Oil to free sticky rings, clean varnish?

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Jun 17, 2002
Champaign, IL
My wife's Saturn SL2 needs some help desperately. Its using about a quart every 2000 miles, no external leaks. It's already had a failure of the timing chain tensioner which was caused by poor oiling according to the dealer. My wife says she neglected the oil badly a few times early on. Now the car has 44,000 miles on it, the dealer says it needs a rebuild to fix the rings. I'm leaning towards trying some sort of aggressive cleaning oil in the hope that some rings are sticky and can be freed. By the way the valve cover/valvetrain are varnished deep brown indicating some harsh conditions. In the past I have used something called an engine flush before an oil change, that is an option too. Obviously if there is mechanical failure of the rings nothing is going to help but I think it is a bit extreme to drop thousands of bucks into engine work without trying some chemical cleaning first. Even if that does nothing, unless the oil consumption gets worse, it might be best to just monitor the oil and keep it full of something inexpensive, and forget about trying to stop the loss. So does anyone have a recommendation about what oil might do the job? Mobil Drive Clean? Delvac 1300?
If the rings are still in good enough shape to be cleaned try reading the Auto-RX thread on this site. Or go to Auto-RX .com and check that out. A motor oil won't clean the way you indicate you want.
Another proven product, tho a bit difficult to find, is Lubriplate CFL fluid. Excellent, high quality product that I have used in a wide variety of applications. It does a wonderful job of cleaning however is also loaded with EP additization so that the components are well protected during the 'cleaning'..
George, kinda sounds like kick'n the horse and pulling the reins at the same time [stretch] How can you clean a surface that is also being coated with an ep type of additive? That's what the oils' job is suppose to do. Of course what do I know? [Duh!] Anyway, I find it interesting. Schaeffers 131/ 292 purge product has proven out quite well in those areas as it is a highly concentrated ashless fluid that is specially formulated to gently clean and purge equipment of varnish and carbon deposits which can be dispersed while the equipment continues to operate. Neutra Purging Fluid dissolves and suspends these deposits until they are removed with the next oil change, Anyway, There seems to be a couple of good ones out there from what i see. Hadn't heard of the one you're talking about though. Alot of good things about the auto rx also.
I did a lot of research on the Saturn board and it seems that the culprit is probably their design of the oil control rings/drainback holes in the pistons. The oil doesn't drain back very well and instead it cokes, eventually locking the oil control rings to the pistons with carbon. After that, oil just burns, as it isn't being swept below the compression rings anymore. So the most successful treatments seem to be adding Chemtool BG12 or ATF to the cylinders via the spark plug holes and letting that dissolve the carbon. Nobody has recommended any particular oil that could clean up the carbon from the bottom of the engine. I should probably find an oil that resists coking, but to break up the carbon that's already there I think it'll be faster to attack it from the top side. It would be easier to add something to the oil to do the same thing on a continuous basis, but the common thing that the Saturn guys are trying is Marvel Mystery Oil, which seems to have a much less than 50% success rate - and of those, only a handful actually stopped the oil loss that way. Question about the Shaeffer's product, where can I get it? I've looked at the AutoRx and it is pricey. Sometimes it pays to try the cheap route first, especially when you don't know for sure that anything you try will actually do the trick. I'd be willing to try an oil additive in the long term as a preventative, but I am not sure how well it can break up the existing carbon since the root cause of the problem is lack of flow back into the crankcase. So I think the best plan is a combination of topside cleaning, a decarboning oil additive, plus a coke-resistant oil. I guess I can afford to try a few different things for the price of a rebuild. [Big Grin] Which oil would be a good candidate? M1?
The best thing for carbon is a chisel and a hammer. Seriously. Really cleaning up carbonized solids of this order is something I have never seen accomplished. As for the Lubriplate CFL. Believe me, I well understand the paradox of what I wrote but I could share 20 years of stories but this is completely contrary to what I do each and every day. Nothing, from my experience, will raise the dead. Maybe improve a bit, prolong a while, but...
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