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Old 06-16-2009, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anybody else, or am I the only one?

Not to fault anyone elses approach to improved mileage,but heres my thinking in a nutshell. In 1966, the car makers, with the Gov't. looking over their shoulder, met a fork in the road (meeting emission standards), and they took the Left fork.
The initial focus was on Smog, caused by unburned gasoline coming out the tailpipe.They COULD have taken a look at the OTHER END of the pipe i.e. the engine. Unburned gas coming out the tailpipe is wasted gas, in addition to causing pollution.However, they focussed all their attention narrowly on the tailpipe. Their 'solution' involved wasting even more gas, in order to make sure there was ENOUGH unburned gas, at all driving conditions, to 'feed' the catalyctic converter, and, having the oil co.'s make gas less flamable (higher octane) in order to prevent engine knock (pre-ignition), even though this produced Nox, as a result of slower combustion.
Once they were firmly and irrevocably on this road, the Gov't began to place mileage standards (CAFE). In fact, the things they had done to meet emission standards actually lowered the mileage.The only place 'left' for the manufacturers to go was to aerodynamics, and lightening the load.Market demand limited how far they could go with aerodynamics, (People won't buy a car if it looks too unusual) and people won't pay for the extra expense of bellypans, so they developed "crunchmobiles", with thinner metal for bodypanels, and crunch zones to absorb impact.
My approach is to go back to 1965, and take the other fork in the road.There are a lot of advances that have developed in the last 50 years.By starting with a pre-1966 car, I don't have to live with the IMHO faulty problem solving solutions they came up with, which waste gas.I can take the other fork in the road.Whatever mods I make to the engine, I don't have to fight with the ECU, OR the Govt inspector, sticking their nose under my hood and telling me "You can't do that".Then, in other areas I can lower the body weight, (and there is more to work with, so more gains to be made), I can change the rear end and tranny, to a modern one with overdrive, and taller gears, adding disc brakes in the process, and then move on to aerodynamics, where, again, there is more room for improvement.There are still such cars around, they can be gotten fairly cheap, parts are plentiful.Anyway, thats my approach. Thing is, when I've posted on other mileage improving groups, I find the others are all talking about Efies and other ways to fool the computer, etc.So, I'm wondering am I the ONLY one taking the road (or fork in the road) less traveled?Jim

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Old 06-16-2009, 05:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What goal are you thinking can be attained with a pre 66 car that has no cat/smog, is tuned to run reasonably lean and includes aero mods? What car are you thinking is a good one to start with? I think the big one you hit on is the fact that very few people want to drive around in a bullet car.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, firstly my goal is not fame or fortune.Seriously, I have conversed (on the I-net) with people working on vapoisers, etc. who are dreaming of solving the worlds energy/transportation problems. I say Good-Luck, but that ain't me.I just want a car that will transport me'nmine safely, with the best mileage i can get. I don't have a specific goal in mind.
There are a lot of "platforms" that would work. I think a really good one to start with would be a 65 plymouth Valient, slant 6 225 engine. A great engine, I know of many that went 225,000 miles w/out a re-build. Easy to work on, simple engine. The Valiant was set-up so you could order it with a V-8, so with the slant 6 the engine bay is humongous! Lots of room to work, or put mods.The body is fairly heavy guage steel, so there is room for selective weight reduction, and aerodynamic improvements. I think it gets around 25 m.p.g. stock, so not a bad starting point.In the same time frame, Ford had the straight 6 223, and Chevy also had a straight 6, can't recall the #, 216 maybe?Any of these would be a good engine for a starting point.
I'm actually looking for others taking this approach, cause in the past, on mileage/economy forums, I keep getting people with newer car thinking saying "That will cause your ECU to throw a check engine light, and go into closed loop" or similar stuff. I have to constantly remind people i don't have an ECU, or a check engine light.Gets frustrating.Looking to see if there are others out there like me, so we could have our own section, on 1 of these sites.Oh, and let me make it clear, I'm not taking the attitude of trash the earth, so long as I get better mileage.Just looking for a different way; burn all the gas in the engine, theres none left to pollute. Honda came up with an alternative, for a while. Stratified charge, I think its called.Didn't require a converter, and passed emissions.Thats one way, there may be others.Jim
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very interesting approach Jim. Its to be encouraged, why should we all just believe that the current systems are the only way. (EGR and computers) I think it should be a great experiment starting from the simplest system possible and making all your mods.
I think your only real problem will be weight, but as you said, there are probably a lot of lighter things out there that can be swapped in.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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After all, how much weight reduction can you do, on a "newer" car; its already been done, by the manufacturer.Pull out the passenger seats and spare tire, maybe.
Another advantage, if your 'adjusting the nut behind the steering wheel' techniques include shutting off the engine/coasting, no locking steering to worry about.Its a good idea to use a small air tank, with a check valve, as a vacuum tank, to insure power brakes if needed.Plenty of room for that, under the hood.
If you want to play with engine temps, you can put a different thermostat, no thermostat or a restrictor in the therostat cover. Can't do that, i tried it on my "newer"car, an 89 Camaro, 2.8 multiport fuel injection. It threw a check engine light.
There are also a # of 'outhere'mods I want to do, which I can't do on the Camaro.Put a negative ion generator in the intake, for example. It would probably fry the computer.
Ceramic coat the tops of the cylinder, the faces of the valves, and the top of the pistons. Then, coat the top of the pistons with a thin layer of Palladium.Probably would confuse the computer, as it should result in complete combustion in the combustion chamber, where it will hopefully do some good.Ideally, will allow me to retard the timing some. Idealised goal, to Zero advance, although I'll take whatever I can get.
Also considering a lever in the cab, controlling a cable to the distributor, in order to idle down while coasting.Cars normally idle at an rpm that yields enough low end torque for starting out from a dead stop.Could idle lower than that, just for coasting and WHILE at a dead stop.May save enough to negate the need for turning the engine off.Lights about to turn green, slide the lever from 1 detent/stop, (for idle/standing still, say 300rpm) to the next, say 1000rpm the "normal' position.Might could do that with something like megasquirt, but this is, for me, a lot easier/cheaper.Jim
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I like it!

Jim, I really like your out of box thinking. It's occurred to me many times in the past. My 1968 Impala convertable got 19 mpg hwy with the top down at 75 mph. It seems that there should have been more progress made in the last 40 years.

My only cautions are 1)Remember there used to be lead in gasoline, so watch part interchanges, and 2) Remember that "regular" gasoline was between 92 and 95 octane back then, thus offering a bit more bang for the buck.

Please keep us posted....
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are hardened exhaust seats available for 1965 engines, as unleaded was already prevalent by then.And I believe you have it backwards; gasoline was 75 octane gas 'back then'. Higher octane means LESS 'bang for the buck'.i.e. octane effects, in plain language the flamability or ignitability of fuel.Higher octane means less ignitable.When they started putting 'extra' gas into the cylinders,in order to make sure there would be enough unburned gas in the exhaust to make the catalyctic converter work, they had too much pre-ignition. Even with knock sensors, so they had the gasoline co.'s make the gas with a higher octane, making it, in effect less flamable.They called the highest octane gas "premium", implying that it was the 'best'.In addition, for a long time there was the belief that certain engines, like Cadillacs, needed to run on "premium". I don't know whether this was true at 1 time, or whether this was part of the snow job to convice us that higher octane was somehow better.My understanding is that currently, there are no stock cars which "Have" to run on premium gas.Cars which have had work done on them to raise the compression, yes.Anyway, the 'old gas" was 75 octane, and it really did have more bang for the buck; more volatile, more easily vaporised, more flamable.
One other point; economy includes all the expences of operating your vehicle. Both insurance co.'s and state registration (DMV) go by the kelly blue book, in order to calculate the charges. And the Kelly blue book doesn't take into account "collectible' status in its values. The new price starts out high, and then gradually declines.In Az., a 1965 vehicle is charged the mandated minimum for registration, $15.00/year.Insurance, at least mandatory liability, is similarly very low.More $ in my pocket, or to be used for financing my mod projects! Jim

Last edited by Dutchdivco; 06-17-2009 at 04:25 PM.. Reason: Additional thoughts
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Higher octane does mean the gas burns slower and is harder to ignite, but.... that means you can run higher compression engines which have a higher efficieny and get more useable power out of a gallon of gas. There is nothing bad about higher octane fuel unless the engine its run in is designed for lower octane, then it doesn't get you anything. However, if the engine is designed with higher compression and only runs higher octane you get a higher efficiency engine and more power per gallon of gas. This is where E85 shines with its 105+ octane rating. I built an engine specifically for E85 and it has 12.5:1 static compression. I use to get 27 mpg with the factory compression of 7.8:1 and 85 octane pump gas, I now get 24mpg on E85 with the high compression. Much better than the typical loss of 34% to switch to E85. I got about 18mpg with E85 and the 7.8:1 compression, more in line with the 34% loss. Your arguements and ideas are very good, but other factors come into play with higher octane.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Firstly, let me make it clear, I'm not faulting anyone who's trying to improve their mileage, by whatewver method, and regardless of whether their starting with a 'newer car' or not.
I was 11 y.o. in 1966, when the car co.'s began to respond to emission standards requirements, just when I was getting interested in cars. I watched the changes over the years, and the way emissions controls evolved is what i think of as "patchwork", (or Piss-Poor) problem solving.
Example; I saw a show on TV recently, about "Medical Marajiuana". A cancer survivor said "After the radiation therapy, the side effects were it made my hair fall out, (they told me to wear a hat or a WIG), depression, so they gave me an anti-depressant, and nausea, so they gave me a pill for that. The anti-nausea medicine made me constipated, so they gave me a pill for that, which gave me diarhea, so they gave me a pill for that.The anti-depressant had side effects, and the Dr. seemed embarassed, as they recomended an herb for that, cause apperantly they haven't come up with a pill for those side effects, yet. Anyway, I was venting to a friend about this and they said,"Let me get this straight; They're giving you a pill, to deal with the side effects of a pill, that they're giving you to deal with the side effects of a pill, that" etc. (You get the point). "They got the right idea when they suggested an herb, just the wrong one. Why don't you just smoke a little pot? It helps with the nausea, and the depression, and no pills to deal with the side effects!"Thats an example of PPS. At some point, you gotta ask, maybe the original solution was faulty, and I should go back to square 1.In the case of radiation therapy, the one guaranteed way to give someone cancer is to expose them to radiation. I have no doubt that in the future we'll look back on it the way we now look at the bloodletting of the past.
Anyway, heres the way I see the PPS of emissions controls;Unburned gasoline coming out the tailpipe, causing smog.So, put a CC in the exhaust, to cause a catalyctic reaction to break the unburned gas down into hydrogen and Methane, and burn it.Great, except that at some load/throttle settings, there wasn't ENOUGH unburned gas in the exhaust to trigger the reaction. So, need a pill. Put an O2 sensor in the exhaust which, despite its name, actually is measuring the amount of unburned gas in the exhaust.Send the signal to a computer, which will richen up the mixture enough to keep the CC "fed".Only carbs couldn't adequately respond to the signals, so Bye Bye Carbs, Hello fuel injection! Only,....theres a problem. (Need ANOTHER pill)This was putting so much 'extra' gas, over and above what the engine needed, that it was causing pre-ignition.So, they put knock sensors, to detect engine knock, (Pre-ignition) and send a signal to the ECU to lean it out, a hair.Still not enough, so the car companies went to the oil companies and said, "You got to make your gasoline less flamable."Now, I will concede that my 1965 Ford 223 has a compression ratio of 8:1, (stock) and that later engines increased the compression ratio.I haven't read anything that clearly spells out WHY the manufacturers increased the compression ratio.Was it to comply with emission controls, by getting more power from a smaller, and therfore lighter engine, and did this have to do with emissions, or the CAFE mileage standards that were also imposed? Oh, yeah, I think I remember. (After awile, its hard to keep track of what all the pills are for!)NOX, (not to be confused with pre-ignition) i.e.nitrous oxide is a result of slow combustion.The higher octane means slower combustion, which produces nitic oxide in the exhaust. So, the system they developed to deal with tailpipe emissions is actually adding a new gas to the mix! So, need another pill.Increase the combustion speed, by increasing the compression ratio. And, (another pill) and EGR valve, to feed a little exhaust into the intake, to lower NOX.
I do know that the oil companies complied, even tho it meant spending 10 million $ per refinery, to 'upgrade' them to produce the higher octane gas.Up until then, (when gas was 75 octane) there were independent gas stations, selling gas .03-.07 cents less than the 'name brands'. These stations bought their gas from independent producers, unaffiliated with the oil companies, who bought oil on the open market, refined it and then with their own tankers distributed it to the stations. When higher octane gas became required, all these independent refineries went out of business, and most of the independent stations, as well. The stations that remain have to buy their gas from the only game in town.Anyway, thats just a side effect of all this.
These older engines, with their lower compression ratios, seem to have no shortage of power.Makes me wonder whether the higher octane gas was to run higher compressions, or vice versa?Is the higher compression yet another pill; to get more power out of "less flamable" gasoline?
Another thing to consider; We all know that gas is made up of many fractions, and that they vaporise at different temps.As the flame kernal spreads, the temp in the combustion chamber rises dramatically, boiling off, (vaporising) and then burning the various fractions. There is a (volume-wise) small portion of gas which only vaporises at the highest temps. Seems to me logical, (could be wrong) the the unburned gas coming out the tailpipe is probably made up of these "heaviest" fractions.And yet, when the ECU puts more gas in, to 'feed' the CC it puts more gas, composed of all fractions, into the combustion chamber, even tho only the heaviest fractions of this 'extra gas' are liable to survive the combustion process, and end up in the exhaust, where they can 'feed' the converter.
This is why I'm doing what the car companies were unable/unwilling to do, going back to square 1, and seeing if I can find another way, the equivalent of 'medical marajiuana'.The problem with PPS, is if theirs enough momentum, and enough resources, (i.e. the car companies had enough $ to continue funding patch after patch, the medical establishment actually makes $ for each of their 'patches') and if the people involved don't have to deal with the negative consequences, their is no incentive, or a dis-incentive to do the difficult, painful thing of saying "even tho we've spent billions trying to make this work, we NEED to go back to square 1."Jim

Last edited by Dutchdivco; 06-17-2009 at 06:08 PM.. Reason: Remembered
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can see where you are coming from and questioning why higher octane came about. There is nothing wrong with that. I would look at race cars that have no emission requirement and are concerned about efficiency for one possible answer. A lot of race cars are trying to squeeze as much power out of a gallon of gas as possible and get it to the tires to do work(as opposed to lost heat and losses out the tailpipe). We look to salt flat cars to learn more about aero for economy and I think we can look at race cars to learn more about squeezing power out of the fuel. Not all race car engine design will concern us because they operate in a small poewr band typically, but there are other tricks to be learned. I am not trying to sway your ideas, this aspect is interesting to me because of my tinkering with E85 to get more economy out of it.

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