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#4668926 - 02/17/18 05:01 PM Ford FE Sludge
Chinook4u Offline


Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Shelton, WA
I have a 1964 Ford Galaxie with the 352 and 4 barrel. It has around 80,000 original miles and is basically a show car/ weekend cruiser. I have owned it for about 5 years. Anyway, the car runs great, but the one issue I have is that there's significant sludge in the engine.

When I first got the car, I took off the valve covers to find sludge along with gel, fir needles, and various other junk in the oil valleys. I painstakingly cleaned it all out. One thing to know about these cars is that removing the oil pan is not an option without at least partially pulling the engine. There's a frame cross member that sits right below the pan.

Having done some research on sludge, I opted for a slow approach to cleaning in fear of clogging the oil pickup. For the last 5 years, I have run Mobile 1 10w - 40 full synthetic high mileage oil in combination with the Mobile 1 filter and ZDDP additive. The idea being that frequent oil changes with a high detergent oil would slowly and safely clean the engine of the sludge.

So, I have done six oil changes at 500-mile intervals for the 5 years I've owned it. Even now, the oil turns absolutely black within a 100 miles or so. I do realize that the color of the oil isn't an indicator of viscosity etc. and in some respects, it shows that the detergents are doing the intended job. This regiment is obviously getting expensive.

Here's my question(s): Should I just continue doing what I've been doing (If it's not broke don't fix it.)? Or, should I try something more aggressive like MMO, Seafoam, or some other engine flush to help speed up the process?

I realize that pulling the engine would be the best bet, but I have plenty of other cars and projects that I need to dedicate my time and money toward. I'm leaning toward a more aggressive approach mainly because it bugs me to see thick black oil within a 100 miles or so, but I could be talked out it. Your opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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#4668931 - 02/17/18 05:06 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
JohnnyJohnson Online   content


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2750
Loc: Wet side WA
Put some Havoline DSPro Full Synthetic in it and a new filter see what happens to the sludge.


Edited by JohnnyJohnson (02/17/18 05:07 PM)
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#4668934 - 02/17/18 05:10 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: JohnnyJohnson]
WiskyBadger Offline


Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 1647
Loc: Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: JohnnyJohnson
Put some Havoline DSPro Full Synthetic in it and a new filter see what happens to the sludge.
What will that achieve?
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#4668936 - 02/17/18 05:12 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36464
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I think you could safely increase your interval if you were trying to save some coin.
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#4668940 - 02/17/18 05:17 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
JC1 Online   content


Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3009
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Did you remove the valve cover in between OCI to see if it's getting cleaner?

What about cutting open the oil filter to see what it's trapping?
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#4668941 - 02/17/18 05:17 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4399
Loc: The Midwest
I'd do a 5 minute engine flush. You can substitute a quart of oil with kerosene instead of buying
this: https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Medic-MF3-5-Minute-Flush/dp/B000AME4V4#customerReviews
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#4668942 - 02/17/18 05:20 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: JC1]
Chinook4u Offline


Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Shelton, WA
I have done both. The engine top end is pretty clean. There's no sludge blockage in the oil valleys. I have cut open the filter twice. The first time, there was grit (not metal, but more like sand/dust) and the second time, there didn't appear to be anything significant.

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#4668944 - 02/17/18 05:21 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: JC1]
Chinook4u Offline


Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Shelton, WA
Originally Posted By: JC1
Did you remove the valve cover in between OCI to see if it's getting cleaner?

What about cutting open the oil filter to see what it's trapping?


I have done both. The engine top end is pretty clean. There's no sludge blockage in the oil valleys. I have cut open the filter twice. The first time, there was grit (not metal, but more like sand/dust) and the second time, there didn't appear to be anything significant.

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#4668945 - 02/17/18 05:25 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
CorvairGeek Offline


Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 112
Loc: Idaho
I'd continue exactly what you are doing.
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#4668955 - 02/17/18 05:36 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
14Accent Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 392
Loc: MN
Sounds like a really nice car!

With all the money spent on trying to "clean out" the engine, is there any reason you don't just yank the motor and go through it? Even with low miles, it's probably well overdue for a refresh.

It wouldn't even need a full rebuild, per se. Just pull the motor, strip it down to the long block, clean everything really really well, install new cam/lifters/timing kit, gasket kit, and maybe a fresh coat of Ford blue paint. Something that easy to work on, it's probably a couple week winter project at best.
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#4668963 - 02/17/18 05:45 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: 14Accent]
Chinook4u Offline


Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Shelton, WA
Originally Posted By: 14Accent
Sounds like a really nice car!

With all the money spent on trying to "clean out" the engine, is there any reason you don't just yank the motor and go through it? Even with low miles, it's probably well overdue for a refresh.

It wouldn't even need a full rebuild, per se. Just pull the motor, strip it down to the long block, clean everything really really well, install new cam/lifters/timing kit, gasket kit, and maybe a fresh coat of Ford blue paint. Something that easy to work on, it's probably a couple week winter project at best.


As I mentioned, I realize this is the best approach, but one I'm trying to avoid at least for now. I have 7 cars -- not including my wife and kids cars. No, my house doesn't look like a used car lot! lol I just finishing a 1964 Ford Fairlane restoration project and I'm wrapping up a 1964 International Scout restoration (Red Carpet Series). Once that's done, I'm moving on to my 1976 Scout II (Patriot) restoration.

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#4668964 - 02/17/18 05:46 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18893
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
You can clean the pan inside along with all the junk that has accumulated on the bottom safely.
Get a gallon of cleaner from gumout, berrymans, etc.
Drain the oil on a warm engine and put the drain plug back in.

Through the dipstick tube only fill 3 qts of the cleaner in. You want it in the pan only not the heads or the oiling system, it will not touch any gaskets or seals but will liquefy the sludge and clean the pickup.

Do not use more as it will touch the main seals and possibly damage them. Keep the car/engine level use 4 stands or ramps and stands to do this if you cant get to the plug with the car on the ground.

Let it sit 24 hours and drain, do not turn the engine over then drain it. Flush it through with kerosene then cheap oil before turning the engine over.
Do a couple of short idle only oil changes with cheap oil then refill with regular fill, new filter and do normal OCI.

Edit: Add link.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Carburetor-Pa...13=&veh=sem


Edited by Trav (02/17/18 05:47 PM)
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#4669011 - 02/17/18 06:39 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20459
Loc: Upstate NY
I would keep doing what you are doing. A flush is always a risk for not a lot of gain.
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#4669013 - 02/17/18 06:41 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: Chinook4u]
14Accent Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 392
Loc: MN
Originally Posted By: Chinook4u
Originally Posted By: 14Accent
Sounds like a really nice car!

With all the money spent on trying to "clean out" the engine, is there any reason you don't just yank the motor and go through it? Even with low miles, it's probably well overdue for a refresh.

It wouldn't even need a full rebuild, per se. Just pull the motor, strip it down to the long block, clean everything really really well, install new cam/lifters/timing kit, gasket kit, and maybe a fresh coat of Ford blue paint. Something that easy to work on, it's probably a couple week winter project at best.


As I mentioned, I realize this is the best approach, but one I'm trying to avoid at least for now. I have 7 cars -- not including my wife and kids cars. No, my house doesn't look like a used car lot! lol I just finishing a 1964 Ford Fairlane restoration project and I'm wrapping up a 1964 International Scout restoration (Red Carpet Series). Once that's done, I'm moving on to my 1976 Scout II (Patriot) restoration.


YOU, my friend, are a busy man! I retract my previous statements. With all that going on, it sounds like you're pretty much doing what you should. Would it be worthwhile, say, to drain the oil, slap on a fresh synthetic filter, and fill with an 80\20 mix of oil and kerosene or several bottles of the best engine flush followed by a long idle session in the driveway? Like on a Saturday afternoon, while working on other projects just let it sit and purr.

Or would there be a benefit, given the likely state of the pan, to drain the sump and fill with JUST solvent? Hear me out: you fill the empty sump with solvent through the dipstick tube. That way it doesn't coat the rest of the internals. Let it sit, maybe even with a heater under the oil pan, for a few hours or even days. Then take out the plug and drain, dumping a couple quarts of cheap whatever oil through the fill hole to wash the pan out. Then fill and new filter. Run at idle, drain and repeat.

Might be a long process but you won't have to pull the engine.
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#4669016 - 02/17/18 06:49 PM Re: Ford FE Sludge [Re: WiskyBadger]
JohnnyJohnson Online   content


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2750
Loc: Wet side WA
Originally Posted By: ChevyBadger
Originally Posted By: JohnnyJohnson
Put some Havoline DSPro Full Synthetic in it and a new filter see what happens to the sludge.
What will that achieve?


This Havoline is suppose to get rid of sledge. But its good to see you on BITOG learning something.


Edited by JohnnyJohnson (02/17/18 06:58 PM)
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