Engine flush tales?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Harry Styron, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Branson, Mo
    The F150 is the telecaster of light trucks, except that some of them have an Achilles heel.

    I have a 2005 Ford F-150 with the 5.4 liter 3-valve engine. 190,000 miles. It has been plagued with the common problems with the timing system, which uses oil pressure to activate solenoids that adjust the valve timing by adjusting the camshafts. About six months ago, I paid a good mechanic to replace the timing chain assembly, including the cam followers and VCT solenoids, with genuine Ford parts.

    I bought the truck five years ago with about 170,000 miles. I don’t know anything about its history. It only gets driven about 500 miles a month, sometimes less.

    At the mechanic’s advice, I changed the oil 1,000 miles after the repair. The mechanic told me that the tolerances in the bore for the piston in the VCT solenoid were so close that oil contaminants could still cause the VCT solenoids to malfunction. After another 1,000 miles, this appears to be happening, causing a very rough idle and a P0012 code.

    I’m considering an engine flush, done by an mechanic or oil change place. I’ve heard that doing so could mobilize lots of old sludge, possibly clogging oil passages and potentially ruining the motor.

    I’m looking for experiences, good and bad, resulting from engine flushes, using Seafoam, BG, and other products that use solvents. Has anyone experienced a disaster from an engine flush?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  2. emisilly

    emisilly Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    1,248
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    I would be leery as I’ve heard a few horror stories. Proceed with caution would be my advice and only trust a tech who has been down this road and knows the ins and outs. I wouldn’t let an oil change place do it on a dare. I don’t let them even change my oil. They don’t hire mechanics. Just as many horror stories of places like that cross threading drain plugs and forgetting to change the filter, etc. and engines seizing up hours after you leave.
     
  3. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    2,419
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    It Varies.....
    That's always been the "myth" but I have no personal experience to back this up.

    I've added Seafoam to oil changes on older used trucks I've bought and they seemed to respond positively. It was sweared by on the 4Runner forums. If I recall correctly I'd add the bottle maybe 100 miles before the oil change....Research.

    Next oil change send a sample into Blackstone Labs. For $30 they do a complete analysis of the oil and the report gives a pretty good idea of what's going on. I think you usually want to do this after a good long 5-10,000 miles oil but may provide some indications on a 1000 mile change.

    I've made the switch to synthetics. Mobil 1 seems to be the commonest answer to this question but guys go with all kinds of high zoot oils. I like to change ever 5000 miles in my Tundra as I tow an RV.

    If you're into it for the long haul send Blackstone some ATF as well.

    BTW Toyotas are the Telecaster of the truck world! :D
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    4,601
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    There is also the option of sequential 1000 mile oil changes with a cleaning additive - even Marvel Mystery Oil. Basically, cleaning out deposits gradually, rather than all at once.

    I second the recommendation of a sample to Blackstone. But I would be inclined for that to be a typical 3-5k interval - or whatever interval you use. 1k may not show too much.
     
    Harry Styron likes this.
  5. posttoastie

    posttoastie Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    1,913
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2020
    Location:
    orange county,ca
    In the 70s I used to put a half quart of Transmission fluid in my engine oil before oil change when really dirty. I would just let the car run at idle and a give a few revs for about 15 minutes then drain. Really cleaned out the engine crankcase.
    Any mechanics out there do this ?
     
  6. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,138
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    Hoggtown, KY.
    I remember an older engine repairman telling me 3 decades ago when I asked him about a possible engine flush. " you may be flushing away the stuff that is holding everything together ". :confused:
     
    Engine Swap, Grizzly59, PARCO and 4 others like this.
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,367
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2021
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    My friend just got a brand new Mini Cooper because the dealership did 30,000 mile maintenance and forgot to put oil in the car. It drove 4 miles!
     
  8. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    11,269
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Location:
    Marion, VA
    I think if contaminants in the solenoids are the problem, there’s no reason to believe an engine flush will remove them. Too late now. Can the solenoids be inspected to confirm they are the problem? Probably not.
     
  9. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,146
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    We used to add a pint of Berryman’s B-12 in the crankcase of a sludgey engine (add it to the engine oil) and run the engine for 10-15 minutes before changing the oil. The crud that would come out of the drain plug would shock you.

    I did it two oil changes in a row on an old Mercury 302 I had crammed into my 1964 Ford Falcon Futura, and then later completely tore the engine down. There wasn’t even a tiny bit of sludge anywhere in the engine…

    I don’t know what this would do to modern sensors, though.
     
    Dan German likes this.
  10. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,084
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    I have used engine flushes with good results and no disasters. However, that was on engines made in the olden days. I would hesitate to do so on a modern engine, for the very reason you have stated. It’s a shotgun cure. A light-duty flush done regularly through the life of an engine is always the better idea, if deemed acceptable by the manufacturer.

    (I work at a car dealership in a car dealership neighbourhood. I often see cars being driven hard down the street in front of ours pouring smoke from a “top end clean” product. No way would I do that to anything built this century.)
     
  11. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,084
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    Well, they’re the MIJ Telecasters of the truck world… :D
     
  12. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Branson, Mo
    My 2007 Tundra, which I sold to my son, was made in Texas.
     
    Texicaster likes this.
  13. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    2,419
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    It Varies.....
    My Tundra is made in Texas USA!
     
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.
  14. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Branson, Mo
    The solenoids can be removed easily. They fit through a hole in the timing cover at the radiator end of each valve cover. They have screens that collect contaminants that are easy to inspect. I don’t know of the internal piston can easily be removed.
     
  15. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    15,668
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    Yeah, my F250 is a '98, they are bad enough for "gizmos". If I was doing it again I'd find a pre '97 like the one below, one someone has kept up or rebuilt etc. There's some beauties around. They'd go for another century. Plain old V8 with no electronic controls.
    My F250 cost me like $600 just for a "spark plug" issue (and not them all!) due to the special wires and built in coils etc. On an old Ford you'd just put a couple plugs in and done.

    [​IMG]
     
    Obsessed and Harry Styron like this.
  16. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,808
    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Location:
    Eastern USA
    My experience is going to be bad news...

    First off, the vvt issue on the Ford modular motor:
    While the solenoid screens do get clogged (bad cases) the result is the actuators (on the front of the cams, behind the timing cover) get "sticky" or worse.
    This is a fairly common problem on these engines, usually on higher mileage examples and not too exemplary oil change maintenance.
    The rate of come-backs" or repeat issues in my experience has been very near 100%
    The special tool set to set up the cam timing when replacing/servicing the timing chain is about $500 and its a pretty big labor intensive job.

    IMG_20200206_110104_1.jpg

    I concluded some time ago that they are too prone to continued problems. I refuse to fix them at any mileage and sold my special tool set.
    No!

    And at this point, any spark plug thread repairs would be temporary fixes at the owners risk, expensive and just to get the POS out of my shop. I've literally done a hundred or more.
    No!

    Flush? I doubt it would do any harm at this point, but its at best a band-aid and a temporary crutch.
    Do the described ATF procedure. Its cheap and straight forward.
     
    Harry Styron, posttoastie and Milspec like this.
  17. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    7,789
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ballard
    Tex Mex pickups?

     
  18. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    672
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Location:
    Seattle Washington
    Skip the flush and run Chevron Delo 400 30w. We run that in our entire Ford truck fleet with it and have had zero issues with any of the common timing codes. Delo has a lot of detergents in it. It will do a better job over the long haul then a flush will.
     
    Harry Styron likes this.
  19. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,084
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    Man, a Toyota-lovin’ Tele-playin’ guy tries to make one clever joke, and all you people do is throw reality in his face! :D
     
    Texicaster likes this.
  20. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,800
    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Location:
    Between Clever and Stupid
    I had a 1989 Civic that was getting up in miles and I had neglected oil changes for a while. My son worked at a repair shop. While borrowing my car he did me a favor by doing a oil change and flush. Afterwards, it smoked badly and had no pickup. Turns out there was sludge built up in the rings that was the only thing doing the sealing around the cylinders. Once the engine was flushed it no longer had any compression. I had to replace the engine with a crated low-miles engine from Japan. They dump their engines over there after thirty or forty thousand miles for emissions reasons.

    Bob
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.