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Do fuel additives really work?

This is a discussion on Do fuel additives really work? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I have a 99 TA that I have had for 16 years, I have always used 93 premium fuel.The cars ...

  1. #1
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    Red face Do fuel additives really work?

    I have a 99 TA that I have had for 16 years, I have always used 93 premium fuel.The cars runs better than the day I bought it. The manual states to do not add anything to the fuel so I have stayed away from using any additives in the fuel, with all of the additive out there it is hard to believe any of them do what they say. My car have 45,000 miles on it and I want to do all that I can to keep it running as good as it does now, do any of the additives really clean the injectors and the valves as they claim?
    Last edited by Street Fighter; 03-24-2015 at 03:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    My first suggestion would be to stay away from the aggressive fuel additives that have very harsh cleaning packages like your sea foams and many of the self proclaimed fuel system cleaners. They are extremely hard on rubber and other soft parts and in my opinion do more harm than good.

    With that said, I have been a huge fan of a fuel additive that actually adds lubricity to the fuels, something fuel hasn't had since led was removed. For the better part of 20 years I've used Lucas fuel additive primarily for it's lubricating properties, the added benefit is that it's a very mild detergent that does have some cleaning properties as well, and isn't harsh to anything in the engine or fuel system.

    The problem with Lucas is the price tag. For an alternative, the last few years I've been using 2 cycle engine oil with TCW3. This also acts as a lubricant and very mild cleaning abilities but the price tag is much lower, and the mix ratio is also much less so it lasts longer. I use it in everything from classic cars to modern fuel injection all the way down to using it in all my lawn equipment.

    My main reason isn't for it's cleaning abilities but mainly for lubricating the upper cylinders and valve train, valve guides, seats, etc....
    I recently tore down a 454 with just over 100k miles that I used this regimen in for the last 20 or so years and was happy to say none of the guides in the cylinder heads needed replaced, the valve stems showed no substantial wear, and the guides were perfect. Heads recieved a simple valve job and were put back in service. The cylinder bores also showed no taper or excess wear, and the piston skirts were perfect with no scuffing or wear, so no overbore was needed, Just a simple torque plate hone and re-ring, back in service. This is generally unheard of on any engine with 100k miles. I've even ran this engine excessively hot a couple times towing 10,000 lbs. Some of this is testiment to good quality oil and routine maintanance, but I also believe the upper half of the engine survived due to the lubrication properties of lucas and 2 cycle. Not to mention the valves and tops of the pistons were also clean as a whistle with virtually no carbon build up to speak of.

    Ultimately it's up to you, but I don't care for the gasoline nowadays and prefer to add a substitute for the lack of led in the fuels today.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 03-24-2015 at 07:05 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    My first suggestion would be to stay away from the aggressive fuel additives that have very harsh cleaning packages like your sea foams and many of the self proclaimed fuel system cleaners. They are extremely hard on rubber and other soft parts and in my opinion do more harm than good.

    With that said, I have been a huge fan of a fuel additive that actually adds lubricity to the fuels, something fuel hasn't had since led was removed. For the better part of 20 years I've used Lucas fuel additive primarily for it's lubricating properties, the added benefit is that it's a very mild detergent that does have some cleaning properties as well, and isn't harsh to anything in the engine or fuel system.

    The problem with Lucas is the price tag. For an alternative, the last few years I've been using 2 cycle engine oil with TCW3. This also acts as a lubricant and very mild cleaning abilities but the price tag is much lower, and the mix ratio is also much less so it lasts longer. I use it in everything from classic cars to modern fuel injection all the way down to using it in all my lawn equipment.

    My main reason isn't for it's cleaning abilities but mainly for lubricating the upper cylinders and valve train, valve guides, seats, etc....
    I recently tore down a 454 with just over 100k miles that I used this regimen in for the last 20 or so years and was happy to say none of the guides in the cylinder heads needed replaced, the valve stems showed no substantial wear, and the guides were perfect. Heads recieved a simple valve job and were put back in service. The cylinder bores also showed no taper or excess wear, and the piston skirts were perfect with no scuffing or wear, so no overbore was needed, Just a simple torque plate hone and re-ring, back in service. This is generally unheard of on any engine with 100k miles. I've even ran this engine excessively hot a couple times towing 10,000 lbs. Some of this is testiment to good quality oil and routine maintanance, but I also believe the upper half of the engine survived due to the lubrication properties of lucas and 2 cycle. Not to mention the valves and tops of the pistons were also clean as a whistle with virtually no carbon build up to speak of.

    Ultimately it's up to you, but I don't care for the gasoline nowadays and prefer to add a substitute for the lack of led in the fuels today.
    So with money out of the picture, would you run Lucas fuel additives or TCW3? Just curious.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theorangeguy View Post
    So with money out of the picture, would you run Lucas fuel additives or TCW3? Just curious.
    Well, I can tell you where Lucas has an advantage with their fuel system additive. You can get pretty aggressive with how much you add, doesn't matter if some is left in the tank, so no real measurement system is needed, and the cars still run just fine. So there's that.

    If you decide to run 2 cycle TCW3 oil, you have to be very precise on your measurements (1 oz per 5 gallons of gas) because adding too much of it does hurt performance and will cause some mild smoke out the tailpipes (been there done that ) so measuring becomes a ritual at every fillup. That makes the TCW3 a bit more tedious to use, you have to be aware what you've added to the tank already, and how much fuel you just pumped in.

    Other than that, I'm happy with either product. Like I mentioned, I mainly use it for it's lubricity purposes and didn't care as much about the cleaning aspect. That's just an added benefit for me.

    Cost is pretty drastic which is why I ultimately made the change. $20 or more for Lucas and it only treats about 10 fillups ~roughly?? Where as a gallon of TCW3 is $11 and it treats 600 gallons of gas at the mix ratio I posted. I use it in 10 different cars plus the lawn equipment so the TCW3 saves me quite a bit.

  5. #5
    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Well, I can tell you where Lucas has an advantage with their fuel system additive. You can get pretty aggressive with how much you add, doesn't matter if some is left in the tank, so no real measurement system is needed, and the cars still run just fine. So there's that.

    If you decide to run 2 cycle TCW3 oil, you have to be very precise on your measurements (1 oz per 5 gallons of gas) because adding too much of it does hurt performance and will cause some mild smoke out the tailpipes (been there done that ) so measuring becomes a ritual at every fillup. That makes the TCW3 a bit more tedious to use, you have to be aware what you've added to the tank already, and how much fuel you just pumped in.

    Other than that, I'm happy with either product. Like I mentioned, I mainly use it for it's lubricity purposes and didn't care as much about the cleaning aspect. That's just an added benefit for me.

    Cost is pretty drastic which is why I ultimately made the change. $20 or more for Lucas and it only treats about 10 fillups ~roughly?? Where as a gallon of TCW3 is $11 and it treats 600 gallons of gas at the mix ratio I posted. I use it in 10 different cars plus the lawn equipment so the TCW3 saves me quite a bit.
    I currently use TCW3 but was curious to see which one you thought was better. Not having to measure the Lucas sounds nice...really nice actually lol.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    It is nice not needing to measure. That was my only complaint when switching to TCW3 but I've gotten used to it.

    As an example, I never let any of the cars get below a 1/4 tank, in most cases about 5 gallons left. I fill up and simply dumped another bottle of Lucas fuel treatment. That bottle (roughly 5 ounces) treats 20 gallons according to the label, however I had ~5 gallons left in the tank that has been treated from the previous fillup. As you can imagine after several fillups leaving some in the tank, the lucas additive progressively has a stronger mix ratio. I've never had any ill affects from this in any car over many years.

    Do this with TCW3 however and you'll quickly find that after 3-4 fillups the ratio becomes too strong and smoke results So measuring precisely is crucial.

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    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    It is nice not needing to measure. That was my only complaint when switching to TCW3 but I've gotten used to it.

    As an example, I never let any of the cars get below a 1/4 tank, in most cases about 5 gallons left. I fill up and simply dumped another bottle of Lucas fuel treatment. That bottle (roughly 5 ounces) treats 20 gallons according to the label, however I had ~5 gallons left in the tank that has been treated from the previous fillup. As you can imagine after several fillups leaving some in the tank, the lucas additive progressively has a stronger mix ratio. I've never had any ill affects from this in any car over many years.

    Do this with TCW3 however and you'll quickly find that after 3-4 fillups the ratio becomes too strong and smoke results So measuring precisely is crucial.
    I had the smoke issue myself. I never realized it until me and a buddy did some go pro video's last fall.

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    I have been using Lucas fuel treatment for years on all my cars and even my Zero Turn a my ATV. I love the stuff. The larger bottle is 10.99 at Walmart and lasts me a few months. You can buy a gallon as well but I'm not sure of the price.
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002ssslp View Post
    I have been using Lucas fuel treatment for years on all my cars and even my Zero Turn a my ATV. I love the stuff. The larger bottle is 10.99 at Walmart and lasts me a few months. You can buy a gallon as well but I'm not sure of the price.
    Lucas is good stuff, and the only fuel treatment out there I'm aware of that offers lubrication along with cleaning abilities.

    I used to buy Lucas all the time by the gallon, and it was always right around $30 then. I think it's creaped up a bit in the last few years though which is what made the TCW3 so enticing. Since the mix ratio with the Lucas was much stronger (about 5 ounces does 20 gallons), I'd go through a gallon of that pretty quick. It was good for about 25 fillups in a car with a 20 gallon tank or roughly 500 gallons.

    The TCW3 with it's 1 once per 5 gallon mix ratio I can treat 640 gallons of fuel. A gallon costs $11. So it's a pretty big difference in savings.

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    TC-W3 here. I run it in all our DD's and play cars. The only other additive I ever use is Chevron Techron Fuel System Cleaner - and this is generally done when I first acquire a car, or when I am working on someone else's car that does not run the TC-W3 regimen. Ooops, also have to run one or two bottles of dry gas each year due to our climate, but only in the DD's, with isopropyl being the preferred version.

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    I started with the TC-W3 this past fall, I don't have regular fill ups as it takes some time to get through a tank annually about 1,500-1,700 miles a season. I have been fueling it up by gallons and stoping before filled so not to over or under treat the fuel I'm adding.
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