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De-sludgeing an engine. What's the best way?

This is a discussion on De-sludgeing an engine. What's the best way? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; My son has a '93 Buick LeSabre Custom with the 3.8L V6 3800 engine. He has taken the valve covers ...

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    Member herculesrider1's Avatar
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    De-sludgeing an engine. What's the best way?

    My son has a '93 Buick LeSabre Custom with the 3.8L V6 3800 engine. He has taken the valve covers off due to a leak and in the process, has found varnish and sludge literally caked on the heads. He was told that he could change the oil, less 1/2 quart and add 1/2 quart kerosine, run for 30 minutes, drain, new oil filter, new oil and it would fix the sludge problem.

    I had a problem with that because Kerosine is a solvent, and not only would it break down the oil, but would most likely have a negative effect on his seals and gaskets.

    Is there a product on the market that would clean out the sludge, and have a beneficial effect at the same time? I have always used synthetic or back in the day, Castrol GT, or Valvoline. Here most recently I used Valvoline full synthetic....suppose to be 4X's better than Mobil1 synthetic. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I know the 3.8L V6 doesn't have anywhere near the power our LS1's have, but thought the way we take care of our babies could benefit him. Thanks in advance!

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    Speak the truth jad628's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herculesrider1 View Post
    My son has a '93 Buick LeSabre Custom with the 3.8L V6 3800 engine. He has taken the valve covers off due to a leak and in the process, has found varnish and sludge literally caked on the heads. He was told that he could change the oil, less 1/2 quart and add 1/2 quart kerosine, run for 30 minutes, drain, new oil filter, new oil and it would fix the sludge problem.

    I had a problem with that because Kerosine is a solvent, and not only would it break down the oil, but would most likely have a negative effect on his seals and gaskets.

    Is there a product on the market that would clean out the sludge, and have a beneficial effect at the same time? I have always used synthetic or back in the day, Castrol GT, or Valvoline. Here most recently I used Valvoline full synthetic....suppose to be 4X's better than Mobil1 synthetic. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I know the 3.8L V6 doesn't have anywhere near the power our LS1's have, but thought the way we take care of our babies could benefit him. Thanks in advance!
    Kerosene was the old school way. The trick was to adhere to the warning to remove it immediately and then change the oil and filter. I've seen several "sludge-remover" products at auto stores, but always figured they were probably just fancy A-1 kerosene. I don't have experience with newer cars, but I don't recall any problems with older Fords I did it with. Not sure that thirty minutes of diluted exposure is enough to really harm most sealants, but I do think the removal of sludge can sometimes cause a leak because the sealant had already failed and the sludge actually plugged the leak.

    I've used Seafoam thorugh the vacuum line and tank (with good results), but not in the oil itself. Some swear by it. Hopefully somebody with more experience will chime in.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by jad628; 11-18-2009 at 10:59 AM.

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Lots of good info here:

    I'm a Oil Junkie

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    Senior Member Z28_Driver's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with a used truck I bought. Absolutely filty on the heads and in the oil pan. Not sure what crap the guy used for oil or the change intervals. I put regular valvoline in it and cahnged it at 500 mile intervals about 6 times. After all a while of this it started leaking oil everywhere. When I did the gaskets I found everything in fair condition. The crud was not completely gone, but it looked like a well cared for used engine now. Its been about 5 years since then with no problems and 6 month change intervals.

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    You can start adding a 1/2 a quart of ATF every change

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    Sea Foam. It works great in the oil and in the gas. I've used it for sticky lifters and it worked in no time at all. You can purchase it at a lot of different places but I think Autozone carries it. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by INMY01TA View Post
    Sarge like this stuff and thats the oil MASTER!!!
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    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackSS01 View Post
    Sarge like this stuff and thats the oil MASTER!!!
    Yep. Talk alot about it on Bitog too.

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    You should probably check the intake manifold gaskets for coolant leakage into crankcase. Dex cool and oil mixed causes bad black gunk to build up in crankcase and lower intake gaskets are famous for leakage.

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    Member herculesrider1's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks for all the good information. I will have my son check these things as well. Incredible help!! thanks...

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