REVIEW: Fuel Additives in Your Ford Truck? Use Them Now!

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Gumout Testing at Transportation Research Center

Gumout flew me to Ohio and showed me how their fuel additive works in certified lab testing. Now I’m a believer.

Have you ever run a fuel additive in your Ford truck? If the answer is “no,” I understand. I’ve never paid too much attention to fuel additives. But then the folks at Gumout flew me to their special testing laboratory at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio, to open my eyes to a new world of vehicle maintenance. I was definitely in for some enlightenment.

The minute I walked into their lab, splayed before me was a 2015 Hyundai Sonata undergoing the mechanical equivalent of open-heart surgery. With its hood open, cylinder head removed, and all four pistons exposed, the Hyundai’s direct-injected motor exhibited the elevated level of carbon deposits you’d expect from a DI engine with 80,000 miles.

Gumout purchased this Sonata at random from a local used-car dealership to show us typical deposit buildup on a vehicle driven by the average consumer, albeit a consumer able to drive 80,000 miles in fewer than three years. Gumout’s plan for this car? Show us its innards, reassemble it, fill the fuel tank with Gumout One-N-Done Complete Fuel System Cleaner treatment, drive the car and burn through a whole tank of fuel in accordance with the American Section for Testing Materials’ (ASTM) industry-standard testing procedures, pull the car apart once again, and see the results.

Piston Tops Before and After Gumout

The results were better than I expected. I didn’t expect to see a visible difference in the “before and after.” The pictures speak for themselves, though. If you look at the “before” on the four piston tops in the first gallery above, there’s enough carbon-caking on those components to make me want to yell, “Get out the candles! It’s time to sing happy birthday.”

After the One-N-Done treatment, there’s still carbon on the piston tops, but amazingly where the DI spray hits the piston head, Gumout was able to penetrate through about 3.0 millimeters of carbon, all the way down to the bare metal. Look closely, and you can even see the manufacturing QR code on each of the pistons. On the areas surrounding the bare metal, Gumout reduced carbon build-up by one to two millimeters. Imagine what a product like this could do for your EcoBoost F-150.

How an Engine Looks After a Gumout Treatment

After spending two days watching the Gumout demo at the Transportation Research Center and getting my hands dirty with the crew, I highly recommend you use a fuel system treatment like Gumout to prevent carbon buildup in your Ford Truck. This is especially true if your truck is EcoBoost-powered and prone to carbon deposits.

Need more proof? Get a load of what Gumout did for the Sonata’s cylinder heads and fuel injectors.

But Aren’t Additives in Conventional Gasoline Good Enough?

In a word, no. Additives are expensive, and the general public refuses to pay five dollars or more per gallon of gasoline. At the constraint of expense, your brand of fuel uses just enough detergents and additives to make a difference, but not a major impact. It’s up to the consumer on whether he or she wants to go the extra mile with engine protection.

And then comes the question of which additive to use. Gumout’s key ingredient is a powerful, nitrogen-based detergent called polyetheramine (PEA). When shopping for a fuel additive, first make sure it contains this ingredient. While neither Gumout nor their competitors will disclose the amount of PEA they use, look at how an additive cleans when tested in accordance with ASTM guidelines.

Testing Carbon Deposit Thickness

Unlike fuel and motor oil, there is no governing body to standardize claims, testing and classification for additives. The gasoline and diesel you use to fill your tank has to meet EPA standards. The oil you pour into your crankcase has to meet the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) SJ, SL, SM or SN standards. However, fuel system treatments and oil friction modifiers are under no obligation to answer to a higher authority.

Because of this, some less-than-ethical additive companies can sell you products that lab testing proves are nothing more than baby oil, or as far as your wallet is concerned, snake oil. Despite that, these additive manufacturers can market their products as solutions that will allow your engine to last just short of forever.

Valves and Valve Sets Before and After Gumout

I’ve been duped by the snake oil scheme. More than a decade ago, I let an infomercial dazzle me into thinking its gasoline and oil additives would be God’s gift to my fuel system and engine. I ended up using that product consistently for more than a decade. During this Gumout media trip, I learned that since before the invention of the iPhone, I had been throwing money down the sewer. Gumout’s lead chemist, Ron Fausnight told me that in his testing and analysis, the product I formerly used displayed no signs of using a detergent or any other technology that could allow the additive to execute on its claims.

Intake Ports and Runners Before and After Gumout

Gumout, on the other hand, goes to great lengths to ensure its performance claims are verifiable. The company rents its own lab at the 8,000-acre Transportation Research Center to carry out research and development. To ensure I could verify Gumout’s testing, the company even made it apparent that the formula it was using for its media demonstration was something anyone could buy off the shelves.

While en route to see Gumout’s TRC demonstration, we made a pit stop at a local AutoZone. I hopped off the shuttle with Rusty Waples, Gumout’s Global Group Brand Manager, to watch him buy the bottle of Gumout’s One-N-Done fuel system treatment that would be used on the Sonata. This ensured procedural ethics because had I arrived at the lab and they presented me with chemicals in a beaker, for all I knew the demonstration formula could have been a specially formulated, $10,000 holy-grail concoction powerful enough to dissolve a coal mine.

Verifying Gumout’s Testing Procedure

Further ensuring ethics, I autographed all over the engine block, head bolts — hell, even the starter motor. I even made sure to memorize the Sonata’s last five VIN digits to ensure they didn’t swap cars.

At the end of the test, everything checked out. After seeing the bare metal on those pistons, and the rest of the before-and-after shots of the heads, intake ports, runners, injectors and valves, I was convinced, fuel additives work.

It’s time to tell your EcoBoost, “Bottoms up!”

ALSO SEE: What Forum Members Have to Say About Fuel Additives

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