SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
Don SSDD
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SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Don SSDD » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:41 am

My friend has two 2008 Evinrude E-TEC 130-HP engines on a GUARDIAN 25. He has been having many problems with the E-TEC engines. The shop he takes them to says that SeaFoam is not good to use in a marine environment.

I love SeaFoam in gasoline fuel, and I have used it since 2003 in a 1998 Mercury 90-HP two-stroke and a 1994 Evinrude 130-HP, and now in my Honda four-stroke-power-cycle engine, and never a problem. I see lots of people here using SeaFoam as well.

Q1: Have any readers heard anything about a problem with SeaFoam in marine engines?

[My friend] bought the E-TEC engines as used engines in c.2013. The company who sold them and installed them said they were "factory demos, totally re-built with no hours". They also had no warranty and the seller has never stood behind them.

The [E-TEC engines that are mention above were installed to] replace some 1[9]94 150 Johnson engines. [The friend] failed to notice the old engines were 25-inch shaft and the new E-TEC engines were 20-inch shaft. [The friend] had to have extensions added.

Based on what I read here and elsewhere about the excellent quality of E-TEC engines, [and the notion that the friend] has had so much trouble with them, I suggested [the used E-TEC engines purchased by the friend] may have been under water at some time. The latest problem is a coil gone.

Q2: Has any reader of this post heard of any problem with Sea Foam in a marine environment?

Thanks,
Don
1986 Outrage 18 with 2001 Honda 130 HP
Former Owner 1991 Guardian 19 with 1994 Evinrude V4 140HP
Former owner 1987 Montauk with 1998 Mercury 90HP
Nova Scotia

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:20 am

I recommend you return to the source of this information--the shop where your friend has taken his engines for service-- and ask that source for an explanation of their statement.

Regarding E-TEC engines in particular, the manufacturer recommends that only fuel additives made by them be used with their engines. On that basis, the use of SeaFoam would be contrary to the engine manufacturer's recommendations.

Mr T
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Mr T » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:47 pm

I have been using seafoam as a fuel system cleaner for many years in a variety of marine engines.
These include:
1990 Evinrude 88 SPL V4 (2 stroke)
1983 Mercury 50 HP Inline 4 (2 Stroke)
1990 Mercury 60 HP Inline 3 (2 stroke)
2004 Suzuki Inline 4 (4 stroke)
1986 Johnson 28 hp Inline 2 (2 stroke)

I have not experienced any problems or problems using it in any of these motors and have found it to be very useful in removing carbon deposits that build up on the 2 stroke motors.

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Phil T
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Phil T » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:40 pm

Don--historically, members have used SeaFoam to treat their classic, carburetor two-stroke engines when the engines have low RPM use and they want to "blow out" the carbon. The electronically controlled DFI two-stroke E-TEC with all its sensors and algorithms is a totally different machine.

If your friend is having engine problems, I would suggest he re-evaluate his current mechanic. Is the current shop factory certified and has BPR trained staff?

Are the engines mounted properly and propped correctly?
Member since 2003
1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:08 am

With a direct-injection two-stroke-power-cycle engine like an E-TEC, adding something like SeaFoam to the fuel is not going to be an effective method to remove carbon deposits. The fuel in a direct-injection two-stroke engine like an E-TEC enters the combustion chamber only from the fue injector, where it is immediately burned in the cylinder combustion. This is distinct from older two-stroke-power-cycle engines that used carburetors to mix the fuel into the air stream entering the crankcase and then eventually the cylinder. In these older engines, the fuel and the oil and the air were all mixed together, and coated the cylinder walls and crankcase areas. In an E-TEC, the fuel is not introduced into the crankcase or the cylinder via the intake port. Only air moves through those paths, along with perhaps some oil residue from the lubricating TCW2 or XD100 oil. The fuel path to the cylinder is only via the injector spray. The fuel is sprayed into the cylinder and almost instantaneously ignited by the spark plug. Adding SeaFoam in the hope it will act as a solvent in the combustion chamber is unlikely to have much effect, as the SeaFoam will just be burned off in a flash with each spark plug firing.

Adding SeaFoam to the fuel will have an effect on the fuel system. The fuel in a direct-injection engine circulates through all the injectors, then into a fuel-vapor separator and fuel cooler, then through the high-pressure pump, and also through a small filter with a very fine mesh. The SeaFoam may have harmful effects on all those devices. The injectors, VST assembly, and fuel pump are expensive components. I would not put them at risk by continual exposure to fuel with a very strong solvent like SeaFoam added in. If the SeaFoam does break loose any particles, they will get trapped in the filter. If the filter mesh become blocked, the fuel flow is compromised. The fuel delivery could become leaner than intended, leading to more problems.

The only way to de-carbon a direct-injection two-stroke engine is to spray the de-carbon solvent into the air stream at the throttle body. In this way the solvent will get a chance to have some effect, and it will stay out of the fuel system. And it will burn off in a few minutes, leaving your engine back at normal operating, Mixing SeaFoam or ther carbon cleaners with the fuel will just raise the cost of the fuel, probably not have the intended effect, and may have unintended effects.

For the E-TEC engine, Evinrude has two fuel additive products, 2+4 Fuel Condition and Fuel System Cleaner. The 2+4 Fuel Condition is a fuel stabilizer that will help preserve fuel for longer storage times. The Fuel System Cleaner is a solvent additive that will help clean the fuel system, that is, the hoses and the fuel injectors where the fuel is circulating before being injected into the cylinder.

The best way to avoid carbon deposits is to use a better oil. Use XD100 oil in an E-TEC and you won't have carbon deposits.

Don SSDD
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Don SSDD » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:42 am

Thanks for the replies.

What are the differences between:
-- Sea Foam
--Evinrude 2+4 Fuel Condition, and
--Evinrude Fuel System Cleaner?

Sea Foam also acts as a fuel stabilizer.

I see what Jim is saying about Direct Injection. In automobiles most new vehicles are now direct injection. With direct injection systems there is concern about carbon buildup on valves and no easy way to clean the valves. I was not thinking the E-TEC engine had that same direct injection system.

The dealer is an authorized Evinrude dealer with trained technicians.
1986 Outrage 18 with 2001 Honda 130 HP
Former Owner 1991 Guardian 19 with 1994 Evinrude V4 140HP
Former owner 1987 Montauk with 1998 Mercury 90HP
Nova Scotia

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:47 am

I don't agree with your assertion that "most" new automobile engines are direct-injection. In my understanding, direct-injection technology is somewhat new and unusual in automobile engines. Direct-injection may be coming with the very latest engines in some high-end brands, but I would not characterize direct-injection as being used in "most" gasoline engines used in automobiles in North America.

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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:56 am

Don SSDD wrote:What are the differences between
--Sea Foam,
--Evinrude 2+4 Fuel Condition, and
--Evinrude Fuel System Cleaner?


I don't have information on the several products. In the USA, products like those above must have a material safety data sheet or MSDS available to the public. You can investigate the composition of the three products yourself if you wish by obtaining their MSDS information and making a comparison.

To get you started, I found the MSDS for Evinrude 2+4 Fuel Conditioner c.2015. (Note that the composition of this product changed from products made earlier under the same name.)

Here is the link:

http://www.xpslubricants.com/MSDS/10301 ... 122015.pdf

If you track down the MSDS for SeaFoam, you can start to answer your own question about the composition of the two products.

Don SSDD
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Don SSDD » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:30 pm

Thanks Jim, I did track down the MSDS for both.

Sea Foam is:
12/05/2016
SAFETY DATA SHEET
Hydrocarbon blend < 95%; Isopropanol 67-63-0 < 25%

Evinrude 2+4
Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light 25-40%
Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated middle 50-70%
Mixed Butylated phenol 1-2%

Evinrude 2+4 has some other ingredients in very small amounts, less than 1%; Sea Foam do not specify what the hydrocarbon blends are exactly, but it reminds me of acetone in odor and appearance and likely contains a lot of that kind of solvent. Both these products are vague in their descriptions IMHO.

I will check out the Evinrude product but it appears to me the SeaFoam and Evinrude 2+4 are similar in the way they may work or not in a direct injection outboard.

From what I have read elsewhere, there is no downside to using SeaFoam in an [E-TEC], and it has been used by [E-TEC] owners without complaint.

Don
1986 Outrage 18 with 2001 Honda 130 HP
Former Owner 1991 Guardian 19 with 1994 Evinrude V4 140HP
Former owner 1987 Montauk with 1998 Mercury 90HP
Nova Scotia

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:49 pm

DON--it is good that you were able to find the MSDS sheets for the two products and now have the information you were seeking: what they are composed of and how that might differ.

I don't understand how you drew the inference that "SeaFoam and 2+4 are similar in the way they may work...in a direct injection outboard" based on the MSDS information. I am not a chemist, and I cannot make any inference about the method that each product would use to achieve its desired outcome based on information about what they are composed of.

You seem to be ignoring the entirely different purposes of the two products. Evinrude 2+4 is intended to be added to fuel in order to enhance the fuel shelf live. SeaFoam is intended to be added to fuel to cause some action in the internal combustion chambers of the engine that will remove carbon deposits and otherwise clean the combustion chamber.

Can you explain how you were able to deduce from the MSDS list of chemical contained in the two products that the two products would work in the same way, even though they seem to be intended to achieve different outcomes?

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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:52 pm

DON--you mention that you have read "there is no downside to using SeaFoam in an [E-TEC], and it has been used by [E-TEC] owners without complaint."

I have read exactly the opposite. My reading is on the website dedicated to the E-TEC engine at ETECOWNERSGROUP.COM. There are many first-hand accounts of how use of SeaFoam has caused damage to the fuel system of an E-TEC engine on that website. Those accounts have led me to avoid using SeaFoam with my E-TEC engine.

My thinking is this: the manufacturer of the E-TEC engine recommends using his product, 2+4 Fuel Conditioner. He does not recommend SeaFoam.

The manufacturer of SeaFoam recommends using his product, but he does not make outboard engines.

It is natural for a manufacturer of a product to recommend its use. But if a manufacturer only makes fuel additives and does not make outboard engines, that manufacturer has really no interest in any damage that might result from use of his product in the outboard engine. Any litigant seeking a legal remedy or redress from SeaFoam for damage to his E-TEC engine would immediately be defeated by the explicit advice of Evinrude to use their product instead and lack of any explicit advice from SeaFoam to use it in an E-TEC.

I don't see why there is some intrinsic belief that SeaFoam would be better used in an E-TEC than Evinrude's own products, which Evinrude recommends to be used in their engine.

Don SSDD
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Don SSDD » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:42 pm

Sorry Jim, I was confused in that the 2 + 4 product is a fuel stabilizer, I was thinking it was the Evinrude Fuel System Cleaner. My apologies.

I use Sea Foam as a fuel system cleaner.

Your information regarding how a direct injection outboard differs from a non direct inject outboard said:

The fuel in a direct-injection two-stroke engine like an E-TEC enters the combustion chamber only from the fue injector, where it is immediately burned in the cylinder combustion. This is distinct from older two-stroke-power-cycle engines that used carburetors to mix the fuel into the air stream entering the crankcase and then eventually the cylinder. In these older engines, the fuel and the oil and the air were all mixed together, and coated the cylinder walls and crankcase areas. In an E-TEC, the fuel is not introduced into the crankcase or the cylinder via the intake port. Only air moves through those paths, along with perhaps some oil residue from the lubricating TCW2 or XD100 oil. The fuel path to the cylinder is only via the injector spray. The fuel is sprayed into the cylinder and almost instantaneously ignited by the spark plug. Adding SeaFoam in the hope it will act as a solvent in the combustion chamber is unlikely to have much effect, as the SeaFoam will just be burned off in a flash with each spark plug firing.


In looking at Evinrude Fuel System Cleaner's MSDS, they do not disclose the ingredients precisely but they do disclose it contains naptha, benzene, xylene, solvent and distillate. That to me is a product that is high in VOC's solvents and in my opinion is likely to have an effect similar to Sea Foam in cleaning the fuel passages in a direct injection E-TEC.

Sea Foam may not be as good as the Evinrude product but I disagree that it may be harmful. I also read posts in the Evinrude Forums from numerous owners of E-TEC engines who had used SeaFoam for years and were happy with the result.

Most if not all manufacturers and dealers recommend their own products as being essential and the best product for maintaining what you buy from them. In my experience, that is not always the case. But every now and then I am wrong.

Don
1986 Outrage 18 with 2001 Honda 130 HP
Former Owner 1991 Guardian 19 with 1994 Evinrude V4 140HP
Former owner 1987 Montauk with 1998 Mercury 90HP
Nova Scotia

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:56 pm

DON--I see you quoted me on how the fuel is injected in a direct-injection engine. But I don't see how that allowed you to conclude that the two products would have the same effect if mixed into the fuel and consumed in an E-TEC. I don't think you made yourself clear on that.

Of course all a manufacturers recommend their products, but the very significant difference in the case of Evinrude is they also make the product, the engine, in which their fuel additive product will be used. They must feel that it is safe to use their product in their engine because, were the product not safe to use, their explicit recommendation to use it would create a liability for them.

SeaFoam makes no engines and it does not explicitly recommend its product for use in an E-TEC engine. If SeaFoam were able to say that their product was better than Evinrude's product and would work better in an E-TEC and cause no harm, they'd be on an even footing with Evinrude. As it is, they are not. Evinrude's recommendation carries far more weight for me than SeaFoam's general claims.

Don SSDD
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby Don SSDD » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:35 pm

Jim, I watched a youtube video on exactly how the etec direct injection 2 stroke injector and combustion chamber works, it is fascinating. I do not believe there is any other direct injected 2 stroke besides the BRP? This DI uses a port, not an intake and exhaust valve?

The Direct Injection in a 4 stroke from what I read is really nothing like this system.

I can see why a well trained etec technician is the key to dealing with any problems with them. While I still do not believe Sea Foam will do any harm here, I can see why BRP's products could likely be better. From what I see of the use of their XD 100 2 stroke oil, they seem to have designed that product very well for their etec's so that would give me confidence that their other products are good quality.
1986 Outrage 18 with 2001 Honda 130 HP
Former Owner 1991 Guardian 19 with 1994 Evinrude V4 140HP
Former owner 1987 Montauk with 1998 Mercury 90HP
Nova Scotia

jimh
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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby jimh » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:12 pm

DON--also consider this: by the time fuel that has been treated with Evinrude 2+4 Fuel Conditioner reaches the combustion chamber to be injected into the cylinder by the E-TEC injector, the work of the fuel conditioner has already been done and nothing remains for the Fuel Conditioner to do except be burned away. The work of the fuel condition has been to maintain the fuel quality while the fuel was sitting in the tank, in the fuel system, and on the way to the cylinder.

On the other hand, SeaFoam is supposed to be removing carbon from the combustion chamber. Its work has not even begun when the fuel injector sprays fuel doped with SeaFoam into the combustion chamber and a millisecond later the spark plug ignites the fuel. If SeaFoam can do in a millisecond in a direct-injection engine what it claims to do in carburetor engines where is can reside unburned for much longer, then SeaFoam would be a miracle agent.

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Re: SeaFoam and Marine Engines

Postby dtmackey » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:48 pm

Since the E-TEC engines delivers such a small amount of fuel directly to the combustion chamber only, is there any real advantage to using Seafoam or another de-carbon additive?

Not to mention that the XD100 is a super-clean-burning oil and not injected in an over-rich condition much like the old VRO systems.

I can see using Seafoam in a carburetor engine; they run rich, and the fuel is pulled through the crankcase and has the opportunity coat everything it touches as it travels from the carburetor, through the crankcase, to the transfer ports, making its way to the combustion chamber.

Personally, I would not use Seafoam in my E-TEC since I think the technology of the engine run darn clean, and I'm not sure there's advantage. If I did detect a build up of carbon deposits on the piston or combustion chamber, I'd be inclined to pull all the plugs and spray it in the spark plug hole to coat the piston, let it sit to work its magic, and then do it again 30-minutes later.

With my E-TEC engine now 12-years-old, it still looks clean on the inside when I bore-scope it during Spring preparation and also plug-in my laptop to the EMM software and check the systems.

D-