Performance and Economy
I once enjoyed a 1970 Duster. It hauled my then fiancé (now wife) and I around without problems. I learned about super high fuel economy because of a local fellow that made the front page of the paper named Arthur Sgrignoli. His old Toronado was smoking the front tires so badly you could barely make out that it was a Toronado. The headline read, “This car gets 72 MPG!”
In the article he said that he sold the patent and wasn’t at liberty to disclose details, but that anybody that knew how the internal combustion engine worked, and knew how the carburetor was supposed to work could duplicate his results; although the hardware would most likely look different. Bugs Bunny walks up to Elmer Fudd, takes off his left glove, and with his right hand slaps it across Elmer’s face. This Arthur Sgrignoli challenged me. After all, I was a mechanic. I knew how engines work. I knew how carburetors work…or so I thought.
Still, the magic formula eluded me. I began searching encyclopedias under gasoline, internal combustion engine, petroleum, and anything suggested in the reading. I began to better understand how the engine actually works, and how gasoline actually produces power therein. The obvious answer was, “Liquid fuel doesn’t burn. Only the fuel that is completely vaporized and intimately homogenized with the air will burn and produce power. The rest goes out the tailpipe as pollution.”
So the secret was to vaporize the fuel. Ahah! I can do that. So I proceeded to build several prototype fuel systems, most of which didn’t work. I eventually built one that got 60 mpg, but had no power whatsoever. I actually built one that got 92.8 mpg, but again, no power. I was the only one that could drive the car when running on vapor. There were switches, levers, gauges, stuff that would make an airline pilot nervous.
Normal street trim involved an electronic ignition conversion with an MSD box, OD 4-speed out of a ’75 Dart Sport, and a screen under the L-6 2-bbl carburetor. At first, I thought the screen should just be flat. Then somebody showed me a trick. Take a piece of the screen and something aerosol like Brakleen. Spray the Brakl.een directly at the screen. As you do, you will see the spray come out of the can and go past the screen. Slowly angle the screen away from the can. At just the precise angle the spray will disappear from behind the screen. At this precise angle, the screen will mostly vaporize the Brakleen as it passes through.
Well, the flat screen was getting me 23 mpg and reasonable power from the Leaning Tower of Power. By duplicating that angle with the screen, mileage jumped to a best of 29.8, with consistent numbers above 27. For me, this was impressive since the dang car actually had reasonable power, unlike the vapor experiments.
|I found a gizmo called the Power Plate on the Internet and bought one. It was a 1” aluminum spacer that had coolant jackets to heat it up. Under the throttle plates were tapered cones that had 20 pitch screw threads turned into them. Installation required longer bolts and studs, but otherwise was straight forward. Tee into the heater hoses and the Power Plate had heat. It even came with necessary gaskets.
My wife (upgraded from fiancé) and I went on a long trip the day of the installation. The Power Plate indeed added a significant amount of power. Near home I stopped and filled the tank. This tank yielded 34 mpg! Part of the tank was before the PP installation, and I was romping on it enjoying the newfound power. Incredible! I had to do a mileage run. This controlled mileage run gave me 44.7 mpg! WOW! Both mileage AND power!
Here’s how it worked: The engine coolant heated the cones up to 180 degrees or so. The tapered cones accelerated the air/fuel charge as it passed through, increasing velocity. The threads in the cones increased boundary layer turbulence, increased the heated surface area, and a few other things to better vaporize the fuel. I was sold, no doubt.
Well, the last of the Power Plates have been melted down for scrap metal. Not enough carbureted engines around to justify an inventory, and sales just about went away. Most of today’s engines are multi-port fuel injected. The Power Plate would do nothing for them. Still, I spent 3 years trying to figure out a way to apply this same amazing principle to our modern PFI engines.
Now I’m not going to claim that I’m super genius or anything, but persistence paid off and I eventually found a way. An example is an ’89 LeBaron coupe. Factory 2.5 Turbo, 152 HP, automatic transmission, with mileage running 23 city and 27 highway. The owner of this car bolted on my modified cylinder head and manifolds, along with a bigger turbo, bigger injectors, big intercooler, a custom computer, and a couple other upgrades. Power went through the roof, from stock 152 HP to an amazing 400 HP! Hey, throw enough money at something and anything is possible, right? Well here’s the kicker. Mileage went from 23/27 to 35/42! That’s right, over double the horsepower yet with a 50% boost in mileage!
|I call the new process Powre Lynz. Taking the Power Plate and putting it between the fuel source and the combustion chamber, right in the cylinder head; instead of bolting something to the engine, though, I grind screw threads right into the intake ports. I had a machine shop make me up a set of special tools that fit in my die grinder. They have a ¼” shank, and a head that looks somewhat like a tap. But unlike a tap, the threads are concentric, not spiraled. I have 3 such tools: one has the 20 pitch threads, a second one has 16 pitch threads, and the third one incorporates 12 pitch threads.|
|For about 2 years I used a 20 pitch tool only. The LeBaron uses 20 pitch Powre Lynz. The problem seemed to be that at low throttle positions, when the air/fuel charge was moving rather slowly, the Powre Lynz worked marvelously. As the port velocity increased, the effectiveness diminished. I got to thinking about rumble strips. Picture the ones in a parking lot, which are spaced close together. When you drive over them at 25 mph or so, they get your attention. If you were to drive over them at 70 mph, you’d barely even notice they were there. In contrast, picture the rumble strips along the highway. At 25 mph they give you a favoomp favoomp favoomp. But at highway speeds, they can jolt your kidneys.|
|I figured out that at the higher port velocities, the 20 pitch Powre Lynz just weren’t making an impact. That’s why I designed the 16 and 12 pitch versions. Strategically placed, the different pitches can cover the entire range of normal engine operation. This extends the beneficial range of the Lynz to improve power and economy even at the higher revs.
The nice part is that this process can be applied to TBI and carbureted engines as well. By adding the Powre Lynz to not just the cylinder head, but the intake ports also, fuel is better vaporized. An added bonus with the carb and TBI engines is that the air has more time to better homogenize with the vaporized fuel, yielding even more power and better fuel efficiency.
A few people have used a Dremel tool with the cut-off wheel to carve their own Powre Lynz. Even if you won’t get it perfect, the improvements are certainly noticeable. If there is enough interest, I will have an entire batch of Powre Lynz tools made up for retail sale. The price isn’t cheap, as these are one-off pieces, but the results are staggering.
Note: Allpar, LLC has not tested this and does not endorse any process or product.
|Mike Holler, known on Allpar forums as mpgmike, also contributes to mpgResearch.com. He has contributed many columns to Allpar:|
|Interiors||Budget interior restoration: making the inside of your car look like new again
Red carpet treatment: Installing new carpet in an old car
|Porting||Porting heads for performance: step by step
Head porting example, part 1 | part 2
Intake manifold porting
Exhaust manifold porting (turbo)
Poly Quad heads: porting revisited
|Turbochargers||Turbochargers - all you need to know (interview)
Turbocharging the slant six for power and economy • Revisiting the turbocharged slant six
Budget turbocharger rebuilding (and Turbo Rebirth)
Installing a boost gauge
|Other||Powder-coating for a brilliant, durable finish
Custom pistons: roll your own!
Prepping valves for performance: grinding and polishing
Old cars: an opinion
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