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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/17/19 8:58 a.m.

The topic of fuel additives recently came up--like, what exactly's in them? So I've been doing my research and talking to our fuel engineer friend at Sunoco. This is for the next issue of GRM. 

So, questions for the group. Do you use one? If so, which one? And why? And does it help? 

Interesting topic, and I've been learning quite a bit. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
7/17/19 10:12 a.m.

I would use Techron if it was less expensive.  Instead, I use Lucas because it's sold by the gallon and priced accordingly.

Both of my cars have direct injection so i feel that additives are pretty important to use--but I don't have any objective way to know whether these additives area really needed, or if they're even making any improvement to the health or performance my engines.

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
7/17/19 10:14 a.m.

I use Lucas every oil change. Just a habit I got into when I started driving, Lucas in the motor, Lucas in the fuel. Honestly couldn't tell you if the fuel additive makes a difference or not, but especially now with my vehicle sitting a lot, I figure it can't hurt.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/17/19 10:15 a.m.

I buy Tier 1 fuels, no additives.

 

People are shocked at the lack of carbon in my engines when I take them apart.  The intake ports in my S40 looked like they'd just been through a sonic cleaning tank.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
7/17/19 10:15 a.m.

If fuel didn’t have a very tightly controlled detergent package in it, I would be using Techron. 

But since fuel tends to be very good, I don’t use anything. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
7/17/19 10:17 a.m.
RevRico said:

I use Lucas every oil change. Just a habit I got into when I started driving, Lucas in the motor, Lucas in the fuel. Honestly couldn't tell you if the fuel additive makes a difference or not, but especially now with my vehicle sitting a lot, I figure it can't hurt.

If you do, add it prior to the change. Many of the additives are not great for oil when they get past the rings. It’s ok if you drain the oil, though. 

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
7/17/19 10:30 a.m.

For the most part I use nothing, with the following exceptions:

- If I get a car with unknown history, I do a routine learned back when I had my E28: 1/4 of fuel (or less), two 20oz bottles of Techron, and flog, then change the oil. This seems to help with idle quality and general smoothness; I wouldn't claim any real power gains.

- If I feel things can still be improved I'll do a water or Seafoam treatment direct through the intake. That's a bit beyond what we're focusing on here, but it does work wonders on intake and piston deposits.

- Any older (70s or earlier) gets some Marvel Mystery Oil in the fuel every now and again. I have no idea how or why I got into this practice, but it makes me feel better.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
7/17/19 10:32 a.m.

I use Lucas fuel treatment, mainly in my motorcycles and lawn equipment.  Has made an noticeable improvement in the bikes.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
7/17/19 10:34 a.m.

I used some Lucas "injector cleaner"(?) that was in my garage when I bought my house in my $700 Accord. It actually did run noticeably better after, but the gasoline in the tank was probably at least 2 years old. And I'm not sure that it wasn't just an Italian tune up that made it run better. 

 

But in general, no, and I wouldn't. The single exception to that is if I had an RX-8, I'd use some 2-stroke oil in the tank with every fill up. Does that count as an additive?

triumphcorvair
triumphcorvair Reader
7/17/19 10:39 a.m.

I've always used Seafoam but will look into Techron based upon comments.

In my 84 GMC 3/4 ton I've added a qt of ATF to smooth things out. Never had any issues with it. 

With my 65 140HP Vair, I would warm the engine for about 10minutes and then trickle water into each carb while keeping the revs up.  Then I would pour in Marvel Mystery Oil and let it set overnight. The next day I would start and everything would be good. Just make sure you do it outside as it smokes like a mosquito fogger for about 10 minutes. 

NoBrakesRacing
NoBrakesRacing Reader
7/17/19 10:43 a.m.

Had to look up top tiers, I see quite a few are considered. 

AAA top tier study

 

Top Tier Retailers

76, Aloha Petroleum, Amoco, ARCO, Beacon, BP, Breakaway, Break Time, Cenex, Chevron, CITGO, Conoco, Costco, CountryMark, Diamond Shamrock, Entec, Esso, Express Mart, Exxon, Fast Fuel, HFN, Hele, Holiday, Kwik Star, Irving, Kirkland Signature, Kwik Star, Kwik Trip, Marathon, Metro Petro, MFA, Mobil, Ohana Fuels, Phillips 66, PUMA, QT, Quik Trip, Road Ranger, Shamrock, Shell, Sinclair, Sunoco, SuperAmerica, SuperFuels, Texaco, Valero, Value America, Wow, and Win Win.

 

But not my usual Walmart/ Sam s gas.

Quick trip is similarly priced and close by.

I don't normally use  a gas additive, other than Marvel Mystery oil very ocassionally.

NoBrakesRacing
NoBrakesRacing Reader
7/17/19 10:48 a.m.

When my father bought their Kia Soul, Techron was specified as part of routine maintenance. I think every 30k or so. 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 HalfDork
7/17/19 10:52 a.m.

I am shocked to not see Gulf on the top tier list. Typo?

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
7/17/19 11:10 a.m.

CRC intake valve cleaner really works I am surprised the EPA has not pulled it from the shelves!

DI motors don't get fuel sprayed at the intake valves and the PCV gack builds up on the back of the valves.

CRC works! It is like the old combustion chamber cleaner sold by Ford in the 80's.

I soaked pistons from a motor with a carbon knock with 4 different products and CRC won hands down the pistons look like new.

 

Techron is good stuff works really well, but if you buy Shell Chevron or Costco fuel it already has it in it.

Buy good gas it will have less water and likely give better mileage and fewer deposits.

 

everything else I classify as snake oil

I have tested and compared multiple products for their effectiveness

Seafoam is mostly alcohol does not cut carbon well I expect Lucas is the same

 

Octane boosters are a joke

You can't add 8oz of something to 10 gallons of bad gas and make anything but 10gal 8oz of bad gas and an empty wallet.

If you have bad gas drain it and fill with premium.

 

2 cycle oil is a great top end oil or diesel lubricity treatment. Probably great for a rotary as well.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
7/17/19 11:16 a.m.

I'm good.   Sunoco exclusively.   No additives.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
7/17/19 11:37 a.m.

I've used Sta-Bil on the lawnmower before it gets put away for winter. Trying to avoid another carburetor replacement on that one.

Then there was the time we took a Miata from DIYAutoTune to PRI, back when it was in Florida, and we were using it for the demo car on the Dynapak dyno, which was outside that year and we got to do live dyno pulls. The car had been tuned for 93 octane, and we could only find 91 octane. To boost the octane, we went to a Sherwin-Williams, bought a couple gallon cans of toluene, and dumped it in the tank.

lrrs
lrrs HalfDork
7/17/19 12:22 p.m.

Berryman b12. Used  after something sits for to long, like my bike after breaking my first collarbone.  I also use it  for cleaning  the carbs when they need to be torn down. 

My rv usually gets a dose in the spring after the 6 month winter sleep. It does get stabil in the fall also.  

 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
7/17/19 12:27 p.m.

Rx-8 gets 2 stroke oil added for track days. 

The 6.5 diesel always gets some of the Power Service Diesel Kleen stuff..  Primarily as an anti-gel, but I put some of the summer mix in too, I've heard it was good for the injection pump from a diesel shop?  I only fill up 4-ish times a year, so it's worth the gamble that it does nothing :)

I've used seafoam with good results in some lawn equipment, and I use stabil on my fill cans...

 

So yes.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
7/17/19 12:50 p.m.

I use synthetic 2-stroke oil in my diesel Golf (305,000 miles and still rattling right along) and ethanol free gas in anything with a carburetor (mowers, chain saw, motorcycles).

All my other vehicles just get straight pump gas

jharry3
jharry3 HalfDork
7/17/19 12:50 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

I've used Sta-Bil on the lawnmower before it gets put away for winter. Trying to avoid another carburetor replacement on that one.

Then there was the time we took a Miata from DIYAutoTune to PRI, back when it was in Florida, and we were using it for the demo car on the Dynapak dyno, which was outside that year and we got to do live dyno pulls. The car had been tuned for 93 octane, and we could only find 91 octane. To boost the octane, we went to a Sherwin-Williams, bought a couple gallon cans of toluene, and dumped it in the tank.

Does toluene really work for an octane booster?  Or as a BTU booster?   I find mixed information for that on the internet.      Then there are pages explaining the virtues of acetone.  These are the types of subjects I would love to see GM do an objective test upon.

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
7/17/19 12:56 p.m.

I tend to run a bottle of techron when one of my cars has sat for over a month.  Don't know if it actually improves anything but I do know the first tank after sitting tends to smell a little funny and runs a little rough.  I do know that when my sending unit arms get gacked up sitting it tends to free them up when I run the techron through.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
7/17/19 12:58 p.m.

Techron sporadically in the old cars that fuel... charismatically... and thus tend to be gunkier. I feel like it helps sometimes, but I've done no science.

The new vehicle gets plain (top tier) fuel, maintenance by the book at the dealer, and any hiccups it has are Someone Else's Problem.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
7/17/19 1:00 p.m.

In reply to jharry3 :

Toluene is used as an octane booster- but it's expensive.  It does have higher octane than pump ratings, but it also has slightly less (5%) energy than nominal pump gas.  But if you add enough to increase octane just a little, you'd never really notice the difference.  It's a hexagonal HC, which makes is very stable, and explains why the octane rating is so high.  It's also very small (C7H8), lighter than the average fuel molecule, so it's unlikely to leave a deposit.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
7/17/19 1:01 p.m.

Oh, I forgot about Sta-Bil. I do use that. But I haven't used it in anything other than a boat in the past few years. I may have put it in the Miata, I'm not sure. 

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
7/17/19 1:02 p.m.

Maybe this is the place to ask this question.

Why did my GM products HATE Sunoco fuel, yet VW and Mazda seem to prefer it? My Ford's never seemed to care what kind of gas they got.

I could understand getting a bad tank every now and then, it happens, especially before a lot of stations were rebuilt, but none of my GM products ever liked what came out of any Sunoco pump. Running rough, poor idles, terrible mileage. Yet a fill up at Sheetz would fix it. (Those were the only local options for a while when I started driving unless I went way out of the way to find a Texaco or Amoco)

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