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Old November 23rd, 2005, 06:04 AM   #1
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Default My Fuel Injection / Exhaust opinions.

Since Greatlakes 4x4 seems so tech savvy, here is a document off all the engine/ecu/exhaust mods I've tried to answer for people over the past few years. This is only my opinion based on my 10 years in the auto industry calibrating powertrains; it is not perfect, but honest. Feel free to ask me questions or point out any mistakes, but please be courteous. Flames without supporting evidence with be met with common sense and you may end up looking silly. :tonka:

Here goes:

Fuel Injection and Exhaust mods that don’t make sense.

The Internet is a great place…for spreading rumors! Everybody is searching for more power & fuel economy out of their modern-day fuel injected engines. As a result many myths and bad ideas have gotten into the public domain and so far, have separated many people from their hard-earned money. While I do not claim to know everything, my job / background gives me above average knowledge and experience to see outright scams and other questionable claims for what they are – a waste of your time and / or your money. In this document, I’ll try to address the more common items I’ve seen advertised or posted on bulletin boards, starting from the engine’s air intake and working my way in. Before I do, there are some fundamental IC (internal combustion) engine fundamentals you must be familiar with.

An IC Engine fundamentally is an “Air Pump”.
One way to get power and fuel economy improvements is to increase the efficiency of air coming into the cylinders and exhaust going out. A simple analogy is a person trying to breathe through a straw; there is much less cross-sectional area in a straw compared to your mouth. Try breathing through a straw and you’ll see that your lungs have to do much more work to get air in and carbon dioxide out. This is not much different from your engine trying to pull air in and push exhaust out. This pulling and pushing takes energy away from the engine’s capacity to do work. Reductions in these “pumping losses” will net more power available at the crankshaft.

IC Engines like Cold Air.
Air density decreases with increasing air temperature; this equates into less fuel being used per engine cycle – or, LESS POWER. Keeping your air charge cooler / more dense allows for more fuel injected per engine stroke. Also, on newer fuel injected engines, spark is retarded with higher intake air temperatures to prevent pre-ignition. This leads to even less power and efficiency.

Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow.
That’s what your engine does in every cylinder for every two rotations. The operation is fundamental and way better explained in an Internet search than I can explain here – consider it “homework” if you’re curious. What I want to highlight here is Spark Timing. Defined, it is when you decide to fire your spark plug to ignite the fuel / air mixture in the cylinder during the compression cycle. This is pretty difficult for me to explain – so please bear with me.
First thing you need to know is that fuel typically burns at a finite rate; as your engine speeds increase so must your spark advance. There are many, many, many variables that go into determining proper advance, but I want to just touch on the basics.
After the cylinder draws in a fresh air / fuel charge, it is compressed as the piston moves to the top of its travel in the cylinder. The trick is to properly time the ignition of the fuel as the piston is still traveling toward Top Dead Center (TDC). Since the fuel / air mixture burns at a finite rate, you start ignition before TDC so the peak cylinder pressure happens around 20 degrees after TDC. If you fire the spark too soon (over-advance), the peak pressure occurs before TDC and the combustion actually works against the engine rotation, lowering the power. If you fire the spark too late (over-retard), most of the expansion takes place as the piston is already traveling down and is only able to provide a little “push” – the rest of the energy goes out into the exhaust as heat.
Engines operate on a base spark table that is generated by the manufacturer on a development engine / dynamometer. The table is based on the fuel the engine is designed to run on (regular unleaded or premium) and if the engine is equipped with a knock sensor.



Aftermarket Air Intakes (tubes) / High Flow Air Filters
EVERYBODY has heard of the “K&N Filter” and its claims of more power and better fuel economy. A K&N filter in your stock airbox may offer some benefits over a stock paper-element filter. You’ll still keep the stock airbox’s properties for water ingestion and “reasonably” cold air intake while now having a higher flow element that is washable and reusable. Many people argue that since a K&N filter flows more air, it must let more dirt through; I’ll let you research that on your own. From personal experience, I installed one into a “sports car” and didn’t notice any “seat of the pants” improvement.

An aftermarket air tube usually includes a big conical air filter and replaces your entire stock air filter / airbox assembly from the throttle body – out. In cold climates, these setups work well; the problem comes when you use these products in warmer areas. A good example is rock – crawling, and (oddly enough) stop-and-go traffic, because there is little to no outside airflow to keep underhood temps down. The aftermarket setups I usually see for sale do not include any shielding to protect the air cleaner intake from underhood heat. This creates problems with your intake air temperatures. Hotter intake air temps will decrease your power in two ways:
1. Less dense air results in less fuel injected.
2. Higher intake air temps will result in spark retard (in a modern engine) to prevent preignition.
Many people neglect to consider this and actually end up losing power. Used with homemade heat shielding, it is not a bad setup.
As far as water ingestion, I believe it is not as good as the stock airbox – but if you’re truly worried about hydrolocking, you already have a snorkel on your vehicle or “wish list”.


Tornados and other “Swirl-Inducing” parts.
These parts claim to increase “swirl” in your intake charge promoting better fuel mixing and, therefore, better fuel economy and more power. They do increase charge motion but it is unnecessary in a modern fuel injected engine. Current technology (meaning one fuel injector per cylinder) injects the fuel directly onto the back of a closed intake valve. The valve is very hot from the last combustion event and immediately flashes the injected fuel into vapor. When the intake valve opens, the vaporized fuel and air drawn in mix fairly well. Also, most engines employ an intake port design that introduces a “tumbling” motion to the incoming air – further promoting mixing.
The aftermarket parts do induce swirl – no question about that. The benefits are miniscule and are far outweighed by the added restriction. High swirl adds pumping losses to the intake and lowers your net output. You end up out of some money and some power.

Last edited by ScOoTeR; November 23rd, 2005 at 06:10 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 06:05 AM   #2
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Bored Throttle Bodies
Win / lose situation here. Yes, a bigger diameter throttle body will increase your horsepower and fuel economy a marginal amount. In Jeeps, the 2.5L engines benefit from the increased airflow a 4.0L throttle body (TB) provides – but many 2.5L owners will tell you, they spend most of their time at near wide open throttle (WOT). In a 4.0L, a bored TB will get you a bit more zotz at high RPM but your low-end torque will suffer a little. I have no personal experience with a bored TB on a 4.0L, but I have never heard of anyone complain about it either. If you’re dead-set on increasing your max HP, this mod will not hurt you.

Throttle Body Spacers
There are two types of TB spacers marketed; a straight-through spacer that is the same diameter of the intake manifold / TB and the “airraid” TB spacer that has little spirals cast in it to increase swirl.
The swirl-style spacer in stock form is junk – it is only worthwhile if those silly spirals are ground out before you use it. The swirl crap is useless on modern FI systems and robs power.
Now, a plain spacer can be a good thing to move your power down a little earlier in the RPM range – this is due to Heimholtz resonation. (I know all kinds of fancy words) Let me give you a simple (?) explanation of Heimholtz resonation:
Heimholtz resonation uses rarefaction waves to increase intake charge base on intake manifold geometry. Simple, eh? Think of it like this:
1. Intake valve closes and sends a “pressure wave” back towards the throttle body.
2. The wave bounces off the TB and comes rushing back towards the intake valve.
3. If the intake valve starts to open while this pressure wave is returning, the current intake charge is given a little help entering the cylinder. Think of it as “mini-supercharging” as the intake air gets a boost from this pressure wave.
Now, you can design your intake system to favor certain RPM ranges, but the rule of thumb is that longer intake runners with smaller diameters favor low-rpm power and short intake runners with larger diameter favor high RPM power.
So, a small TB spacer effectively lengthens your intake system, moving power a little bit lower in the RPM range. IMHO, for a 4.0L, this is a benefit.


“Tricking” your ECU for more power.
One of the oldest tricks for more power in a fuel-injected engine used to be tricking the ECU. People would (and still do) use resistors in-line with the water temperature sensor. The idea is to fool the engine is cold and needs to add fuel enrichment to run properly – this is a bad, and mostly a stupid idea.
When do you want maximum power? I hope you said: “When I’m at WOT, Scot” (yes, I am a poet). Any other time and you’re wasting fuel. Modern fuel injection goes into open-loop fuel enrichment at WOT, usually around 12:1 air / fuel ratio. Tricking your ECU into fuel enrichment at any other time is just plain silly and wastes fuel.
When you’re cruising down the road at part-throttle, there is no need to run any richer than stoichiometric (14.6:1 air / fuel), running richer is just wasting fuel. Now for a little sermon on air / fuel ratios:
The 14.6:1 air /fuel ratio is where you should try to operate at all times other than at WOT. This “Stoichiometric” mixture is the best ratio for complete combustion and maximum economy legally & safely (lean-burn is better for economy, though NOx emissions skyrocket…. maybe a topic for another discussion). Now, combustion in an engine is never complete, so there is a little bit of oxygen left over during stoichiometric operation. When you need power, go WOT and into fuel enrichment, this surplus O2 is used up and a bit more power is the result. Don’t be fooled though – the benefit of running 14.6:1 and saving a bit of fuel far outweighs the benefit of added power at 12:1 air / fuel ratio (at part-throttle operation).
In summary, if you’re running anything richer than 14.6:1 while you’re driving around town, you’re wasting fuel.

“Chipping” your ECU for more power.
Chipping, or changing the fuel and spark curves in your ECU to get more power is popular in today’s electronically controlled engines. This kind of modification works most of the time, but be careful – you may not like how your engine runs “chipped”. The manufacturer has many things to think about when they calibrate your engine in your vehicle: driveabilty, startability, emissions, durability. Your engine comes calibrated from the manufacturer to reliably start, drive and respond well, meet federal emissions standards in such a way as to not risk any internal engine components.
Aftermarket chips can only do so much with a stock engine and it usually is not the best thing to do. They will crank the spark curves up to the maximum levels to get the best torque and at the same time will increase fuelling to help keep detonation lower. What ends up happening is that the customer is forced to run premium fuel to keep the engine from knocking and the increased fuelling almost always results in poorer fuel economy.
To make things worse, many people that buy these products claim to not feel a difference in power, but the vehicle definitely drives worse. IMHO, reprogramming your ECU is better left for engines that have been internally modified (different camshaft, strokers) and need different spark and fuel curve to run properly.

EGR valve – leave it alone!
The EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve on modern engines does not decrease your maximum power. Simply put, an EGR valve does not (and cannot) operate at WOT. What it does do for you is marginally increase fuel economy – something that is always welcome as most of us also use our 4WD vehicles as daily drivers. The EGR valve operates by introducing a small amount of exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber. This burnt exhaust gas is inert (will not support combustion) and causes two things to happen:
1. The temperature in your combustion chamber decreases significantly. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are formed at high combustion temps, so EGR reduces NOx formation.
2. The inert gas reduces the power during part-throttle operation and causes you to open the throttle a little bit more to get the same power without EGR. This added throttle opening uses NO extra fuel and reduces your engine’s pumping losses. Think of a closed throttle plate as 95% restrictive and WOT as 0% restrictive – any time you open the throttle more, the intake restriction lowers and the pumping losses decrease.
And, of course, fiddling with the EGR valve on newer vehicles will always cause the “Check Engine” light to come on.

Exhaust Modifications – The Catalytic Converter is GOOD.
I know of many people who swear by removing the catalytic converter (cat) for more power. There are also people that think sex with a cousin is okay too. Catalytic converters are a good thing to have on your offroad vehicle but are usually taken off in ignorance. Let me point out some good things about cats on an offroad vehicle:
1. They are a spark arrestor.
2. You don’t have to bathe in raw exhaust fumes when you’re wheeling. This makes the wives happy and you won’t get a headache from CO poisoning.
3. The minimal amount of backpressure helps low-speed exhaust scavenging and actually adds a little torque in the lower RPM range.
4. It’s good for the environment and helps you look like a responsible wheeler.
Honestly, on the engine programs I’ve worked on in the past, the catalyst was only responsible for a few percent (less than 5hp) loss at WOT / High RPM and always gave a little boost in low RPM torque. If you want to lose some restriction and gain some HP, swap your stock muffler for a high-flow aftermarket part. I have personal experience with a Flowmaster 40 on a 4.0L FI Jeep engine; the difference was noticeable in seat-of-the-pants performance, a small increase in fuel economy and a great exhaust note without being obnoxious.


What does this all mean???
If you’ve got a fairly stock offroad vehicle and want to make modifications to make it better on the trails what can you do? Well, decide what you want to do first – do you like mud bogs, or do you like rock crawling? These two activities are at different ends of the spectrum for what kinds of modifications will work best.

Rock crawling / Trail riding Engine Mods:
1. Throttle body spacer WITHOUT fancy spirals.
2. Flowmaster 40 or similar aftermarket high-flow muffler.
3. Aftermarket air tube / big air filter properly shielded from hot underhood air.
4. Keep engine properly maintained, especially the O2 sensor.

That’s it, eh? Don’t do anything to sacrifice your low-end power, that’s where you need it the most!

Mudbogging:
1. Aftermarket air tube / big air filter properly shielded from hot underhood air. Snorkel for water ingestion.
2. Bored throttle body.
3. Straight pipe after the catalytic converter.
4. Aftermarket “chip” and premium fuel.

These things will help you run WOT with maximum power at the sacrifice of low-end torque.

If you really want to improve your off-road experience, stay with the stock power setup and save for other changes:
1. A good set of offroad tires
2. Swaybar disconnects
3. Lunchbox lockers
4. Small (3”) lift
5. Differential gears
6. Etc
Most stock engines will work great off road if they are supported by some of the equipment listed above and will surprise you with where you’re able to go. In my personal experience, I left my engine stock, replaced the muffler with a Flowmaster 40. I ran 3” of lift, 31x10.5 mud terrains and had lunchbox lockers front and rear. That setup worked great everywhere I took it (though admittedly I stayed away from mud) and surprised many people.

Last edited by ScOoTeR; November 23rd, 2005 at 08:12 AM. Reason: 10,000 charater limit for posts, dammit!!! :)
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 07:41 AM   #3
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Attached text file of this post.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 07:50 AM   #4
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This is how a tech article should be written

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Old November 23rd, 2005, 12:05 PM   #5
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Thats some GOOD info.

Thanks
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 07:46 PM   #6
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What about the magnets on the fuel line trick?:tonka:

Seriously though, Scooter is the man.

I only have 9 years of calibration experience, but 2 1/2 of those years were spent working with a VERY successful race team so I think I am at least qualified to say that Scot knows his stuff.

OT: We need to get together so you can take the WK SRT8 out for a spin.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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Scoot.....good write up!
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Old November 29th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #8
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thus proving you know nothing
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Old November 30th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #9
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Whut?

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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:31 AM   #10
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good job . you seem to know what you're talking about.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 12:27 PM   #11
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Can you give any elaboration on the different ignition setups? There are all sorts of ignition upgrades, from Jacobs to MSD and others. Are there any benifits to spending money on those upgrades?

I.E. I spent the money on upgrading my CJ 304 Ign to the Ford TFI style. The difference was a larger diameter cap, and a "hotter" coil for more umph at the pug. I can't say I noticed anything drasticly different, but was claimed to be "the" ignition upgrade for my motor.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn
Can you give any elaboration on the different ignition setups? There are all sorts of ignition upgrades, from Jacobs to MSD and others. Are there any benifits to spending money on those upgrades?

I.E. I spent the money on upgrading my CJ 304 Ign to the Ford TFI style. The difference was a larger diameter cap, and a "hotter" coil for more umph at the pug. I can't say I noticed anything drasticly different, but was claimed to be "the" ignition upgrade for my motor.
Most ignition upgrades are to address weak original systems or if you're looking for correct timing 100% of the time. Also, upgrading to a larger/high output coil allows you to gap your plugs larger; this allows a fatter spark that helps ignite the air/fuel mixture better than before.

Most of older ignition systems rely on an internal mechanism to advance your ignition curve (springs/weights/vacuum) which is not the most accurate method. Distributors and mechanical advance systems wear out over time and a really good starting point in any engine build is to talk to a speed shop that recurves distributors. They can "tune" the advance curve to better suit your engine and accessories. While they are in there they can replace the wear parts - this helps keep your ignition constant across the RPM range and delivers the best power.

On today's engines, spark timing is controlled by the ECU that directly fires the coil to the corresponding cylinder and is much more precise.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 10:57 PM   #13
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do you think the banks system helps on the 6.0 diesl for fuel mileage.i heard it does but not for sure
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #14
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I stand by my 1.5mpg gain from my poweraid TBS.
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Old December 16th, 2005, 04:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lothos
I stand by my 1.5mpg gain from my poweraid TBS.
You have more chance getting a F.E. gain from the PowerAid sticker.
Glad it works for you.
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Old December 16th, 2005, 04:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger
do you think the banks system helps on the 6.0 diesl for fuel mileage.i heard it does but not for sure
Roger,
I do not know much about the 6.0L, only the 7.3DI; go to www.thedieselstop.com and check out their 6.0L BB.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #17
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VERY nice Scooter.

I'm getting ready to change the plenum gasket on my Dodge (5.9L) I have a stock keg type manifold coming and I figured I would clean it up a little bit and see how it goes.

From what I'm reading above if I'm looking for more torque (or just to move my peak torque) at around 2,200 - 2,600 RPM I need to leave the runners stock length... maybe even machine a spacer for my TB?
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Old December 17th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyevil
From what I'm reading above if I'm looking for more torque (or just to move my peak torque) at around 2,200 - 2,600 RPM I need to leave the runners stock length... maybe even machine a spacer for my TB?
I would leave it stock and since you have access to a shop, you could try experimenting with spacer length. It gets more complicated as manifolds have different runner-to-surgetank-to-TB diameters.

In a simplistic model, the Helmholtz resonator model can be stated as:

RPM=(955/K)*a*(A/L*Ve)^0.5
where
RPM = the engine speed where you'll get the benefit;
a = the speed of sound, use 343 m/s;
A/L = area-to-length ratio of intake runner (this is where varying diameter confound the results)
Ve = volumetric efficiency: Vd(CR+1)/(2(CR-1))
where
Vd = (pi/4)*(Bore^2)*(stroke)
CR = compression ratio
After all of that, I would recommend starting with research to see what RPM your peak torque at at, then experiment with stacking 1/2" spacers one at a time to see if you can notice the difference.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #19
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I need to do this also. Are you sticking with the same manifold? Edelbrock has some options as does Mopar. Or, are you just going to get the better pan gasket.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 03:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn
I need to do this also. Are you sticking with the same manifold? Edelbrock has some options as does Mopar. Or, are you just going to get the better pan gasket.
Stock keg.

I'm going with the fram pan gasket I think. In my EGR manifold there is a center divider that is not present in the non-EGR system... I think I'm going to pull that divider out, smooth all the rough casting around the injectors and runners, then experiment with spacers.
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