Engine oil flushing products.

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 11:46
ThreadID: 91019 Views:4586 Replies:4 FollowUps:14
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didn't want to hijack a previous post so this is the question. I ask of mechanics or diesel fitters that have any first hand knowledge. What do these flushes do to the bearings.

I know that diesel will do pretty well the same as these flushing products and I am asking the question about all this crud and carbon going through the bearings when
the additives are added.

Have a good one,
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Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:19

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:19
The crud and carbon should be picked up by the oil filter before it gets to the bearings.

One thing that has to be understood is that one of the vital properties that a proper diesel oil has is to suspend carbon & soot and get on with the job, another vital function of a proper diesel oil is its high detergent content to clen the motor.

Diesel oil will never stay clen very long if it is doing its job.

I have heard various reports about engine oil flushes......however there are also plenty of people who simply fail to use the correct oil in their diesel engines..AND fail to change their oil regularly enough.

Repeated use of a proper diesel spec oil and frequent oil changes pluss a few good highway runs should scour ya engine pretty clean any way.

Regardless, if you have an older engine that might have done a lot of short run work.....if you want to clean it out, replacing oil filters is an important consideration.....if you are getting lots of residue comming out of your engine, changing the filter a couple of time an oil change is not unreasonable.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:21

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:21
Crud clogging your filter and reducing your oil preasure is more of a concern than the foreign matter in your oil.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 13:33

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 13:33
the oil with the additive goes through the filter but then goes through the galleries to the bearings. It is in these galleries that matter is released. It then goes through the bearings until it drops to the sump and is then filtered.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:07

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:07
The vast majority of any crap that is in an engine will come from the bores & rings ..that drops directly into the sump or will be sludge that accumulates on the open air surfaces in the engine like in the sump, rocker cover and on the inside surfaces of the block of in the bottom of the sump.

If you have large amounts of hard filth accumulated in the high preasure oil path you have a problem regardless of the flushing treatment or not...sooner or later it will pass thru ya bearings.

A lot of both the sales hype and the concerns here expressed, in my view are over stated and realy show a general failure in understanding what is going on.

most of the accumulated filth will be soft material or very fine particles......this stuff was in your oil in the first place and was running arround long before it was deposited.

This is why we have oil filters.

secondly, regardless of the way it is removed, this stuff should not be in oil galeries in big chunks..it will mostly be a film and it will be disolved into solution or into very small fine particles.

Because the oil journals are under preasure they will be scoured by the passage of the oil.....if there is any significant build up.....ya have real problems, more than a little wear as it passes thru the bearings.

As has been said..if the engine has been running a good quality diesel spec oil, and changed regularly is should be pretty clean inside appart from the ever present fine soot in the oil.


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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:45

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:45
Castrol and Pennzoil seem to believe galleries can be coated and block up by contaminates depending on the detergent content of the oil.

I also don't have a problem with my engine.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:10

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:10
Oh I have no doubt that with poor servicing and incorrect oil, that oil galeries could be come blocked or constricted..though it would be an extreem case.

I find it very hard to believe that any of that filth would be hard particles.

Either way, the restriction in the oil galleries is a greater problem in its self than the passage of the material, that may or may not be there.

Remember this whole oil flush, engine cleaning, thing is a marketing idea bassed on FUD..Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

And FUD often dominates the thinking.

The bottom line is that no matter what, if you have an engine of an uncertain past, the best and most reliable thing you can do is run a good quality diesel spec oil, and do some rapid oil and filter changes, along with a few high speed runs over 4 hours duration.

If you suspect a heavy sludge load, lifting the rocker cover and looking at what drains out of the sump will give you a good idea of what is going on.

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Follow Up By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 12:19

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 12:19
"Remember this whole oil flush, engine cleaning, thing is a marketing idea bassed on FUD..Fear Uncertainty and Doubt"

Add an "I" (for ignorance), and complete the picture....

Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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Follow Up By: Fatso - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 13:32

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 13:32
Oil is a bit more complex than most people realise.
The oil you put in your engine is designed for your engine & performs more than just the task of making a mark on your dipstick.
When I was an apprentice we pulled down the gearbox of a large milling machine that had stripped a gear. This is a far more complex gearbox working on far finer tolerances than any automotive gearbox.
Someone started flushing it out with kero to try & remove the fine metal strewn through the box.
The old engineer we had pulled us aside & explained that we should under no circumstances use kero or any other product but the prescribed lubricant to clean the gearbox. The reason was that you can not remove all of the cleaning fluid from the machine & what ever was left would corrupt the properties of your prescribed lubricant causing further damage later on. During this very educational conversation he also explained how stupid it was to put diesel or other products through engine blocks to clean them out.
What we ended up doing, under his advice, was to wash down the gearbox from top to bottom with the prescribed lubricating oil using a air operated spray gun.
He also explained that we had to "wash down" & not "wash up".

On another experience with oils.
One of my fellow taxi operators bought an ex rental 2.2 l Camry for a taxi. It had 75,000 on the clock when he bought it. When he went to do his first oil change it was all gummed up. It did not drain well. I think they only got half the oil out on the first go. Then it took ages to pour the fresh oil in. There was even a build up under the filler cap that you could scoop out with your finger.
He just changed the oil & filter at short intervals for the first few changes.
That car then went on to do over 500,000 with no obvious ill effects from being gummed up. He never used additives. Just good quality oil.
Lifting this gunk out of the engine is one of the properties of engine oil. They actually engineer the recipe for engine oil so it will do this.
Before someone goes on a rant about this bloke not looking at this car before he bought it. The bloke was a mechanic for 30 years before becoming a taxi operator. He figured it was a bargain buy at the time even after he had factored a gearbox & motor replacement into the equation. He never had to change either.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 20:16

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 20:16
thanks for your hands on information.

Have a good one,
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 10:34

Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 10:34
I don't say that I would never use a properly formulated oil flushing product......after all they ( the good ones) will simply be very heavy dose of the same or similar things that will be in oil any way......BUT, I would have to have a very good reason to use one...not just FUD or marketing.

Certainly I would not be using a solvent or fuel as an engine flushing agent..and there are a number of reasons for that.

1. the solvent or fuel will remove any residual oil film and may in fact promote abrasion.....so in the short time the solvent is in the engine there will be NO lubrication at all, and it may take some time, many minutes for the fresh oil to displace the solvent and recoat the all surfaces....the solvent will persist in nooks and crannies, dead end channels and between & behind components for quite some time.

From the time the parts are prepared for assembly, under normal situation our engines are NEVER run without lubrication..even if it is just the residual film.

2. there are many internal parts of the engine that while designed to resist oil, may be badly affected by solvent contact, friction and corrosion resistant coatings, seals, gasgets, sealant products and plastic components

3. Of course as mentioned, dilution or contamination of the proper lubricant is a real issue......Um think how much fluid remains in the bottom of your sump and in various channels when you drain.........It can be argued that the solvent or fuel will evaporate out of the lubricant with heat......yes this may be true, but this takes some time, by then the damage is done

4. The solvent or fuel used may in fact not remove lots of the deposits people think it will, at least not in the time it is in the motor.
Anybody who has cleaned old engine parts should grasp this concept......some of this gunge you can soak all day in solvent, and it goes nowhere till you scrubb it with a brush.

Anybody with an interest or experience removing stains, marks or deposits off almost anything will understand that the best starting point is the solvent that material was originally carried in to where it has been deposited.

Most simple glues, paints, stains, and other crap fix to the surface, by the material becomming too concentrated in the solvent carrier to remain in solution and be carried away, thus they adhere to the surfaces.

All the deposits in our engines where once carried in oil.....thus oil is the best solvent to remove them.

If we keep our oil relativly clean ( the impurities in low concentration in the solvent) we have made the first step to a clean engine........a good additive package in that oil, some time and heat will do the rest.

Hope I have not raved too long.

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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:20

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 12:20
Im not a mechanic but i wouldnt be using flushing fluids. I opted for a bypass filter when my Patrol was new which does much more than any flushing fluid can do.
I use a 1 micron paper type filter which allows me to extend my spin on filters life if i wish, also extend my oil life if i wish and keeps the inside of the engine cleaner all the time instead of flushing a dirty engine periodically. It removes wear metals, carbon and water from the oil system. When the rocker cover is removed it is perfectly clean inside and the same as on top of the head, Cost of the filter housing is about $150 plus a few hoses and the filter element is around $7 each and i change it every 5000KS, It flows a constant 1 litre per minute so the oil is kept clean all the time. My Patrol has 330,000ks on it and still going strong with no oil usage. My brother has one on his petrol Hilux and has 500,000ks on the clock and minimal oil usage. Michael
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

Retired 2016 and now Out and About!

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 13:40

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 13:40
Bypass and centrifuge style oil filters are a great unit and come standard on many large engines. They certainly remove a lot of carbon that the detergents in the oil have picked up.

We had a couple of 5000hp engines that had not needed an oil change after 35000 hours. They had large centrifuges and heating elements to drive off contaminates.

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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 17:02

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 17:02
RA ! I think if anyone is thinking of keeping their vehicle for a long time, it good insurance to fit a by pass filter.. There is a small test for diesel oil, its a piece of mirror and a piece of glass, a drop of oil on the mirror and the glass on top, squeeze the two together and the black oil comes clear if you have good filtration. If you try the same thing with oil that has come from a vehicle without good filtration, when squeezed, the oil stays black. The carbon is still in the oil. So you can have perfectly clean oil and it can still be black. The test works perfectly every time. Michael
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 14:15

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 14:15

I have been servicing vehicles for 40 years & have never used any of those engine flush products. Complete waste of money if you change your oil at the recommended intervals & use good quality oil.

I have rebuilt diesel & petrol engines that I have serviced regularly & they contain very little to no sludge at all so like I said save your money & use it for a holiday instead.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:55

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 15:55
Thanks for that. You would have seen it all after 40 years.

One thing I did see was a truck engine that seized. Dipstick showed full but when the sump plug was removed no oil ran out. The sump was pulled and the oil if that is what you could call it was like black goo.

A sample was sent to the oil company involved and they came to the party and rebuilt the engine. Apparently they had a dosing problem with their additives in a batch of product and this is what caused the problem.

Have a good one,

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:38

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:38

You're right about one thing, diesel fuel does just as good a job of flushing the engine as more expensive "treatments". Having said that keep in mind what is discolouring/contaminating your oil prematurely.
Short runs or malfuncturing cooling system thermostats that do not allow the engine to reach optimum operating temperatures.
Knackered pistons, rings and cylinder bores allowing excessive blowby.
Injectors that are not up to scratch causing excessive soot formation by incomplete combustion.
And of course incorrect lube oil or just not changing at required intervals both of which are dictated by duty cycles (usage).
IMHO an engine in good condition, used as designed and given regular oil changes should not need flushing.
Indirect injection design such as older Toyota 1HZ engines always seem to produce more soot and discolour the oil a lot quicker than direct injection and the later CR design where the combustion process is better.

Pop (Recently retired diesel fitter)

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:53

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:53
thanks for your input.

May all the grease from your working years be driven from under your fingernails.

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Follow Up By: Member - Redbakk (WA) - Saturday, Jan 07, 2012 at 19:04

Saturday, Jan 07, 2012 at 19:04
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