Post 3- Stage One Diagnosis

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 1t least 60% of the energy in your fuel is considered lost through heat in your exhaust.

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?

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.

Because engines are terribly inefficient (what else would you call 60% of your fuel burning in your tailpipe?) already, 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 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 when connected with a Gadgetman Groove modification.

As The Gadgetman Groove modification is a vacuum-based modification, 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 apply 5 psi of pressure, then poke a hole with a straight pin. It will drip a little. The Groove will cause an amplification of the pressure curve (the lows are lower, the highs are higher) then the range of pressures are increased.

Remember the garden hose? 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, consider that The Gadgetman Groove increases the magnitude of the pressure wave created by the motion of the piston as is draws in the air/fuel mixture.

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 be effective at this, and the symptoms of a leak become magnified as the airflow into the intake is magnified. Additionally, as the wave hits its enhanced lows (which we depend on to affect the vaporization of the fuel) the leak allows air in, effectively deflating the effect The Groove creates.

In other words, the wave The Groove creates is diminished when any access to outside air is present. If the low end pressure is reduced below approximately 24″ Hg, the fuel is less completely vaporized, diminishing the possible gains. Larger openings can not only eliminate the gains but have been known in extreme cases to cause a reduction in engine efficiency.

The Crankcase Ventilation System is one system 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.

The 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.

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.

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!

Next up: Post 4-Checking Your Work

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

One Response to Post 3- Stage One Diagnosis

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