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  • Post 7 Diagnosing Error Codes

    If you haven’t started at the beginning, then you are missing some things in your education. Please go to Post 1 and start there NOW to be sure you get a thorough understanding.

    Diagnosing Error Codes

    By now you know The Gadgetman Groove causes a good amount of changes to a vehicle. Changes that have been known, if you try to move too quickly, to cause the ECU to go bonkers. After applying The Groove, I have seen error codes for the ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), Charging System and (God bless the programmers) even for Suspension System Errors!

    Usually, if you start the conditioning process all over, and take your time this time, the errors won’t be repeated. Since the process clears all existing codes, it also gives the computer time to think about what’s happened and to make better decisions.

    But you just have to take your time and let the process happen just as it’s outlined. In the event you do get a recurring error code, then you probably messed something up. Like leaving a hose off somewhere or not connecting all the sensors. The diagnostic codes will help point you in the right direction.

    http://www.obd-codes.com/ is an excellent resource for the diverse ways error codes can be triggered. Register and use it. You’ll be glad you did!

    Now, to be fair, the codes I listed were really caused by doing too much at once with an engine and not allowing the computer to properly adjust, which is one of the many reasons why I advise my Gadgetmen to “Make your changes small and incremental.” Make a SINGLE change, let the computer adjust and tune itself. Then and ONLY then, make your second change.

    The proper way to go about this process is to first realize it is very much a process. That means it’s not a one-shot solution to the criminal actions of the car manufacturers (to benefit the oil companies and the people investing in them) as they continue stealing billions of dollars every single day from the American People. Maybe we should file charges against them for “Theft by Unlawful Taking.”

    Shell Oil broke the 1,000 mile per gallon barrier in the late 70’s.(Watch the movie “Gashole” for a real education)So why is it now, pound for pound, mile for mile, with the most fuel efficient engines ever devised, our average fuel consumption is HIGHER NOW THAN IT WAS IN THE 70’s?

    I digress. Our job as Gadgetmen is difficult. We must overcome EVERY aspect of their control systems if we are to get every ounce of power out of our fuel. If we do it correctly, then the ECU won’t know what happened and we’ll be cruising at 100+ on every vehicle in the nation. Unfortunately, We, the People have been programmed very well. We have been programmed to trust the Automotive Service Industry that have been trained by the establishment to trust the computer and whatever it says.

    But the computer is a STOOPID beast. It only knows what it’s been told. What we’re doing is telling it that it’s okay to get better mileage. It has been programmed to ensure a certain amount of waste in our vehicles. It is the WASTE we want to eliminate. It is the waste fuel, the stuff the engineers write off as a necessary evil, that we are gaining power from with The Gadgetman Groove.

    On to the diagnostics.

    The most common error codes I see are lean codes. Lean codes indicate too much Oxygen in the exhaust and is almost always caused by vacuum leaks. When you see this, know there is a service issue, usually due to poor maintenance. One loose hose won’t bother the wasteful system, but once The Groove is applied, it will cause the leaks to draw more air, generating this error code.

    Vacuum leaks can occur anywhere there is vacuum. The latest surprise I had was in the 5.7L Dodge Ram. It seems on the underside of the intake manifold there is a pan and a pan gasket that routinely blows. (I found this one showing the blow-by gas in the breather hose. I told him to put his finger over the hose to feel the hot gas coming out. It was SUCKING! Boy, did I feel like a turd!)

    Check all your hoses. Get a hand-held vacuum pump and learn to use it. Don’t short yourself on this vital tool! GET ONE.

    I recommend also performing a simple test on the brake booster, for this is one of the easiest to overlook, and the most difficult to pump down test. Not only is it hard to find, it is quite expensive for the client to have repaired and I will never like giving a client that kind of bad news.

    A simple test for the booster assembly is to start the engine and let it idle. Now, while you’re in the driver’s seat, just watch the tachomoter (or listen to the engine if you don’t have one) and step down on the brake pedal. If you see a change in the idle-up OR down-then you have a problem there.

    But it could just be the one-way valve, too, so replace that first as it’s the cheapest solution and is so easy to do.

    Anyway, here’s what you do when you get error codes.

    1. Pull the codes. The quicker you pull the code, the closer you will be to finding the solution, for many times one error can cause other errors. DON’T TRUST THE COMPUTER!!! (If you don’t have a code reader, then go to your local parts house and ask them to do it for you.)
    2. With the codes in hand you can start your search.
    3. POST ON THE FORUMS! It is only by sharing our problems that we find solutions. Sharing our solutions makes us all grow stronger.

    Lean Codes equal a vacuum leak.

    Period.

    End of discussion.

    No questions asked.

    Now, all you have to do is find it. I use the internet to help me locate them when I’m having trouble. You should too! (All of this is covered in Post 3-Improving Your Vacuum System

    If you have found a code after a system has been running for a while indicating Cat below efficiency or below temp, that is actually a GOOD sign. (I keep an OBD reader in the seat of my Expedition, because this will cause my mileage to drop from 24 to 7 if I don’t clear it!)

    Just think: What keeps the Catalytic Converter hot? Where does that heat come from?

    Burning Fuel! So, if the cat temp drops, remember it is supposed to do that! In fact, if the cat temp does NOT drop, then you haven’t done something right. Go back and do it again. We are testing a new solution for this dastardly system for the ECU is using the cat to create more waste. If it doesn’t have enough work to do, it will force what they call ‘Over-Fueling’.

    I call it “THEFT”.

    We are creating engines that run vastly cleaner, vastly more powerful and vastly more efficient. It is the wasteful systems that keeps us slaves to petrochemical corporations.

    The people who designed these systems are criminals. In fact, our entire world is being run by criminals, whether it be the Government, the Corporations or the Religious Organizations.

    I have decided to take my power back and to help as many as I can to do the same. It is not an easy path, to be sure, but somebody’s got to make the changes possible to lead us to a new era of freedom.

    Welcome to the revolution.

    Please post your comments and your questions, or email me at Gadgetman@ GadgetmanGroove.com and I’ll add it in!

    Next up: Post 8-The role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

     

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 3-Improving the Vacuum System

    Post 4-An Average Installation

    Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses

    Post 8-The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

    Post 9-Adjusting Your Spark Plug for Maximum Efficiency


  • Post 6: Hidden Weaknesses

    If you haven’t started at the beginning, then you are missing some things in your education. Please go to Post 1 and start there NOW to be sure you get a thorough understanding.

    Within the normal engine, there are, as we have already seen, many areas where leaks can occur that will have a negative effect on your engine’s efficiency. In this post, we will cover two locations that are generally difficult to identify as problem zones for your engine efficiency. Two are inside your engine, another two in your exhaust.

    Let us consider first the one that is least considered. That is the intake manifold gasket. This gasket, when it goes bad, is virtually unnoticed. Unlike the head gasket, when this one goes bad, there is no symptomology beyond perhaps a gradual decline in mileage and performance. This is generally dismissed as simply age.

    Nothing could be farther from the truth. Age causes decay, no doubt. This is something I am reminded of every day! In the engine, the same is true. When the intake gasket goes, the leaks can be quite problematic for the average garage-level tinkerer.

    We will take for example the most notorious (from my experience), the GM V-8 engine of all sizes.

    In the V-8’s, GM has designed yet another flaw into the engines, this one affecting the longevity of their gaskets. In these engines, they decided (in their infinite wisdom) to route the exhaust gases through the intake manifold.

    Think about this for a moment. One port has cold air going into the head, the next two 800 degree exhaust gases are ducted up into the intake manifold, and the next cold air into the head. No matter WHAT you do, this area is going to experience a tremendous amount of stress. As a result, the gasket begins to decay rather quickly.

    Intake 5.7 L

    Sample Intake Manifold Gasket Set

    This is a standard gasket set for this series of engine. You can easily see the problem areas would be the seal BETWEEN the exhaust and the intake ports.

    All right, then how do you detect when this gasket is bad? This is really terribly simple and (in most cases) easy to check. As the gasket ages, it decays. As it decays, the seal is compromised, leaving a gap between the intake and the head. Fortunately, this leaves the formerly tight seal somewhat loose. This, in turn, leaves the bolts below torque standards.

    So, all you need do to check them is to put a socket or a wrench on the bolts and give them a turn. Should you find the most central bolts looser than the others, then it is a certainty the intake manifold gasket has lost its integrity. If you have the time, then you should replace the gasket. As an intermediate measure, you can simply re-torque all the bolts.

    This will NOT cure the problem, but it WILL reduce the leaks. Any reduction in the vacuum leaks is a REAL good thing as you well know by now! If you opt to replace your intake gaskets on your GM V-8, I recommend you use the new Fel-Pro gasket sets. These are made from heavy gasket material with a neoprene type seal around the ports and will last MUCH longer than the standard (and cheaper!) sets.

    The Enhanced Gasket Set for V-8 Chevy Engines

     

    This is a good test, no matter what your engine, as ALL gaskets decay. So, if you find all your other efforts to get the mileage up failing, check this one! I recommend checking it while you’re under the hood the FIRST time if they’re easy enough to get to.

    There is yet another area that is not considered for vacuum leaks, and that is the injector seals. If  you notice dry, cracked hoses-or oil-soaked lines, then you would do very well to take a can of Carburetor Spray and spray a little bit on the base of each injector while it’s idling. ANY change in engine speed indicates a leak. This is a really good way to check all areas of the intake manifold, and is an excellent tool for you to use.

    Cheap, fast, and accurate, the spray will uncover many leaks that would go otherwise unnoticed. Take your time. Spray a short burst and wait a second or two. Then, move to another area and spray a short burst. You’ll be very pleased with just how well this technique serves to locate hidden leaks in the system.

    There is one other area that also remains ignored or dismissed by both mechanics and vehicle owners as well, thinking it to be unimportant, and that is in the seal between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust pipe, the exhaust flange or “donut” gasket. It is a round seal, and it, being exposed to extreme temperatures, also decays as in the case of the intake manifold.

    The same thing is happening to the Exhaust Flange Gasket, which causes a totally different set of problems for the fuel delivery calculations.

    Removing a defective Exhaust Flange Gasket

    Removing a Defective Exhaust Flange Gasket or Seal

     

    Wait a minute here. How can an EXHAUST leak cause problems with the engine? Isn’t it PAST relevant systems?

    Consider the Oxygen sensor and its placement. In most systems, the O2 sensor is located just past this seal. When the exhaust leaks out, it takes with it the heavier portions of the exhaust which is your unburned fuel. This increases the relative oxygen content of the exhaust, and the ECU sees this increase in oxygen content and does what it is PROGRAMMED to do: keep the Air-Fuel Ratio at a predetermined level.

    So, it adds fuel to adjust the Oxygen content of the exhaust AT THE SENSOR to the programmed level.

    The modern vehicle is a complete system, and it is ALL tied together through the ECU. Many many maintenance issues will be revealed in the process of Grooving a vehicle. The more of these deficiencies you can identify and CORRECT the first time you’re under the hood, the more pleased you or your customer will be with the results.

    Now, GET GROOVY!

    Next up: Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    If you would like to learn this amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Contact me at Gadgetman@GadgetmanGroove.com and we’ll see what we can do about that!

    For information on what our technicians are experiencing with Wave-Form Technology, go to GadgetmanGroove.com and visit the Groovy Forums.

    They’re a BLAST!

    And you can always email me at Gadgetman@ GadgetmanGroove.com and I’ll be delighted to help!

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 3-Improving the Vacuum System

    Post 4-An Average Installation

    Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    Post 8-The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

    Post 9-Adjusting Your Spark Plug for Maximum Efficiency


  • Post 5: Varnish and Vacuum

    If you haven’t started at the beginning, then you are missing some things in your education. Please go to Post 1 and start there NOW to be sure you get a thorough understanding.

    In order for you to be able to find the more difficult leaks, you’re in for a surprise. There are only two locations where all the elbow grease in the world won’t help you. I know, you’re diligent and thorough and a true ‘Gadgetman’ and you found all there is to find and STILL there’s more to be done.

    Do you remember Post One? If you haven’t been there, go back and read it again, all the way to here if you need the refresher. It details the functions of a gasoline engine. I want you to pay very close attention to the operation of the valves, for here (especially in older, more tired engines) is where you will find a true killer of engine vacuum and thereby, engine efficiency.

    As an engine ages, depending on a LOT of variables, things just don’t work like they used to. Also depending on what the problem is, you will most certainly find that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” when it comes to your engine.

    Inside all HC based motor oils is a compound known as ‘Lac’ (considered a ‘carbon deposit’) and is the source for the brown staining (varnish) that appears on all surfaces inside an engine, beginning (when so equipped) at the top of the carburetor. It is the foundation of what we call ‘Lacquer’. Think about that for a minute, for you know what lacquer is and what it’s used for.

    Layer upon layer, it coats everything it touches from the gas tank (YES, it’s in your fuel-it comes from oil, right?) through to the combustion chamber. I’ll just detail the moving parts here for your reference. From the gasoline side, they are: Fuel Pump, Pressure Regulator, Injectors (everything inside a carburetor) and valves. From the oil side, well, everything the oil touches. This includes all seals, bearings, and (here it comes!) the valve stems and springs.

    mgb_sticky_2in_valveNotice the brown coating on ALL the surfaces the oil contacts.

    Over time, this lac coats everything. Mechanical parts lose their tolerances and begin to move more slowly. Seals become stiff and inflexible. Injectors move more slowly and the pressure regulators fail to regulate. In fact EVERYTHING in the engine begins to fight with itself and whatever it’s coming into contact with.

    In the case of the valves and valve springs, as they gather up this blanket of goo, they move more slowly. The springs aren’t so springy and the valves begin to stick in the valve guides. Almost invisible except when you know where to look, these engines rolling into your shop can also provide the most dramatic examples of what The Groove (and you!) can do, once you know how to fix it.

    But how do you KNOW they’re going bad???

    First, THIMK. While you can’t readily test your intake valves, you don’t really need to. You CAN, however, test the exhaust valves.

    What direction does the exhaust go? Rather elementary, I know, but we tend to forget the basics. Start the engine and walk back to the tailpipe. Take a piece of heavy paper and simply lay it against the exhaust and watch it. In a properly maintained (CLEAN) engine, the paper will be blown outward in a steady stream. When the exhaust valves are not sealing properly, it will draw in from the tailpipe, and pull the paper toward the engine.

    I used to use a $20 bill for this until I did it one day and it was yanked out of my hand into the tail pipe! Revving the engine returned my deposit, but it was quite filthy when it came home to papa.

    Here’s a short video by one of my Gadgetman trainees (Thanks, Wayne!) demonstrating how easy-and FOOLPROOF-testing for sticky valves can be:

    [youtube=http://youtu.be/PI5bBV0ZFek]

    That dramatic example should prove to you that when this engine is on the intake stroke, it is pulling in exhaust gases rather than fresh air (as it is supposed to do!) and causes your vacuum to suffer, and suffer BADLY.

    If the exhaust valves are dirty, you can bet your bottom dollar the intake valves are suffering as well. This MUST be corrected.

    While there are a variety of motor flushes on the market, I simply don’t like them. I feel they tend to thin out your motor oil too dramatically, they’re messy as well as bad for the environment and require an immediate oil change. What I have been using for the last 25+ years is Castrol brand automatic transmission fluid.

    All you need do is add one quart of any type of Castrol ATF into the crankcase with your regular oil and drive the vehicle. Within a couple of dozen hours of run time, check the valves again. You are sure to find them operating much more efficiently.

    Add a quart into your gas tank every now and again and you will find the same thing happening with everything from the fuel pump to the injectors working better as well. If the valves are REALLY bad, then you may consider using a quality motor flush first, and then use one quart of tranny fluid as instructed with your oil change to complete the process.

    So, if your vehicle didn’t show gains, this is one area that should not be overlooked.

    Next up: Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses.

    If you would like to learn about Wave-Form Technology or The Gadgetman Groove as an amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Contact me, Ron Hatton, the developer of The Gadgetman Groove and we’ll see what we can do about that.

    Gadgetman@ GadgetmanGroove.com

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 3-Improving the Vacuum System

    Post 4-An Average Installation

    Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses

    Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    Post 8-The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

    Post 9-Adjusting Your Spark Plug for Maximum Efficiency


  • Post 4-An Average Installation

    This is Part 4 in a series. If you haven’t started at the beginning, please go to Post-1 and start your training at the beginning, and do it NOW!

    In the process of an average installation, it is quite common for people to over-think the process. Since the throttle body is the first part the air hits as it goes into the engine, it’s usually very easy to get out. Of course, there are VERY rare exceptions, but you’ll find that out soon enough!

    After 2,000 installations, I’ve only ran across one that I couldn’t get completed in under two hours. And THAT one, I will never do again! (It was a Toyota Sienna Minivan, BTW.)

    As with all things, it’s usually better to start with a system that’s functioning well. There are a couple of simple tricks you can use to diagnose, and usually treat, any hidden weaknesses, which we’re going to cover here.

    Before you begin, you’re going to do a walk-around. Start the engine and grab a flimsy piece of paper. Notebook paper or newsprint works well. Then, you’re going to walk back to the tailpipe and place the paper against the opening.

    This may sound like a stupid question, but which direction does the exhaust travel?

    OUT, right?

    So, if the paper is fluttering, being drawn into the tailpipe, that indicates the exhaust valves are open during the intake stroke. If this is what you find, then go to Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum for the solution.

    Now, you’ve completed your testing of the valve operations and everything on that end is hunky-dory. It’s time to turn the engine off and go to the front of the vehicle. You’re going to give all your vacuum lines a good going over.

    What you’re looking for are cracks, loose or swollen hoses and you’re listening for little hissing sounds that can sometimes be heard with vacuum leaks.

    Usually, you won’t find much. But you still have to look, for one small leak can cause some serious issues in achieving maximum gains. If you want to learn more about that, go to Post 3 to learn more about diagnosing vacuum leaks.

    Once you’ve made sure that all’s well on the western front, you’re ready to start the actual installation of the throttle body. The first step in that is to disconnect the positive cable from the battery and turn the ignition key into the “ON” position. This will energize the ECU, forcing it to be relieved of its memory.

    A couple of alerts before you do. Occasionally, certain anti-theft prevention aspects may cause problems upon reconnecting your battery. Usually, an owner knows if there are any special protocols for changing out a battery, but if you’re not sure, then call your local dealer or your favorite auto parts store and ask them about it FIRST. Some have radio codes that need to be obtained, and some have the vehicle alarms act up.

    Certainly, this information is included in the owner’s manual, but if you haven’t one, an ounce of prevention, as they say.

    SO FIND OUT BEFORE YOU DISCONNECT YOUR BATTERY. But, if you forget, just look it up on YouTube.com. If that fails, then call me. I can help with most of these with simple solutions, based on my years of experience-and in my making the same kind of mistake.

    Now, the actual removal and reinstallation of  the throttle body is a little different on each engine, yet they are almost all about the same. Here’s what just a FEW of the many thousands of profiles look like: (The throttle assembly is boxed in RED.

    As you can easily see, they come in a lot of different styles, but they all share a few things in common. Almost all are connected with only four bolts. Some use electronic controls which will need to have the pigtails removed, and some require removal of a cable. Only a couple have coolant hoses, but all are very easy to access, and equally easy to remove and reinstall.

    Your job is to remove the throttle assembly and replace it with The Gadgetman Grooved throttle. Once you’ve done that, and made sure the PCV Vacuum  port has been capped, you’re ready to reconnect the battery and go to the conditioning run.

    This is where it starts to get FUN!

    You’re almost ready to start the engine. Before you do, I need to let you know something. In systems with Idle Air Control (IAC) Valves and in Electronic Throttle Assemblies, the idle will have to be adjusted by the computer. Until it DOES adjust, the idle will be a little screwy.

    Fortunately, this is usually handled in a few minutes for the most part, so here’s how you handle that if it happens to you.

    Cable Controlled Throttle Assembly

     

    Electronic Throttle Assembly

     

    Regardless of which you have, the process is basically the same. IAC systems are most affected at idle speeds only, and the Electronic systems at all speeds.

    So, if your system experiences idle issues, then you’re going to have to allow it to adapt naturally to the enhanced combustion profile. All you need do is sit in the driver’s seat and give it just a little gas. Hold your foot steady and do NOT try to keep it at a certain speed. The ECU needs to be allowed to do that. Your job is to just give it a LITTLE gas and then wait for the idle to stabilize. Then, GENTLY ease off the pedal until it’s at the idling position.

    The engine may stumble a little, so wait, once again, for it to stabilize and repeat the process to the same level as before. What you will notice after a couple of cycles is that the system adapts more quickly each time.

    Once you’re satisfied with the engine’s response, you are to increase the amount of pedal yet again, and repeat the procedure. Sometimes this will happen very quickly, and some require a bit of patience, but they will all learn what they need to learn in time.

    With the Electronic systems, you need to keep increasing the level of pedal until it can stabilize itself quickly at any level of pedal.

    Once your system is idling normally, then you’re ready for the Conditioning Run.

    Restart the engine, and pull the vehicle out of the driveway.

    Once you’re on the road, you’re going to go through quite a few cycles, each conditioning the ECU in a different power band. And each power band needs to be conditioned to have maximum value from your mod.

    The ranges (in MPH) are 10-15, 15-25, 25-35, etcetera up to maximum highway speeds.

    THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTED RANGES.
    THE COMPUTER WILL MAKE ALL NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS OVER TIME.
    POWER ACCELERATIONS ARE VERY NECESSARY
    TO ACHIEVE MILEAGE GAINS, SO EVERY NOW AND THEN,
    JUST KICK IT!

    In each band, you are going to first drive gently, and then, pedal to the metal (ALL THE WAY, PLEASE!) up to the max desired range. Then, key off and restart and move to the next level. Feel free to repeat the procedure several times between restarts.

    When you first practice these periods of heavy acceleration, you may notice a decrease in power delivery (only at first!). But each time you do this, what you’re doing is telling the computer to retard the timing. This is MISSION CRITICAL to obtaining your mileage increases, so be sure to do this OFTEN, and repeat the procedure until you feel the power increase, and increase SUBSTANTIALLY.

    It is not at all uncommon to have to go through this procedure many times before the power truly kicks in, but when it does, you’ll know it.

    While this is the sum of the conditioning run, it is NOT the end of the conditioning. This is going to cover about 80% of the conditioning, and the rest will happen as you drive the vehicle under normal conditions.

    You will find it beneficial to restart the engine periodically. Each time you do, you will force the computer to transfer what it has learned during the previous drive cycle to the long-Term Fuel Trims (LTFT’s). Once the computer has re-learned its fuel delivery specs, you will be driving the most efficient vehicle of its kind on the road.

    Bar NONE!

    Now, if anything untoward occurs during the installation or conditioning of the ECU, like a check engine light, then pull the codes and reach out to Gadgetman.

    After all, he is only a phone call or an email away.

    Once your system has come up to speed and you’ve seen positive changes in the operations, then we want you to do us a solid. Turn your smart phone to yourself and record your own report of what The Gadgetman Groove did for you and your ride. Upload that video (“Share”) to YouTube and send the link to Gadgetman@GadgetmanGroove.com or send it as a Multi-Media message to 406-422-3291 (Ron’s cell phone) and let us share it with the world!

    Now, get out there and share with all your friends and family what you’ve found with us, and have a GREAT day!

    Welcome to Gadgetman Land!

    And, as always, remember to smile for a stranger today.

    You will both be glad you did.

     

    Next up: Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    If you would like to learn this amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Email Ron Hatton, the developer of The Gadgetman Groove and we’ll see what we can do about that.

    Gadgetman@GadgetmanGroove.com

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 3- Improving the Vacuum System

    Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses

    Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    Post 8-The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery


  • Post 3-Improving the Vacuum System

    This is part 3 in a series. If you haven’t started at the beginning, please go to Post-1 and start your training at the beginning, and do it NOW!

    Where does all the energy in your gasoline go? This graphic was borrowed from the EPA website as a confession of sorts, as they admit here for the world to see that at least 60% of the energy in your fuel is lost in your exhaust. That means that over 60 cents of EVERY dollar you put in the tank is spit right out the tailpipe.

    Engine Energy Losses EPA 60 percent

    Look closely at this! As the EPA is willing to admit that 60% of your fuel burns in your tailpipe, how bad do you think it REALLY is?

    (According to my numbers, based on mileage increases in Grooved vehicles, this number is probably closer to 90-95% loss.)

    As our challenge is to glean every ounce of energy in the fuel to deliver power to the piston, from the above graphic you can see that if we are able to get ALL the fuel to burn inside the engine, we could at LEAST double the mileage of every car in the nation.

    (We have known vehicles to gain as much as 600% with The Groove and other adjustments.)

    Because engines are terribly inefficient (what else would you call 60% of your fuel burning in the tailpipe?), and we are working to increase that efficiency, The Groove will many times reveal overlooked maintenance issues. It’s not that The Groove CAUSES them, it is only they become more apparent after The Gadgetman Groove is added.

    The most common deficiencies are found in the vacuum system. There are sometimes hundreds of locations where a vacuum leak can occur. This can make diagnosis a little time-consuming. Fortunately, most leaks will present little issue. It’s the really BIG ones we’re going to be looking for as they represent the greatest threat to your obtaining maximum efficiency.

    The most common places vacuum leaks are located are in the hoses. These are relatively easy to locate and identify. It’s the ones that are most difficult to locate that we’re going to look for. First, I want to explain EXACTLY why vacuum leaks are so bad for combustion in general.

    Here’s what a small leak can look like:

    Notice the small crack. Easy to overlook. Important to repair!

     

    Here’s what a larger one will look like:

    You better not miss one like this!

     

    The Gadgetman Groove modification is vacuum-based, so the entire intake system needs to have its full integrity. ANY opening in the intake manifold can cause a vacuum leak. The reason for this can be found when you start thinking in PRESSURES and FLOWS.

    Just think about it like this. Take a garden hose and poke a hole with a straight pin and put 5psi pressure on it. It will drip a little. Now, apply 50 psi to the same hole. It will shoot a stream of water 30 feet into the air. As this applies to vacuum leaks (pressure differentials), consider that The Gadgetman Groove increases the magnitude of the pressure wave that is created by the motion of the piston as is draws in the air and fuel.

    As the pressure drops during the first half of the downstroke, the low pressure is vastly lower, allowing the outside air to enter at VASTLY higher rates than would occur normally. This means that ALL openings (including mechanical parts) will let in more air than usual.

    Under normal conditions, the ECU can adapt to this, effectively masking the leaks. After The Gadgetman Groove is installed, the ECU cannot compensate, and the symptoms of a leak become greater as the airflow into the intake is increased. Additionally, as the wave hits its enhanced lows (which we depend on to effect the vaporization of the fuel) the leak allows more air in, effectively deflating the effects The Groove creates.

    The good news is that these leaks are usually easy to identify and correct.

    The Crankcase Ventilation System is one component that is an engineered flaw in the system. In the interest of reducing HC emissions caused by friction and heat on the motor oil as well as the blow-by gases entering the crankcase, this system was designed to evacuate these gases into the intake manifold so they may be burned in the combustion chamber.

    Vacuum is harnessed to effect this evacuation, in direct contradiction to all principles of engine efficiency. Applying a reduced pressure to your crankcase actually causes more blow-by to be sucked into the crankcase. It also forces the lighter components of your oil to vaporize, leaving your oil thicker and less able to flow through the system.

    Conversely, when you elevate the pressure in your intake (which is what letting air in DOES) you reduce the quantity of fuel that is in vapor state. And it’s GOT to be in vapor state to mix with the Oxygen, and it has GOT to mix with Oxygen before it can burn.

    All in all, this is engineering overkill.

    So, we simply cap off the vacuum port(s) that supply the vacuum. This will then reverse the flow through the system, allowing the crankcase to vent naturally through the breather tube which is before the throttle plate, thus enhancing the level of vacuum available to the combustion chamber, and increasing the vaporization rate of the fuel.

    Capping off the vacuum port to the PCV alone has yielded increases of from 2-5 mpg’s and MORE. So, consider doing this to your own engines and just watch what happens, with or without The Groove.

    It’ll run better, I promise!

    Here’s what it looks like on a late 90’s GM V-8. The PCV Valve is circled in black.

    Taken from the front of the vehicle, Drivers Side Valve Cover

     

    We will go into the vacuum system in earnest in the next post. For now, you have an understanding of just how important the intake manifold is, and why great care should be taken to ensure integrity of all areas of the intake manifold.

    Here’s a video that shows how Eric the Car Guy does his tests. This is a really good way to find leaks at the intake manifold. (notice this is the 3200 series of GM engines)

    Many mechanics swear by smoke testing. But The Truth is that is NOT an effective test to determine if a system is holding or not holding a vacuum. The ONLY way to know if a system can hold a vacuum is to APPLY a vacuum. For that, you are going to need a hand-held vacuum pump. The one I use is the MityVac 8000, which is used also to make bleeding your brakes a one-man job.

    The testing is really a very simple procedure. I cannot stress strongly enough how important thorough testing is when faced with a fuel efficiency issue, to say nothing about the effects of a leak on your Gadgetman Groove modification.

    So, learn to master this testing procedure and add many many miles to every tank of gas!

    If you’ve done all this, and STILL suspect a vacuum leak, then you will want to visit Post 5. It deals with a commonly overlooked source for reduced vacuum, Valve Operations.

    Next up: Post 4-An Average Installation

    If you would like to learn this amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Email myself, the developer of The Gadgetman Groove and we’ll see what we can do about that.

    Gadgetman@GadgetmanGroove.com

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 4-An Average Installation

    Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses

    Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    Post 8-The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

    Post 9-Adjusting Your Spark Plug for Maximum Efficiency


  • Post 8: The Role of Sensors in Fuel Delivery

    If you haven’t started at the beginning, then you are missing some things in your education. Please go to Post 1 and start there NOW to be sure you get a thorough understanding.

    There is more computing power in the average cell phone than what was used to take the Apollo 13 mission to the moon?

    True!

    Instead of setting us free, the sad thing is when we buy these fuel consuming beasts, it actually works in the reverse. We become slaves. Slaves to those that program and design the systems that drive them down the road, for they are the ones that determine how much fuel it takes to move us to our destinations.

    In the past 100 years, technology has advanced to a phenomenal degree. We allegedly have the most fuel efficient vehicles than have ever been made. While I believe this is true to a certain degree, it is also true these systems enable the Slave Masters to control what can and cannot be done to improve your fuel ECONOMY. And economy is not to be confused with efficiency.

    The automotive industry considers the measure of the exhaust to be representative of a system’s efficiency, NOT the amount of fuel required to get the job done. But the public is programmed. Programmed to put their faith in the liars cheats and thieves that are running our world.

    In the interest of taking some of our power back in one small area (how much fuel we use) we face a number of obstacles, the vast majority residing in the actions and limitations set forth in the programming of the ECU. Ignition Timing, Injector Pulse Width, Catalytic Converter Temperature, and many other aspects affect fuel economy are pre-set and immutable.

    What we’re going to do today is to talk about the role of various sensors in the computer’s calculations that determine the amount of fuel to deliver while the engine is running. ALL of these systems must be considered in your quest for 100+.

    I’m going to start with the air and move with it through the engine, considering the actions of each sensor start to finish. Then, we will consider what can be done with each to further enhance the results of The Gadgetman Groove.

    Now, some of these will enhance a NON-Grooved engine, but they are to be used with caution on engines that are not vaporizing the fuel completely, for it is this wasted energy that we want to reclaim, enhancing not only Fuel Efficiency, but Fuel Economy as well.

    It is this waste fuel that causes most of the wear in our engines, so reducing it will also enhance engine operation and life-span.

    Study this diagram for insight into MAF sensor operations.

    The first sensors the air encounters is the MAF and/or the IAT. The Mass-Air Flow sensor is a device that measures several dynamics. It measures both the amount of air passing over it, the temperature and even the relative humidity as it acts on a heated element (resistor) and uses the current flow through the circuit to determine the how much fuel should be delivered according to the amount of air, thereby managing the Air-Fuel Ratio. To get more technical data on the MAF, go to the Wikipedia article.

    The Intake Air Temperature sensor does essentially the same thing, in essentially the same way (using a resistor) and is much simpler in construction as well as operation. Use the information from the Wiki article on the MAF to learn about its function.

    From there, the air will be drawn through the throttle assembly. Here, the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) has its role in the ECU’s functions. Using a variable resistor that is actuated by the throttle controls (whether cable or computer controlled throttle assemblies) the ECU can determine how much fuel should be delivered. It also uses this sensor to determine shift points in many vehicles.

    HINT FOR DEVELOPERS:

    The TPS is also a key component if you’re working on

    fuel vaporization systems to determine vapor delivery rates.

    Now, the air enters the intake manifold. Here, the air is presented to the MAP or Manifold-Absolute Pressure sensor. Again, turn to Wikipedia for good information.

    This video explains in simple terms how the MAP sensor functions.

    This sensor is designed to measure the difference between the pressure inside the intake Manifold and the outside or ‘Absolute’ pressure using (again) a variable resistor. Using the value presented to the ECU, the computer calculates the proper measure of fuel to deliver, once again referencing all the other sensors to confirm the proper AFR.

    From here, the air enters the head, where the fuel is delivered to the air stream as it enters the combustion chamber. To determine ignition timing, the ECU utilizes both the Crankshaft or Camshaft Sensor and the Knock Sensor.

    Here’s a short video on what the knock sensor does and how it does it:

    There are more in-depth videos on YouTube if you want to look for them. Remember, knowledge is power. Actually, knowledge is only POTENTIAL power. If you don’t use it, it is not very powerful, now, is it?

    Once the ECU has made it’s determination of proper ignition point, it will send the signal to to the ignition circuit commanding a spark be delivered.

    HELPFUL HINT

    Don’t use Motorcraft spark plugs!

    Their design is defective, as is common with resistor-style plugs. When the internal resistor

    burns out (they all do in time!) the anode of the resistor can fall into

    the combustion chamber, necessitating engine rebuild.

    This happened to us in Provo Utah. $4,000 in repairs and one week later,

    We could finally continue our trip.

    Ford/Motorcraft is facing class-action lawsuits because of this.

    When the fuel in the combustion chamber is ignited, it is then pumped out to the exhaust manifold, where it is exposed to the Oxygen Sensor.

    Here is a nice video by EricTheCarGuy on its operations. (I do so LOVE YouTube!)

    NOTE:

    The O2 Sensor compares the oxygen level in the exhaust with ambient air.

    The method of measuring the external O2 content is unclear, but

    it is known that grease and oil deposits on the OUTSIDE of the sensor and

    sensor wires may cause erroneous readings.

    This sensor is only read during ‘Closed Loop’ operations. During ‘Open Loop’ operations, fuel management is calculated based on all sensor activity, disregarding the oxygen content. This can be a pain in some systems as the engine operations in some systems drop into Open Loop whenever there is a change in engine speed.

    Using the values determined by the Upstream O2 sensor, the ECU will alter the fuel trims to maintain proper AFR.

    Now, the air is in the exhaust and the process should be complete, shouldn’t it? But it is most DEFINITELY NOT!

    From the upstream O2 sensor, the exhaust gas passes down the pipes to the Catalytic Converter. Here is the most insidious aspect of the programming of the ECU fuel management systems. Using yet another oxygen sensor, they are able to manage catalytic converter function.

    As the operating temperature of the Cat is closely controlled to maintain its catalytic function (they operate best at 900-1000 degrees F. (According tothis Ehow.com article) In order to maintain this temperature, the ECU will either decrease or increase fuel delivery, despite what the upstream O2 indicates. They do this by using the heater circuit, which will increase in resistance as the temperature increases

    Here’s a video on how the ECU works with all its sensors, explaining the role of each. Perhaps it will enable you to find a new approach to the fuel efficiency puzzle. (26 mins)

    .

    Now, we’ve covered about all the sensors I can think of. At least, I’ve covered the ones of which I’m aware! Let’s move on to how they work together and (more importantly!) what can be done to effectively regain management of your own fuel delivery needs.

    Post 1

    Post 1-Basic Flows in a Gasoline Engine

    Post 2-Intake Flows and Wave-Form Technology

    Post 3-Improving the Vacuum System

    Post 4-An Avearge Installation

    Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum

    Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses

    Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes

    Post 9-Adjusting Your Spark Plug for Maximum Efficiency