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Old 11-04-2014, 12:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Snake oil or real deal? Phoenix Fuel Converter

Chip Foose is not known to be the kind of guy to throw his weight behind these questionable devices, but in looking at the site there is a distinct lack of science/facts about the operation of this thing...

Phoenix Fuel Converter [admin edit: Google it or go to fuelconverter dot com]

Anyone heard about this thing?

Last edited by MetroMPG; 11-09-2014 at 04:53 PM.. Reason: (removed live link)
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With the quick and easy installation of a Phoenix Fuel Converter, you can expect to see fuel savings of 15% up to 20%
That is a large increase and it is supposed to improve performance, too. This would make a larger difference than any modifications that most of us will ever make to the same vehicle.

“Will work on any fuel injected , water cooled engine.”

Not for sale in California. Awaiting California A.R.B. approval
The Phoenix Fuel Converter is a coolant to catalyst heat exchanger. The process is designed so when large hydro carbon chains come in direct contact with the heated catalyst, the covalent bonds are broken or at least weakened, making smaller hydro carbon chains that will vaporize and burn easier in the combustion chamber and produce more power with less fuel. This allows for better fuel efficiency, engine power, and reduces emissions on every engine it is installed on.
I think this is the page that we want to see:
Test Data - Fuel Converter

For the test engine we used the Caterpillar C-15. A 15 liter diesel engine rated at 455 horse power.
Most notably, the particulate matter (PM) was reduced by over 21%. Furthermore, the fuel efficiency increased by 11.38%. Other independent lab tests and customer tests conducted on over the road large diesel trucks and gasoline cars show fuel efficiency gains of 14-17%.
There are tables and stuff showing other tests, oh, here is an important detail:

CFT Fuel Catalyst requires a month of running to reach its full potential.
None of these tests lasted anywhere near this long, they show a table with improvement over ten weeks, but it does not specify those are actual numbers, projections, or just wishful thinking.

There is a table showing a Mack dump truck with A-A-A-A-B-B-B-B testing (four days of each), supposedly improving 29%.

I do not know if just the emissions are supposed to continue improving or the fuel economy as well, the Mack truck looks like it continues to improve overall, but the economy varies wildly before and after. If it worked that well, I do not know why they would stop testing. If nothing else, I would think the owner would ask "Can I purchase that off of you? I will report the numbers every day!"

I really want more data points, but I think that explaining what catalyzes fuel is more important.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So... it is a fuel preheater.

I don't see how a catalyst could do anything here as there is no reaction to catalyze before the fuel comes into contact with the air.
I doubt any bonds in the hydrocarbon chains will get broken. They will be weakened a tiny bit though - but that is due to heating the fuel, not any catalyst.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Eh, I'm not sold. But then again, I'm no expert either...

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Old 11-04-2014, 05:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For between $700 and $1,000 that thing better boost my MPG to 70. That price tag is quite a big pill to swallow and cost recovery is quite a long time out...

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Old 11-04-2014, 05:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That webpage has all the classic markings of a snake oil pitch. Lots of claims, light on details. It does have some testing data, but not for gasoline engines.

Chip Foose is a smart guy with a great vision for designing cars. He's a very accomplished artist. However, he is not an engineer and not a chemist. I certainly wouldn't buy it because of his claims. I wouldn't mind some of his wheels though.

On the other hand, the basis of how the device works appears feasible, unlike most snake oils. I wouldn't immediately throw it in the Unicorn Corral....

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Old 11-04-2014, 05:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How did chip foose get involved in this?

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Old 11-05-2014, 11:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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they did post a link to their independent 3rd party "science" here:


I looked through the Intertek report. a couple of things stand out:
1.) Its unclear if the fuel that was run through the chromatographic tests was passed through the catalyst multiple times or just once as would happen in a real world application. This is not specifically called out in the test data.
2.) It is hard to determine which pass is the control and which one(s) are the test(s). I am assuming "Stock Sample" listed at the end of the report is supposed to be the control?
3.) The Research Octane Numbers and their Contributions to Total do not match up in any of the tests. They look to be off by +/- a point.
If your catalyst modifies these C13 hydrocarbons, what hydrocarbon does it modify it to? None of the other C1-12 hydrocarbons increase in any of the tests versus what I assume is the control.

Last edited by jdub; 11-05-2014 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cobb View Post
How did chip foose get involved in this?

$imple, they "paid" for his endor$ement.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There is good scientific basis to catalytic cracking of hydrocarbon chains. However, even the most advanced lab tests need on the order of 260 deg C to have a usable reaction rate. Heated coolant is only going to be around 100 deg C and below.

There is another form of fuel modification where the catalyst is introduced into the fuel stream. This has been done for decades. However, this would mean the system runs out of the active ingredient at some point.

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