The magic of Marvel Mystery Oil

Few products in life become one of urban legend. Throughout time Marvel Mystery Oil has been the product that was considered the “magic” ingredient – THE magic elixir for generations of motorheads. As a kid I was taught this special “magic oil” was the cure all for anything mechanical and it was always told to me in some sort of story of how the impossible became possible…..all because of Marvel Mystery Oil.

I went out to the old barn and decided the next step to get the 46 truck started was to pour something in each cylinder. After sitting for 5 years I figured I should soak the tops of the pistons for a couple days to prevent any damage. Different people recommend different solutions and although everybody means well I decided to use Marvel Oil. Products like Sea Foam and Kroil were good candidates but given the mystique of the magic oil my Dad and his Dad always talked about I didn’t dare use any other product.

The basic idea is to just take out each spark plug and pour some oil in each cylinder and gently put the plug back in while she sits. After it sits for a couple days then the plugs get pulled out and the engine gets turned over with no compression. I liked the idea of letting it sit because that gives me time to think of my next move. But how much do I pour in? Can I put to much in? Well, I’m not sure so I just used some common sense.

I figured the bore on a Chevy 216 straight six is about 3 1/2″ and I wanted enough to oil to cover the tops of the pistons. This would make sure the oil sat around the diameter and worked it’s way into the piston rings. For measuring I had a large blue plastic Dixie cup. The base on the cup was about 2″ or so. I took a scissors and cut the cup about 2″ tall to make things easy to handle. I’m not sure what the actual amount was but I filled it about 1/4 of an inch. The spark-plugs have a pretty small diameter and I didn’t have a funnel small enough to fit int the hole so I held an over sized funnel tight and let it drip a little. It went pretty well.

I started at the front and took one plug out at a time so I didn’t cross the plug wires by accident. After the oil was poured in I screwed the plug in but didn’t tighten it. Lastly I put the wire back on.

That was all I did, after that it was just gonna sit and do it’s magic. I’ll see if the old guys were right about Marvel Mystery Oil because I plan on starting the old truck this weekend. The photo below shows the plugs back in with the oil inside.



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