Does a 50% to 100% increase in fuel economy seem far-fetched and out of reach to you? It did to me, until I learned some techniques that allow you to squeeze that much more out of every car. Sure, you might have an awesome kick-butt HHO system. But if you realize how HHO is really doing it's job, by molecularly pre-treating the fuel for better combustion, you begin to wonder what else we could be doing to improve the process further.
Pre-Treatment of Fuel With Hydroxy
The most important thing is to realize how the HHO is working. Many people skip over the thought of HHO pre-treating fuel and instead think it's only contributing to the burn directly. However, the HHO that is being directly burned in your engine is doing relatively nothing to increase efficiency by itself, alone.
Think of a big, roaring bonfire. Picture taking some lighter fluid (accelerant), pouring it into a small 16oz container, and throwing it into the fire. What would happen? A bright, quick flash. The fire might gain a small intensity in the area in which you threw the lighter fluid, but it would be brief and unsubstantial to the overall fire.
Your engine is ingesting thousands of liters of air per minute. It's like the roaring bonfire. With even a 5 LPM cell you are injecting just a tiny fraction of HHO per the displacement of the engine. Most of us are running 1-2 LPM, making it an even less substantial amount. How are we able to see such a noticeable difference in performance and emissions with such a tiny amount of hydroxy gas being injected in relation to the air? We are molecularly treating the fuel with it. On the molecular level, a little goes a very long way.
So, when you think of the HHO in this way you begin to see it as more a process of pre-treating the fuel, not modifying the burn on a large scale directly. That's not to say we don't modify the burn, because we do, but only after the fuel has been pre-treated molecularly to suit vaporizing easier and faster.
Hydroxy systems are a great step towards the pre-treatment of the fuel, but you can do some other things to help too. It seems the oil companies are always touting new improved formulas for gasoline, for cleaner engines and blah blah blah. What they actually seem to be doing is making gasoline more complex in it's molecular structure. Why would they be doing this? Because a more complex molecule is harder to break down and fully vaporize. If it's more difficult for your engine to vaporize then you'll use more, and buy more. Now they wouldn't change anything dramatically, but when you realize that even a 3% negative change in fuel economy amoungst the general population adds up to billions in profits for the oil companies it's easy to see their motivation.
What can we do besides adding hydroxy to ensure more fuel is fully vaporized on the intake stroke and not too late in the combustion cycle to provide maximum delivery of the energy payload? Here are some ideas. It is always in your best interest to employ as many of these methods as you can together with hydroxy. Hydroxy serves as a means to treat the fuel and accelerate the burn of the broken down and processed gasoline. If you don't pre-process your gasoline, you're missing out on much greater efficiency potential, and fuel economy gains with your system.
You are already molecularly treating the fuel with hydroxy, but you can use additives in your tank to pre-treat the fuel long before it ever gets to the engine or the hydroxy. Xylene and 100% pure Acetone are a powerful combination to aid in this process. Xylene helps to break down the covalent bonds of the molecules and acetone helps ease the surface tension of them to vaporize easier. Exactly how much to add is a matter of trial and error. There is such thing as too much, so you'll have to experiment with different ratios and make it cost effective as well. I've also had good results with Lucas Oil Upper Cylinder Lubricant fuel treatment, so you may want to try that in conjunction with your HOD system too.
Pre-Heating the Fuel
If you've chemically treated the fuel it's well on it's way to vaporizing easier and faster, but it should be obvious to anyone that to vaporize anything you need heat. Most cars have a fuel injector rail that takes engine block heat and directs it to the fuel via the manifold to the injector rail. That's good, but the fuel is through the rail in a matter of seconds. A longer exposure time to such heat would be beneficial to the complete vaporization of the fuel. In southern climates where it gets hot you cannot add too much more heat or you'll run into vapor lock, as the fuel begins to vaporize in the fuel line itself before the injectors.
Still, you can add temperatures up to 300 degrees F and get much better performance out of your fuel. How can you do this safely and easily? Build a fuel line to coolant hose heat exchanger or manifold. Sounds complicated, but it's actually very simple. Go to your local hardware store and pick up a length of threaded heat conductive pipe (copper or brass works well) that's close in width to the existing I.D. of your fuel line. I used 1/4" copper.
Pick up some hose barbs that will screw onto the inlets and outlets of the manifold you create, and make yourself a properly shaped heating manifold that can be attached or installed against the surface of your coolant hoses. Seal everything well with the proper plumbing supplies, then intercept your fuel line before the injector rail and instead send it to your new heat exchanger, then to the injector rail. Use high temp, high pressure fuel injection hose only, and clamp all connections firmly to avoid any leaks or fire hazard. Put the heat exchanger in snug with your coolant hoses, and zip tie it in place. Insulate the heat exchanger by wrapping in aluminum foil, then header wrap to seal in the waste heat you catch. The heat will bring the elements of the gasoline closer to their vapor point before injection, insuring more complete vaporization and combustion earlier in the combustion cycle.
PMA is an acronym for Particulate Matter Aggregation. It sounds very complicated but the theory behind it is very simple. I will illustrate by telling you to picture a busy 5 lane freeway, jam packed with slow moving traffic. Now picture that freeway again, but this time half of the drivers on the freeway have decided to car pool together, effectively putting less cars on the road. The traffic has thinned out but carries the same amount of people, and the freeway traffic moves freely. PMA is an experimental technology aimed at doing the same thing, but with particulate matter. (the molecules the fuel is made up of) The molecules in any binary suspension fluid, such as fuel, form large clusters that are often in disarray. They are twisted, contorted, and piled up like heavy freeway traffic.
With the molecule clusters bouncing off of each other and crashing into one another, this causes another type of bond that is counter productive to our goal of vaporizing the fuel. Surface tension. Surface tension raises the vapor point of fluids, and since our goal is to lower the vapor point of the gasoline, it would be in our best interest to ease the surface tension. How? Through the use of a strong magnetic field to organize and align the orbital electrons of the particulate matter. This creates our "carpooling" like effect with the molecular clusters and lowers the surface tension while lowering the vapor point as well.
There is still a large amount of scientific debate as to whether or not magnetic fields can effect the surface tension of fluids, but there is increasing evidence that it does indeed work, when implemented correctly. You've probably seen many "fuel magnets" aimed at this exact task, and many studies claiming the theory as bogus and a scam. The theory actually makes sense, but often in real world testing the products don't deliver as claimed. Why? Think about when you installed your HHO system. You may have felt or seen an immediate change in your vehicles performance, yet your fuel economy probably dropped or stayed the same. This is partly because of the ECU and the emissions system. Anything you do to improve the combustion will decrease the pollution and increase the oxygen level in the exhaust. The emissions system defeats all increases in oxygen by adding more fuel, so any product you would use to increase your economy substantially will be effectively nullified. Also, if you put any magnetic device on a regular car without hydroxy and suitable ECU tuning controls it's very difficult to capitalize on the PMA benefit these devices offer. Reformed fuel by itself burns at a slower rate and can actually inhibit efficiency in combustion without hydroxy.
This could be why there's spotty testimonials on the net of magnets working well or poor for economy, just like there's spotty testimonials of HHO working well or poor for economy. Another reason is often the fuel lines on the vehicle are metal and disperse any magnetic flux away from the fuel, and defeat the technology. The best place to install any magnetic device would be on non-conductive rubber or plastic hose right before the injectors, and many cars don't utilize such a thing. Of course, that didn't stop me from modifying mine to make that possible. I use a pulsed electromagnetic field for PMA, but some people use permanent magnets from hard drives to achieve the same effect.
If you have ever used an electric drill or electric motor and smelled a "copperish", almost metallic smell suspended in the air you were smelling ozone. The ozone was being created in the presence of the strong electrical fields within the motor. Ozone is a very powerful oxidizer. While oxygen in the air is of diatomic form (O2) ozone is O3 or O4. Ozone is very unstable and will eventually revert back to ambient air if it doesn't react with something first, which it very badly "wants" to do. By injecting ozone just like hydroxy we can effectively treat an even higher volume of fuel molecularly and raise the octane level even more.
Ozone must be made on demand, since it reverts back to regular oxygen if stored for any lengthy amount of time. On any vehicle with a distributor cap for the ignition system, ozone is created within the distributor cap each time a spark jumps from the rotor to the points. There is often a vent on distributor caps that sends the ozone out to the ambient air as waste, but you can tap this vent and send it to your intake instead to utilize the power of ozone.
If your car has ignition coil packs instead of a distributor, you can buy a small 12v ozone generator and install it in a similar way to your HHO system. The current draw from these generators is very small, and the effects of ozone on fuel treatment more than make up for the electrical load the device creates.
If you've reformed the fuel, using additives, heat exchangers, PMA, and ozone you've done quite a bit to improve the efficiency of your engine. With proper tuning you might be able to take your AFR (air to fuel ratio) from the normal wasteful 14.7:1 ratio to as high as 18:1 or even 20:1! However, when you begin to lean out the fuel trims of your vehicle there is one major item that stands in the way of being able to run higher AFRs with no loss in performance, and that is your ignition system.
Lean out the trim as much as you like, but a weak or stock ignition system will not be able to fully ignite a leaner fuel mixture because it simply was not designed for it. Normally there's an over-abundance of liquid droplets in the combustion chamber to ignite. Now, with the fuel being spread out and more dispersed the spark kernel must be extra powerful and potent to ignite it evenly and without misfires.
Start with improvements at your ignition coil if you can. On older cars you can put a large capacitor on the input of the coil, effectively providing a large reservoir of electrical energy the coil can tap for increased performance. The coil itself can also be upgraded for a higher output.
Next, change your ignition wires over to near zero resistance wires, such as MPG Plus. There are others out there as well such as Kiker Performance. Some have additional coil packs or other things that increase the delivery of the ignition coil voltage to the spark plug, and that is what you are looking for, the highest efficiency.
Finally, your spark plugs themselves. Based on my experience and training I advise you to stay away from most Bosch products and known gimmicky plugs such as the Splitfire or multiple electrode configuration plugs that cost a lot but don't offer much more in performance. Platinum and Iridium plugs offer long service life but poor performance, so stay away from those as well.
What should you buy? My first recommendation is Brisk LGS racing plugs, which are costly at about $15 a piece, but well worth it for the type of performance they offer with HOD systems. If you look at the plug design you'll notice that the outer electrodes extend toward the middle but do not in any way obstruct the center electrode, meaning the spark kernel can propagate freely 360 degrees in all directions. This is very important for the making sure we take full advantage of what we have done to the fuel. I've heard good things about Halo plugs as well, and there are mixed reviews on a new plug with a capacitor built in called a Pulstar. The Pulstar is supposedly as close to high intensity plasma ignition as you can get without any exotic modules or modifications. Simply install the plug and the capacitor built in increases the intensity of the spark by hundreds of times. The poor reviews are usually from people that have installed the Pulstar plugs on a regular vehicle with no other mods, so they are not fully taking advantage of the plug's abilities with ECU tuning and therefore consider it to be a scam. Hydroxy experimenters would probably see them in a different light.
Getting Past The Gate Keeper-ECU tuning
None of the above techniques above will usually net any gains in economy if this last but very important step is not taken. It's because the emissions systems on todays cars are targeting oxygen content as an enemy, not pollutants in the exhaust, that our technology to improve the combustion process will not work without extensive modification. How well you pre-treat your fuel with the above techniques to vaporize completely in a shorter window of time determines how much less fuel you need to supply the same power and performance as normal, unmodified fuel. Often, if you effectively use the above techniques together you can very easily achieve a 50% or better increase in economy or much more.
Once you've prepared your fuel and ignition it's all about the tuning. Pre-treated fuel will burn faster and easier then non-treated fuel. Hence, in most cases ignition timing retard is needed to compensate. On most cars the MAP/MAF and IAT sensors control the ignition timing. For "backdoor" sensor stream modifications this is what you need to attack. IATs should be tuned to shower higher temps then actual.
MAP/MAFs should be tuned for less load to help extend lean limits but also for maximum power. Think of the MAP/MAF as a coarse tuning control for the ignition timing, and the IAT as a fine tuning control. Less load shown on the MAP/MAFs will advance ignition timing, while higher temps shown on the IAT will retard ignition timing. The goal is to find the perfect balance between the two.
We also don't need as much overall fuel quantity to get the same performance, so you'll need to slow the injector pulses by leaning with an upstream o2 sensor EFIE and the MAP/MAF. Downstreams should be addressed by raising the voltage stream 250-500mV at all times. An easy way to do this is to solder a 1-5 ohm resistor in series with the ground wire of the rear o2 sensor(s).
I have not yet tried a plug and play solution such as the Volo FS2 HHO edition. It is likely though, that the module will not be able to tune a dynamic fuel treatment system with all the bells and whistles to it's full potential, simply because of limitations in the adaptive computing technologies of the module. For great tuning advice consult the "Tuning for mileage" and "Sensor mods" articles in the documents section of this forum, or feel free to ask me questions if you need my assistance.
There is now also a new ECU re-flashing device called the MIT system, or Mileage Improvement Tuning System. It is much more aggressive then the Volo FS2 and promises a 50% or better increase in economy. It is done with a computer and a combination of hardware and VIN specific software uploaded to the factory ECU. Cost for the VIN software is $89. Then you need someone with the MITS setup or you can buy one yourself for about $700 if you plan to do installs on other vehicles.