For the younger automotive enthusiast, and by that I mean anyone born after 2000 the idea of miracle products that make farcical claims like rebuilding your engine as you drive are not as prevalent as they once were. B.I. or Before Internet as I like to call it you would have to catch a late night/early morning 30 minute infomercial showing an engine running with no valve covers and no oil pan, and then shooting it with a fire hose while it is running.
I guess this was to prove that in case your mechanic forgot to install some critical engine covers that you could still drive your car home in a monsoon.
Older readers (us B.I.'ers) will know these by the names of Dura-Lube, Pro-Long, Long-Dong (ok I made that last one up). Now these oil additives are still around but they lack the sensationalized promotion and outrageous claims as in the late 90's the FTC got involved cracking down and even bringing judgments against these and other companies making these wild and largely false claims. However a trip down memory lane and cracking open some old Popular Mechanics magazines from the 50's-70's reveal some pretty notorious if not down right hilarious adverts for products that literally claim you will never have to "rebuild" your engine. Just $4.95 every 10,000 miles, or in the case of Yale Engine Overhaul pellets I want the ones they made on the left as you get an extra 5,000 miles free. Read on to see how these work...
My research shows that these pellets were merely balls of some sort of wax, possibly laced with other ingredients. I could not confirm this. Item of note parafinic waxes exist in most base stocks of conventional motor oils. By how the directions read the idea seems like it could work (and I use that term very loosely here) until you really think how a typical 4 stroke combustion engine works. Back when these were first marketed metallurgy for engine parts and engine oils themselves were adequate at best, so some types of additives were not all a bad thing because the oil itself didn't contain much of anything for an additive package like they do now.
First, even though the cylinder temp would be hot enough after the initial start to melt wax I am not sure how the melted pellets are supposed to stay in the cylinder long enough to "re-plate the cylinder wall" and "seal the piston rings". Seems to me most of these melted beans would exit the cylinder via the exhaust valve and potentially solidify somewhere down the line in the exhaust, to then collect carbon and soot and maybe plug a muffler overtime. For the record these were marketed heavily before catalytic converters and EFI, but research shows they were sold up until about 2008 (source: internet lore, see below) It makes me wonder how catalytic converter safe these were considering over rich mixtures and oil burning can overtime degrade the catalysts and in extreme cases cause it to go into meltdown.
Picture commentary; is it illegal if your car is doing the drinking and not you? Maybe this is like toothpaste for your car.