Random Facts

HORSEPOWER

A horsepower equals to 746 watts, or the force that is needed to lift one pound up to 550 feet in one second.

As you can see, the factor “time” is included on its definition and precisely that, is what differentiate horsepower from torque.

LED RESISTOR

When you are looking for a specific resistor for powering an LED on any circuit on your car, you can use the Ohms Law.

Simply subtract the working voltage (WV) of the LED (typically 2.8 volts), from the supply voltage (typically 12 – 13.8 volts in a car) and then divide the result by the LED working current (typically 20mA).

You will find that using the “typical values”, a “typical” resistor will be from 460 to 550 ohms, but curiously, it is usual to find a 1000-Ohm (1K) resistor on pre-assembled units.

MAF CLEANING

To clean your MAF sensor, you can use “electrical parts cleaner” spray, the kind that leaves zero residue (non-lubricant).

You must uninstall the MAF unit and spray the chemical on its inner components. After that, it must be left to dry for several minutes, as moisture might condense because of the cooling effect of the spray.

A mild temperature blower is OK for the job, but not necessary.

Other than spraying it, remember to NEVER touch any of the internal elements.

COLD AIR INTAKE

The idea behind cold air intakes and RAM air kits is to provide the engine with the coolest air possible. This is desirable because the lower the temperature of the incoming air is, the more dense it becomes, having a greater oxygen content per volume.

The fact that incoming air ducts run near the engine, make it to adsorb heat from the engine, partially leaning out the air from its oxygen content by expanding it. Based on this principle, it will be a good idea to include some sort of insulation to cold air kits.

May be insulation might not be too aesthetic, but since those beautiful chrome runners are metallic, they tend to get to hot, going against the original idea of a “cold air” intake.

A good insulation for this is one that resists heat, like the insulation used in air conditioning systems, consisting of metal foil walls with some sort of fiber inside.

NO2

NO2 Nitrogen gas, the main compound on NOS systems, is not a fuel and it will not even catch fire. Instead, it helps out combustion by providing a better oxidant than plain air. This oxidant is oxygen itself.

When NO2 gas decomposes at high temperatures, it liberates oxygen molecules and pure nitrogen molecules. The “N2” molecules (33% of the material) will escape to the atmosphere, while the O2 (66% of the material) will be used in the combustion chamber at the explosion stroke of the engine.

Problems with NO2 injected in the fuel mixture are; (1) it will produce much higher combustion temperatures and (2) it will need more fuel content (carburant) in the mixture or a dangerous too lean condition may occur.

TURBONATOR

Vendors of the infamous “Turbonator” and such devices, make false claims about the product increasing performance by creating a tornado effect in the incoming air. They state that the created air movement, right after entering the intake manifold, in front of the throttle plate, will produce an increase in horsepower and other beneficial effects on combustion.

The truth is that several factors combined, makes the theory behind it to be incorrect, making the device useless. This was tested on the Dyno several times with negative results. It is possible that such “tornado effect” is not even being produced.

Another factor is that the distance from the device to the throttle is too long. By the time the air reaches the throttle, there will be no “tornado”, if there was one at first. At the end, the device will decrease the total diameter of the air path, making it just another restriction of the incoming air that will result in a power loss.

SPARK PLUGS

Using the recommended spark plugs is very important because of the working temperature or heat range. This range, referred as to “hotter” or “cooler”, defines the ability of the plugs to dissipate heat from the center electrode (tip), produced by cylinder combustion. The less heat they dissipate, the more heat accumulated and the “hotter” the plug is said to be.

This temperature range can be “engineered” by choosing the length of the center electrode ceramic insulation, among other factors when the plug is being manufactured. The more insulation, the less the exposure of the center electrode and the more heat will be dissipated at the same time. So a spark plug with a long center electrode will be a “hot” spark plug.

Heat range is very important on engine behavior at idle for avoiding fouling because of too low temperature, and at Wide-Open-Throttle (WOT)for avoiding detonations because of too high temperatures on the other hand.

EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation)

It is true that the EGR valve helps a bit on lowering the overall engine working temperature, but it is nothing that the engine cooling system could not handle if the EGR was not present. The EGR main purposes are environmental. This valve is commonly closed at idle and at low engine speeds for not disturbing engine functions at such critical moments. When it starts opening at higher engine speeds, it recirculates a portion of the exhaust gas from the exhaust manifold to the intake manifold.

What the EGR does is inducing an inert gas, depleted of oxygen, to the engine for re-burning, lowering combustion temperature because of less total oxygen. This will disallow toxic emissions of Nitrous Oxide gases (NOx), which only form in presence of Nitrogen (from atmosphere, which is 78% Nitrogen), Oxygen (from atmosphere too – 20%), high temperature and high pressure (both from engine combustion stroke at high engine speeds). Power loss because of this is too low to be noticed, so don’t waste your time trying to eliminate the EGR, which will also fail the smog or emissions test.

JUMP STARTING

When jump starting a vehicle (bad vehicle) from other vehicle (good vehicle), it is Ok to start the good vehicle once the batteries are connected (jumped), in an attempt to charge the dead battery of the bad vehicle, but it is VERY important that when trying to start the vehicle with the dead battery (bad vehicle), you either turn the engine of the good vehicle off, or you disconnect one of the jumping cables. This must be done in order to avoid any damage to the alternator (generator) of the good vehicle, specially the internal diode rectifier and-or regulator, as the electrical load of the bad vehicle when cranking will be too large and the good vehicle will try to compensate that huge electrical load with the alternator. The alternator of the good vehicle will not be able to handle this load and may blow its output circuit, consisting of the mentioned rectifying diode and-or regulator. You will end up with two bad vehicles.

PCV VALVE

The PCV or Positive Crankcase ventilation Valve purpose is to remove blow by gases produced by piston movement, which accumulates past the piston rings inside the engine block. These gases must be removed because they will eventually condense inside the engine block when not running and will be transformed into an acid, which will corrode the engine very quickly from inside.

The PCV has an opening spring, but it will be closed at high vacuum (negative pressure), as the vacuum force will exceed the spring force. High vacuum is present at idle or low engine speeds. As soon as the throttle is opened, vacuum escapes and positive pressure goes up, near atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi). Since there is no vacuum any longer when the throttle is opened, the PCV will be open by spring action and this is when it does its job. It will adsorb the blow by gases from the engine block and route it to the intake manifold to be burned by the engine.

HYDROGEN AS A FUEL (HHO)

The technology of using hydrogen gas as fuel in cars, for one reason or the other, is still not fully developed and it is still not more than an idea.

Though it is an excellent and promising idea, those “HHO” kit sellers are doing no research at all and what they sell, unsurprisingly is not performing as advertised. It is not a problem of the mentioned idea, it is a problem of people trying to take advantage and backing themselves up on that idea to make money in a dishonest way.

Those vague “kits” are making more trouble than providing solutions. One example is manifold internal damage by excess moisture generated for such kits, not to mention corrosion by chloride and other salts. You should know that the amount of HHO needed for giving some results in car engines is much more than those kits can generate by far.

You should also know that when HHO burns, its main product is water! Nice! It is very environmentally safe, but all that water will be inside your engine right from the intake manifold all the way to the muffler, not taking in account any other chemical that might be used as a catalyst.

On a safety note, the circuits, materials and chemicals used on these kits, are not UL listed and don’t figure on any safety approved list. Instead, they could be a hazard for you and your vehicle, including short circuit, fire, corrosion, engine malfunction, among others and of course, a voided warranty if it had one.

MAF AND AFM

The difference between the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor and the earlier AFM (Air Flow Meter) sensor, is that the AFM measures incoming air flow by volume, and the MAF measures incoming air flow by its mass.

That been said, the MAF is the most accurate of both devices when it comes to calculate how much air is really coming in, as mass may vary by temperature and other conditions, while volume may be steady under similar conditions.

Knowing exactly the mass of the air that goes inside the engine, may allow the ECM to do a more accurate calculation for the fuel needed to be injected.