Miracle Fuel-saving Devices that Didn't Work ...

Messages
2,020
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Hey, who else has purchased a miracle automotive product only to find it didn't work? Here are a few that come to mind: I drove a '68 Impala from '78 - '84. When I got the car, the old 307 got about 200 miles to the quart of oil. I was pretty devout about changing oil every 2000 miles, and used only Quaker State 10W-30 for the first few years. Anyway, the first fall I had the car, I was in at a Sears Automotive shop and saw this product called Lubrilon. It was Teflon particles in motor oil, and was supposed to reduce friction and wear. The salesman told me 'that stuff works miracles' and that the mileage in his big Ford had gone from 6 to 8 MPG (Imperial gallons, not US). 33%! Wow, I was sold! I put down my $30 IIRC. (To put it in perspective, I was a university student working part-time in a warehouse for $2.95/hr.) The results were underwhelming ... I saw no increase in gas mileage, and no reduction in oil consumption. About two and a half years later, I purchased a Cagle fuel pressure regulator from the Minit-Tune shop where I worked as an oil change & tune-up tech. I pulled in $3.75/hr. (Classic Liberal Arts grad story.) The principle was that a mechanical fuel pump was designed to produce sufficient pressure for open throttle operation (5-7 PSI) but that at idle and cruise 1-1/2 PSI was sufficient. However, the fuel pump's unregulated pressure would overwhelm the needle & float mechanism in the carb at idle and cruise, forcing extra fuel into the float bowl. The Cagle spliced into the fuel line before the carb, and was regulated by vacuum from the intake manifold. High vacuum = low load = low fuel pressure requirement. Low vacuum = high load = high fuel pressure requirement. Again, underwhelming results ... no measurable change in gas mileage. That one was $92.50 plus tax. At $3.75/hr, that one ate up the better part of a week's wages. Fast forward to 1998. The Impala is long-gone. By this time I'm working in communications engineering, and there's light at the end of the financial tunnel. Several of my coworkers do a group buy on a platinum injection system. The idea is that if the precious metals in the catalytic convertor help complete the combustion process to clean up emissions, wouldn't the same metals, if injected into the intake airflow, do the same in the combustion chamber where they'll help engine efficiency? I'm skeptical ... significantly older, and slightly wiser. I talk to the guys who've bought these. They're all seeing incredible things - 22% improvement on the Caravan ... used to fill up the Protege every 5 days, now fill it up once a week, etc. I buy two, one for each vehicle. I'm out over $200 we can scarcely afford. My wage is better, but this is still 10 hours of gross wage. Again, nothing. If anything, mileage drops slightly in both vehicles. I talk to the guys again ... Mr 22% figures he might have been comparing city & highway mileage, Mr Fill-up-weekly-instead-of-every-five-days figures maybe he's driving less. GRRR! Finally, a few years ago, c. 2005, I buy a fuel warmer from Mr LaPointe, the acetone man. Again, no improvement. Oh well, I've had some fun, and learned about a few ways to not improve your mileage. I can't be the only one - who else has fallen for a miracle product that sounds credible? Did any of them actually work? And thanks for reading through this tedious post! P.S. The one thing I can vouch for? A ScanGauge which provides real-time feedback, and helps you adjust your driving habits accordingly.
 
Messages
2,011
Location
War Eagle
yep the big fuel saving device that came along in the 70s was the four cylinder engine out of Japan. Then we got rid of carbs and went to fuel injection. And computers helped control the fuel in the mix. Then the engineers became more astute at using smaller engines, getting more HP out of them, using turbo instead of more cylinders, making better transmissions with more speeds, variable valve timing, better rubber to decrease rolling resistance, decreased spark plug fouling which resulted in better mileage, better spark plugs themselves, and the list goes on and on. Gadgets most often do not work. The machine is designed to be better due to better technology and better machining. Thank goodness for technology. Just think---we now have Hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, and these are available to the average, well maybe above average middle income person and perform great for the most part. Throw in TDI versions from VW and get almost 50 to a gallon. And vehicles that can shut down cylinders when they are in a cruise mode. When I was a young teenager, we would have said you were crazy if you brought that kind of stuff up for consideration. Anybody here remember points? And the way to adjust them to the correct opening? Kids these days would not have a clue about how to do that adjustment. Wow I am showing my age here. And my Harley is electric start only. Nope. No kick start at all. But I did help a dude on a 1965 Pan Head get it started and on his way today. Made me feel good to help out a fellow. We rode 275 miles today. Got hot, had good bar be cue and home in time for some cold brew. Speaking of which, my frosty mug is dry and this reflection must come to an end. Gadgets, No. Technology is wonderful when it works.
 
Messages
7,407
Location
FL, USA
Never knew of any that actually worked. The best way to get good mileage is to maintain your vehicle and drive conservatively.
 
Messages
1,723
Location
Virginia
I haven't bought anything like those before, but I know way too many people who have. The only thing I ever did myself was I tried putting a couple ounces of two-stroke TC-W3 oil in the gas tank of my 20 year old beater SUV. I tried doing that for a few fill ups, but then other things started going wrong with the vehicle (completely unrelated) so I ended my experiment with inconclusive results.
 
Messages
10,713
Location
MA
I remember when Andy Rooney did a piece on all those gas saving devices. They all claimed to say 5-10% in gas mileage. He used them all at the same time so the savings were well over 100% and his main complaint was that every few miles, he'd have to stop to siphon out the extra gas in his tank. So I never tried any of them, but I guess PT Barnum was right.
 
Messages
27,447
Location
PNW
Originally Posted By: Number_35
I drove a '68 Impala from '78 - '84. When I got the car, the old 307 got about 200 miles to the quart of oil.
Wow, that's horrible ... worse than oil consumption for a 2-stroke. Probably fouled out spark plugs, sure couldn't have been good on the plugs.
 
Messages
2,191
Location
VA
Car manufactures scratch for every bit of fuel economy they can to put on the window sticker and to meet CAFE requirements. Car companies have even been sued because a certain vehicle did not get the claimed fuel economy. So I always figure, if there were some magical device or potion to increase fuel economy, don't you think they would already be using it?
 
Messages
1,807
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: bvance554
So I always figure, if there were some magical device or potion to increase fuel economy, don't you think they would already be using it?
Because auto manufacturers are in bed with the oil companies! Come on, that is Conspiracy Theories 101 material.
 
Messages
1,121
Location
Hawkinsville Ga
I think the weirdest "fuel saver" I ever saw was for diesels.....it was a piece of tubing about 18" long and was supposed to line up the molecules of fuel so the fuel flowed better which allowed more fuel economy. We were "ordered" to try out ten of the units on our bus engines (6V92's). The only one that benefitted from this product was the sales rep.
 
Messages
36,461
Location
ME
Found one of those intake vornado things in my Dakota. Wonder if it was from the same guy who stuffed newspaper up in the rocker panels then smeared bondo over the whole mess.
 
Messages
2,440
Location
snowblind in TX
Personally, never been suckered in by the "miracle gas savers", but I will admit to using some extra acetone to see if that made any difference, it didn't. Our sheriff's department got suckered in about 10 years ago on the clip on fuel line magnets that were supposed to magnetize/align/electrically charge the gasoline molecules and aid combustion. I think it was almost $60/car for 30+ vehicles. The sheriff actually defended the purchase when questioned about it by the local paper. He was not a chemistry or an engineering major, but otherwise still a really good sheriff.
 
Messages
5,929
Location
DFW
Originally Posted By: toneydoc
Anybody here remember points? And the way to adjust them to the correct opening? Kids these days would not have a clue about how to do that adjustment. Wow I am showing my age here.
I guess, me too! I remember messing with them on my 72 Pontiac. The ultimate solution was swapping in a distributor from a 75 Pontiac that had HEI (electronic ignition). Believe it or not, that did improve the highway mpg by 1-2. You had to do that conversion right. I had to mess with weight/spring combinations to get an advance curve that would not cause horrible pinging. I also had to switch to 8mm ignition wires (from 7mm) and run a 12 volt wire to the distributor. Some of you may recall that the OEM setup for points distributors was a resistance wire that dropped the voltage to prevent burning the points.
 
Messages
17,236
Location
Upper Midwest
Anything that claims to "align" or "reconfigure" molecules is just about the biggest red flag to a hoax as there is. "Charge" them or "change the charge" is another.
 
Messages
1,467
Location
Nowhere NM
Gee how about the automatic transmission....combine with EPA tests and down the road you go, saving gas and money. PT was so right. Smoky
 
Messages
10,693
Location
Jupiter, Florida
As a light aircraft owner and pilot, I get to play with the mixture control and watch the results. It's quite interesting to learn that a 17 to 1 air/fuel mixture will result in substantial mpg improvement. Not so easy to operate lean on the common modern car though. Would need to be done via a well programmed ecu, wide band sensor and throttle by wire adjustments. Certainly a good tuner could do it. Operating lean under the right conditions only
 
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