.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, May 31, 2013


Dart update: Oil drain line

Miller electric has a trade show booth that gives you the idea that any idiot can weld. Here's what happens when any idiot tries.

Oh well - at least I didn't burn through the oil pan. I had just taken off the oil pan to add a mounting bung for an AN line (just a cheapie I bought off eBay) to let the oil drain back into the pan instead of a tapped hole in the block.

Pulling the oil pan was a bit of a pain, mostly because of a stubborn center link. Broke the idler arm trying to get it off. At least those still are available new - and not that expensive, either.

Here's another Dart work in progress picture showing the bracket I made, holding up the turbo. The welds on that one aren't quite as bad.

Monday, July 05, 2010


The latest in money wasting useless products for your car

I had a link spammer stop by my blog recently trying to promote an amusing bit of pseudoscience. (There, I've given their link a more appropriate title.) The commenter asked if I could post some relevant info on it. Naturally, I'd be glad to.

Called the "AG Power Fuel Saver," this device attaches to the negative terminal of the battery, where it apparently, well, does nothing. The reason I say that is that it's made of nonconductive materials, according to their FAQ - so there's not much electrically it could do, and there's definitely nothing non-electrical it can do. They claim to have done mileage testing with it using an IM240 test - an emissions test that doesn't report anything about fuel mileage. It's interesting to see a bogus gas saver where its promoters don't even try to come up with a plausible reason why it could work.

What's even more interesting was that this isn't the first money waster of its type I've seen. I ran across a report where the EPA tested a nearly identical device (except it did have a few conductive parts) called the Fuel Maximiser. You probably won't be surprised to hear that the Fuel Maximiser didn't do anything either.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The long overdue fake hydrogen booster theories

A while ago, I blogged about hydrogen booster theories, creating a list of all the claims I've seen put forward by proponents of hydrogen boosters - then adding three claims I've made up out of whole cloth, and challenging readers to guess which ones I'd made up. I can't think of a sound theoretical reason why using the car's electrical system to power a hydrogen generator and feeding the resulting gas into the car's intake should improve mileage. But proponents have no shortage of unsound theories. From the reactions I had from readers, it seems it's pretty hard to distinguish their theories from patent nonsense. Here's the fake theories.

"6. The hydrogen and oxygen react with decane in the fuel, causing it to split into ethanol and iso-octane."

This was an effort to think like a scammer, making up a claim that tied into real research on flex-fuel cars (in truth, ethanol tends to hurt gas mileage). You can write a balanced chemical reaction based on that line. But I can't think of a good reason why this reaction would actually happen.

"3. The flow rate should be proportional to the engine size and RPM. To find the best flow rate in liters per minute, take the engine size, multiply by the RPM, and divide by 2."

For some reason, hydrogen generator proponents seldom try to size the generator to the engine. This line would also result in a far larger hydrogen generator than any I've seen tried on a car. On the other hand, if you feed an engine that much hydrogen, it'll definitely get some sort of results...

"8. Because hydrogen causes the air / fuel mixture to implode, the engine needs very different valve timing. The cam should be replaced by one with a much longer intake opening and a far shorter exhaust opening, and overlap absolutely must be cut to zero."

Believe it or not, I didn't make up the implosion theories. These theories also seem to be tied to orgone, although trying to figure out what orgone even is can give you a headache in a hurry. However, I haven't seen anyone try to make internal modifications to the engine to get better results with the hydrogen generator. Logically, changes to the fuel should call for changes in things like cam timing or compression ratio, but you don't see anyone trying it.


Sunday, May 02, 2010


Forming a support group

Believe it or not, I've actually been getting more work done on the Dart recently than on this blog. Several of my co-workers also have unfinished project cars (it's practically a requirement to get hired in the technical department...) and so we've been setting aside a couple days each month where we stay after work and help each other out with our cars. I've finished a manual steering swap on the Dart, got the turbo support bracket 100% complete, and now I'm working on some final details of the radiator and intercooler setup. Having buddies help work on your car can provide a lot more than just extra pairs of hands. You also get new ideas, and just as importantly, a lot of encouragement whenever you start feeling in over your head.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010


What I've been up to

I haven't had much time to update this blog lately, or work on the Dart. But here's what I have been working on. I think you'll find it interesting.

MegaManiac - Drag Pack Challenger

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Not much time to work on the Dart this week, but I did pick up a few items...

Picked up one of Summit's extra long battery relocation cable kits, a Moroso battery cutoff switch, and an Optima Red Top battery this week. I'll see if I can get these in soon.

My plan is to run the 2-gauge wire forward to a bulkhead fitting on the firewall, then connect that to the starter and the alternator. I'll run two more 10 or 8 gauge wires from the battery to the front of the car, one for the EFI and ignition, and one for everything else. There will (at some point) be a cut off switch in the EFI / ignition wire to meet NHRA requirements.

Speaking of NHRA requirements, I probably need to order their rule book - I've got a feeling that a weird homebrew setup like what's under the Dart's hood might get looked at a bit more closely than normal when going through tech inspection.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Spot the fake hydrogen booster theories!

Call them hydrogen boosters, HHO systems, Brown's Gas, or what you will, these things seem to be on the way out. Maybe it's been all the debunkings (some of which I've blogged about before), or maybe it's been the Ozzy Freedom types have moved on to other schemes. At least, I haven't run across as many discussions of these things recently. The way it's going, in another ten years, the hydrogen booster fans will be hanging out with the vapor carburetor crowd and commiserating over a few beers about how the government / auto industry / petroleum industry / Bavarian Illuminati have conspired to kill their technology of choice.

So, while these ideas are still getting kicked around, I thought I'd try gathering all the hydrogen booster theories in one place, as well as all the claims about how to tune the system. My first plan was to put that side by side with the theory that most of the claimed improvements are the results of bad experimentation, but where's the fun in that? Instead, I'm going to try something a little different - I'll post the theories without comment, although I will attempt to fill in gaps on occasion when a theory seemed incomplete. However, three of the items on these list are fake - theories or tuning methods that I've made up out of whole cloth. All the others are genuine claims that advocates of hydrogen booster systems have used to explain why it should work or how you should tune the engine after installing it.

Theories of operation:
  1. The engine burns fuel to drive the alternator to power a hydrogen generator that makes more fuel to be burnt in the engine. Appears to be the oldest theory.
  2. The hydrogen generator doesn't create additional drag on the alternator because it is only taking up unused current that the alternator would be putting out anyway.
  3. The hydrogen isn't extra fuel so much as a combustion enhancer that speeds up the burn rate and increases knock resistance.
  4. It's not really the hydrogen that makes a difference, as much as that the generator also collects a mysterious sort of energy known as "orgone" that it feeds into the engine.
  5. The hydrogen generator produces monoatomic hydrogen - that is, the hydrogen atoms are all separate, instead of stuck together in pairs as in normal hydrogen. This is much more reactive, although somewhat tricky to keep it from reacting with other things (aluminum, plastic, oxygen, or even itself).
  6. The hydrogen and oxygen react with decane in the fuel, causing it to split into ethanol and iso-octane.
  7. The hydrogen doesn't burn or react with the gasoline, but instead reacts with a different gas in the air to produce a chemical that has an effect on combustion. What gas it reacts with was not specified, but presumably it would be reacting with nitrogen to form ammonia.
  8. There is an extra electron on each hydrogen molecule, forming an electric current from the hydrogen generator to the combustion chamber.
  9. Adding hydrogen to the air / fuel mixture causes it to implode instead of explode.
Tuning theories:
  1. A steady flow rate of 1 liter of hydrogen and oxygen per minute is best.
  2. A steady flow rate of 100 liters of hydrogen and oxygen per minute is best.
  3. The flow rate should be proportional to the engine size and RPM. To find the best flow rate in liters per minute, take the engine size, multiply by the RPM, and divide by 2.
  4. Because hydrogen speeds up the burn rate dramatically, timing should be retarded to a fixed timing rate in the vicinity of 10 to 12 degrees after top dead center.
  5. Because hydrogen causes the air / fuel mixture to implode, timing should be advanced to somewhere around 70 to 90 degrees before top dead center.
  6. Because hydrogen increase knock resistance, timing should be advanced 5 to 10 degrees ahead of the standard timing curve.
  7. The air/fuel mixture should be leaned out to somewhere between 16:1 and 20:1.
  8. Because hydrogen causes the air / fuel mixture to implode, the engine needs very different valve timing. The cam should be replaced by one with a much longer intake opening and a far shorter exhaust opening, and overlap absolutely must be cut to zero.
Now... can you spot the fake entries? This can be something of a challenge, as I'm not asking you to figure out which of these theories is false or which of these tuning approaches does not work. Instead, you'll need to figure out which three of the entries are not actual theories or tuning approaches used by somebody advocating hydrogen booster systems. I'll post answers after New Year's Day, or sooner if somebody correctly identifies all three.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?