Better Gas Mileage.

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No, this page isn’t about “snake oil” claims. No magnets on the fuel line or fans in the air duct. The items and explanations below are tried and true modifications that have been being used for decades. Some help a little and some help a lot but they will all give you the ability to get better mileage from your vehicle. The word “ability” was used here because there are two sides to most of these modifications, power and mileage. The mods listed below work on making the vehicle more efficient, extracting more power out of each litre of gasoline. This will propel your vehicle further on each litre of gas, thus increasing your mileage. There is a “but” here, your vehicle will have more power so if you choose to use this power (step on the gas pedal harder) you will not see the mileage increase but will have some fun (disclaimer: only do this where legally allowed).


Think of your engine like a big air pump powered by the explosion in each cylinder. To get the best mileage the engine has to do everything efficiently. It needs to get the air/fuel mixture in, process it and then get rid of it. Below we cover the parts that increase your efficiency in these areas.

 

Air Intakes Systems.

The first step of making a engine more efficient is getting the air into the engine properly. Factory filter boxes are typically made economical and for ease of installation on the assembly line. They use corrugated flex hose to couple part together, causing turbulence and quite often right angles in the air box, causing power robbing restriction. Many of the factory air filter systems even have baffles in them to reduce the throttle acceleration sound because the “Focus Groups” they use say a quieter vehicle is better for sales, but when the customer realizes that quieter is costing them mileage, they would rather have the mileage.

Air Intake Systems have some confusion around them, many people call them “Cold Air Intakes”. The actual older definition of cold air intakes was to put the filter outside the engine compartment, in fender well or behind bumper, but this was for fair weather only. As you can imagine, driving through a deep puddle with your filter in the fender well could cause the engine serious damage from taking in water through the air filter. The newer generation of cold air intakes position the intake filter where the old factory air box was, and use a heat shield to keep the hot air from the engine away from it. These systems use direct designed components (no corrugated couplers) to even the air flow with no turbulence, remove baffles and give you a much larger surface area filter that have less restriction and filter to a smaller particle size.The gains from these can be anywhere from a little to a lot depending on how inefficient your factory system is. At Softys we handle Air Intake Systems from K & N, AFE, Volant, Injen and many others.

Air Intake Systems

Air Filter Upgrade

If you do not want to go through the expense and work of installing an Air Intake System a simple air filter upgrade may be for you. K & N makes a line of replacement air filters that fit exact as the OE filter does. They offer higher flow, great filtration and are cleanable so one filter lasts the life of your vehicle.

K & N Air Filters

2 Barrel vs 4 Barrel Carburetor (for older vehicles)

There is a big misconception that a 2 barrel carburetor gets better gas mileage then 4 bbl carbs. 4 bbl carb are generally associated with High Performance cars and trucks, but when you put a 4 bbl carb on a stock (ish) engine it runs more efficiently. On light use the carb will be running on the front barrels only and these primary 2 barrels of a 4 barrel carb are smaller than the barrels on a 2 barrel carb. It's only when you demand  the power (foot to the floor) that all 4 barrel open then giving you the power (but not the mileage)

Carb Exg

Fuel Injection vs Carburetor

There is no question that the fuel injection units run far more efficiently than a carburetor can. The big drawback with these conversions is the upfront cost but once you get over this the advantages are huge, better mileage, better performance, easy starting, less maintenance to list just the top few advantages. At Softy’s we have done many Fuel Injection conversions so if your interested give us a call

Fuel Injection

Exhaust Headers

As is widely known in our industry, Headers offer you the highest “bang for buck” efficiency improvement that there is. This is proven by many of the factory vehicles that they need to get efficiency out of get one form or another of headers. Headers work on two fronts, higher flow and exhaust scavenging. The flow comes into play at mid and upper rpms and the scavenging works from off idle thru the full rpm range. Many people understand the higher flow of headers but very few understand the scavenging effect even though its more important. Headers have a exhaust tube for each cylinder and on the engine. The exhaust moves down each tube to the collector. The exhaust valve is opening and closing but the exhaust, due to the velocity it's moving at, does not start and stop as the valve opens and closes, it keeps moving. When the exhaust valve is closed and the exhaust is moving down the tube of the header a low pressure area is created behind the exhaust that is moving down the pipe. When the exhaust valve next opens this has the effect of drawing the exhaust out of the cylinder aiding the engine in evacuating all of the exhaust from the combustion chamber.This greatly lessens the residual exhaust gas remaining in the cylinder as any exhaust gas left in the cylinder will mix with this fresh air/fuel mixture coming in and cancel that volume of fuel. This simply means you paid for that gas but it wasn’t used to power the vehicle so it was wasted. As you move up the rpm range (highway and/or towing) the higher flow comes into play, allowing these exhaust gases out so they do not contaminate the fresh gases coming in. There are 3 basic types of headers out there, Short Tube, Long Tube and some applications now have a Mid Length Tube available. Headers also come in many different quality grades, construction material and finishes.

Give us a call and we can go through this with you to find the right header to suit your need.

Header Set

Exhaust System

Exhaust systems really only have to do with flowing enough. “Back In The Old Days” the legend of dual exhaust was born when you took a vehicle with a inadequate exhaust system, say a 1973 Chevy pickup that had a 350 engine (5.7L) that only came with a 2” single exhaust pipe. We would cut the y-pipe and run a second 2” exhaust pipe down the other side and “wow”. It would get another 4 - 6 miles per gallon and a huge increase in power. Nowadays most trucks still have a single exhaust pipe (at least in the middle) but the factory has upped the size usually to about 3”. Remembering back to our high school geometry tells us that the area of a 2” diameter pipe (area= 3.14 x radius squared) is 3.14 square inches so two pipes would be 6.28  and the area of one 3” pipe is 7.07 square inches so one 3” pipe is considerable bigger than two 2” pipes. This means the old dual exhaust legend really isn’t valid any longer. Don’t misunderstand there's nothing wrong with dual exhaust and in some ways it's better.One major benefit is two smaller pipes will give you more ground clearance but many newer vehicles only have one cavity in the crossmembers for an exhaust pipe. Irregardless the dual vs single debate can rage on but the important thing on your exhaust system is capacity.

This bring us to the important point on the construction of exhaust systems crimp or press bends vs mandrel bends. If you look at the bends on factory exhaust systems they are press bends. This is quicker, cheaper and easy to produce and you don’t want it. When you press bend a 3” pipe you are lucky if it is still 2.5” diameter. Staggering the pipe size small and bigger around corners causes turbulence like a river, when it narrows you get a rapids and where it widens again you get eddies and back current. Mandrel bent exhaust systems keep a consistent pipe size thru bends so they have a nice even flow without turbulence. So why aren't all exhaust systems mandrel bent? Because of cost and time to build. At Softy’s we can show you the difference and help you choose the right kit for your needs.

Mandrel Bent

Exhaust Mufflers

Many low restriction mufflers have the reputation of being LOUD. Untrue, they can be loud or quiet depending on your choice of muffler. As a example, Flowmaster has a rep for loud mufflers, but they have just as many quiet mufflers in their product lineup. This holds true for most of the other performance muffler brands as well. Give us a call and we can help you pick the right sound level for your vehicle.

Muffler


Ignition Coils

Lets dispel a common myth I hear all the time about coils, they do not make the spark hotter. Making the spark “hotter” is very bad for the engine (in most cases) and can cause problems like burning holes in pistons. The higher output coils deliver more energy to the plug measured in voltage but this not the only standard you should be looking at. First a quick explanation of what a Ignition Coil is doing. The coil creates the energy that fires the spark plug. In between each discharge it must recharge and this is where the quality of a coil comes into play. On a V8 single coil ignition system at 3000 rpm the engine is firing the coil 1500 times a minute. Thats 25 times a second.

The coils rise time is the time it has to recharge and a better coil will charge faster and have more output under real world conditions. In multiple coil engines (coil pack or coil per cylinder) the coil has more charge time but can still benefit from a higher output coil.

A high output good quality coil will deliver more energy to your spark plug resulting in a more reliable spark (far fewer misfires) and a more complete combustion as the spark intensity is much greater. A mileage increase is realized when you don’t misfire as the gas is already used so if you don't burn it in the engine you wasted the energy from that volume of gas.

Give us a call at Softys, we can match you up with the correct application coil(s) for what you need.

Ignition Coils

Synthetic Lube

First a general word about synthetic lubricants. At Softys we only handle Full Synthetic Grade A  products from the likes of Royal Purple, Red Line & Driven Racing Oil (formerly Joe Gibbs). All of these brands are top quality, made from 100 % synthetic base stock. Many of the “other” brands are more consumer driven and use base stock that are mineral-base oil stocks. Since the standards set to call a oil “synthetic” are very “wide and loose” we stick to the brands we know to be top quality. This is not to say there are not other good synthetics out there but there are some synthetic lubricants out there that should definitely be classed as semi-synthetic.

Oil Logos

Synthetic Gear Oil

Most of the mileage saving reilized from using a synthetic gear will be in cold weather. The many advantages of synthetic are year round but the big advantage comes in the winter. Mineral base gear oil thickens up greatly as it gets colder, you can see this for yourself, leave a container outside in the winter. Depending on the weight when it gets below -20 it basically turn solid. Cutting a path thru this is hard for your differential to do when you first start during the cold weather. As the diff warms up from driving the gear oil will go thru many stages until it returns to a liquid and starts to do its job. This is not only hard on your gas mileage but it is also hard on your gears as they have no lubrication. A good quality synthetic gear oil keeps its liquid state, and flow freely in even the most extreme cold weather. Now there is a difference in cost, a good synthetic will cost double that of a good mineral based gear oil but since the synthetics have a longer life and save money in gas and maintenance they are well worth it.

Max Gear Oil

Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic motor oil shares the same advantages as the gear oil does. It does not thicken up like mineral based oils do in the winter. Easier starting, oil moves thru the engine quicker on startup, lubricating everything, and offers less resistance so the engine is more efficient. Different engine are designed differently with bearing clearances, valve train type, and many other factors so the difference you see may be a little or may be a lot. Most synthetics also are double interval, in other words last twice as long so if your filter is also double interval than you can go longer between oil changes.

Royal Purple Engine Oil

Synthetic Power Steering Fluid

Synthetic power steering fluid shares the properties of the other synthetics but only helps a little as the power steering pump only uses 3 to 8 horsepower (depending on type and vehicle). It does reduce this number by a high percentage in winter (50 ish) so it does reduce drag on engine but it also helps on other costs as well. Most of your power steering problems (blown hose, blown rack seals) will happen in the winter because (you guessed it) the mineral base fluid will get very thick and be hard to pump. Synthetic staying easy to pump in extreme cold greatly reduces these problems.

Royal Purple Power Steering Fluid

 

 


 


 


 


 


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