Better gas mileage from a big V-8 engine is one of my favorite projects, and I’ve been working on it for over 40 years. In the late ’60s, I got my foot in the door with a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air, complete with a straight six engine and a single-barrel carburetor. I was doing a lot of racing back then, so my gas mileage was only 10–15 miles per gallon, and yes, I did receive my share of fines.
When I first started university, one of my physics tasks was determining how much power would be needed to accelerate an automobile from rest to a predetermined speed over a given distance. The next step is to calculate the force needed to bring the vehicle to a halt from two different starting speeds in the given distances. Because of this task, I now understand the difference between rapid and gradual acceleration and the energy lost during braking. Most of the energy loss can be avoided by carefully accelerating to the desired speed and then letting the automobile coast as much as possible before stopping, with the drag or friction created by the wheels, powertrain, and air resistance being the only remaining sources.
By driving more cautiously, I increased my gas mileage from the low teens to the high twenties. This prompted me to investigate any options that promised greater fuel efficiency. Gas was only twenty to twenty-five cents a gallon in the early sixties.
An intensifier for sparks was the first tool I attempted. Attached to the middle post of the distributor, it amplified the spark at each spark plug. There was a gain of one or two miles per gallon, but it could have been because I was driving more cautiously. I dumped the Intensifier anyway.
Several other methods were also tested, including enhanced airflow filters, oil additives, and remarkable fuel filters. Finally, there came a promising Oil Additive, and it was STP. It did help me get a few more miles per gallon. I used it in my 1972 AMC Hornet with a 304 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor. What a rush it would be to drive that car. At 210,000 miles, I disassembled the engine and found the original cross hatch honing on the cylinder walls, with no top cylinder ridge to obscure it. The STP drastically decreased the cylinders’ friction, resulting in almost minor wear. None of the cylinders deviated more than 0.003 of an inch from their nominal dimensions. That in and of itself is shocking to me.
I developed my apparatus in the mid-1970s. It was that easy. A person only needs elementary mechanical skills could construct one. It was affixed to the underside of the carburetor and comprised two layers of aluminum screen wire separated by three gaskets. To better atomize the gas/air combination entering the intake manifold, the gas would strike the screen wires as it passed through the carburetor. More power and improved fuel economy would result from the more efficient fuel burning in the presence of this atomized gas/air mixture entering the combustion chamber. My 1972 Hornet’s gas mileage increased by roughly 18%. Later, I installed it on a 1979 Plymouth Van carrying 15 people, with a 3/4 ton, 360 cu. In. Engine and a massive 4-barrel carburetor. I averaged 10 to 12 mpg on the interstate with two adults and seven children in the car. With the same load, I increased my highway MPG from 13 to 15 after inserting the screen wiring gadget. My MPG improved by almost 25% as a result of this.
My original carburetor design dates back to the 1980s. Based on my estimations, it should achieve more significant than 100 mpg. Since I am not independently rich, I had to find backers for my idea. Investors told me about a guy a few miles away who built a carburetor that increased fuel economy for a V-8 engine to more than 150 miles per gallon. I contacted Stan, who suggested we get together to share our thoughts. On the highway, his 1974 Chevy with a 305 V-8 engine achieved an average of 156 miles per gallon. While our approaches to the design were unique, the underlying premise was the same. We discussed teaming up for a while but ultimately came to no conclusions. I reached out to some other prospective investors and got great feedback from them afterward. A couple of weeks later, I returned to Stan’s house to discuss the enthusiastic reaction from investors and the prospect of a business collaboration, but no one was present. The home and garage were deserted. My best guess is that a significant oil corporation bought him out and promptly moved him and his family. I was so shaken that I filed away my plans for a carburetor that would vaporize hot fuel.
It wasn’t until I came upon a Hydrogen Generator system early in 2008 that I actively pursued increasing my gas economy again. After looking into multiple designs of Hydrogen Generators, I can say that they all have solid histories and promising futures. My motto is “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” or KISS. Therefore, I opted for a system that was both simple to construct and highly reliable in practice.
The concept is straightforward: two electrodes are immersed in a baking soda and water solution. When the key is turned, a 12-volt power source flows through a series of connections from each cell’s electrode. Hydrogen and oxygen are created in the cells via electrolysis and fed into the intake manifold. The chamber where the fuel (gas) is introduced receives air rich in hydrogen and oxygen. Combustion chamber efficiency is increased when hydrogen, oxygen, and gas are all combined. The increased power output from this more efficient combustion translates to more excellent fuel economy.
I upgraded my 2003 Grand Marque’s 4.6-liter V-8 engine with two Hydrogen fuel cells. The vehicle’s highway MPG dropped from 19 to 18 before the modification. On the interstate, I was getting 28-29 MPG after the words. The improvement in fuel efficiency is more significant than 50%. Thanks to the hydrogen cells, I am getting over 120 more miles per gas tank.
Remember, I justify my MPG with highway driving, so keep that in mind. This is because of a particular factor. Around town, your gas mileage won’t change much, no matter what you do. Because of all the starting and stopping, gas mileage will always be significantly worse than when traveling on the interstate. Consistently testing your MPG requires extended sections of highway or country road at a constant speed.
I had a minor issue with the on-board ECU (Engine Control Unit). After obtaining fantastic gas mileage for a few hours, it suddenly dropped to the normal range of 18–19 MPG. It was revealed that the O2 sensors gave falsely high temperatures to the ECU, indicating excessive oxygen levels. Therefore, the ECU reset to the factory-set air-to-gas ratio of 14.7 to 1 to correct the erroneous reading. I did some additional reading and discovered an easy solution. Wrapping the O2 sensors in multiple layers of aluminum foil would increase their temperature tolerance and trick the ECU into thinking that the increased temperature is average. The ship’s computer would be tricked into thinking the gas mixture was vibrant, prompting it to reduce the fuel used. This would result in the improved fuel economy you’d hoped for.
I have done this, and the outcomes I have seen so far. If you want to improve your gas mileage and lessen your impact on the planet, I hope this article has given you some ideas to explore. Keep your car in good working order by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, adding an oil additive (like STP or Slick 50), lubing the wheel bearings once a year, and maintaining the correct tire pressure (I keep my tire pressure 3-4 pounds above the recommended tire pressure, this also improves MPG). You may also lobby for reduced gas costs and domestic oil exploration and drilling by contacting your U.S. legislators. It would be better for everyone if the United States exported oil rather than importing it.
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