The Shop Truck #8 — Seafoam!

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Every gearhead seems to love this. Maybe it’s just the smoke, but something about Seafoaming an engine hearkens us back to the very roots of our car-loving, car fixing, car breaking beginnings.

Seafoam is a petroleum-based product that cleans all types of gas and diesel engines from the inside-out by removing stuck carbon build-up, varnish, and other gummed up material. It claims to take moisture out of gas tanks and crankcases. It’s safe for carburetors and oxygen sensors. Oh, and it makes a holy hell cloud of smoke when you use it, as you’ll see below.

Here’s the thing — we know that this truck sat around for a long time. It’s first owner was an old man who rarely drove it. It’s second owner tried to fix it up, but rarely drove it. It’s 26 years old and only has 75,000 miles. This truck sat. Sitting is not good, especially for carburetors. Gas turns to powder and gunks everything up. Moisture creates rust. Oil gets stale. Believe it or not, driving an old car regularly is better for it than leaving it sitting around, less you know what you’re doing and properly treat your engine.

Seafoam is one of an arsenal of tools we’ve deployed to wake up our modest 319 Chrysler Small Block LA V8.

We know there’s a lot more to do, but we want to clean out our workspace as much as possible, to make it easier to do engine work when the time comes. We also want to make the truck derivable in the mean time. (Shock absorbers coming soon, we hope!)


There are a lot of ways to do Seafoam. Some people say to use two bottles, and use a whole bottle in the gas tank. If you want to do that, go ahead. We bought one bottle. Our directions apply to carburetors only, not fuel-injected engines, but it won’t be much different.

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  1. Remove your air filter/air cleaner assembly and crankcase cap first.
  2. With the engine running and idling, use a funnel to pour 1/3 of the bottle into the oil crankcase.
  3. Pour 1/3 directly down the carburetor. The engine will stall, but that’s OK. You want to get a good bit of the product right into the middle of an engine cycle.
  4. Turn the key to the off position and let things sit for a good half hour
  5. After waiting, pour the rest of the bottle directly into the gas tank.
  6. Start the engine (it might be a bit rough at first)
  7. Drive like hell. You’ll see a ton of white smoke pouring from the exhaust. Drive about 10 miles, getting up to highway speeds and full revs, and the smoke will eventually clear.

We should mention that you should find a nice isolated spot to do this. Depending on how dirty your engine is, there will be a LOT of smoke coming out.