someone here identifies himself as a credentialed and degreed petroleum chemist with experience in testing on automotive engines, all opinions, including mine are just that.

          As far as I'm personally concerned, the only "Mystery" to these additives is why millions of consumers pay several bucks for cans of snake oil. Over the years, I've talked with several petroleum chemists and lubrication engineers. When asked about additives, they all say in so many words," We're a multi-billion dollar corporation with the finest research and testing facilities in the world. If that snake oil actually worked, it would have been in our products years ago. Often, it already is. Some of those snake oil companies buy bulk distillates from us for $2 a gallon, package it up and sell it for $7 a quart with no changes or additives."

          Your results and opinions may vary.

          jack vines
          PackardV8

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          • #6
            I had heard Marvel Mystery oil is just atf..Anyone else heard that?

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            • #7
              A little knowledge is indeed dangerous.
              Originally posted by prager View Post
              I had heard Marvel Mystery oil is just atf..Anyone else heard that?

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              • #8
                This reminds me of the statement that those who take vitamins are pissing their money down the drain. Well I am a 50 yr proponent of food supplements and as far as MMO being 'snake oil' well bring on the snakes. They have been doing yeoman service in my family for over 80 years.
                Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                I have great respect for Mike's experience and he and I agree on nearly everything, but we'll have to agree to disagree on additives. Until someone here identifies himself as a credentialed and degreed petroleum chemist with experience in testing on automotive engines, all opinions, including mine are just that.

                As far as I'm personally concerned, the only "Mystery" to these additives is why millions of consumers pay several bucks for cans of snake oil. Over the years, I've talked with several petroleum chemists and lubrication engineers. When asked about additives, they all say in so many words," We're a multi-billion dollar corporation with the finest research and testing facilities in the world. If that snake oil actually worked, it would have been in our products years ago. Often, it already is. Some of those snake oil companies buy bulk distillates from us for $2 a gallon, package it up and sell it for $7 a quart with no changes or additives."

                Your results and opinions may vary.

                jack vines

                Comment


                • #9
                  Marvel Mystery Oil, Sea Foam, Vitamins and other expressions of opinion

                  This reminds me of the statement that those who take vitamins are pissing their money down the drain. Well I am a 50 yr proponent of food supplements and as far as MMO being 'snake oil' well bring on the snakes. They have been doing yeoman service in my family for over 80 years.
                  Each day prayers are spoken to gods no man has ever seen. Faith is the confident expectation of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Your cars, your money, your decision. May the peace be with you.

                  jack vines
                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bsrosell View Post
                    the post on MMO is interesting, and I've always wondered what the actual science is behind both that and SeaFoam. My favorite uncle, who was a mechanic all his life and also in WWII in Europe, had a shelf full of SeaFoam cans in his shop and swore by it. He specialized in marine (boat) engine work. One of my earliest memories of him, back in the '60s, were all those cans of SeaFoam stacked up. And I've never heard anything but good about both of these additives. But I'm always a little suspicious of anything that is "good for everything", and both of them claim to work equally well whether added to the gas tank or the oil. Since the oil and gas have completely different functions, it is curious how these additives can really help, especially when added in a few ounces per tank (or oil change). Does anyone out there understand the "mystery" behind the Mystery oil, or the Seafoam? I still use 'em, just curious :- )
                    I don't have any scientific evidence, but I personally like Seafoam as a gasoline stabilizer. Several small engine mechanics have told me that it keeps gasoline fresh at lease twice as long as Stabil. My mechanic son says Seafoam works in ethanol gasolines much better than Stabil. I have also used the aerosol version of Seafoam (called Deep Creep) as a spray lubricant and an engine fogger. I first bought it at a farm store where I was told all the old farmers depend on it for many chores around farm equipment.
                    Marvel Mystery Oil? I use it to squirt in the spark plug holes of stuck engines or engines that haven't been run for a long time. Maybe there are other things that would work as well or better, but I'm satisfied.
                    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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                    • #11
                      First off, let me say that I agree completely with Jack Vines (PackardV8) comments on belief versus technology.

                      Secondly, I did not stay a a Holiday Inn Express last night but spent a lot of years in college to become a chemist. My problem with Seafoam as a gasoline (with or without alcohol) stabilizer is to describe how it could work.

                      Gasoline stability is affected largely by two mechanisms, Evaporation of the light components leaving a more difficult to ignite mixture and oxidation of the molecular chains resulting in the formation of sludge, varnish and high molecular weight components.

                      Seafoam by the MSDS is a mixture of pale oil (basically machine oil), Naptha (Hydrocarbon mixture) and Isopropryl alcohol. There is nothing in that mixture that is not present in a similiar form in Alcohol containing gasoline and at higher levels. In fact, compounds like Stabil contain chemicals like MEHQ that actually reduce oxidation so if Seafoam works better, all I can say is "It's a Miracle".

                      I can see from the composition why Seafoam and MMO can be effective as a lubricant to free up a mildly stuck engine or a carbon solvent but it's difficult for me to describe how it could do much else. Oh yes, I'll bet they are also pretty good as a fogging oil.

                      JMHO

                      Bob
                      Last edited by sweetolbob; 10-25-2010, 06:58 PM.

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                      • #12
                        that is the type of information I was looking for; thanks!!!

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