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Author Topic: Mothballs in your gas tank
snopes
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Comment: A guy told me that putting a handfull of mothballs in your
gas tank every fill-up would "make it run like a scared rabbit".

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me, no really
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Car Talk on mothballs
Apparently there are two types - both will burn, but not improve the performance over normal petrol. One will also give you Hydrocloric Acid as a combustion product. Basically they say that mothballs are more expensive, and don't improve performance, and one type might harm the car, so don't bother

me

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snapdragonfly
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oh, how I wish my mind weren't filled with dust bunnies and old greeting cards so I could remember stuff better, but, back in the 70's, my mom had the world's best mechanic - a quaint old guy who had worked for GM in Detroit and knew everything about cars. (and was honest and cheap too, which might make you think this whole thing is a fantastic big lie but really! I'm telling the truth, I swear)

He had to look at my car for some problem or other while I was visiting her one time, (it was a Gremlin - so you KNOW I can't be making this up cause why the hell would anybody make up a thing like that)and he changed that little opening where you stick the gas nozzle, so that it was bigger around, and could then accept regular gas instead of unleaded. He took the "unleaded only" sticker off, and told me that my particular model of car, hadn't actually been modified to run properly on unleaded - that they had just changed the nozzle and slapped on a sticker. He said it would run better on leaded.

I think he also said, and this is the part I'm fuzzy on, that I should put a few moth balls and a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the gas tank once in a while, but I don't remember if that was with leaded or unleaded. I think mothballs are made of napthalene.

I never tried it, and I was very happy when that embarrassing piece of crap died anyway.

(This guy was a really good mechanic but he was pretty clueless about toxins in the environment, I think it just never occured to him though. That was before it was a well known fact that environmentalists are evil. *sarcastic*)

Cars are so much more complicated these days and they've invented catalytic converters since then...what old Hugo told me might not be a good idea today. I don't think I'd try it now, either!

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coleus
A View to a Krill


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If by scared rabbit you mean the volkswagen kind I wouldn't try it.

The Car Talk Guys say it's bunk.

ETA: I somehow knew I was going to get spanked. I type and search way too slow sometimes.

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WildaBeast
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I'm pretty sure the Mythbusters debunked this one as well.

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Joseph Z
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This was covered in mythbusters re-aired in the month of March 2006.

They were out searching for a cadillac to test gunfight episodes where it exploded by a gas tank pop and a gunfire survival from the driver side door while still in the car.

In the particular episode they tested engine destroyer myths using sugar, mothballs, bleach, and one or two other things in the gasoline tank. Bleach was the number one culprit.

They tested the mothball, but it did more noise and possible performance increase than damaging.

They even dropped bleach and a penny in the engine to see if either destroy it. Bleach did the same as dropping it in the gas tank. The penny just clanked, but no harm done.

Not to mention coca cola in the radiator as a possible substitute to coolant with little success, an egg to fix a hole in the radiator as a temporary solution until you replace the radiator.

Not sure if I missed what else they tested.

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jamira
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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They even dropped bleach and a penny in the engine to see if either destroy it. Bleach did the same as dropping it in the gas tank. The penny just clanked, but no harm done.

I had an air filter wingnut get sucked down the carburetor of my 72 Volkswagen Type III fastback. It welded to the side of the cylinder wall, and seized the engine. $800 later, I had a bigger motor in it. :-) The nice thing about those old smoldering wrecks is I could rebuild the motor myself with my two left hands.

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