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Old 07-30-2013, 11:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Southeast
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E85 V8 Engine Efficiency Projects

Hello! My current interest lies in improving power, efficiency and emissions in traditional American V8 engines. I understand that this is at the opposite end of the ecomodding spectrum, but is relevant nevertheless for two reasons.

First, the traditional V8 powered vehicle, hotrod or muscle car is not going away anytime soon, as long as gasoline remains relatively affordable. While many performance car enthusiasts do not concern themselves with fuel economy, an engine can be made to be more fuel efficient and still produce high power levels, as factory late model V8s have proven.

Secondly, if it's true that it takes as much energy to build a new car as the fuel consumed in its entire service life, then it makes economic and ecological sense to maintain, conserve and use older cars, albeit in an improved, more efficient state of tune.

My first project, a Pontiac 455, nears completion. I only reused the block and crank, replacing everything else in the interest of improving volumetric efficiency and increasing power and durability. I am documenting this build-up in an educational video series on machine work and engine building on Vimeo. I can't post a link, yet, but if you go to Vimeo and write "Pontiac 455" in the search you'll access my work. (I'm the guy behind the camera).

We've already bench tested the engine and next we'll take it to be engine dynoed and tuned. The 700r4 transmission is also being rebuilt and the subject of another video.

I've been using E85 fuel in this vehicle for the previous two years and curiously my fuel economy did not suffer as expected. Tuning with a wide band A/F meter set at lambda showed a cruise reading of 1.18-1.24, so the leaner burn might have helped. With only 9.25:1 compression, it was not optimized for E85. So we raised it to 13:1 for increased volumetric efficiency and replaced the aluminum intake with an original cast iron manifold to keep temperatures high and help vaporize the E85 fuel.

Our next project involves a SBF, namely a World Products Man O'War 427. We will also be shooting for improved fuel efficiency over ultimate power production, so the 455 dyno tests may decide which direction to go as far as compression, heads, cam, etc.

We're also building a stock 4.3 Chevrolet LT engine to squeeze better mileage out of a seventies Impala and another Pontiac project - a turbo 301 engine to explore its ultimate potential.

Eventually, I'd like to see all this knowledge and experience with E85 and fuel efficiency be applied to an aero car project with a tiny turbocharged engine. In any event, I hope you find this line of experimentation interesting and applicable to some of your own projects. Thanks for having me aboard!

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